Last year, in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — and during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement — I was feeling utterly stuck, useless, and discouraged. In the midst of so much chaos, destruction, and collective trauma, the world just felt like a never-ending pit of hopelessness and despair. For a while, I allowed myself to just sit in that darkness.
I think having that period to grieve all that we lost last year — the lives of loved ones, the time we'll never get back, the missed memories, birthdays, graduations, and reunions — was necessary in order to understand the weight of what we went through. I still find myself slipping back to that dark place every once in a while, as I'm sure we all do, as we continue to process the trauma we experienced.
While sitting in that darkness, I felt a constant nagging feeling to just *do* something. To find some way, no matter how small, to feel useful. So, I got to work.
With Pride parades and events around the world being cancelled last June, I decided to bring a little Pride to my community by releasing a limited edition rainbow candle to raise money for the National Black Justice Coalition. It wasn't much, but it was my little way of spreading some light in the darkness. What I did not expect was the overwhelming support that poured in from near and far, and in the end, we ended up raising raising over $300 for Black LGBTQIA+ organizations during the month of June.
So, obviously, I had to try and do it again this year.
It is with tremendous pride and gratitude that I welcome back our bestselling candle ever, Love Is Love! This fruity and sweet uplifting scent is carefully hand-poured layer by layer with a whole lotta work and a whole lotta love. Fresh with a re-designed label, this limited edition fragrance is only available for the month of June. This year, 20% of the proceeds from every Love Is Love candle sold will be donated to the Martha P. Johnson Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, supporting, and uplifting Black trans lives.
Black trans women are the foundation of the LGBTQIA+ community and are the reason Pride exists. As a queer-owned business, I know I have a responsibility to honor the legacy of those who came before me and paved the way for our community. I hope this fundraiser can act as a small thank you to the founders of our movement and can help shed some light on the oft-forgotten history of Pride.
As artists, I think we all long to create something that changes the world. But at the end of the day, maybe it's enough to just create; to bring something new and good and beautiful into the world, no matter what its impact may be. The systemic problems of the world may be too large for any one person to fix — racism, homophobia, transphobia — but I think as long as we maintain the desire to fix them, change will come. A candle may not change the world, but if it can make someone's day just a little bit brighter and if it can, at the very least, bring awareness to changes that need to happen, then I think the endeavor is worth it. Maybe it isn't much, but it's something. And if a whole lot of people got together and did their own "somethings," perhaps change wouldn't feel so impossible.
I hope you're as excited as I am that this special scent is back, and I hope you'll pick up a candle to help us surpass last year's fundraising efforts! Thank you for choosing to celebrate Pride with us.