SARAH DOPE SMAG’s FEBRUARY 2017 AMAZING GAL OF THE MONTH
While it may seem like you’ve just accidentally popped into a sequel for Groundhog Day, seeing as how it is February, and we are once more featuring Sarah Dope as that particular month’s installment of our world famous Amazing Gal of the Month column just like we did in the F month of 2015, alas gentle reader, you haven’t gone mad. Nor have you randomly waltzed into an anomalous time loop pushing the boundaries of time and space itself, or anything else involving Bill Murray and a furry creature from Pennsylvania named Phil. Nay, we simply felt two years was far too long to not hear from this popular Taurus from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, so we decided to catch up with her, and let her rant as she is not only wont to do, but in a way that only she can.
Smartasses: So what have you been up to since we spoke in February of 2015?
Sarah: Man, it has been that long, hasn’t it? Time flies. I’m currently still working with independent hip hop label Rhymesayers and our annual festival Soundset. Since then, we celebrated our twentieth year as a label with a showcase and panel at SXSW 2015, and a huge anniversary concert at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Soundset has moved from Shakopee, MN back into the Twin Cities, specifically the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, where we will be once again on May 28, 2017.
Also in that time, I kickstarted a whole gaming initiative at the rap label. That might sound weird to some, I know. Basically, when Twitch got bought by Amazon and had to start cracking down on copyrights (because technically you’re not supposed to be streaming music you don’t own without the proper permissions), we started having a good handful of fans asking us where we stood with it because they had been playing Rhymesayers tracks on their Twitch streams and wanted to continue doing so. So we worked with Twitch to become the first hip hop label to partner up with them, and provide a part of our catalogue to use, royalty-free! It started opening a lot of doors with other gaming companies who saw that we, the music kids, were trying to get into the gaming space… while they coincidentally were trying to get into the music space, some of which came from my own personal endorsements in the past. I’ve spent the majority of my life working in music, and a very good chunk of it in the video game industry, so I was stoked that more dots started appearing so we could work on connecting them. Plus, although it might not fall in line with every fan of ours, there’s a very good portion of Rhymesayers fans who are also avid gamers and seem to be stoked on all of this, as well as the various gaming groups we’ve been putting together.
Aside from work, I’ve recently started getting back into streaming on Twitch again myself. I took a break for awhile until I had the time and money to completely rebuild and upgrade my PC to handle everything I wanted it to. I’ve been trying to stick to an almost-daily streaming schedule, but of course my work will always come first. I’ve also started a video game podcast with my friends Adam and Nic. We’re primarily going to discuss the free games that come out on Xbox Live Gold and PS Plus every month, but then everything else that may be happening in the gaming universe at that time.
Smartasses: Wow. That’s a lot! But let’s talk politics. What’s your take on all of this Donald Trump crap?
Sarah: If I could sum it up in one word: Insane… but it brings out so much more than just insanity now, doesn’t it? As a woman and as a POC, I was always very aware that sexism and racism were still alive and thriving. I’ve dealt with it almost every day of my life, trying to fight the good fight. I really thought that we were slowly making progress. I mean, real slow… but, ya know, baby steps? I honestly did not believe that I lived in that much of an echo chamber until we got closer to the election, and it was like they all just popped out of the woodwork. Here I thought my biggest battles as of late were going to be trying to explain the difference between being anti-cop and being anti-police brutality… or explaining that, no, “the gays aren’t coming to rape your womens in the bathrooms!”… or explaining that, no, you f*cking morons, Planned Parenthood isn’t selling fetuses on the black market and your precious tax dollars don’t even pay for abortions. I never imagined that, in 2017, we’d be sitting here, watching “grown men” decide what a woman can and cannot do to her body. I never imagined that I would watch as a political campaign aims to get rid of every single grant towards fighting violence against women. I didn’t imagine we’d have to start fighting for freedom of speech again. I didn’t even think that we’d be sitting here fighting for gay marriage rights again already. Yet… here we are, with a freakin’ Cheeto running our country who seems to only care about size and how he appears than, oh I don’t know, trying to help our country? (Side note: This will be the only time you hear me refer to him as a Cheeto, because that’s one hell of an insult to a great snack.)
At first, I didn’t think he’d win. There can’t possibly be that many idiots who have been living under a rock to get a babbling reality star with zero experience elected as our next president, right? But then the closer we got to the election, it became a very scary possibility. There were a whooooole lot more racists/sexists/straight up completely 120% ignorant people still out there than I thought, and boy are they angry.
I’m not going to sit here and accuse every single Trump supporter of being racist/sexist/homophobic, I know there are a few handful who actually aren’t, but they are very few and far between and at the end of it all, they still voted for a champion for discrimination. And why? Because they were afraid that their precious guns “were going to be taken away” from some restrictions? Is that really worth sacrificing everything else that we previously accomplished?
But hey. We all “just need to wait and see” and “give him a chance”… because for whatever reason, all of his hateful rhetoric he was spewing during his campaign couldn’t have possibly raised concerns in all of us, right? Nah, we’re just “sensitive snowflakes, overreacting” and “he just said those awful things about women; he didn’t really mean it” and he’s “not actually going to do the stuff he’s promoting; he’s just trying to get more votes”…
…Only here we are, a few days after, and he’s already starting to do a lot of the awful things “he wouldn’t actually do” regarding abortion rights, marriage rights, grants to help prevent and aid violence against women, climate change policies, rights for peaceful protests, you name it. At this point, there’s just way too much that, if I went into detail on, I feel like we’d be writing a novel together for at least the next year.
Smartasses: Well said. Tell us about that recent bout you had with an individual employing a lack of photographer etiquette.
Sarah: Oh god. What a mess. I don’t know what it is lately, but I’ve been running into a lot more unprofessionalism than I ever have before. So… in a lot of cases, artists typically don’t want photographers on stage with them, unless you are their tour photographer or a friend, and even then, some artists still don’t prefer it. Then, from a fan’s perspective, they didn’t pay money for a ticket to watch a photographer just stand in the middle of the stage. I’ve gotten used to occasionally running into a photographer here or there who will just constantly be in the way without any consideration for anyone. It’s annoying, but I can work around them. One night, there were about six or seven of them at the same damn time. All over the stage, and not always shooting while they’re there. That’s what bugs me. Get your shot and get out. Don’t just stand there and check your texts or act like you’re a part of the show. Also, if one of the photographers (me) is closer to the side, next to the DJ, getting a shot of him with his Jameson bottle in frame… maybe don’t look at her, come up right next to her, grab the Jameson bottle and move it to take your own version of the shot. It was amateur hour all over the place.
Smartasses: Ha ha. So, on a lighter note, have you yet conquered your inability to swallow vitamins, and do you grasp the irony of a gal whose last name is Dope having an anathema to pills?
Sarah: I have not and probably never will! I’ve been like this since I was a kid! Ha ha, and that’s probably one of the funniest parts. Almost every troll who tries to argue with me about racism or sexism eventually goes to the same “insult” of “Man you really must be a dope then, har har har!” Or they start making accusations that I’m using, because really, it’s the easiest thing one can try to say, right? I mean, other than I must be “fat, ugly, or slutty” blah, blah, blah. Aside from occasionally smoking weed, I don’t do drugs. They don’t appeal to me to begin with, but also… I can’t swallow pills or keep them down, I hate needles, and the idea of trying to snort anything up my nose doesn’t seem like a pleasant affair. I’ve never even tried to snort Pixie Stix (which, I’m not sure about everyone else, but I remember that being “a thing” in high school that all of the “cool kids” would try).
Smartasses: Funny. But on a slightly more serious note, what would you say, besides your outspokenness, is a way you feel Sarah Dope is an advocate for Female Empowerment?
Sarah: Apparently my being open about my sexuality lately has inspired some. I’ve never really talked about it so openly before until recently, but I’m demisexual. I’m on the asexual spectrum. Basically what that means is that I don’t experience primary attraction or lust towards people. I can find someone physically attractive, but that doesn’t “do it” for me. I don’t suddenly want to make out with them or jump their bones. I need more than that. I need some sort of connection with them. Not that it’s really anyone’s business, but if I were to lay out my sexual history, every single fully committed boyfriend or friend-with-benefits started off as friends first. A lot of us are still friends. That being said, this doesn’t mean that I want to hook up with every single one of my friends either, haha. I’ve received a few messages from people – both men and women – thanking me for starting to talk about it openly, because it’s helped them understand more about themselves, as well. And I think for women who may have been confused about their own sexuality in the past in similar ways, it’s refreshing to see someone else just own it and talk about how, just like there shouldn’t be any shame for those who may be highly sexual, there also isn’t shame in being asexual. We’re still humans over here. We can still be wonderful people with successful careers and healthy relationships. Our priorities for ourselves are just different. That’s all.
Smartasses: Nice. So… what can we look forward to from Sarah next?
Sarah: I’m hoping to help create things to bring some light back into our world during the next four years. I’m not quite sure what those things will be just yet, but I have some ideas with some current and former colleagues, and I just know that we all need it right now.
Sarah Dope – “This will be the only time you hear me refer to him as a Cheeto, because that’s one hell of an insult to a great snack.”
20 NEW Questions with Sarah Dope – Miss February 2017
1 – What was your funniest moment in life? I’m not sure what the top funniest moment of my life would be, but one of the first ones that come to mind is the time I got hit up on LinkedIn by an ex-boss that I didn’t particularly get along with in the past. This is a guy who was your stereotypical corporate douche who always took credit for other’s work, didn’t know how to treat his employees, and because he was butting heads with my manager at the time, he tried to regulate me on who’s “side” I should be on. It was really weird and also really unproductive for the company. After my manager quit, this guy fired me about a month or two later. Years later, he hits me up on LinkedIn… and didn’t even remember me. I was working directly for an actor/musician at the time, and he hit me up, trying to steal me away to the company he eventually moved to. He went on about how he was impressed with my past work and “it looks like we have a lot of mutual acquaintances at [enter company we worked at together here]! I laughed pretty hard. I didn’t even respond. Just laughed it off.
2 – Has anyone ever asked you 100% seriously to marry them? I mean… I guess the question should be if I actually took them seriously or not? Ha ha. I’ve never had anyone get on their knees and propose to me with a ring. Every now and again, one of my friends will go on some confessional speech to me about “what if’s”, but I can’t take those seriously. Mostly because I think that it’s not that hard to turn “what if’s” into realities if you really wanted to, but also… it just wouldn’t be fair to me.
3 – What is your Can’t Miss TV show? Hmmm. It’s hard to decide these days, because I cut off my cable. I just dropped off from watching shows as they aired and would either find a different way to watch them, or wait until they hit Netflix or Prime Video. Plus, Netflix has been killing it with their own shows and, just like everyone else, they release them and I lock myself in my apartment for a couple of days to binge-watch. Although… American Gods is coming to Starz this year. Once they release that, I’ll very likely agree to pay for a subscription to them to be able to watch every week.
4 – What is your favorite sports car? I’m not a car fanatic. I can appreciate looks, speeds, and other’s fascinations with them… but that’s about it for me.
5 – What is your “Inane Superpower” (climbing stairs really fast, not making a mess when you cook, etc)? Can we count the ability to eat really fast without experiencing food coma? Or really getting full? You know that Action Comics issue where Superman is just shoveling a bunch of burgers into his face? That.
6 – What superpower do you dream of having? I’m going to stick with flying. When I was younger, I literally used to have dreams all the time about this. I remember those dreams being pretty fun, ha ha. Besides, now that I’m older, think of all of the traveling I could accomplish without having to spend a dime!
7 – Which famous person would you like to be? I wouldn’t say that I want to be anyone other than myself. I know that probably sounds corny. I am inspired by a lot of different “famous” people in different aspects, but I am happy being me.
8 – Doc Martens or Chucks? Doc Martens.
9 – If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? A lot of things, but let’s start with Trump being President.
10 – Do you have any phobias? I’ve always hated spiders and clowns. They’re both just… creepy.
11 – Marvel or DC? Marvel all the way.
12 – If your job caused you to move, which country besides the US would you choose to live in? You know, now that I think about it… with as much traveling as I’ve done across North America, I really haven’t been to that many places overseas. Just London and Thailand. I might go with Thailand regardless, though. About 95% of my family still lives out there.
13 – What is your favorite cocktail? Screwdriver.
14 – What are your top three video games for 2017? Well, it’s still real early for me to start claiming my favorites of the year, ha ha. That being said, the top three I’m looking forward to the most: Friday the 13th, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Days Gone. As someone who is usually a big Call of Duty player, I’ll say that I’m definitely curious to see where they take it this year.
15 – Supergirl or Wonder Woman? Supergirl.
16 – Did you ever get that coveted cereal bar at work? NO!! And I think everyone should tweet @skyerossi with the request to put a cereal bar into the Rhymesayers office. He’ll probably walk out, shake his head at me, and tell me I need to stop snack begging on Twitter, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take for a cereal bar.
17 – If You could bring one album to a deserted island with you, what would it be? Oh man. As a music head, this one’s hard for me! There’s a whole lot of David Bowie, Prince, and Placebo albums that helped shape me and remind me it’s okay to be weird. But then there’s Stabbing Westward’s Wither Blister Burn & Peel that’s been a pretty big emotional staple for my life, and I’ve had Watsky’s x Infinity on heavy rotation since its release. Lots of Atmosphere, Zeromancer, Manson, Night Riots, Kanye, The Weeknd… Let’s go with Stabbing Westward to keep my teenage angst alive.
18 – If you had to give up one of the two, which would it be – Car or Cellphone? Well, I’ve never had a car and, for the most part, I can usually get by alright. So I think I can still live without a car.
20 – How would you describe yourself in five words? Determined. Shrewd. Stubborn. Artsy. Foodie.