Brandon Loyd | Correspondent
1. Work Centering Blackness is Expansive
We don’t have to apologize for centering the Black experiences and Black folks that have shaped our perception of the reality around us. We shouldn’t have to fear being ‘too Black’ because of the box white people put on us for doing exactly what they do. White people never have to be tasked with proving that their art is art when they create art centering only white people. It’s a norm and doesn’t prevent their work from being recognized as highly technical, well thought out art. But when Black people do the same, our work gets called “raw”.
White people never see us past our pain because I guess that makes us easier to digest. The complexities of the Black existence in drawings, paintings and movies alike are more than “raw”. They are masterpieces and white people being too lazy to see that Black art is more than “woe is me” pain porn shouldn’t prevent us from continuing to expand the Black art universe. Because we are cool as hell and have so many more awesome stories to tell. Blackness is deep and diverse, and we deserve to center the expansive world that is us.
2. I Am Entitled to Rest
The world around us makes us feel like we are bad for doing nothing. Like every moment we should be producing and as creatives that typically have the freedom to create whenever, we feel like we are doing ourselves a disservice when we do nothing. But why? Why can’t I eat a row of Oreos and watch anime for a few hours too give my mind some cool down time? Why can’t I take a midday nap? Because Black labor has always been a commodity of value and sometimes we equate our value with the amount of work we are producing. But humans aren’t made to work non-stop. Rest isn’t an option. Rest is not only fundamental for our health and success, but it’s a right Black and brown people are often deprived of.
We aren’t having enough conversations centering the way capitalism has been an avenue for economic racism to systematically deprive Black people of the rest we deserve. We shouldn’t be working until we die. We deserve the mind expanding, purifying, inspiring and peaceful embrace of rest and relaxation because creating is work that requires energy. So nap as an act of rebellion, yo.
3. My Work is More than a Commodity or Product
Creating beauty in the world around us through design and storytelling is a purpose for many of us. Creating is more than just a way to make money and sustain ourselves, but a way to heal and work out personal and ancestral trauma. Creating is a way to start mass dialogues that shift cultural thought. Creating is a way to pass down information. Creating is a way to document history and the work around us. Creating is a way to imagine what the future of Blackness can be. Our work is more than something to be bought and consumed, but an important and necessary piece of the persistence and liberation of Black people everywhere.
4. If Not Me, then Who?
We are the only people that can make Black art. And that’s just that on that. No one else can tell our stories but us. Only we know what we need to see and only we can inspire and educate our youth from a truly informed place. Black people have and continue to be on the forefront and main inspirations for art movements. We are making imaginatively free Black art that reflects on past and current Black realities and possibilities for Black people. We all remember and cherish the moments Black media made us feel seen and we can be the ones to keep creating those moments for Black people.