Academy of Burlesque Headmistress Update 6.12.2020

Our Actions Through June

Dear Ones,

This is a personal note from my desk.  I’ve cross published this on my FB and IG profiles.

I write this from Seattle where I live on the occupied land of the Duwamish and Coast Salish people. (links & references to people & organizations mentioned are in comments of the post on my Indigo Blue FB page) At this moment there have been 12 continuous days of protests in Seattle in what’s now being called the CHAZ or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone at 11th & Pine. (It’s awesome and messy and complicated and important)

The revolution is here. This is a time of awakening, activating, and mobilizing. Both the personal/internal revolution and the external socio-political revolution are required of us all right now. If you have not yet heard the call, please listen, and practice your resilience. I’m learning A LOT at this time. Exponentially more than ever before.

(As a white person I am on an ongoing anti-racist journey. I am committed to doing the internal work to peel back my complicity in and unlearn racism. I understand the inherent imperfection of this process. I understand it’s not enough, and that amends and reparations for past behaviors are still due. I am keeping track and accept responsibility for making them.)

The Academy of Burlesque has been operating online since March 9 due to Covid-19. Last week we stopped all business as usual – initially in observance of Blackout Tuesday, but ultimately for the whole week – because our instructors (a) felt uncomfortable teaching at this time (b) wanted to protest, and (c) needed time for rest and self care.

We’ve resumed some classes this week, but marketing and promotions are also not “as usual”. If most of my staff is white and photos of staff are our primary images, this does not support Amplifying Melanated Voices. Or it tokenizes staff members of color. And, promoting Burlesque classes in general can feel somewhat frivolous or off-topic to the Issue of The Day (ie Black Lives Matter). While I work to address this, I accept responsibility for the slowness of our communications and actions.

What I’ve decided to do so far is to make all of our drop-in classes available at no cost to Black folks using the code “REPARATION” through June. It’s also an option for folks to donate an additional amount when they purchase our classes, which I will match and donate to the King County Equity Now Coalition.

The Academy is not very profitable at this time so I’m personally matching the donations and also covering any shortfall in instructor pay. I share this in the spirit of transparency so that it is clear that I am accepting personal responsibility for what my business purports to do, and for the financial accountability to the instructors who have chosen to work with me.

I appreciate the patience, heart, and labor of the instructors and staff at this time. I am indebted to the patience of our students as you have endured the imperfections in service delivery, and delays in communication.

More is to come, but for now I urge all to heed the call for the #GeneralStrike on June 12.

With love and tassels

Headmistress Indigo