J?SEF (\ ˈjā-səf \) is a Pittsburgh-based DJ, producer, and poet formerly affiliated with Pandemic, 90s Nite, Sweet Beats, and the Carpatho-Rusyn dance rock band Air Guitar Magazine. Appalachia on the outside and tropical on the inside, J?SEF’s productions are inspired by queer & post-colonial frameworks of cultural exchange.

What is leatherhard?

leath·er-hard/ˈleT͟Hərˌhärd/adjective

(of unfired pottery) dried and hardened enough to be trimmed or decorated with slip but not hard enough to be fired.

leatherhard is about remaining formed, but not static. About not allowing the thumbprints of creative primes to become glazed over by the social demands of late-stage capitalism or the failings of a body ravaged by chronic illness. About not sliding into the fires of gender and sexual binaries.

leatherhard is an opportunity to retain a critical lens (critical as in “analytic,” as in “so necessary”).

leatherhard is an opportunity to share creations of myself and others, to find the last vestiges of moisture within the clay.

A note on capitalization

On this website, I capitalize all historically-created racial identities inclusively, whether Black, Brown, or White. I do not capitalize White out of deference to White supremacists, nor do I avoid capitalizing White due to the absence of an explicitly-articulated mainstream White identity. I agree with the premise that this article espouses, as well as the Center for the Study of Social Policy, which is that Blackness and Whiteness exist in dialectical relation to each other and should be rendered as such. I also believe that just because Whiteness does not dare speak its own name does not mean that it deserves to be naturalized with the same capitalizing rules as the color itself.