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Written by Aslan 6/25/22


Choppy waters collided against the hull of the ship as the sound of cannon fire rang out across the dark seas. Coming from the enemy ship sounded like a cheer straight out of hell– chants of an armada that promised death to the pirates of the seven seas. Despite the encore of death, crews of pirates fastened their grip around their swords, and embraced each other with the drumming of their hearts falling into sync with one another. This was brotherhood. This was found family. And in some cases– this was love.


The Golden Age of Piracy was full of adventure. It was full of opportunity for sailors that were drowning in the depths of their kingdom’s suppression. Not only the kingdom’s– but the people’s as well. Out on the sea, many saw it as the faraway hope for freedom. A freedom away from their impending responsibilities and the mundaneness of life. Others saw the ocean as an untamable monster, ready to swallow the land– but seamen craved the taste of the salty ocean– and so began the Golden Age of Piracy.

Suppression is all too familiar to the LGBTQIA+ community, and although not established in the 1600s-1700s, queer people still existed. To any heteronormative person not worth their salt, this may come across as an absurd thought- but it is the truth, and Pirates were as queer as it got. Away from the law-abiding world, Pirates were given the chance to express themselves like no other. This attracted people of all sorts to the Pirate life– people who couldn’t be themselves because of the watchful glare that was society. People who didn’t fit the ‘normal’ agenda. This included not only wild eccentric characters, but queer people as well.

In fact, the Pirate world was much more modern than we realize. There was a such thing as same-sex civil unions which was known as matelotage. Buccaneer Alexander Exquemelin wrote: “It is the general and solemn custom amongst them all to seek out.. a comrade or companion, whom we may call partner.. with whom they join the whole stock of what they possess.” These partners were referred to as matelots, which can translate to bunkmates in French.

The concept of matelotage evolved out in open waters where crewmates knew one another better than the wives and children they had left behind on land. Pirates regarded matelotage as a very serious bond regardless of the nature of each relationship. Some were affectionate, even fraternal, while others were romantic and potentially sexual. Historians note that matelotage was originally thought to be a strictly economic partnership: one pirate would agree with another that they would be able to inherit the lion’s share of their fortune after leaving “part to the dead man’s friends or to his wife,” according to The Invisible Hook by Peter T. Lesson. There may have been partnerships like this– but history clearly shows that these bonds went much deeper.

Contemporary writer Captain Johnson recorded the depth of these pairings, and noted that one pirate would rather drown than abandon his matelot on a sinking vessel. Matelots also went into battle together and fought side by side, and in some cases, died together. If that’s not an intimate bond– I don’t know what is!


Cross-dressing was also prevelant in the Golden Age of Piracy. Mary Read and Anne Bonny are the most notable. Their masculine sides were very evident. Mary had known herself as Mark since she was a child. Although Mary Read did not identify as a trans man, some reports suggest she preferred to play the role of a young man. As for Anne, during her childhood, her father dressed her as a boy and called her Andy. In light of the fact that he fled his wife’s family with her, he may have been trying to disguise her.

Later on in both of their lives, Mary Read and Anne Bonny quickly became intertwined with one another. Originally, Bonny met Pirate Captain John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, and they became lovers. Not long after, Read joined them. Upon first meeting, Bonny and Read assumed each other were men; however, Bonny later revealed she was a woman and was attracted to her. Read then revealed she was also a woman. Quickly, this relationship blossomed and they embarked on the Pirate life together. Assembling a crew, storming capitals, capturing ships and amassing plenty of treasure. A queer-life romance in the flesh!

The pirate life was gritty and hard, but it offered a safe space to the people who craved acceptance. This same narrative follows every queer person today. We all desire a safe space– and The Golden Age of Piracy has carried over into today to offer that.


On March 3rd, 2022 HBO Max released the show ‘Our Flag Means Death.’ The show attracted audiences of all kinds. From pirate trope enjoyers to avid TV watchers– and most notably, the queer audience. Unlike other media that has queer-baited audiences, Our Flag Means Death proved to be the very real thing we’ve all been craving– representation. The show does an excellent job of portraying non-binary characters and gay men, all the while following the concept of pirates! Not just any pirates either. The show spun the storyline off of historical pirate figures such as Blackbeard and The Gentleman Pirate. It also followed the historical events of these two pirates' lives very closely, while adding a fictional touch. It’s the representation we’ve all been looking for– and possibly one of the best pirate romantic comedies out there!

The representation doesn’t stop there. It also follows into literature, and it’s all the more growing. Queer pirates have become a favorite trope in the world of reading, and popular works such as A Clash of Steel, The Black God’s Drums, A Song of Silver and Gold, and In Deeper Waters are only a few examples!

The world of queer swashbuckling pirates has transpired to the world now– and we have the Pirates to thank for creating safe spaces, just as we are doing now.











Cited Sources:

Reid-Smith, T. (2017, September 19). The incredible true history of gay pirates and their strangely modern world. GSN. https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/incredible-true-history-gay-pirates-strangely-modern-world/

Mary Read - Famous Pirate - The Way of the Pirates. (2022). The Way of the Pirates. http://www.thewayofthepirates.com/famous-pirates/mary-read/

S. (2022, February 5). Blow The Man Down: Same Sex Marriage Was Practiced By Pirates? SOFREP. https://sofrep.com/news/blow-the-man-down-same-sex-marriage-was-practiced-by-pirates/


© Down To Earth '22



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Written by Sarai Clark June 10, 2022


The days are growing longer, the temperatures are rising, and the shorts are getting shorter. Although the summer solstice doesn't happen until June 21st, summer is here. Our sunny season always brings the vibes of freedom and adventure. Travel and discovery of the brand new world that births from the sun’s loving heat. No matter what you do this summer, make it a memorable one. Take chances, fall in love, and dance on the tables. The seemingly everlasting feel of summer can make you feel like you’re the star of the show and on top of the world, and every main character needs their own soundtrack! Here are 10 songs to add to your summer soundtrack for 2022 to heat up the next three months.


Summer Tights by DPR LIVE (IITECOOL - EP) 2021

This is a very flirty, fun, and even fashionable song. The tempo of this track feels present, and lively, and can put you in a groove. The consistent electric guitar combined with the drum bass makes the song nearly addictive and is what helps put a staple in this song’s vibe. DPR LIVE has an excellent flow and lyrical creativity that puts the cherry on top of this summer (tights) jam.


Paradise by Snowsa (Paradise - Single) 2021

The horns that welcome us into this song bring the feeling of being in your element, having the time of your life, and being on top of the world all at the same time. The song wastes no time to reel you in with Snowsa’s addictive rasp combined with the instrumental that enchants you into a rhythm of dance. Snowsa expresses their Caribbean roots in the instrumental and lyrical aspects of this song, giving it an extra layer of heat from the islands.


Blasé by Ty Dolla $ign ft. Rae Sremmurd & Future [Louis the Child Remix] (Blasé ft. Rae Sremmurd & Future Remixes) - 2015

An unconventional summer jam, yet it still fits the vibes of a long drive with the windows down and the volume cranked. These pioneering artists in the rap game combine with the electronic side of the music scene to bring in a unique element of sound. The instrumental is empty but not voiding. It works perfectly and creates an atmospheric vibe that can immerse you into the motions of the summer breeze.


Party with a Jagaban by Midas the Jagaban (Party with a Jagaban - Single) 2020

This song is in its own genre of groove. The beat makes your head bop and your body move. For this track, the power is all in the hook and the chorus. It is catchy, stylish, and a bit quirky in its lyrical essence and construction of the instrumental. The Caribbean vibe from the instrumental as well helps bring in the element of a good time under the sun.


Still Lonely by SEVENTEEN (First ‘LoveLetter’ - Album) 2016

Vernon, one of the group’s rappers, starts o the song mentioning the ocean, which already gives this track the seasoning of a summer’s beach day. While the lyrics of this track are a bit melancholic, the sound makes you feel fun and its welcoming. Enjoying the warm and refreshing air with this song on can revitalize any mood and put you in any kind of groove.


Our Time by Lil Tecca (Our Time - Single) 2020

When listening to this song, shoulders roll and heads bump. This song comes and goes as fast as the summer lasts. Its flow gives a presence of late-night drives, darties, and a beach day soundtrack. Tecca gives us a simple but eective track with this one. Its length makes it even more irresistible to keep on repeat throughout your days.


Prayers Up ft. Travis Scott & A-Track by Calvin Harris (Funk Wav Bounce Vol.1) 2017

The entirety of this Calvin Harris album is peak summer energy. This song is being chosen specifically because of the laid-back yet groovy and fun vibe it brings through the instrumental. Travis Scott’s well-known adlibs, flow, and lyrical excellence brings in an element that wouldn’t be there without him. This song can make you feel blessed for the good times you’re living through during the heat of the moment. Not to mention, the last minute of this track is so groovy and quirky in sound.


Lalala ft. Chung Ha by Babylon (Lalala ft Chung Ha - Single) 2017

The bump of the bass and the calypso grace are key points to this song being included in your summer soundtrack. The lyrics speak of pink oceans, living your life, flirtations, and drinks- all details to make the summer a little more special. This song is fun and charming in its sound. The masculine and feminine vocal contrast add a lovely element to this track as well.


Big Dawg Status by RARE Sound, K CAMP, True Story Gee (Rare Family - Album) 2020

The cover art here gives me the vibes of summer. A big group of friends, drinks, smoke, food, and a private pool? Elite! This is the kind of song you play to hype you and your friends up on the way to the function. The pace of the lyrical flow resembles the fast lifestyle that summer can bring out of us. The instrumental is simple and doesn’t have a shock element but it works for being a nice easy song to add to the jam rotation.


SUMMER by BROCKHAMPTON (SATURATION II - Album) 2017

Not everyone feels that stereotypical energy that summer projects, and that is okay! This song circulates over the concept of summer and romance, yet it is mellow and a bit melancholic in its nature. It makes for an aesthetic somber summer piece. Perfect for staring up at the starry night sky in the middle of July thinking of a current or past love.

© Down To Earth '22

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Written by Sarai Clark



Lettuce Hem

Stephen Burrows : Lettuce Hem 70s ; Burrows has a trend for colorful and unique stitching patterns, he created the iconic lettuce hem from his pioneered zig-zag pattern of stitching. The name was inspired from an assistant of his requesting an article of clothing in a “lettuce” color.


Donyale Luna

(The first black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue): Acrylic nails were created in 1950 yet in 1966 first notable appearance of nails was in Twen magazine

Edges

1930s Black woman’s kinky curl style of hair was seen as “sloppy” and “unkept”, leading to the baby hairs of black woman’s hair aka edges, to be laid down in “neater” patterns. This style can be seen, not only on black woman today, but celebrities like Kylie Jenner & Alexa Demie most notably in her role as Maddy in ‘Euphoria’

Bucket Hats

First appearing in the 1900’s in Australia & Ireland; the bucket hat was created for farmers and fisherman as protection from weather conditions like rain, the edge/brim was used to protect their faces from excess water or even from the sun. Fast forward to the 80s, previously known as “Giggle Hats” were mainstreamed from hip-hop/rap artists as a fashion choice in their music videos and streetwear. Jay-Z, LL Cool J, & Big Hank helped popularize these staples in the fashion scene


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