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SUEDE Women's Day meets: Stella Vomb

by SUEDE store on March 08, 2022

One of our focuses for this 2022 is to talk about the people we value most and bring them to the attention of our community. On this national women's day we have chosen to tell the story of Stella Vomb.
New Yorker by birth, but now Italian in action, Stella has chosen Rome as her city presently. Freelancer as DJ, Stylist and creative director, her work is active in spreading the richness of Black culture with her collective Melanin Flavours as she tells us in the lines below but also in the playlist created for MF women's day sponsored by us at SUEDE.

Happy reading and good listening.

You were born in New York but you have chosen Italy, especially Rome, as a place to live, work and spread your identity. Why? What fascinates you about this country?


Yes I am a New Yorker but I am also Sicilian and Caribbean, neither of my parents are American born but they also are New Yorkers. My experience in life has always been intersectional, there has always been a multitude of cultures and communities in my life. As a mixed race person, a queer woman of color, and a creative freelancer I have never been able to fit in a monothilic society, but I have always been able to find my niche community and ways to share my very different yet both very rich cultures.


Sicily and Barbados are similar in that they are both Islands surrounded by magnificent seas, the culture is very much rooted in family and food and there is more poverty than there is wealth. I tend to find the similarities in cultures rather than differences, a coping mechanism from being a New Yorker and having two ethnically differing sides of the family. I choose Italy not only because of my family but the simply brilliant food, the art that is living and breathing in foundation of Italian cities, the appeal of being a big fish in a little pond compared to back home. I must say part of the allure of living in Rome is the ability to travel EU like I have in recent years working in Amsterdam often, that is a big reason why I chose to stay in Europe, less specific to Italy.

Woman, entrepreneur, fashionista and DJ too, tell me about how you approached the world of music and clubs.

Actually my parents met in a NYC club named the SHELTER, where my father worked. My maternal uncle who has worked as a Dj also opened Italy’s first underground house music club called DEVOTION in the 80’s. So I am technically a club kid, both my parents experienced first hand the birth of underground house music clubs. I got to experience club culture a bit differently than most having multiple parental and familial figures working in the club scene as Dj’s, club founders, managers & more. I myself have worked as a PR for nightlife events, once a go-go dancer and now an event curator as well as a DJ, so I’m more in the line of work of my predecessors hence my once bosses are now my colleagues.

You are a woman with different skills and activities: tell us about the collective you belong to. What is it about? What is its purpose?

There is this saying in the freelancing community, “creatives are the new athletes”. This saying is true because we creatives utilize and try to monetize off of our art, specific crafts and our connections across various industries professional and experimental. I am the founder & co-director of Melanin Flavours collective named after the illustration exhibition collection of Rome based Ivorian artist Akeem Aka. His collection inspired our choice of name, but to better describe what our collective is; We are a group of 9 Rome based Black & Brown African Diaspora creatives that work in different sectors of the entertainment industry and not only. Our group is made up of 2G Africans born and raised in Rome, Transplants from Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, America and more. Amongst us are dancers, actors, models, musicians, illustrators, a videographer, a museum archivist and myself the curator of the collective. We host showcase events, promote black owned businesses like restaurants with ‘black, brown & ally’ community building buffets.

 

Our current goal is to spread awareness that there are diaspora creatives in this city building a safe space for others like us. Like the concept of chosen family we find solace in each other and the ability to work together while also self-representing as a validated creative collective with rich and primarily black culture as the unifying aspect between us despite our career spanning from different ends of the professional creative industry. I’d go as far as to say we are a union for black and brown artists in a city that under-represents, undervalues and often fetishizes our marginalized communities.

The individuals that make up Melanin Flavours are a small community and at one time all we could offer each other was support, lending an ear, sharing experiences that only we have as black and brown people in this monolithic country. Now as a unified front we are creating and expanding a safe space by us for us in order to share our talents, our carefully curated events, our experiences both positive and negative.

From a strictly professional stance our goal is to work with entities that respect our culture, acknowledge there is work to do and things to learn in order to claim that they are pro-black entities. It is time for this city to learn that pro-black does not mean ‘charity’, it does not mean fetishization or tokenism, it does not mean simply having a black employee; To be pro-black our diaspora voices, experiences and talents need to be not only heard but respected in the same way an Italians would.

Rome does not fully represent the idea of a city aimed at integration, how do you feel about being a young black woman in this city?

It is true Rome is not a big ‘melting pot’ city, and I feel that gives me all more reason to help diversify it. I’ve gotten this same question from other black and brown women living in Rome for Erasmus or vacationing and my answer is always the same; “If I wasn’t Italian, spoke the language and dialectic I probably wouldn’t live here as a black woman”.

The truth is if I did not have the linguistic key or the ability to code switch my family living here would not be enough of a reason to stay in Italy long term. Fortunately I have community of creatives both Italian and international and now a diaspora community of creatives thanks to Melanin Flavours. I aspire to be an example to other young black, marginalized and mixed race persons who haven’t had the blessing of growing up in a ‘melting pot’ city like I have.

The confidence I possess from growing up in New York comes from experiences in a city where your ethnicity didn’t matter, the amount languages you spoke was irrelevant and you were constantly interacting with cultures vastly different from yours, it was easier to unify through diversity rather than because of it. Here in Rome diaspora people unite because of a need for community rather than unifying through their diversity with other marginalized communities we are very segregated; the Americans, the Africans, the North Africans, the east asians and so on.

New York was a place where I could easily find common ground with any & every cultural background, Rome needs a bridge to connect all these communities in the social, professional and creative realms. I am not alone in this belief and through my community work I hope to help build that bridge that this city so desperately needs.

How do you see the concept of "Women's Power" today and tomorrow, especially now that we are close to the Women's Day?

Feminism is a complex political view with a pleathora of sub-genres that often oppose each other. For example I love nasty feminist raptress’ who talk about their bodies, sexual acts and opinions in the same way men have for years in hip hop, the difference is female rappers are objectifying themselves rather than being objectified. This example is one of taking back the power without changing but still utilizing the known narratives in hip hop. There are however women who find this type of feminist rap very vulgar, I personally love this vulgarity because it means you can be nasty or dingy and still be a fabulous feminist. Though New york has this fabulous shiney reputation and appeal in reality it is dirty smelly city but yet it still enamors and attracts people from all of the world, so I genuinely believe Dingy Yet Fabulous is a thing!


I do not consider myself a traditional woman, for a multitide of reasons one being that none of the women in my families were ‘traditional’ women in their respective times. My maternal grandmother was on the first women in sicily to wear shorts, an english teacher and she was a working mother in the 60’s in Sicily. My paternal grandmother immigrated to New York from Barbados and raised 3 children in a single parent household.

Each of my grandmothers was strongly committed to creating a new standard in society or within their own family. Other women in my life who helped raise me that are closer to my age are artists, freelancers, business owners and often single mothers so I’ve always been exposed to women paving their own path in life. I am a queer, black, artist and also a woman, I cannot say which definition of myself takes priority; Knowing that I am woman in a mans world, a black person in a white country, a queer body in a straight society simply reinforces my intersectionality. Most women are aware of their intersectionality which means we are a marginalized part of a society that is also aware we have the ability to overcome, overlap and take back the power of what this society has told us we are or have to do because of gender roles.


Women today pave the path for women tomorrow, like my grandmothers did for me. None of us are exactly the same but what unifies us is what gives strength and allows the infinite potential to those who will come after us. Unlike ever before now is truly a time of infinite possibilities, it is time to create equity and equality for women, we have caught up to standards that for centuries men put into place but soon enough the men will have to catch up to us and the standards we put into place.

For Women's Day SUEDE meets Stella, a young american woman who moved to Italy and decided to live in Rome.

Age:

Nationality:

Hobbies and interests:

TOP 3 favorite artist:

TOP 3 favorite food:

 

 

 

 

 

 

You were born in New York but you have chosen Italy, especially Rome, as a place to live, work and spread your identity. Why? What fascinates you about this country?

Yes I am a New Yorker but I am also Sicilian and Caribbean, neither of my parents are American born but they also are New Yorkers. My experience in life has always been intersectional, there has always been a multitude of cultures and communities in my life. As a mixed race person, a queer woman of color, and a creative freelancer I have never been able to fit in a monothilic society, but i have always been able to find my niche community and ways to share my very different but both very rich cultures. Sicily and Barbados are similar in that they are both Island surrounded by magnificent seas, the culture iss very much rooted in family and food and there is more poverty than there is wealth. I tend to find the similarities in cultures rather tah differences, a coping mechanism from being a new yorker and have two ethnically differing sides of the family. I choose Italy not only because of my family but the simply brilliant food, the art that is living and breathing in foundation of Italian cities, the appeal of being a big fish in a little pond compared to back home. I must say part of the allure of living in Rome is the ability to travel EU like I have in recent years working in Amsterdam often, that is a big reason why I chose to stay in europe, less specific to Italy.

You are a woman with a thousand skills and a thousand activities: tell us about the collective you belong to. What is it about? What is its purpose?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisci elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullamco laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur. Duis aute irure reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint obcaecat cupiditat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Rome does not fully represent the idea of a city aimed at integration, how do you feel about being a young black woman in this city?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisci elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullamco laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur. Duis aute irure reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint obcaecat cupiditat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

 

Woman, entrepreneur, fashionista and DJ too, tell me about how you approached the world of music and clubs.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisci elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullamco laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur. Duis aute irure reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint obcaecat cupiditat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

How do you see the concept of "Women's Power" today and tomorrow, especially now that we are close to the Women's Day?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisci elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullamco laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur. Duis aute irure reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint obcaecat cupiditat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

One of our focuses for this 2022 is to talk about the people we value most and bring them to the attention of our community. On this national women's day we have chosen to tell the story of Stella Vomb.
New Yorker by birth, but now Italian in action, Stella has chosen Rome as her city presently. Freelancer as DJ, Stylist and creative director, her work is active in spreading the richness of Black culture with her collective Melanin Flavours as she tells us in the lines below but also in the playlist created for MF women's day sponsored by us at SUEDE.

Happy reading and good listening.

You were born in New York but you have chosen Italy, especially Rome, as a place to live, work and spread your identity. Why? What fascinates you about this country?

Yes I am a New Yorker but I am also Sicilian and Caribbean, neither of my parents are American born but they also are New Yorkers. My experience in life has always been intersectional, there has always been a multitude of cultures and communities in my life. As a mixed race person, a queer woman of color, and a creative freelancer I have never been able to fit in a monothilic society, but I have always been able to find my niche community and ways to share my very different yet both very rich cultures.

Sicily and Barbados are similar in that they are both Islands surrounded by magnificent seas, the culture is very much rooted in family and food and there is more poverty than there is wealth. I tend to find the similarities in cultures rather than differences, a coping mechanism from being a New Yorker and having two ethnically differing sides of the family. I choose Italy not only because of my family but the simply brilliant food, the art that is living and breathing in foundation of Italian cities, the appeal of being a big fish in a little pond compared to back home.

I must say part of the allure of living in Rome is the ability to travel EU like I have in recent years working in Amsterdam often, that is a big reason why I chose to stay in Europe, less specific to Italy.

Woman, entrepreneur, fashionista and DJ too, tell me about how you approached the world of music and clubs.

Actually my parents met in a NYC club named the SHELTER, where my father worked. My maternal uncle who has worked as a Dj also opened Italy’s first underground house music club called DEVOTION in the 80’s. So I am technically a club kid, both my parents experienced first hand the birth of underground house music clubs. I got to experience club culture a bit differently than most having multiple parental and familial figures working in the club scene as Dj’s, club founders, managers & more.

I myself have worked as a PR for nightlife events, once a go-go dancer and now an event curator as well as a DJ, so I’m more in the line of work of my predecessors hence my once bosses are now my colleagues.

You are a woman with a differnt skills and activities: tell us about the collective you belong to. What is it about? What is its purpose?

There is this saying in the freelancing community, “creatives are the new athletes”. This saying is true because we creatives utilize and try to monetize off of our art, specific crafts and our connections across various industries professional and experimental. I am the founder & co-director of Melanin Flavours collective named after the illustration exhibition collection of Rome based Ivorian artist Akeem Aka.

His collection inspired our choice of name, but to better describe what our collective is; We are a group of 9 Rome based Black & Brown African Diaspora creatives that work in different sectors of the entertainment industry and not only. Our group is made up of 2G Africans born and raised in Rome, Transplants from Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, America and more. Amongst us are dancers, actors, models, musicians, illustrators, a videographer, a museum archivist and myself the curator of the collective. We host showcase events, promote black owned businesses like restaurants with ‘black, brown & ally’ community building buffets.

Our current goal is to spread awareness that there are diaspora creatives in this city building a safe space for others like us. Like the concept of chosen family we find solace in each other and the ability to work together while also self-representing as a validated creative collective with rich and primarily black culture as the unifying aspect between us despite our career spanning from different ends of the professional creative industry. I’d go as far as to say we are a union for black and brown artists in a city that under-represents, undervalues and often fetishizes our marginalized communities.

 

 

The individuals that make up Melanin Flavours are a small community and at one time all we could offer each other was support, lending an ear, sharing experiences that only we have as black and brown people in this monolithic country. Now as a unified front we are creating and expanding a safe space by us for us in order to share our talents, our carefully curated events, our experiences both positive and negative.

From a strictly professional stance our goal is to work with entities that respect our culture, acknowledge there is work to do and things to learn in order to claim that they are pro-black entities. It is time for this city to learn that pro-black does not mean ‘charity’, it does not mean fetishization or tokenism, it does not mean simply having a black employee; To be pro-black our diaspora voices, experiences and talents need to be not only heard but respected in the same way an Italians would.

Rome does not fully represent the idea of a city aimed at integration, how do you feel about being a young black woman in this city?

It is true Rome is not a big ‘melting pot’ city, and I feel that gives me all more reason to help diversify it. I’ve gotten this same question from other black and brown women living in Rome for Erasmus or vacationing and my answer is always the same; “If I wasn’t Italian, spoke the language and dialectic I probably wouldn’t live here as a black woman”. The truth is if I did not have the linguistic key or the ability to code switch my family living here would not be enough of a reason to stay in Italy long term. Fortunately I have community of creatives both Italian and international and now a diaspora community of creatives thanks to Melanin Flavours. I aspire to be an example to other young black, marginalized and mixed race persons who haven’t had the blessing of growing up in a ‘melting pot’ city like I have.

The confidence I possess from growing up in New York comes from experiences in a city where your ethnicity didn’t matter, the amount languages you spoke was irrelevant and you were constantly interacting with cultures vastly different from yours, it was easier to unify through diversity rather than because of it. Here in Rome diaspora people unite because of a need for community rather than unifying through their diversity with other marginalized communities we are very segregated; the Americans, the Africans, the North Africans, the east asians and so on. New York was a place where I could easily find common ground with any & every cultural background, Rome needs a bridge to connect all these communities in the social, professional and creative realms. I am not alone in this belief and through my community work I hope to help build that bridge that this city so desperately needs.

How do you see the concept of "Women's Power" today and tomorrow, especially now that we are close to the Women's Day?

Feminism is a complex political view with a pleathora of sub-genres that often oppose each other. For example I love nasty feminist raptress’ who talk about their bodies, sexual acts and opinions in the same way men have for years in hip hop, the difference is female rappers are objectifying themselves rather than being objectified. This example is one of taking back the power without changing but still utilizing the known narratives in hip hop. There are however women who find this type of feminist rap very vulgar, I personally love this vulgarity because it means you can be nasty or dingy and still be a fabulous feminist. Though New york has this fabulous shiney reputation and appeal in reality it is dirty smelly city but yet it still enamors and attracts people from all of the world, so I genuinely believe Dingy Yet Fabulous is a thing!

I do not consider myself a traditional woman, for a multitide of reasons one being that none of the women in my families were ‘traditional’ women in their respective times. My maternal grandmother was on the first women in sicily to wear shorts, an english teacher and she was a working mother in the 60’s in Sicily. My paternal grandmother immigrated to New York from Barbados and raised 3 children in a single parent household. Each of my grandmothers was strongly committed to creating a new standard in society or within their own family. Other women in my life who helped raise me that are closer to my age are artists, freelancers, business owners and often single mothers so I’ve always been exposed to women paving their own path in life.

I am a queer, black, artist and also a woman, I cannot say which definition of myself takes priority; Knowing that I am woman in a mans world, a black person in a white country, a queer body in a straight society simply reinforces my intersectionality. Most women are aware of their intersectionality which means we are a marginalized part of a society that is also aware we have the ability to overcome, overlap and take back the power of what this society has told us we are or have to do because of gender roles.

Women today pave the path for women tomorrow, like my grandmothers did for me. None of us are exactly the same but what unifies us is what gives strength and allows the infinite potential to those who will come after us. Unlike ever before now is truly a time of infinite possibilities, it is time to create equity and equality for women, we have caught up to standards that for centuries men put into place but soon enough the men will have to catch up to us and the standards we put into place.

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