Dear T.R.I.B.E. Friends,
It is hard to write about the power of ART this week. The truth is that there is such a disturbing thing happening in our country, that the words ART and ACTIVIST simply must go together if I am to write about anything.
Jordan Davis was a young teenager who was playing loud music at a Seven Eleven in Jacksonville, Florida, and was murdered by a drunk white man with a concealed weapon who just didn't like a young Black teenager daring to take up the airspace outside that store.
And the astonishing tragedy was compounded this week when a jury did not convict this killer of murder. This comes at a moment eerily close to the one year anniversary of the Trayvon Martin killing.
I pray that f you have a conscience…and I know you do- you will become a voice for change now. That IS the sacred calling of the artist…to call forth a new reality in the Invisible- out of the old, and into a new form that is vision driven and transformational
Sculptor Louise Bourgeois, in the documentary film "Louise Bourgeois- the Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine", describes the making of sculpture as an aggressive act. A piece of marble or granite carved in a shape that is meant to stand in a public place dares to DISPLACE the status quo. She suggests that in order to be able to even LIVE and breathe and exist as a creative person, we all need a safe space around us in which our music can come forth.. Virginia Wolf calls it "A Room Of One's Own", Joseph Campbell suggests that such a neutral space is critical for one to access the deeper wisdom of the Universe. But then all of these artists are White.
On an over crowded planet, at a time when natural resources are strained and the climate patterns are wildly unrecognizable, are only some people privileged enough to carve out that space for the creation of a new world? And what is the cost to the SOUL of our world if we criminalize teenage children who are doing what teenage children do…test limits, play loud music, dress like their peers and freak out conservative adults?
I would like to recommend two books to you all: "The New Jim Crow- Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander, and "The Condemnation of Blackness, Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America" by Dr. Kahlil Gibran Muhammad.
These two brilliant books fill in the blanks in history. In order for us to have the information we need to be change agents. We need to understand more.
The history that leads to the current escalation of violence against young Black children goes back to the earliest days of the founding of this country, to the nature of the need to guarantee a fee labor force, to the astonishing establishment of a "new world" supported by White Supremacy and institutionalized class inequality.
Join with me in calling forth a new world, in which teenagers can be safe to have pink hair or pierced 'whatevers', and tattoos in unpredictable places, and can wear hoodies and play their music to create their own zone of safe space so they can become the visionary transformers who will lead us into the better answers for tomorrow..
FEAR NO ART.
Be brave, stand in the in- between space and become an advocate for a young person to offend the status quo.
Our very lives depend upon it.