Follow Ragg Topp
Summary: On June 9th, 2020 I had the pleasure of giving my first interview to a beloved black fur-suiter from Louisiana named Ragg Topp. I asked for his down to Earth perspective on what it means to be a black furry in the fandom as well as how he feels about the current issues someone like him faces in wake on George Floyd’s death.
Thank you for listening!
Rhyner: Hi, hello this is Rhyner host of rhynerwrites.com today I’m joined by the adorable black fursuiter…
Ragg: *Giggling* Yeah, um, hello I’m Ragg Topp I’m from Louisiana. (I’ve) been a furry since August of 2012.
Rhyner: Oh wow.
Ragg: Well actually for me it doesn’t seem like a long time. It’s like…what…7 or 8 years, maybe?
Rhyner: I mean you should be called a veteran fur at least!
Ragg: *Chuckles* Yeah, I guess you could say that! *Giggles*
Rhyner: And I guess we can go onto the first question then… In regards to being a furry, what got you interested and invested in the furry fandom? Do you feel like it’s a big part of who you are?
Ragg: The art is what really drew me in. ‘Cause I was an artist. I did art. I didn’t know what furry was at the time, but I did a bunch of, like, animal art.
Ragg: And like, I was a sophomore in college and I was just browsing online for like some animal pictures and whatnot for reference to draw with. And then this one picture in particular struck me and reminded me of the cartoons I used to watch when I was little. Then I went and tracked it down and found FA. (Fur Affinity.) And that’s what uh, I joined and like–Because I thought I was the only one who like–the only one who had characters that were animals or whatnot.
Rhyner: So you just found a bunch of yourself!
Ragg: Yeah, basically…! *Chuckles*
Rhyner: *Chuckles* It was like it was meant to be!
Ragg: Right? And as far as like… Is it a big a part of who I am? I mean I wouldn’t say it’s a gigantic part of who I am. But, I guess like I don’t wear my furcon shirts to like public areas and whatnot. I just keep it like low-key in public. Furry conventions and social media I flaunt it no problem.
Rhyner: I gotchu. You just don’t need to suit up at friggin’ Walmart or something.
Ragg: Yeah! Basically!
Rhyner: A little bit extra for ya. Gotcha! Well since furries ended up being tied into one of your hobbies already, what do you think you’d do if you didn’t find that picture that led you to FA?
Ragg: Oh Gosh!
Rhyner: Do you think you’d be different from that point on in any way?
Ragg: Yeah, if I didn’t find furry I’d probably be in a worse off place than I am now.
Rhyner: Oh dang… You would join a grunge bange or something…? (I MEANT BAND!!!)
Ragg: I guess get myself into more trouble. Probably follow the wrong crowd. Stuff like that. The furry fandom changed my entire view of the world. Because you grow up a certain way…
Rhyner: How do you mean a “certain way?”
Ragg: Well, you know uh, ’cause I mean I grew up with a Christian background. My mom was a pastor. So I mean, you know in by joining people that’s like LGBT from that kinda pond in a Christian sense. So yeah, it just. Furry you know it helped open my mind more than I thought I had it. You know?
Rhyner: So you’d say you could–you understood your sexuality more because of the furry fandom? More so than GRINDR or clubs or things like that?
Ragg: Yeah, I actually, I mean as far as my sexuality I’m still finding that. As of right now I consider myself ace. I’m still finding myself, you know? It’s still a big question mark what I consider my sexuality.
Rhyner: Okay! So, you’re just like in the middle of the ace spectrum with a big ol’ question mark on ya.
Ragg: Yeah, just take the ace flag and put a question mark right there! *Chuckles*
Rhyner: Gotcha! *Chuckles* Well, since you’ve found this lifestyle fairly young all things considered would you advise LGBT+ youth to follow the same path you did, then?
Ragg: Yeah, but I don’t think I would say the exact path, I believe… Like you mean as far as like the path of like finding the furry fandom, or…?
Rhyner: Yeah, like finding the fandom, having them pull you through these hurdles, you know combating the internalized Christianity angle that you grew up with. To a more, you know, I guess lesser intense, you know, like mellowed out kind of way.
Ragg: Well, I guess you could say that, yeah. They could follow that path.
Rhyner: When you say the words “I’m black” where does that come from for you? You know like was there a moment where you thought things applied differently to you? You can’t just say “I’m Ragg” you gotta be like “I’m black.” You know?
Ragg: Yeah, uh well… There was a time when I went to a grocery store. I was getting ready to walk in and I saw this white couple. They were an older couple, maybe in their 60’s or somethin’. They was parked up front ’cause you know so they could get to their car easily and they were loading their groceries. They had like this sub woofer I kinda glanced at it–it was like this sub woofer in the back of their trunk or whatever like that. Then like as soon as they saw me walk past them they used their groceries to cover it up. Like “don’t steal it.” Even though, I mean, I didn’t say anything I just walked past them.
Rhyner: Those people really thought…
Ragg: I mean, surprisingly I was kinda fortunate since I live in a small town I didn’t have much of racial prejudice with cops and whatnot. I haven’t had that issue yet. Thank goodness!
Rhyner: All right that’s definitely fortunate. I’ve seen some nasty stuff out there. Even in small towns.
Ragg: Yeah, I mean everyone out here knows each other so we all get along.
Rhyner: Exactly! So you don’t get shot down like the creature from the black lagoon or something. *Chuckles*
Ragg: Nahhh. *Chuckles*
Rhyner: In regards to the fandom do you feel like you’ve been excluded in any way? I know that’s like a big topic going around right now. Some people of color feel like they’ve been excluded from social circles and stuff. You know you take off the fursuit head and suddenly it’s a black guy. “What’s going on here I thought this was a white only club?’ You know what I mean?
Ragg: Surprisingly, I haven’t had much of like negative experiences like that either. I guess they kinda figured it out from my accent. And uh, I mean, the way my character is dressed. He’s more of like an African American attire, with the durag, the hoodie, and the cargos. So people wasn’t that surprised. They kinda knew. Plus I stay in my social circle a lot too.
Rhyner: Because of what’s going on right now, what concerns do you have for, like, the future? How do you see things going?
Ragg: Not gonna lie it seems kinda bleak. I have hope, I mean I’ve seen on twitter I’ve seen posts where like they’re gonna try to fix this racial imbalance you know and whatnot. I mean I have hope they’ll actually in the future this will finally be right for us.
Rhyner: So recently a bunch of protesters rolled the slave trader Edward Colston statue into the sea and it’s basically lost forever (until it wasn’t) and some people think that’s going to far. Do you feel as though that was going too far, not far enough, or it was completely justified in your opinion?
Ragg: I think it’s completely justified. I’m not really trained on history like I probably should’ve but like I mean…
Rhyner: So he was like, you know, a terrible person and he deserved to be remember as a bit of a hindsight–a joke. “Ha the protesters just threw him into the lake!” Something like that. Rather than having a statue in the UK along with Ghandi and other, more prominent figures.
Ragg: Yeah, I think that it’s totally justified like if you’re a bad person you don’t deserve a statue. Like that’s not setting an example for people. Like you look at a statue and it’s like you think that’s the most important thing, like, ever.
Rhyner: It automatically demands your respect and most people weren’t even taught who this guy was. They could’ve been taking pictures with the statue and all these things when it turned out he was a terrible, like, figure. And in regards to other figures being prominently revered in the furry fandom, there are people, that secretly are incredibly hateful and racist. And even when it is exposed they still have diehard fans that will deny everything and go to the ends of the Earth to continue to support that person. Do you feel as though something needs to be done? Like they should be kicked out the fandom or be punished in some way like that?
Ragg: Yeah like it really does infuriate me. Especially when they’re like a fursuiter or whatever. You know a cute fursuiter and then they just awful inside. I think they should be legit kicked out like no questions.
Rhyner: Yeah, exactly. Cute little uwu’s can’t fix everything, right? Do people like that make you uncomfortable? Especially when it’s like, you know, public knowledge they’re an awful person and yet they still have a pretty decent fanbase to make a pretty decent living off the fandom?
Ragg: Yeah, it does bother me. Like, you shouldn’t be looking up to people like that. If you know they’re saying all this garbage like… I don’t understand why people follow them. Like it-it doesn’t make any sense to me… It really doesn’t…
Rhyner: I don’t know what kind of punishment we could reasonably enact for these people, but, there should be like, when you google their name it should come up first. “Hey he’s a racist!” That kinda thing.
Ragg: Yeah something or ban them from the internet forever.
I FORGOT ABOUT THE ‘THEY’ THING I AM SORRY.
Rhyner: Well, not all the figures in the furry community are bad. There is one that kind of represents an LGBT+ black furry. And that’s, you know, Sonic Fox. Do you feel like THEY* represent you at all and do you feel like it’s a good representation if so?
Ragg: Yeah I think it’s a good representation! I’ve seen the hate that he has. You know he says “I’m gay” and all whatever like that. I mean he’s just being himself. He’s just proud of himself. That shouldn’t be like a crime, right?
Rhyner: So people getting mad that he’s tweeting “I’m gay” is like completely stupid?
Ragg: Yeah, I mean he’s just being himself.”
Rhyner: And it wouldn’t deter you from being like “If you want to know about furries in the fandom you should look up Sonic Fox! THEY* play fighting games, and THEY’RE* black, and THEY’RE* out and THEY’RE* awesome!”
Rhyner: All right was there anything else you wanted to say before we close up? Did you want to plug any of your socials? Do you have anything going on right now?
Ragg: I guess if you wanna find me I’m on twitter @Ragg_Topp I do art sometimes, sometimes post pictures in my suit and all that. I’m not as active as I used to be ’cause I’m always busy with work and whatnot. But I do post occasionally.
Rhyner: It was fantastic talking with you, Ragg and you have a great night.
Ragg: Same here! All right you too!
Rhyner: Thank you so much!