Black Arts is still a conversation to be had. I learned that when I sat with a panel of very talented artists—Daniel B. Coleman, Debbie the Artist and Kidd Graves—who gave us their honest insight into this subject that has been discussed and over discussed since people figured out that black people could be artists.
Whenever I have to admit my position, I brace myself for the look that says “yea, right” or the one that let’s you know that you have to prove yourself among the Power Players in the industry in order to claim yourself or your birthright. For years I hesitated, back-peddled and told people what I thought would be palatable. Then I ran out of words and patience. Black people, who are still marginalized in the “high art” circles have been creative since the beginning of time. It’s in our DNA. Black people were forced to be even more creative when we were forced to take the role of slaves. How did we get across that water without it? How did we survive the onslaught without it. How does the industry move from one trend to another with out us.
Panel discussions can sometimes get monotonous, especially when you feel like we all ought to be over it by now, but some of us are still working through this race, gender, ethnicity, art thing. What I realize is that it’s okay to keep talking until we understand. Thank you to Center for Visual Artists in Greensboro, NC for keeping their eye on inclusion.