We're celebrating Black History Month this year with words from your peers! Black History Month means something different for everyone, but this time around, we’re finding out what it means from our fellow artists and creators:
Grey... is a 22-year-old currently paying back her “karmic debt” in New York City.
"I’m kinda known for a lot of different things. The way I make a living has a lot in common with Warhol and how he and his friends made a living. I spend part of my time fronting my own band called Home Alone, I run a paint collective called Bob Ross Jeans even though I can't paint, I spend a few days every week working for a ceramicist in Park Slope at the store Sounds, I have a lot of creative directing/curating/consulting for many brands including MELISSA Shoes, DreamsTV, MAC Cosmetics, Fluide, and more, and I’m also a street artist and run Arts. Not Parts. So, I mean you tell me what I do and don’t do cause I’m also a writer for a few publications and an artist in many other mediums that very few people know about. I guess in all truth, my job is to be a good person and look out for the people I care about and pay it forward to all the creative people who have kept me alive and inspired. Everything I do is to protect the most vulnerable members of society, I don’t fan my own flames or anything but I hope to make history someday.”
Do you think that here in America today, people of color, specifically Blacks, are facing a larger amount of injustice when it comes to politics? If so, is it getting any better or worse?
The word politics basically means debating over the distribution of power, right. So, with that said I mean the answer is quite obvious...yes. I mean of course we are facing a large amount of injustice perhaps the largest but I can’t tell you from every marginalized group if we are the ones suffering the most in this intolerant society we live in. I don’t feel it’s my place to state without doing my research, that we are getting the shortest end of the stick but indeed we do face a large amount of injustice when it comes to politics. Our ancestors didn’t distribute power in the way that we do now on a global level, we don’t come from that conditioning so we’ve sort of always found ourselves kept out, at odds with, or the victims of politics. I, as an African American and Native American person, look at politics and politicians and honestly can’t relate.
To answer your question about if the injustice is getting worst...Hmm...I put my trust and belief in science and science says that our multiverse works in duality. So, I think it will only go as far as it can before the scale must tip in the opposite direction. I’m not sure what that means exactly when it comes to details, I can’t predict what our breaking point will be, I can’t tell you what historical event will bring us back to our most primitive nature and whether or not we are good or bad primates. But I do know that nothing can stay shit forever, there is always a bright side.
How are you personally, as a Black American who doesn’t identify with normal gender stereotypes, facing the harsh reality of injustice that is still happening in America? Or do you feel as if everything is okay?
If you’re talking of the injustice towards queer people, well...I suppose I find ways to help those affected by it. I started ArtsNotParts, a Street Art campaign spreading positive queer propaganda and I truly try to live as open and authentically as possible. I feel that sometimes thoughts and the existence of just a few human beings can make all the difference in the world. I think that my way of always dealing with injustice is to find something to believe in. I know it’s very childish of me but it is true. I believe in me, I believe in the people who came before me who I reference every day, I believe in my friends, I believe that if they believe and if I believe then Tinker Bell will never die, ya know.
So, no matter how bad things get I guess I still believe in magic and in people. Everything is very far from okay but also I accept that fact that this is a prison world and maybe everything isn’t meant to be okay all the time. But we do the best we can, all we can do is the best we can.
How do you feel about the phrase “proud to be an American”?
I don’t have any feeling towards it, really. I’m only a human being because I’m down here, I’m only an American because I was born into a human body here, and I don’t feel pride when I think about where I was born. Just doesn’t matter too much I guess that phrase means more to people who aren’t taking every historical event into consideration and probably have a toxic relationship with the word “pride”. I think if someone says it and actually means it, they need a little bit more time baking in the oven of life but it doesn’t phase me or affect me enough to have any real emotions towards it.
What are you personally fighting for (if you are at all)?
I'm fighting for the preservation of the most vulnerable members of society.
What exactly do you wish to see happen in the United States?
I don’t know, I guess if I could say nothing and everything at the same time I’d say that I wanted utopia!
How do you judge success as a black person?
Getting anywhere on time...in your own time...at your own pace...hahaha.
Do you feel like the work you do as a Black American sometimes go unnoticed because of your race?
I don’t really think about my race too much when I work. It sort of gets brought to my attention which is fine by me but I don’t find myself making that distinction in work I do versus work in similar fields that’s been done. For example, I may be one of the few black Queer Street artist doing Queer Street art but I wouldn’t necessarily think that way because I’m just doing my job.
I think that it’s actually become a selling point sadly. People take these things about you like your race or religion or political beliefs and they use them as selling points which is kind of weird. I know it must mean something to see a black person do the things I do but I rather not feel like it’s the reason why people hire me for certain things but also sometimes that’s why I want them to hire me for certain things. It’s complicated because I know for the black history in America may be the work I’m doing is important and it is valuable to this legacy we all are part of but also sometimes I wish that my race wasn’t something that people sort of used just for diversity points.
Do you think that there’s a negative stigma that comes with Black people or even POCs in general who try to talk about their mental health issues?
I mean other than the fact that people just stop listening....nope...of course not...I mean what statistics would ever give you that brilliant idea hahaha.
Follow Grey... and their creative journey here!