African American Goth History X Part 4: Josyness

While I was scrolling through Bat's Day 2019 @batsday photo's, admiring the Goth's going all out at Disneyland, I fell upon a Goth beauty I hadn't expected to see. With her wings spread and her beautiful, naturally textured hair Josy was simply posing for the Bat's Day cameraman. What she didn't know, was she put a tremendous smile on my face. I've said it before, I get very excited when I come across a Goth POC.

I was too nervous about another interview I was doing at Salem's Market, back in the Fall, to approach Josy when I saw her there. I didn't know what to say. Obviously, a lot has changed since then. I subscribed to Josy's youtube channel and watched a couple of episodes. I discovered Josy was not only gothy, but heavy into the SoCal Haunt and Horror community. My favorite things!

In addition to being a scare actor at Knott's Scary Farm, The LA Haunted Hayride, The Purge experience and involved as a top notch volunteer at Scare LA and Midsummer Scream, of corpse, I had to know about Josy's experiences being black, goth and super into the horror and haunt community. I was surprised and, my heart was warmed by Josy's story. We met officially at Rad Coffee the day after the epic IE Punk Flea, which we both attended, and had a lovely post party weekend chat.

MH: You're about to be 30. Does that make you feel like a "real" adult?
J: I feel like I should be. It does feel like an adult age, but it's really funny because people don't believe me when I say how old I am. All throughout my 20's everyone thought I was younger. It's been funny going into the haunt community because people don't really take me seriously. They just say, "you're just a baby bat."

MH: I first came across you scrolling through the Bat's Day 2019 pics. How did you come into the goth, haunt and horror community?

J: I am actually on the Bat's Day Crew. I've been on for about four or five years. They needed help one year. I knew someone already on the crew. Since we worked together at Scare LA and Midsummer Scream so I found my way onto the Bat's Day crew. I started as a volunteer at Scare LA. This was the beginning of my "gothiness" I suppose. I was interested in it, but I didn't really know anyone, so I just volunteered. I did it for a few years and worked my way up to being assistant to the coordinator.
MH: Being as you didn't know anyone, what made you decide to put yourself out there?
J: I was very shy. I'm from a small town, so none of this was accessible there. This scene was unlike anything I was ever exposed to before. A friend of mine wanted to go to Knott's Scary Farm and didn't want to go alone. I went with her not really thinking or knowing it was my thing but, I wanted to support my friend. I figured, "Hey, I like Halloween." I always have. October is also my birthday month so, I've always liked Halloween stuff. I didn't think that scaring people or being involved in these events would be so much fun.
MH: Growing up, and leading into your entry experiences into the Haunt community, did you ever experience any "I am the only black girl" or "this is isn't very POC stuff" moments?
J: I have actually been very lucky in that respect. I think I came in at the right time. It never crossed my mind until I went my first Goth Club with my friends. I went to the bathroom, and I was washing my hands. There was this girl next time. I watched her stop, and stare at me though the mirror. Then she says, "There's another one of us here!" My reply, "one of what?" She say's, "a black girl." Then I say, "hiiiiii." It wasn't until that moment, when I thought, well maybe there's not a lot of us here. The same thing happened when I worked at Knott's. Every once in awhile, someone would pass me backstage and comment with things like, "a black girl! Hey, sista."
MH: Bat's Day used to also be called Goth's Day in The Park. Maybe it still is. Do you consider yourself Goth?
J: I don't know what I would label myself as. I just do me. I do what I am into whether it's goth or alternative.
MH: Have you had any misunderstanding's with your family or peers regarding your lifestyle?
J: There was a lot questions as to what I was doing. Mostly because I was still doing Haunt and Horror stuff well after October. At first, there was a little resistance from my family. But, once they realized I wasn't actually joining real cults, they were fine. Nothing too serious. I am extremely lucky as far as my family's support goes. When I was a kid, I did feel a little weird. I don't know why, I just did. A lot of my black family resides on the East Coast so, I didn't have a lot of influence to guide me in the black direction. Whatever that is. But, there was this one time, in Elementary school where the teachers gathered all the little black kids and took us out of class. Each black kid from every grade level was called out and placed into this group. I didn't understand it. I also didn't understand why we were the only ones forced to endure this group where we had to sing "black songs." I remember thinking they could have done this with other minorities but, they didn't.
MH: Um, I don't understand how that could have been ok. Anyways, I can't get over how beautiful your hair is. Goals! At any point in your life, did you ever hate your hair?
J: Being mixed with Filipino, as a kid, most of the women I looked up to had long silky, straight hair. Mine wasn't . When I was 13, my Dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told him I wanted straight hair. So, he took me to a salon where they relaxed my hair. I didn't know what that meant. I didn't know it was permanent. I just knew I had straight hair. I was happy. I kept up with the getting my hair relaxed until I was 21. I had this moment. It was right as I was getting into the Haunt/horror world. I questioned myself as to why I did this and what did my natural hair even look like? I grew it out and after about a year I cut the relaxed ends and had this short curly stuff. I wasn't sure what to do with it. So, insert 100 hours of YouTube. It was great because there were a lot of videos coming about natural hair care. I've had great timing. People know me by my hair more than they know about me!
MH: Wow! I must say, Goth POC's of my generation really helped pave the way for yours! The hardships we endured and the life lessons we learned truly made it easy for you. It was well worth it!
J: I've been really lucky! Thank you because it's made my life a lot easier. I hope this project helps other's, like us, as well.

You can check Josy's YouTube out at Josyness

Find her on IG at @josyness

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