In Memorium: The Hornsmythe AKA The Black King aka The Moor Tariq

It is with a sad heart that we wish to recognize the passing of one of the early supporters of this crazy little idea known as the Backup Ribbon Project — Cal Cotton.

Anybody involved in Southern California fandom or Faires has probably met Cal at some point. He was the guy in the impeccable Moorish garb offering to buy your wife/girlfriend in exchange for a herd of goats. Or he was the Civil War Buffalo soldier who had beautiful leather, fur, or bone items for sale. Regardless of how you may have met Cal, once you did, you never forgot him.

Back in the day, when the Backup Ribbon Project was in its infancy, we passed an afternoon at a con talking with him about this and that, and the subject of the Project came up. Cal’s grin grew even wider (if that was at all possible), and he offered up his Hornsmythe booth in the dealer’s room as a “safe space” for anybody at the con who was feeling harassed: “You get the word out, OK?”

We will never forget his support for us at a time when we felt that we had dove into the deep end and were not certain we would be able to swim. Cal’s simple gesture let us know that we were not alone in wanting to make fandom a safer place for everyone.

Ma’assalama Moor Tariq! We would not be here without you.

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