This is the fourth episode of Virtualgoodsdealer Interview Series, where we talk to artists, scholars, and internet personalities about their work and experiences.
We had the honor of speaking with meme artist djinn kazama about performative activism in the influencer community, the pros and cons of antiracist infographics, the line between satire and misinformation, and about their experience creating their first show, Bottom Text, which aired on adultswim.com. Their instagram account is @djinn_kazama.
Intro and outro track is by Hubert Obasanya.
Enjoying our content?
Currently, virtualgoodsdealer pages is run on a volunteer basis by three people. Every week, we spend a lot of our time creating new content for pages, curating community submitted works, as well as developing the pages website. We have decided to start seeking donations so that we can continue to do so. More information here.
Omnia: We’re gonna start the interview with having you break down one of your memes, like how you came up with it, kind of retrace your process of how you came up with it. We’re gonna do one at the beginning and then we’re gonna do another one at the end. So Cindie will drop the first one here in the chat.
Cindie: Okay, I’m gonna send the first meme.
Djinn: Stop laughing. Okay, let me try to remember because I think I was perhaps on weed at the time.
Omnia: [laughs] I didn’t even see this until today. It’s funny, oh my god.
Djinn: You know why you didn’t see it? Because they’re hiding my posts from everybody. But they really are! I looked at it and it said like 10,000 people saw this post only.
Omnia: Yeah, mine have been like crazy low too. I’ve never seen it that low.
Djinn: So I made this, I had friends visiting. They went out so I was just sitting by myself. I was watching Eminem and Limp Bizkit and Korn videos. Like, I guess a white boy summer that’s already passed.
Omnia: Sounds wonderful actually.
Djinn: Because I always think about, like, how many white rappers there are now? And I know a lot of people will not think of like Fred Durst and them as white rappers but they are. They’re just not very good.
Cindie: They just yell stuff.
Djinn: They do. But sometimes there’s some…
Omnia: Do you think Fred Durst self identifies as a rapper? I’ve never heard him call himself a rapper but I haven’t seen a lot of him speaking to be honest.
Omnia: Me neither. He’s just screaming in my face.
Djinn: Right. My main thing about Fred Durst I feel like, I do believe he’s influential in different ways. For example, I believe Lana del Rey completely stole his singing style. That weird like, low to high pitch like back and forth.
Omnia: Are you serious right now?
Djinn: Oh, no, I’m not joking at all.
Omnia: Do y’all agree with this?
Djinn: I believe she copied him.
Omnia: This is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.
Djinn: I mean, other people sing like that, too, but I just, you know, I just want to be anti Lana.
Cindie: Honestly, I’ve never heard any music by Fred Durst. But I just have like an idea of what his music sounds like, based on his appearance.
Omnia: I’m ashamed. I had his album, the one with the Nookie.
Djinn: Me too, and I have the shirt, like the original shirt that came out at the time. But um, I was just watching that I was looking at all the white boy summer memes and you know Parker was making white boy summer memes and a lot of Whisper app memes.
Omnia: Who’s Parker?
Djinn: Scumzofficial on Instagram.
Omnia: Oh, yeah. I like him. Okay.
Djinn: Yeah so I’m just like, alright, what’s my take on this whole white boy summer thing? And then I saw like, I guess white boy summer’s biggest spokesman got canceled.
Djinn: Re-cancelled, yeah, I guess his ex girlfriend had a restraining order on him, and the document like, started circulating. So I was just like, hmm. I know conservatives don’t give a fuck about people like Chet Hanks, they probably hate them. But like, liberals hate him, too. He’s annoying and weird and creepy. That just kind of made me think like, you know, whenever somebody gets ‘cancelled,’ I had some friends over the night before. And we were just watching again, random music videos. And my friend Evan kept making jokes like, oh, he was gonna buy NBC, so they released the info about what he did.
Omnia: [laughs] Chet, oh my gosh.
Djinn: And they were like, oh, Dr. Dre was gonna buy Eminem and then they cancelled him and all that, so I guess I just, in my a social interaction the concept of white boy summer and like, conspiracies and call out posts just kind of enmeshed in my brain. [laughs] And that’s what I came up with.
Omnia: Yeah, I love the ending of the meme. I didn’t see it going there. So. [laughs]
Djinn: [laughs] I had the concept there. It’s kind of floating around. But I was like, how to frame it.
Omnia: It was perfect.
Djinn: How to get this idea out there in a way that it’s like, it can be connected to like other things that’s going on in the media, but also it’s just a stupid joke at the same time, but also it’s not.
Omnia: Alright, well speaking of jokes about what’s going on in the media. Do you think in your opinion from just you know, looking at the timeline, and you know, we’re pretty much in the same community. But do you think there’s a line that needs to be drawn between satire and misinformation sometimes? And I noticed that especially during the elections.
Djinn: Yeah, I know that I, my, my natural inclination is to go towards satire, because that’s just how I’ve always been since I was a kid. But I know it was upsetting people. But the people I was upsetting, I didn’t mind upsetting them, because I knew that their reaction was contributing to what I was saying in the first place.
Omnia: Oh, yeah. Like, yeah. I know what you mean.
Djinn: Like, I obviously do not support Donald Trump, like, I obviously don’t like Donald Trump. But I was like, being satirical by being like, well, at least Donald Trump is honest. And everyone’s like, no, he’s the worst, he’s worse than every other president. Like, you can’t really be serious.
Omnia: I don’t see you doing that so much. But like, I’ve seen a lot of other leftist pages, like they’ll post something as if it’s news.
Djinn: Mm hmm.
Omnia: And, you know, a lot of people who don’t get the irony, like, will actually believe that it’s news, and it was during the election time. And so that’s kind of what I was asking, like, do you think that, or I guess, hhave you ever felt for one of those posts? Like you saw something you thought was news, but it was just satire?
Djinn: Not that I can recall?
Cindie: I fell for it when people were like, Joe Biden has died.
Djinn: I mean, that’s very believable.
Cindie: Right? I’m like he definitely is dead, and they’re using deep fakes.
Omnia: And there were a lot of really ridiculous things happening anyway. So like, literally anything anybody posted, I believed.
Djinn: No, I agree. Because, like, a lot of times some of my jokes, like the satire aspect, didn’t even come from like me, you know, constructing it within the joke. It’s just the truth. The truth is the absurd part. Like, I made a meme recently, where I said, I can’t exactly what I said, I said something like, um, what’s the point of satire? You’ll never be funnier than the thing you’re mocking.
Omnia: [laughs] Exactly.
Djinn: And like, when I think about it, the real like, absurdism is reality. Like, it’s not our little jokes. And, you know, I think of stuff like 1984 and all that. I’m like, you know, that’s a fictional novel from like, years ago, long time ago.
Omnia: This last like year and a half. I mean, I guess that’s what everybody says about every year, but it just felt like, just last year was just way too absurd. Like, it’s better than anything anybody can write.
Djinn: Right? But then this year, it has been, I think, we’ve been more like, hyper focused on every little thing in the news, or every little thing in media, because our lives are kind of like, you know, inseparable from media now. We’re all on social media. So you know, it’s not just the media, we’re all little small, like, parts of the media now. Like, everybody kind of has a voice. Some are silenced more than others, but they’re all there, all the different ideas. So it’s like, we’re seeing more stuff now. Because there’s more people involved. There’s more people commenting, more people sharing, more people putting in their two cents, and all that.
Cindie: I noticed that a lot of the backlash that you get online has to do with like, people not being able to understand the nuance of your jokes. And it’s like, I feel like the difference between satire and misinformation like I feel like people interpret your satire as what they think is misinformation. They’ll be like, how dare you like, joke about this or say this, even if it’s in a joking way.
Omnia: Especially the Muslim related stuff.
Djinn: Yeah. And it’s funny, because, you know, growing up, Muslim stuff wasn’t really in the media so much, unless it was like, you know, Gulf War related. For me, I was I was born in 1990. The first Gulf War happened when I was, I guess, one. Um, so you know, it wasn’t really a lot of Muslim stuff in the media really. I heard about, I don’t know, Ice Cube songs, I guess? I don’t know. I didn’t really hear any kind of Muslim stuff necessarily, except for like, maybe like song lyrics sometimes. Then, you know, 9/11 happened. But growing up, like, I would listen to stuff like, I don’t anymore, Marilyn Manson. Just stuff like that, like Western artists that try to like subvert, you know, religious iconography that’s specifically Western. Now, I was born here. I’m not from Pakistan, I’ve never been there and none of that. So I guess people who don’t like when you critique Islam, I don’t know. People are not receptive to critiques on Islam. Just because number one, the sensitivity towards like the xenophobia after 9/11. And just like shit, like, you know, the Charlie Hebdo the shit that goes on in France all the time, they’re like, and all that. So it’s like, I get it, but it’s like, you can’t tell people who grew up Muslim around Muslim people who’ve, like, you know —
Omnia: Yeah, this is kind of like Black people making Black jokes, and then white people getting mad because it’s racist. So do you feel like you get more pushback from concerned white people that you’re being too Islamophobic? Or is most of the pushback coming from Muslim people?
Djinn: Most of the pushback is coming from Muslim people, it’s not like white or Western people because they’re too scared to like, come at me on it. Because they know I know more about it than them. They’re just gonna either be quiet or like [the post] out of like, support of me as an individual, you know. Which I don’t mind because people will be like, um, why is white people liking this? I’m like, um, why are you trying to make me get less likes?
Djinn: But yeah, and then the weird thing is, it’s always like Muslim people in there, and they call me white. And they’re like, you’re white for saying this. And I’m like, okay, so I know so many like gay Muslim people who critique Islam, and who’s the main people in their comments, calling them like, all these names, like, I always see them harassing gay, trans Muslims, drag queens from like Pakistan, and all that, calling them the worst names. And those people have a right to critique Islamic culture? I think they do. Because they’re the ones living in it and like suffering as a result of like, the general ignorance.
Omnia: They absolutely do get the right to critique it.
Djinn: I grew up watching like, white people rip Bible pages out and roll joints within smoking it. I’ve never did that to the Quran.
Omnia: Please don’t, because — oh, gosh.
Djinn: Oh, no, no, no, I’m not. But I mean, if somebody did that, I would take no offense because like, I don’t know.
Omnia: Some people will kill over that stuff, though. It’s really scary.
Djinn: No, I know. I know.
Omnia: What did they call it? A fatwa?
Omnia: You get a fatwa on you.
Djinn: Yeah, that’s like another thing like, as far as artists I was influenced by, don’t judge I’m from another generation, but South Park and with the whole Prophet Muhammad cartoon controversy. And what always bothered me about the Prophet Muhammad, like, you know, depicting him visually. The whole point that Prophet Mohammed, like had with people not depicting him visually, is because he didn’t want people to worship him like a god. He didn’t want to be deified.
Omnia: I didn’t know that actually.
Djinn: Yeah. So when people get so offended, and they’re doing it out of the fact that they have deified him, it kind of goes against what Prophet Muhammad’s whole point was. Like, I don’t think Prophet Muhammad would approve of killing people for drawing him.
Omnia: I think he would think the memes are funny, to be honest.
Djinn: People forget like he was, I’ve read a lot about him. He’s pretty chill. In my opinion. He’s cool as fuck.
Omnia: I agree. Yeah. Like, everything that’s said about him, is said by people who like, I feel like ust think they know him or something. Like, how could you think that you know him? But yeah, I think that he would be a pretty cool guy. And I think he would like the means. I think he would like the caricatures. But who am I to know, I guess?
Djinn: Right, we can’t ask him ourselves. Because like he said, himself, he’s not a god. We can’t talk to him. Even spiritually, if we think we are.
Omnia: Yeah, and I think by people saying, oh, you can never draw him or whatever, I think that’s making him more like a god like, I don’t know.
Djinn: Yeah. On the flip side, you got Jesus, His face is everywhere. And then people question, what did Jesus really look like? You know, we see this weird European Jesus man everywhere, and it’s like, is that really what Jesus looked like?
Omnia: I bet if Muslim people were allowed to draw Muhammad, he would be extremely light skinned.
Djinn: I know!
Omnia: Like, so white.
Djinn: If they drew him, he would look like Zayn Malik. Like, I don’t know.
Omnia: Okay, let’s move on from this topic. Okay. This is kind of a downer question. I’m very sorry to hear about the show on Adult Swim. Super, super sorry. But what what would you say you learned the most out of that experience?
Djinn: Well, I learned that it’s not so easy to just, you know, you can have your friends and your friends are cool as fuck and you get along with your friends. But then you have to work and schedule stuff. That and then it’s like, oh, okay, so we actually don’t have everything in common huh. We’re all different. You know, we have all approaches, you know, different ideas all the time, different personalities, and that’s fine, like people can get along and you know, figure out out what works best and all that. But that’s one thing I learned. And that’s why I’m like selective when I collab with people now, because it’s just like, just because somebody is my friend doesn’t mean that like, we would be good as like, on an artistic collaboration or any type. It just really depends.
Omnia: That’s interesting. What do you think about that, Cindie?
Cindie: Yeah, I feel the same way. I think I don’t know, I haven’t really worked on anything since the show to be honest. And I guess I didn’t really work on the show that much either.
Djinn: It didn’t feel like work sometimes but other times, it’s like, damn, this is work, but then other times it’s like this is barely work. It’s just back and forth. It’s like, I just realized, like creative jobs is just like any other job, you have to figure things out and like, have a schedule and plan. And I’m like, no, I’m good at this, it’ll just come naturally all the time. No it won’t.
Cindie: I think it’s like, you have to, if you put yourself into a situation where you may have to compromise on your creative vision, you have to be aware of that beforehand, and like, everything that goes along with that.
Cindie: Or you can just avoid those situations.
Djinn: Right, because like, that’s what a collaboration means. It’s like input from more than one person. So you know, when you approach something, you have to be certain like, hey, guys, it’s my idea. And I want you to work on my idea and I’m in charge, but everybody else is contributing, or like an actual collaboration where we’re all working together, so compromise is required. Like you have to.
Cindie: Yeah, I think like, depending on people, like some people are okay with, like working with you on an idea and like letting you have most of the creative direction, whereas some people will, like, be more hands on about the approach as well. But I don’t know, I guess like, also after Bottom Text like, I worked on jobs, like I worked at a company for a while, in a creative role. And that was also really different. Because I don’t know, it’s like, you have to align your creativity with the company’s interests, which I found was impossible for me. I was just like, sabotaging them secretly. It’s like, they would be like, you have to tweet this, so I would tweet it. And then I would go on all my private accounts and report the tweet to make sure it doesn’t get any visibility on the timeline to prove to the company that their idea sucks. I would just do that every day.
Djinn: Okay, thanks for that tip. I will be using that in the future. No. I’m just kidding. I know what you mean. It’s like, it’s like that other jobs too, like, you know, I have a ‘Death to America’ tattoo. Kind of awkward if you work at a store, you got to wear long sleeves on the sales floor, blah, blah, blah.
ada.wrong: When I think about it, like companies are able to do things on such a larger scale, because they’re kind of like forcing people to organize and like work together
Djinn: Right, right.
ada.wrong: Versus when we do stuff, like, just for fun within friends. It’s like, I feel frustrated sometimes because I want to do bigger projects. But obviously, I can’t like force people to do stuff, if I’m not paying them.
Djinn: Right? It’s hard. It has to be like, I guess everybody who’s involved in like a collaboration has to be like genuinely passionate about, well, you have to be sure, like what’s your intention, number one, and number two, like, how you’re going to express that intention, and everybody has to be passionate about what the intent is, I feel like. No matter how it’s expressed, in the end.
ada.wrong: It’s so hard to like meet that balance. But it’s so important because we’re literally competing against like, organizations or companies with so much money and resources. If we’re not able to, like organize within each other and make stuff like they’re just gonna steal our ideas from individuals and like disseminate it to like a hundred times as many people.
Djinn: Right, it’s just hard because it’s like, I guess like, getting certain ideas across requires organization and order but it kind of can kind of kill aspects of the idea that was important in the first place.
Cindie: Right? And it’s a really different demographic of people I feel like who’s like, the visionaries who can think of things that will make an impact versus the people who will just execute it. And I feel like that’s where the company comes in. Because their income they can just like get both of those types of people and force them to work together and use health care to force them to do stuff.
Djinn: The problem with companies is just like, you know, you have the general idea but then like when it’s like, shared to like so many other people, it kind of starts to like, become hollow because it’s a corporation that’s putting it out there. So nothing is actually going to change. And even if like, the artistic intention, and a statement is important and needs to be heard, for some reason, when something like that is heard by too many people, it just comes like, you know, it just kills it kinda.
Omnia: Yeah. And the source, who you’re hearing it from, is the main thing a lot. Like, you can hear the same idea from me or from a company and it’s gonna sound completely different
Omnia: Because what was my intention of saying it versus what was the company’s intention?
Djinn: Well the thing is, your intention was probably more pure or genuine. And theirs is, there’s a profit incentive as well.
Omnia: Like people just sense that. They don’t even realize that the reason why they’re rejecting this idea is because it’s coming from a company, they don’t even realize that’s the reason.
Djinn: Another thing with that is like, I’ll hear somebody I respect say something I’m like, Yeah! But then I’ll hear somebody I don’t respect say it, I’m like, No!
Omnia: Very true. All right. So next question is, and I know I’m sure you’ve had a lot of those moments, but what was like your, you know, ‘I might be onto something’ slash your proudest moment as a creator?
Djinn: Damn, that’s hard to think because like, I’m so negative.
Omnia: Oh, I’m sure there’s so many moments you can think of.
Djinn: There is… I feel like I have more like, the opposite of that moments. And I thought it was gonna be that moment. [laughs]
Omnia: We can talk about that, too.
Djinn: I’m trying, I don’t know, I just feel like, I look at my audience and I feel like I’m, for the most part, I have the right audience, and I’m reaching the right people, like the people who reach out to me about my work. I feel like it’s traveled to the right places, like for the people who don’t feel heard and, like, feel the way I do, or the people who are unfamiliar with a lot of my ideas and then embrace them. I don’t know, that’s not really specific. It’s more general.
Omnia: No, that makes sense. Like, your ideas are going to the, to the right places for sure.
Omnia: I remember one time you shared that your meme was being talked about in a classroom. Like for me, that would have been the moment.
Djinn: No, actually, you’re right about that. I don’t even know why I forgot about that. But I think about that a lot. Actually, I was thinking about it the other day. Because, you know, when I was younger, when I was a teenager, when I was in high school. You know, I went to a, I was in a school system that was um, considered not good. But you know, I was in gifted programs there, blah blah blah. And I moved to my new school, and they wouldn’t put me in gifted classes at first. It was a big deal. They were like, oh, no, you’re considered gifted at that school system. Not this one. But like, you know, by the time I was in 11th, grade, like every English teacher I had, they all went to the counselor and was like, no you need to put her in the class. So even not in school, like I was really, like my dream as a teenager, I wanted to be like, a pop culture academic like Camille Polya, like Bell Hooks, and Andrea Dworkin. Like I used to like obsessively read just at home and go to the library all the time. And I was like, I wanted to like, I wanted to major in fiction writing as a kid, but like, I also wanted to just do like, kind of like academic research like that was my goal. I had more so scholarly type dreams, but then you know, some stuff happened and I accidentally was addicted to drugs, blah, blah, blah. So that never happened. I never went to college. But I’m, I’m still in the classroom. So that did mean a lot.
Djinn: The fact that so many professors and like, random, like, art school people stan me, like important people at schools. I’m like, maybe that means something. Maybe I achieved what I wanted to after all.
Omnia: I feel like you achieved something that you didn’t even think of at the time like it’s just something completely different than you thought you would do.
Djinn: Right. Because when I was a teenager, memes was just like stupid pictures on 4chan that we laughed at because they’re dumb. Not because they’re smart.
Cindie: No, remember the troll physics memes? That’s when I knew that shit was smart. Like if you cover yourself in oil, you will be able to fly in the rain. That’s actually true.
Djinn: [laughs] No it’s not!
Cindie: I tried it the other day. I jumped off the roof of my house and flew.
Djinn: Okay, I believe you. I want to see the Tiktok though. I know there’s one there has to be.
Omnia: Alright, so this is a general question for everybody here. What are your thoughts on anti-racist infographics?
Djinn: Um, there are some that I really think are informative, but there’s some that the vast majority is just really strange to me, I don’t know, it’s like, a lot of the infographic pages don’t have you know, a name or a face attached. Some people think that’s like a good thing because it’s not supposed to be like a persona you’re putting out, you’re just supposed to be educating through like, a simple type of way, I guess. Like, everything in infographics generally has to be simplified just so it can be consumed easier.
Djinn: Which is why I do appreciate the ones that have like, you know, the end, like Further reading, cuz the infographic is not enough. I enjoy when they will put like, you know, different resources like PDF files to read, like books, all of that.
Cindie: PDF files?
Djinn: Not that kind of PDF files.
Cindie: When do you guys think that infographics become harmful or negative?
Omnia: When they’re wrong and people refuse to take them down.
Djinn: Right? And a lot of stuff is like, infographics are supposed to have information, not your personal bias, like people will say, like, the dumbest stuff, and try to be like, this is a slur, but it’s not a slur. It’s just something dumb. Like, it’s always something dumb.
Omnia: Yeah, like infographics with too much confidence in the information, like you have to, you know, at least give a warning, like, this is just my interpretation of the situation.
Djinn: Right? And there’s nothing wrong with that, you know. When I was younger, I used to read like, academic type of studies of art, and that’s fine. I didn’t read it, like, what she’s saying is the 100% indisputable truth. That’s just her own theory, her own, you know, analysis of the story, or analysis of like a social occurrence.
Omnia: I think the criticism of infographics nowadays is more harmful than harmful infographics, if that makes any sense. And I think it’s because people have just been making fun of them.
Cindie: It’s an easy target.
Djinn: Yeah, I made one making fun of them. But it was about kiss anime getting shut down contributing to the genocide of local single Milfs in my area who want to fuck me, why is the media not talking about this? So I don’t like when people keep throwing out ‘genocide.’ Maybe people will say that I did that in the meme, whatever. But I guess my intention was to mock the people who do that by putting it in, like the most absurd kind of setup possible. Kissanime getting deleted, like, and like stupid ads?
Omnia: I mean, what the way you did it, it’s like, it’s obvious you’re not talking about an actual genocide. But when people talk about, so I don’t know. I live here. And I’m from Sudan. So this might sound cruel, but if I hear anything about any other country, genocide, whatever, I don’t even look into it. Because I feel like it’s just going to be out of my control. Like, what am I going to do about?
Djinn: Right, because you’re literally like, from somewhere where that’s occurring to this day, right?
Omnia: Yeah, exactly. There’s just too many things to worry about.
Djinn: Yeah, and that’s my other critique is that there’s a certain type of tweet and infographic where they say a specific thing, which is, why is the media not talking about this? They’ll find like an article from 2016 about something irrelevant be like, why is nobody talking about this?
Djinn: Yeah, like the whole Internet’s people talking about everything. Just because you’re not paying attention doesn’t mean nobody’s talking about something.
Cindie: That kind of leads us into the next question, which is, what is the difference between virtue signaling versus trying to set an example?
Omnia: And this question goes for mostly like for influencers? You know, I guess we would call all of us influencers.
Djinn: Um, well, I think virtue signaling requires you to center yourself in the middle of, you know, the statement you’re making.
Omnia: I didn’t think of that, okay.
Djinn: When you virtue signal, you’re centering yourself, because the difference between setting an example and virtue signaling is the whole — the only reason you would virtue signal is to be like, look what a good person I am.
Omnia: But doesn’t it seem that way sometimes? Like you’re trying to set an example, but in you trying to do that, it seems like you’re centering yourself.
Djinn: Yeah, I think that I think the difference with setting an example is not like, so setting an example, you don’t have to be drawing hella attention to yourself and being like, look what I’m doing. You’re just doing it.
Djinn: Without being like, do this do this, you’re just doing it. And like, if you do have a large platform and you want to set an example, there’s a way to phrase like, what I said before, intent. The way you phrase something to express your intent is the most important thing no matter what you’re saying. So if you simply like, okay, I’m trying to think of a good example of somebody who I think is like, famous and sets good examples, and I’m gonna say Bella Hadid. I think she is somebody I don’t consider her somebody who virtue signals. I believe she’s, she does set an example by simply incorporating her beliefs and like the way she thinks is appropriate to behave into her like, regular, I guess, persona or behavior. It’s not like a big show.
Omnia: I see.
Cindie: Compared to like Chrissy Teigen.
Djinn: Yes. Oh, god, I don’t like her. I’m glad her Twitter is gone. So glad. And that’s another example. I’m glad you brought up Chrissy Teigen. Because Chrissy Teigen will post performative shit and then when you keep watching how she behaves, it doesn’t align with those little performative, you know, political shit, she says, but say somebody like Bella Hadid, you’re not gonna catch her slipping up and like going against the beliefs she made.
Omnia: It’s got to the point where Chrissy Teigen gave up even virtue signaling. She just chose to be on the other side.
Djinn: A good example, this past week, when Diddy put out that open letter to corporations saying, if you love Black artists pay them.
Omnia: Oh, my God.
Djinn: And then all the Black artists that he fucked over, was coming out like, what?
Omnia: Like, how do you not have the self awareness to not post something like that?
Djinn: So to me, Diddy’s open letter, that’s virtue signaling.
Omnia: Yeah, for sure.
Djinn: Because what he said in his letter doesn’t align with his own beliefs and actions in his real life. So that’s virtue signaling to me.
Omnia: Okay. So do you think sometimes with memers, like, talking about white memers. Do you think sometimes they feel like they have this race issue that they feel like they need to address, and whatever they say is gonna come out very awkwardly. But do you think that sometimes they are accused of virtue signaling when they’re actually just being awkward? They feel the duty to talk about something, and they don’t know how to talk about it and talking about it is better than to not talk about it?
Djinn: Yeah. So um, I’m not gonna name any names. And this is not meme pages. But it’s like little influencer girls that I follow on my personal page. And like, you know, models. When the George Floyd thing happened. After like, all the outcry, some people didn’t post anything about and people were going on people’s pages, like, you didn’t post nothing yet. You didn’t post nothing yet. And it’s like, some people should not post about stuff like that.
Omnia: See, I disagree with that. I think that if you are white, and you never posted about racism, you should always post about it.
Djinn: No, no, they weren’t white people, but they were like, they’re very privileged, though.
Omnia: I see. Okay.
Djinn: But also, the thing is, like, I think white people should post about it, but not because they’re forced to. They need to actually learn something instead of just regurgitate random shit they read on the internet. If they haven’t spoken about it, I don’t agree with pressing them, like, oh, post something about it, post something about it. Because all you’re doing, they’re gonna post something stupid, and you’re gonna rip them apart.
Omnia: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, I think that everybody should just, even if it’s just posting something to direct them somewhere else.
Djinn: Yeah, sometimes I might not have the right answers or the right ideas. Or maybe I feel like, you know, my opinion, or my belief on something is underdeveloped. So I’ll go like to somebody else, like who do I think is educated on this topic? Who have I learned a lot on this topic? I’ll share their posts, because I think a lot of mistake a lot of the white meme pages and influencers do, they’ll just go in front of the camera and start talking. You don’t need to do that. You can say, I am still learning on this topic. And I would appreciate if you send me resources, and I’ll share what I can find. You know, you don’t have to just, you know, do the performance thing. You don’t have to like make the meme before you learn. You know, before you educate yourself fully.
Cindie: What I notice a lot of white people, and this kind of ties into the infographic culture as well, but this type of person, they feel the need to, I guess they do a little bit of research and amass a little bit of information, but then they feel the need to put it into their own words or adopt it to their own style to communicate it to their followers, which I think comes from a place where in their head they think that putting it into their own words will make their followers react to it better, which may be true, but there’s also a line between that and like just inserting your uneducated voice into conversations that you’re not really a part of.
Omnia: For me, it’s the fact that it’s specially the pages that never say anything about race, for them to come out and say at least one thing, I think that’s important. Because a lot of their followers are used to other white people in their circle never speaking up about anything. They never have to deal with it and never have to hear it. So the more white people have to hear it, the better, I think. So just the fact of like, posting like a little picture with a link somewhere else. I think that would be completely enough. You don’t need to insert your voice or anything.
Djinn: Right. And I think that’s the mistake they make because what I was saying earlier wasn’t like, you know, if they’re not educated, you know, just don’t speak. Obviously, you have to at least have a small idea of what you’re talking about before putting it out there to a bunch of people. Now an example of that, if you remember that YouTuber, Tana Mongeau? Do you know who she is?
Djinn: She’s a white lady, she’s like a popular YouTube influencer. And she got into a beef with another YouTube influencer from a different scene. His name is idubbbz, he’s kind of like, a lot of alt right 4chan gamer types are fans of his. And then, you know, she was like, oh, you need to, she was saying like, oh, idubbbz, you need to kill yourself, because you say the N word, you know. Then, you know, he just pulled out all the videos of her saying it. So it’s kind of like…
Omnia: Oh my gosh.
Djinn: So it’s just kind of like, and you know what, like, I was talking to my friend who’s staying with me about that, because she was like, yeah, I couldn’t even get offended by him saying it because it was just so funny. And I’m like, yeah, in a situation like that, you do need to think before you speak and you need to like, you need to think about your intention. Like you obviously have to say like, okay, saying racist stuff is wrong.
Omnia: But don’t tell somebody to go kill themselves.
Djinn: Because then you know, they’re just gonna pull the receipts out on you because you know, it’s millions of people saw you do the same thing.
Omnia: Well, and then even if you’re if you’re coming from a pure place, you’re gonna have all of your followers telling them to go kill themselves.
Omnia: Imagine like just having a horde of people telling you to kill yourself at once.
Djinn: I don’t have to imagine, but yeah.
Omnia: Aw, I’m sure you don’t, aw.
Omnia: I don’t know how you do it honestly.
Djinn: You know what? I’m just used to it. I grew up on the internet, like when it wasn’t normal to grow up on the internet. When I was eight, I had my own computer with unlimited, like, unsupervised internet access. This was in 1998. Only, like, three other people in my school had a computer and internet. So and then, you know, I was on 4chan in like, 2002. Like, it was way worse back then in my opinion, it was so horrible. So I’ve been seeing people be awful on the internet for my whole life. I just been watching them do it. So it doesn’t bug me that much and I don’t take it seriously, especially because for most of my life, I did not have any real life friends when most people did, and only had internet friends when nobody did. So it doesn’t bother me. I’m just like, oh, these people aren’t even real.
Omnia: They kind of aren’t though.
Cindie: It’s like I honestly, I think it’s way easier to manage, like, hate than people trying to be your friend. Should we move on to the final meme breakdown?
Omnia: Yeah, let’s do it.
Omnia: So this is my favorite meme from you. I’m sure you know.
Djinn: So like. At the time when I made this, I was a manager at a store. And at the time, my roommates was Addy and we were just in the living room watching TV talking. And I made it but I didn’t post it yet because I was like this so basic. Like this is not like me to be this basic.
Omnia: It’s absolutely not basic. But okay, go ahead.
Djinn: But look, I showed it to Addy and Addy was like, oh my god post it it’s so good. I bet it’s gonna get a bunch of likes. And I’m like, I don’t know you feel like that’s gonna get a lot of likes? It seems kind of like plain you know? And Addy was like, yeah, it’s plain but it’s true. And it’s still funny.
Omnia: And nobody has said that before. Like that was the first time I heard that being said, so. It was just amazing to me.
Djinn: Yeah, cuz Addy was like, no you got to post you got to post it and then Addy was like, no wait, you got to post it tomorrow at this time cause it’s the best time to post and I’m like, all right. You know, I posted it, I didn’t get that many likes on my own page. I got like, maybe like three thousand likes on this the first time I posted it, but then all of a sudden it was just everywhere. It was on Reddit, it was on like it was getting reposted on big pages. But then like more big pages was reposting from those big pages. So that was like my big big meme, my first huge meme, maybe my second.
Omnia: It’s a marvel. And I don’t know, maybe you’re right, maybe it is basic and simple and all of that, but it was so fresh. And original.
Djinn: Yeah! The way I thought at the time, sometimes a while back when I first started making memes, if I thought of a meme that I was like, oh, I bet someone else already thought of this, I wouldn’t even make it. I’m not gonna post that because someone else probably already thought of this, so what’s the point of me posting it?
Omnia: See, that would’ve been my only drawback with it if I had made it. This is such a good idea that somebody had to have thought of it. But no, I think you’re the first person.
Djinn: I’m not trying to be annoying right now, but I see memes that get viral from a big page making it, and I had already thought of the same meme whatever the subject was, when the news story came out, but I simply didn’t make it ‘cause I’m like, that’s boring, that’s not me, that’s such an obvious joke, anybody would come up with that. Like me and Joelle [namaste.at.home.dad] were talking about a concept because we’re both Tauruses, and Joelle made a meme on their backup page that was like, something about red flags, and it had a bull and a matador. And I messaged her like Joelle, I was thinking of making a meme that was like, yeah I saw the red flags, but I don’t care because I’m a Taurus. But I didn’t make it. And Joelle was like, I was gonna make something like that too but I didn’t because I thought somebody already made it.
Omnia: See, you have to trust yourself. Now you know, when something comes up in your head, you’re probably the first one to think about it. Or one of the first.
Djinn: Yeah, that’s the one Joelle made. And then what I ended up making instead of this, I made another meme that was like, yeah I saw the red flags. I didn’t care though because I’m a communist or some shit like that.
Omnia: [laughs] I love this one.
Djinn: Yeah, it’s good, it’s such a Taurus thing. It’s almost Taurus season, y’all.
Omnia: It’s my season right now, so let’s focus on that.
Cindie: Aries season.
Djinn: You’re an Aries?
Omnia: Yeah, I’m an Aries.
Djinn: All my friend who are Aries, because people always have a stereotype of Aries being crazy and evil and psychotic and loud, all my Aries friends are the quiet ones.
Cindie: That’s so true.
Omnia: I thought it was the Scorpios that were supposed to be psychotic.
Djinn: No, Aries and Scorpios are considered equally psychotic. They’re also considered compatible.
Omnia: Interesting. I guess I’m a little psychotic, but —
Djinn: We know about that.
Cindie: Okay, I guess we can move to our final question.
Cindie: Which is, are there any projects that you are now working on or worked on recently that you would want to promote or share?
Djinn: I’m working on something literally right now, like right now as we’re talking. Um, I kind of shared it on my live yesterday, but me and my friend are working on a cartoon.
Djinn: That we will be pitching to multiple places. Some people have seen little pieces and drawings and stuff. I’m working on a storyboard right now. And my friend who’s the animator is working on a short animated piece from it. It’s kind of a lot of the other stuff, Cindie probably knows, we’ve been brainstorming random stuff for a while. But it’s kind of similar to that but different. It’s a similar concept but a different kind of output.
Cindie: Can you share any details? Or is it on the DL for now?
Djinn: It kind of is, but the reason why is because the concept is, we don’t have anything concrete yet. We have some stuff here and there. It’s still in progress. I will still continue to share little stuff in my story. I’ve shared some of the sketches I made, and storyboards, and character drawings. I think I talked about it in a live recently.
Omnia: I’m excited to see it, okay!
Djinn: Yeah, I’m excited. I’ve been trying to find an animator for a while who has a similar vision to me, I finally found the perfect one, so yeah! I’m excited about it.
Omnia: I look forward to seeing it.
Cindie: Coming to Netflix in 2022..
Omnia: Alright y’all. It was fun having you.
Djinn: Yeah, it was fun.
Omnia: Have a good night!
Cindie: Thank you again.
Djinn: Of course! See you later.