When you start a new project—whether that’s a platform, publication or business—it’s important to create and maintain a balance between a set mission statement and an openness or malleability. It’s a hard thing to attain, and the reason why many ventures fail. But for the founders of the Seattle-based Women.Weed.Wifi collective, this balance comes naturally—even telepathically.
From a back table in Cupcake Royal, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the three core members of Women.Weed.Wifi—Amanya Maloba, Janice Ibarra and Vanity Thomas—sip on mugs of tea and pick at luxurious cupcakes while expressing the eclectic spiritual, creative and moral motivations behind their platform. Just because their ambitions are wide in scope doesn’t mean they don’t hold a singular cohesion.
“We have our own individual flows,” Thomas explains. “Collectively, though, we look at the platform not only for us to be able to do what we want, but for what others want to do, too.”
“We are emphasizing our inner experiences,” says Ibarra. “Especially as women, we undergo many struggles. However, it’s the beauty of keeping the peace while constantly fighting the same battles over and over again.”
“We’re advanced,” smiles Maloba. “I feel like we’re talented in a lot of different genres. We dabble in a lot of different things.”
But what, exactly, is Women.Weed.Wifi? If you ask the three core members, all of whom are women of color, their collective serves as a form of empowerment. This motivation seeps into all of their endeavors: the zine they publish (they have three issues), mix CD’s they hand out at events, pop-up pot markets called “Black Markets” (all the vendors are people of color, and Women.Weed.Wifi takes zero profits), or yoga sessions. And while some characterize the platform’s efforts as a response to the male-dominated world around them, that’s not their true motivation for the program. “We have to be involved in it because it’s our life,” says Maloba, referencing patriarchy and white supremacy, “but we don’t go out seeking causes.”
“We’re all healers,” says Ibarra. “And weed is super healing.”
This distinction is important and, arguably, revolutionary. One gets the sense while talking with the members of Women.Weed.Wifi, founded in 2015, that they are more concerned with their own rich inner lives—how they each understand themselves as complete persons—than with what trendy scenes or flavors of the month are hot at the time. “There’s a discrepancy often with how people give credit to situations rather than giving credit to themselves,” says Ibarra. “Many women feel like they’re strong, but still credit a leader instead of crediting themselves.”
“That’s where we diverge,” adds Maloba. “We don’t try to engage people. People who want to engage with us will find us. There’s no way to sign up. If you come to our events and believe in our philosophy, you’re already a part of it.”
For the three, the platform isn’t so much centered around weed, per se (though they love the herb). Indeed, the collective isn’t an excuse to get high. Rather, they’re appreciators of the plant that, among other benefits, helps people heal mentally and physically. “We’re all healers,” says Ibarra. “And weed is super healing.”
Thomas, who joined the group in 2016 after contributing a piece on date rape to the first Women.Weed.Wifi zine, is now fully ensconced, and the trio is currently planning more events for 2017 and beyond: a monthly party at the Crocodile Café’s back bar, as well as an International Girl Gang Expo at the Neptune Theater on July 27 with female DJs, performers and a list of special guest attendees. For the core members of the collective, this celebratory, eclectic curating is all part of the blueprint. “Women of color should control the culture,” smiles Ibarra. And her collaborators nod in agreement.
www.womenweedwifi.com | Instagram: @womenweedwifi