Bonsoir Cheri, and welcome to January’s edition of Girls on Film. It feels like a very long time since I have recorded, written and shot a Girls on Film, although it is just as long as normal! I am super excited to bring you today’s instalment. In the sixth edition of Girls on Film, I am in conversation with Cassidy Moses, we discuss everything from racisim to poloticts. Grab a tea and settle in with this one…
BP: Cassidy, welcome to Girls on Film, it is lovely to have you with me. How are you?
CM: I’m good, I’m good
BP: The weather got you good this morning?
CM: I guess I’ve been kind of down recently, then it just mellowed out, which wasn’t great either because I wasn’t up or down. So today I am feeling, today is the day, I spoke to my sister yesterday and I talked to some friends yesterday. So today is the day I get to turn it around. I was excited about this so that kind of helped me have some purpose in my life again.
BP: Oh my word, as if my website gives people a purpose…
CM: It does!
BP: Thank you, it would great if you could introduce yourself to everyone…
CM: Well, my name is Cassidy Moses, I am aspiring an artist and an activist in my life and I guess my purpose is to bring people together and to spread love light and happiness
BP: That is incredible and very profound
BP: You are from America, but what part?
CM: I’m from Virginia
BP: Now, for someone who isn’t great at geography or maps (ME) where abouts is that
CM: It’s right on Washington D.C., so it is considered a suburb outside of DC. It doesn’t really have any type of culture exactly, so I wouldn’t consider it a suburb of D.C. really. People have heard, Virginia is one of the first colonies of America.
BP: I’m guessing that is because it is in the northeast, so they would have got there first, right?
CM: Yeah, basically. When you walk around the lakes, you can just imagine what used to happen around these lakes hahaha.
BP: Oh my word!! Obviously, you study here in the UK, what was the decision making behind choosing to study here?
CM: So going to school in Virginia, it took me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, I knew I liked fashion, and I enjoyed looking at magazines and stuff, so I went to college at the Virginia Commonwealth University for a year and a half, studying Fashion Merchandising. However, it wasn’t that satisfying, it was a really, really, American college campus, so you party, you get drunk and you have all the sports teams.
BP: Fraternities and Societies stuff?
CM: Yeah it was totally the American experience, and a year and a half into it I just realised how fake it all was and it wasn’t really anything that I genuinely wanted to be doing I was just kind of following the standard of you go to school, go to college and you get a job type of thing. That was so against my real being to be following that standard. So 2 years in, I dropped out, I just went home and I took a day of silence, to figure out what I wanted to do. I got a job at Free People and I was also coaching Lacrosse at my old high school, and I did that for 2 years.
CM: In that whole time I worked out what I wanted to do, and London seemed to attractive to me and seemed a great place for fashion. I had done a lot of internships, when I was in New York, I have family there. I knew that I didn’t want to go to college there, I knew that was another big fashion capital, but there was a lot of temptation there. So I just wanted to stay away from that, so London seemed like the next best thing.
BP: Have you always been keen on travel, because for me, that would be a HUGE move.
CM: I guess I went to a lot of away camps in my summers as a kid, so I was already used to being away from my parents. We went on a lot of cool vacations as a kid as well, we went to Hawaii, I went to Jamaica, we went to different states around as well, so I was very used to the getup and go lifestyle, even though I wasn’t doing it all the time. So I wanted to put it in my life, and that was like going across. People speak English here basically, and I have family here.
BP: That makes sense, do you think there is a big difference between the states and the Uk?
CM: It is different, I mean there is less sunshine here (in the Uk) and I feel that has a big impact on peoples personalities.
BP: Oh definitely, a lot of the characteristics of the British people are rooted in miserableness, but it is because our weather is so bad!!
CM: People have found a way to deal with it here, which is really admirable. People are out, come rain or shine.
BP: Nothing gets cancelled, except for Trains, trains don't seem to be able to cope.
CM: Public Transport is just a stress in everybody’s life.
BP: What 3 things do you love about the UK?
CM: I love the Accents, is that okay?
BP: Yes, everyone adores accents
CM: They are so charming, I love that everyone's accents are so different, depending on where you are from
BP: I’m guessing you guys have regional accents too?
CM: Yeah, we have southern and other accents too I guess.
BP: Here is really varied though, especially considering how small the UK is.
CM: What else… There is a certain spirit that London has, I cannot really put my finger on what it is, but it has something. It is so multicultural here, people call New York a melting pot, but it isn’t really, it is still the majority of people in New York are dedicated to New York, and stay there. I called it more of a tossed salad
CM: I read it in a book somewhere, but here it is more of a melting pot.
BP: There is that vibe that London gives, that anything could be possible, it can be really hard, but you can achieve it. I think that comes from the drive within people and in the creative industries.
CM: Exactly, when I first got here, I volunteered somewhere in Shoreditch, it was so cool going and seeing all the creativity for the first time.
BP: I do like Shoreditch, but I wish it was easier to get to, like why does it take so long?
CM: Apparently I go other places in London and it is supposed to be really close to it, and you can walk to Shoreditch.
BP: Apparently!? I don’t know. Who knows!!
CM: One more thing, um, I like the fashion here. I guess people care less about there figures here, which is refreshing because you don’t need to show off your body.
BP: Absolutely. Seeing as we are talking about fashion, do you have a favourite fashion week? A lot of people if they come for a certain country they tend to like their week...
CM: I used to follow a lot of NYFW, especially when I had a lot of fashion internships. I don’t follow it at all anymore. I have a favourite designer, Edun, which references Africa and suitability. Bono’s wife actually created it, and she is a white woman so that I am conflicted about it. Edun is also nude backwards so that's kind of cool, also I love the pattern and the free-flowing, you can see the African inspiration.
BP: I think that fashion is one of those things, that has good intentions, but that can get lost. At the heart of fashion is the intention to sell us things. How good can fashion be? So when you see small movements for change, it is a good thing. We should cherish and strive to help this process. You are into activism, you did things in the summer back in the states, what stood out to you as the best experience?
CM: I was interning with a lot of different artists in D.C. and in New York. Working with actual artists who have a heavy influence and wanting to represent underrepresented people. There was a guy called Charles John Pierre who was from Haiti but grew up in the south side of Chicago, facing racism, he also became a feminist after hearing about the Sandra Bland story, and now he is on some spiritual journey understanding his roots. The conversations I could have with him were so amazing and very eye-opening. I grew up in a white area of Virginia, I went to all white schools, and I didn’t really face any racism so it took me a while to realise that racism exists and how apparent it is in all cultures. So working with artists like that helped open my eyes. I was also working with a queer artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer and she does such, she really pushes female power, she is a queen, she is so nice. I also interned for Tim Okamura he is Canadian and Japanese but lives and works in Brooklyn.
BP: Wow, quite a clash of cultures.
CM: Yeah! He was the coolest guy, he really created a space for black women in fine art, and it is strange because he is a white male.
BP: It is one of those things, when it comes to race and racism I don't really talk about it because I don't feel like I have a valid voice because I have never experienced myself, and probably never will. I guess in a similar way to those who consider themselves as an ally to those in the Queer community, do you think white people can progress and help?
CM: I think that racism will always exist until people talk about it so much that it doesn’t. So it is really nice that there are people of all races talking about racism now, bringing it to the forefront. Inter-sectionalism is something that I’ve begun to get into, it seeks to embrace all diversities, and I hope that we can all get to a point where we don’t have to talk about black and white because there is so much more to us than the colour of our skin.
BP: I just don’t understand why there is a problem when you think about it, people of colour face so many issues, for no reason.
CM: I think that it exists as a reaction to colonialism and slavery. There is a whole history that has to lead up to now, and it is kind of inherited at this point. I read Malcolm X’s autobiography, he went on his hajj to Mecca, and in that place he felt like racism didn’t exist in that place, he saw muslims of all different colours come together for one cause. When he came back to America he instantly felt racism, so ingrained in society, so apparent, and it is a huge problem that is going to take a long time to overcome.
BP: It’s like a lot of the problems we face, are inherited, people are raised with strong views and these views become their views. It is so generational
CM: People don’t even have a reason to be racist, they just are.
BP: They act a certain way because they have learnt that from their family or peers. So that is really sad, and it is so reductive. Those pockets of issues, which are probably more widespread than we assume, they are probably not going to just go, they will just carry on. We can carry on, as you say, talking about these things, but it is not going to change overnight. People like you using your power of speech in a positive way is so powerful and beautiful.
CM: Oh thank you.
BP: Especially when it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and defatted by it.
CM: I spent so long feeling depressed because I couldn't express my feelings, and I didn’t know what I was feeling. So now that I have realised, I have learnt a lot more about my own history and society. It is nice when you can look from the outside and see what is happening, I don’t like it to feel so deep and personal, all of these things, it would make it super hard to wake up in the morning. You have to have an optimistic outlook. I think with social media, as negative as it is, you can see people adverting the way they are fighting against all the capitalism and power, so it takes the good with the bad. We are always going to be caught in a cycle of good and bad.
BP: Obviously America politically is a bit ugly, do you think this is something that is going to pass? In the UK we also have crap politics going on as well, and some people argue that we had it really good and this a natural regression so that we can strive to move forwards again, do you think the US will be like this?
CM: I think so, Obama as amazing as he was, he was very cool and you didn’t understand the depth of what was actually happening in the political office. Now with Trump, you see it, actually all happening.
BP: It is very transparent.
CM: Very transparent, he is unapologetically who he is.
BP: I guess, I hadn’t thought about it in that way.
CM: It is a big reveal for all the nastiness in the US, represented by him in the forefront.
BP: Holding up a mirror I suppose. Also more than any other president, he cannot do anything without us knowing about it. So as much as he has got power, and evil intent/strong views, we all know about it, so it is harder to get away with it. Do you think America would vote for this again?
CM: Probably. I think Hillary being a woman is a thing that stopped her being president.
BP: Maybe and because she is just very unpopular. Who she is, people seemed to hold her past against Hillary.
CM: Yeah, and her past was thrown in her face every single day.
BP: She couldn’t argue against that.
CM: I think she got lost in the drama of it all. I still, to this day don’t know what her platforms were. That really highlights what that race was all about.
BP: I got the sense that it was about ‘anybody but Trump’, the I’m with her campaign didn’t focus on what she would actually achieve. So it was just the wrong race against a hard competitor.
CM: I really think the political system of who is elected is also very odd. The fundraising is bizarre. I love that in England there is a cap on how much money can be invested.
BP: Also, you have to declare where it is from
CM: There is also limited time, and it is so efficient, there is not much room for error.
BP: Oh and the winner is the one with the most votes. Which is kind of unique, because you have that college thing.
CM: Yeah Hillary got 2 million more votes, and that's amazing because it shows that the majority do not agree with Trump. It’s comforting that the majority is trying to work against this.
BP: It is making people fight harder, and make it want to try harder, and in a twisted way come out better and stronger than before.
BP: Which is exciting, and it takes the worse to see the best.
CM: Yes absolutely, when we think about our own life cycles, what comes from the worst experiences are good.
BP: It’s all about learning from mistakes, and it’s good.
CM: I feel good about it
BP: I think we will do the same thing in the UK, Brexit and all that rubbish.
CM: The far right side will always be seen for who they truly are by liberal people, and they are united by hate. The liberal side doesn’t have a unifying factor, so we need more leaders and we need more people to unite all these different intersections. I think that is what it will take for us to come out of this. Creating a space for all people to come together.
BP: Yes, we definitely need unity, even within minorities, it is so segmented.
CM: Yes, we are killing each other man, we are killing each other. We need to listen to more Beatles songs, more Bob Marley and chill out.
BP: Everyone, just needs to calm down. On that note, thank you for joining me today, I am sure we could go on forever.
CM: We could.
BP: Where can people find you if they want to follow your activism?
CM: You can follow me on Instagram, @undercovercass where I am the most vocal. That was a nickname my uncle gave me because I always wanted to be a detective as a kid, so he called me under cover.
BP: and it just stuck,
CM: I really like it, its funny!
BP: Thank you so much, Cassidy.
CM: Thank you, that was great!!