The body rejuvenates itself in the dark.

My tribe heals best when we come together.

Black spaces are – and always have been – maker spaces. The black literary tradition is filled with the magic of making and creating, particularly as a mechanism of coming to know, understand, keep, find, make or make your way back home. Therefore (Black) Art is my origin.

I find myself in the old trickster stories, black vernacular laced in Zora Neale Hurston novels and Ntozake Shange poems, the truth bleeding from Toni Morrison’s work, the gospel of James Baldwin, the funk of James Brown, the rebellious light of Tupac Shakur and the complexity of Basquiat. And that’s a short list.

The artists that I curated for this segment are what we call in the Black community, in tha tradition. They carry the black arts tradition forward with great vigor, craftsmanship and intention. Like Baldwin, they see the art in Church, as well as the complexities of the institution, and can pen it with eloquence. They dance as a means of communicating a very specific message, understanding all that they represent and the power of having a platform and opportunity to speak on an issue from that platform, and they do not miss a beat. They get the complexities of this life and still send messages of hope and perseverance with their own respective and individual styles.

The artists is in this segment have made art of their beginnings. They were born makers, making and creating from their earliest moments. These are the babies of Soul Train, the  Nicholas Brothers, the children of the children of Hip Hop and the descendants of an artful people. I could not be more excited to experience this program alongside the audience as I am always in awe of this crew.

To Donte, Al Taw’am and Yevrah, thank you for carrying the work forward, for black magic, for your mining your origin stories for art, color and sound, and for being fly while you do it. Let’s honor the ancestors.

Asé.

See more stories from our multi-media series Art Is…

GET TICKETS for Art Is… My Origin.

Production Team: Kate McDonald, Ryan Klabunde, Jim Kron, Joe Demko.