Dear Columbus Black Creative Community,
This is my love letter to you. For you. Because of you.
You, are magnificent. Your talents and varied styles are often imitated, but never duplicated. While your visions and powerful storytelling skills are needed, you’ll rarely hear they’re wanted. (Black Art?! Whaaaaaaat?! That’s a super revolutionary thought…)
I know the going gets tough, and yes fam, the struggle is hella real, but never doubt your abilities, position in the community, or grace. Imagine how we could truly change this city if we forged ahead without searching for approval. We need our own spaces, our own funders, our own festivals, our own councils and committees.
Columbus is…complicated, to say the least. As someone born and raised in this small city with dreams of being more than it is, I’ve watched it change many times over the years. It’s not quite as supportive and forward thinking as some would have you believe. Is there hope and promise? Sure. But I’ve seen too many amazing creatives have to leave Columbus because of the lack of care, honest interest, and let’s face it, money. I’ve *almost* moved away myself many times over, even as recently as two months ago, but there’s something about my hometown that keeps me staying…for the time being.
So, know that you are powerful. Know that you can make it on your own. Ask for a seat at the Table? Nah fam, we BUILT the Table. As such, you have the power to question those in “positions of authority” (I.E., those who have the money), and hold them accountable for their actions; just like they do you. Trust me when I say your proposed endeavors are often met with many questions, a thousand side eyes, and major doubts–one’s not given to local white artists. We, as local Black Creatives, can reserve the right to criticize these money holders perpetually until they truly do right by our community. Believe me, they need you a hell of a lot more than you need them. Raise your own funds, seek monies from other sources, look outside of local, regional, & national boarders. Be true to your craft always. Don’t worry about offending, bow & scraping, or begging. I don’t know about you, but I most certainly do not shuck and jive. It almost seems as if they don’t like black people and all the ways we can show up (and show out), unless it meets a respectable standard.
Do you fam. Be yourself 100% of the time.
Continue to walk like you have 3,000 ancestors walking behind you.