What are some of the challenges, big and small, that you face(d) being a Black artist? As a Black woman artist, there are a number of challenges that ultimately become emotionally and physically exhausting. I’m a bit used to it all by now that I’ve detached from it, but it is frustrating to have to constantly be ‘othered’ and having to fight for visibility, opportunity, or financial backing. It’s already difficult to contend with decolonizing one’s survival instinct, but on top of being an artist, it just feels all-consuming at times. As a Black artist, for me, it can feel like a dark comedy with how often diversity measures will be studied or implemented once something racist, culturally insensitive, or intentionally exclusionary or inequitable happens. It can feel like a nonstop array of projections and no room to grow when people simply box your art in with just being ‘Black’. Likewise, as a woman, there are a lot of moments of gaslighting when everyone looks to you for the answers, yet offers no support back and renders you invisible. Sometimes it feels like people just want to execute a marketing plan so they can appear diverse via ‘representation.’ It used to feel really difficult to make room for mental health convos. I think one of the most frustrating things is being the subject of discourse every day, yet it is incredibly difficult to secure funding for Black artists & projects. Meanwhile, the people who grow in engagement discussing diversity will secure more opportunities easily. It’s a frustrating challenge and feels like our identities can be weaponized at our expense nearly every day. Somewhere along the way, ‘representation’ got watered down to underrepresented communities wanting to just see themselves instead of having access, equity, and systemic change. As a Black artist, it can feel like you can’t escape from just being allowed to be and exist. Instead of funding our work and projects, we have to contend with the fact that it’ll be harder to get financing because some people don’t want diversity or inclusion, but the irony is we’re then asked to help said people understand through D&I initiatives.
If there is one thing you can change about or add to the NFT space, what would it be? I guess the whole point of this space being groundbreaking is that it’s permissionless and decentralized, so of course, bad people will be using this tech but I’d love to have better storytellers telling the narrative. It’s a shame celebrity and racist PFP projects make attention whenever NFT’s get talked about because there are some brilliant people who would only be huge additions to making sure we progress & keep racism, transphobia, homophobia, and inequity out of the web3 infrastructures that are necessary for our communities and the world going forward. Likewise, with more storytellers, I’d love to see more artists discussing financial opportunities beyond NFT’s in web3 like fellowships, retreats, or UBI. Possibilities are so abundant ????