The Timeline of Creative Duplicity

DC Kawaii Style™ has had tremendous success in growing both as a community and a nonprofit.

From the recent win at DC Web Fest as a local hero to the DC area to the video uplifting our community during our hanami. We have done so much positive and good, and we reward our community’s hard work with this positive progress.

Still, as is with every story a path is not perfect.

Our Kawaii way is vital to who we are because of what led us to who we are today. And a part of that blog space will share the stories and origin of DC Kawaii Style and how their mission reached the world.

In recent events, it felt as if words from our Founder would help shed some light community unrest with social media blunders outside of the community and what it stands for:


DC Kawaii style is a growing community with members with varying backgrounds that engage respectfully with others while learning and exploring Japanese Culture.

The community brings Kawaii to the immediate DC area community but connects people from around the globe with the culture of Kawaii. This community encourages finding ways to bring your heritage and background and mixing it with Kawaii.

I am an artist who explores my heritage while understanding the cultures of others. The importance of accepting oneself has grown into an empowering career and way of life. I strongly encourage that others in the communities I interact with and those I don’t to engage with other cultures respectfully and in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone.

My experience as a black Tattoo Artist and entrepreneur have seen so much growth. Each piece of my past comes into play as I build not only my Community, DC Kawaii Style, but my career.

The choices of my past, for my brand and the way I engaged with my heritage still exist in some spaces that might alarm those who have only seen the person that I am now. I don’t dismiss my past. Instead, I ask, that you engage with it to understand the importance of Afro Kawaii in art, community, and style.

From there you will see how I have used Afro Kawaii and tattoo therapy to build the Community I share publicly today. Rest assured that my past is but a piece of the colorful impact I have had in my lifetime and a stepping stone into the vision I have for DC Kawaii Style.

I will address any issues with open arms and a guide informing people about DC Kawaii Style so that the communities outside of this one can learn more about heritage, culture, and empowerment through kawaii.

– Imani K Brown / Ipukekawaii


A Series of Not Kawaii Events:

On October 18th the following was addressed in a blog post titled “Snakes in the Grass: A Timeline of Blatant Phishing of DC KawaiiStyle”.

Since that time and legal advisement, this post has been redacted and revised to present the following timeline of events for any inquiries with the incident in question regarding DC Kawaii Style and artist, ipukekawaii.

This post is not intended to direct any hate or ill feelings to the parties involved.

Instead, this post is a presentation of an experience that we hope will shed light on the hard work and conviction that DC Kawaii Style and its founder Imani K Brown have put in protecting a communally created safe space.

Get InvolvedDC KAWAII STYLE PRESS KIT

{August 2016}

Following a good year for the community’s launch in 2015

  • August 14th – An individual (whose legal
    name is still unknown, but has gone by Inami, Mimi Magica, and Mimi S Diamond) made her first inquiry about joining a sister community, DC Metro Lolita’s.
  • August 21st – The individual begins
    inquiring about meetups and events in private to Imani – Imani accommodates the
    information request with the requested info happily

{August 2018}

  • August 22nd –  The individual messages Imani asking about upcoming scheduled meets for DC Kawaii Style
  • August 23rd – The Individual begins messaging
    high profile members of DC Kawaii Style, and invites them to be “Kawaii
    Ambassadors in the DC Metro Area/DMV” – Members she messaged responded kindly,
    noting that the similarity in idea would mesh well with DC Kawaii Style honoring
    the community mission for Kawaii empowerment. The individual responds to
    mentions of “DC Kawaii Style” as if they are not aware or informed of the
    existing community
  • August 24th – Imani responds to
    individual inviting them to upcoming events while sharing information

  •   

{September 2018}

  • September 8th – DCKS @ HK Cafe Truck Meet: Members at the meet up bring up concerns to Imani and Admins, but all manage to ease worries and have a good time
  • September 8th – Individual confirms about coming to the monthly casual meet, but asks if its an admin only meet

{DC KAWAII STYLE DOES NOT ADVERTISE OR PROMOTE PRIVATE EVENTS FOR ADMINS IN PUBLIC GROUP}

  • September 9th – Upon initially hearing of the solicitation of several members to participate in “Kawaii Ambassadors in the DC Metro Area” Imani makes a general post informing of DC KAWAII Style Policies and Safety Measures

  • In response on September 9th, the individual makes a rant on her personal page suggesting that the community is targeting her and that at the DCKS @ HK Cafe Truck Meet community members turned their backs to her and whispered about her.  
  •  

  • September 12th – Imani puts forth due diligence in the source of this rumor, and issue with solicitation, Imani wrote in the blog post:

“Something told me to search my brand properties thoroughly, and sure enough, she was seated at my connected blog, FB public figure page, art fan page and one of my entrepreneurship pages. 

In this day + age of digital life, it’s not uncommon to show up on multiple platforms of a single person/ brand. However what I DO find strange is that we’ve never met and beyond quick questions about meet-ups, a conversation in 2016 (her name wasn’t Inami then) for admittance into Metro Lolitas and a brief chat about a meet-up idea + support … she doesn’t strike me as a person who was an authentic fan of my efforts.”

  • Imani Discovered: This individual was copying Brand ideas, motifs, and narratives into their brand and “Kawaii Ambassador” space while pretending ignorance of the community DC Kawaii Style™, its history, and its founder. Further research presented that this individual went as far as changing their Social Media Name to “Inami” – Imani spelled backward.

Imani’s initial feelings and response is …

“putting energy into attacking or falsely accusing someone of something is far more harmful. And I just don’t move that way ~

But what we not gon’ do is act as if any of this is ok – for us as kawaii lovers, black women, and/ or creative entrepreneurs.

I’m notorious for challenging Anyone who looks like me to do better. And I’m even more harsh if you are a proclaimed business person.

I expect a certain basic level of fairness. But if that won’t happen … if you know me, then you know that I am no stranger to calling things the way I see them”

  •   

{March 2019}

Despite time passing, and unease dripping away to make room for DC Kawaii Style to continue its commendable efforts in becoming a Non-Profit, the story was brought back up again in late March.

Upon return from Japan, Imani has been left to blindly defend herself against anonymous claims of bullying and racism to collaborators in Houston, later learning that the accuser had reportedly reached out to local news sources.

Soon after, overnight an Instagram entity popped up tagging DC Kawaii Style and ipukekawaii, along with other members of the community.  

The Instagram “Jfashionunite” taunted at the previous blog post “Snakes in the Grass: A Timeline of Blatant Phishing of DC KawaiiStyle” asking if Imani herself reached out to the “Identities” stealing from her.

This Instagram further posted a screenshot of the redacted blog post and with comments from faceless individuals shaming the post.

  •     

Imani’s responded only once to the faceless Instagram ~

Alongside the following images, you will see the response from DC Kawaii Style as a community and many more who have worked with Imani in varying capacity:

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This timeline is brought to your attention as an informative piece on what has transpired between DC Kawaii Style™, Imani, and the nameless individual who remains within a kawaii shadow.

Whether you take these images as facts, falsehoods, or merely a story before bed, understand that in all this there is still kawaii empowerment to be taken away from this.

In the face of slander, phishing, and solicitation there was growth.

From these events, the community sought legal counsel, took time in understanding how to protect intellectual property, and further educate on culture, empowerment, and kawaii.

In the space of one year, this incident did not inspire the Community to withdraw from collaborating or working with other groups. Instead, it’s encouraged more of it.

Without research or patience, there can be no growth.

As stated, DC Kawaii Style™ is a growing community, and if this is one momentary lapse in how to protect a community it is also the last.

Take with you the knowledge that kawaii empowerment is our kawaii way, but empowerment does not need to be stolen or copied. It can be shared, encouraged, and collaborative with a bit of honesty and authenticity.