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The Importance of Art in Black Spaces

Pop Culture

Fri, March 22

Black history continues to integrate into various art forms. Why is that? There are so many stories to tell from Motherland to American soil, although to understand these forms of art better, we should examine some individuals' personal experiences.

"Art is challenging, honest, creates conversation, and makes connections in the real world that we would otherwise not have seen." - Blu

Courtesy of Jaziyyah(Blu)

Jaziyyah, better known by his poetic stage name, Blu, slowly discovered a passion for poetry at the age of 11. Not sure what it was at the time, his mother recognized that the little love letters he was writing could turn into something big.

Rather than ignoring the power of his feelings, she encouraged him to embrace them and nurtured him with the support to make it happen.

"[My mother said], I want to introduce you to this book "Voices From the Soul," Blu said. "I started reading, and it was a real cliche movie moment: What is this? I highlighted everything and started to rewrite stuff."

He dove head first, soaking up this profound art form into something serious. Upon entering high school, putting his new craft to use suddenly had peers talking and questioning his manhood. However, this never stopped Jaziyyah from sharing his emotions through bold Instagram captions or in the classroom. Eventually, his theatre teacher introduced him to 'spoken word'.

Although this wasn't enough, Blu remained hungry, and he went on—now an Alumni of Howard University—to release his very own poetry book, "Orchids & Blus." This wonderful work is meant to shed light on the importance of making pain our best friend, and that life isn't happening to us; it's responding.

Blu said, "The more we do that, with our pain, the more we understand about ourselves. And that can help inform us in the future."

The more we're aware of ourselves, the better we can understand other cultures. This is why it is important for black history to be integrated into the arts.

"I think when you talk about black history, there's a lot there. And the more it's in art, the more conversations that come from set art." Blu said.

"Black woman…do not overwork yourself. Don't feel like you have to save the world…rest." - Evers

Courtesy of Seveyn Evers

Seveyn(Se-ven) Evers, better yet known as @Sevsohouston on Instagram, is an activist by day and a poet by night. Because she has a voice to share a more personal side of her life, Evers shared her first spoken word piece to the public called "Can YOU Get It Together?" Her purpose was to connect with the black community using pivotal songs from artists such as 702, Brandy, and Mary J. Blige.

"It was because the poem was about my ex. So, that's a song ‐Get it Together by 702- that I listened to a lot after he and I broke up. That was what I wanted the vibe to be." Evers said.

Evers does an exceptional job connecting with her people, and she is aware of how African American history needs to be integrated into the arts. However, often not because sometimes it takes uncomfortable conversations between different people to bring truthful experiences out.

"I think we're in it, but our history isn't," Evers said. "It's either going to be poorly written by a non-black director, or it's going to be something that doesn't make sense."

Therefore, Evers expounds on her deep anger when sharing her thoughts through her work. She understands that some will take offense even though she is open about what happens in her world. When sharing what is right through the lens of a Black woman, society sees this as the "angry Black Woman".

"Yeah, our passion is looked at as angry, and that doesn't make sense because we're also seen as nurturers," Evers said.

Evers also sees her impact on the younger generation of aspiring writers, especially Women of color. She strives daily to continuously advocate for the power of speaking one's mind and remaining true to oneself.

"I never spoke up, never, but once I got to college, I started writing and speaking up, Evers said. "I felt so much more free."

Evers relays that her definition of art is anything that makes you feel creative; it's all up to what it means to each individual personally.

“Art to me is expression, therapeutic, it's long-lasting, art is everything.” - Spurling

Courtesy of David Spurling

David Spurling is a laid-back poet and media/film creator. Being very well-rounded, he decided to get into the creative world by putting out his very own poetry book, "From Me to You," in 2019. This inspired him to express what it feels like to go through hardship. Spurling knew he had something for the world.

"A year or so after I began writing it, I had met an editor based out of California, Spurling said. "She re-ignited that spark and said, you have something here. Let's finish it, let's complete it, let's get it out there, let's share it with people."

Spurling naturally gravitated towards people he related to; therefore, he saw the importance of finding community with other creatives of color.

"We always have to work ten times as hard as our white counterparts to make a name for ourselves. So, I feel our biggest asset is community networking." Spurling said.

Being able to take breaks as an artist is vital to fuel up for future projects. So, Spurling carries a massive passion for positive mental health in men. Spurling knew he had to be an advocate when he experienced the heavier side of his thoughts and knew that he'd be able to help his peers get through those rough patches.

"Taking steps back is key to your progression, healing, and your development," Spurling said.

“Art that comes from black artists is so special because a lot of it is personal and our unique experiences are extremely complex.” - Price

Courtesy of Sydney Price

Sydney Price, @sydthecreative, is a mogul in the content creator world. Her journey started with performing poetry in college -Price is a graduate of Spelman in Atlanta, where she earned a BA in Psychology—and then going viral on Twitter for her poetic videos.

"I'm still becoming someone worth looking up to." became one of Price's well-known works that showed the process of self-discovery. Now four years later, she reflects on what it all means.

"Becoming for me has been a lot of trial and error, a lot of reflection on my own experiences, Price Said. "Just taking the parts that resonate with me at my core. So, now I feel I'm sitting in who I am and the process of becoming is never-ending."

Price influenced so many women of color during this time, drawing her to see how art couldn't exist without people like her.

"Black culture just influences so many different things, it's important for me to create space for my blackness and that part of my identity to feel represented." Price said.

Being a Social Media Manager requires a lot of responsibility, Price understands that her creativity is needed every day. In times of Imposter Syndrome, she thinks back to her childhood of growing up in a Jamaican household in Texas surrounded by a majority of whites to being in Georgia with her people.

“I just remember that there's a lot of power in my identity, so many different facets to my identity, and I have the power in that.” Price said.

Now that we have heard stories from Jaziyyah, Evers, Spurling, and Price, we can understand the importance they exhibit in multiple art spaces. Hearing stories from different perspectives helps the art world be a better place every day. So, when you happen to see intriguing art, don't hesitate to dive for answers from the artist because they'll really appreciate it.

Erin Dembo
5,000+ pageviews

Writer since Mar, 2021 · 3 published articles

Erin is currently a full-time student in college hoping for a great future as a Journalist(wherever it may take her), she studies at Texas Tech University with an English and Creative Writing concentration. She loves taking pictures, writing, editing, doing crafts, and visiting new places.