“It would be dumb to repeat a mistake that wasn’t successful,” says the world renowned visual artist Derval Fairweather of the Black Militant Movement of the ’70s and ’80s. “[But]we know the artists are the ones who can really turn this thing around.”
Lady Gaga talks in this YouTube Video (love this clean looking series talking to women about love, life, art) and she says she told herself when she was coked up and strung out…”You’re not an artist.” I guess being a true artist denotes discipline.
I was talking to a good friend of mine, Tamara Leacock (great fashion designer and artist/goddess/comrade) about drug problems and art. Got me thinking…Can someone or should someone be free to promote their drug experience as positive for the sake of their art?
To be an ARTIST! We must get rid of this idea that to be an artist means that you’ve become a cancer to society or that you’ve given up on being normal! And if so, maybe that’s GOOD! They have industrialized art. You’re only valid if you’re a child drawing a misinterpreted picture that goes on a fridge, or one who has drawn a black dot on a white piece of paper and no one understands that either, yet you are in Moma…or is it that I believe fame validates artists?
I can’t really call myself a multi-disciplinary artist because I’m not all that disciplined. I just like to do a bunch of different things.
I’m not a regular person so don’t come at me with regular conversation.
Sure small talk is good but actually, no wait. It never is.
Small talk is uncomfortable, and awkward. Even worse, it’s small. It’s insignificant and unless it’s a sweet nothing keep it.
Social media. Don’t know ya, so you can’t just say hey. Even if I do know ya, you can’t just say “What’s up?”
EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING IS UP!
So Imma need you to come a lil’ more correct.
I have about 3 friends who I speak to on the regular now. Make that two. And we never say just “hey.” We get to the point. We got shit to do, places to go, and “benevolent, progressive institutions (i.e. T. Leacock)” to birth.
I’m setting aside myself as one of those self proclaimed genius weirdos and I mean it. I’m going to start going ape-shit on people who have the nerve to tell me they want to get to know me because they’ve seen me on social media, baring breast and soul alike, and have the nerve to serve me up a dry ass question like I got time for them.
I only have time for interesting, genuine, fair people.
And that is all…Peep the conversation that was the inspiration for this post…
I feel like the female Kanye West right now…just on another planet…and cocky too 😉
On my Tumblr. Tee hee hee! I’m so proud of it. Check the vid.
Hadiiya Barbel. I loved her Spirit, Feminity, Goddesshood, Wisdom, and Essence. Find her online and check out some of the things she’s doing. She’s truly inspiring!
…And the funny as hell slice of Brooklyn life film Newlyweeds is the result. Well, Director Shaka King would say it’s a “Stoner-drama-comedy-romance.”
It was all a dream… Or at least the film started with one. As a vivid dreamer, I could immediately relate to Nina (Trae Harris), the wispy free-spirited, thin-boned girlfriend of Lyle (Amari Cheatom), her non-upwardly mobile co-dependent yet loving boyfriend. Nina will become a Brooklyn style icon for sure, with her richly colored dark locs, vintage clothing, and bohemian jewelry. And that dope ass mask.
My first lesson from the movie was: Never rent furniture. Lyle and Jackie (Tone Tank) have hilarious scenes where they slew racial slurs at one another and repossess people’s furniture.
But no scratch that…The real lesson is…
Never get high before work. (Unless you’re an artist, which King let’s me know that, besides influencing the film’s story, his experiences with marijuana have opened him up artistically.)
But this movie isn’t so much about weed as it is about the ups and downs of life. Still, all of the smoking adds a nice touch. You learn about different types of weed, hash, and see new devices especially made for indulging in this medicinal herb.
The film is not hard to follow, although the it navigates through the main characters’ dream space back to his 3-dimensional reality quite seamlessly. Despite this it’s actually pretty straight forward.
In fact, what touched me most of all about this film was the dreaming. The sense of loss I know that Lyle felt when he was away from Nina and dreamt of her tugged on my heartstrings. I could feel the deep desire to want to give her something more than he could offer at the time. She was like his princess locked up in a castle. He would do anything to get to her, even if it meant making a fool of himself and ultimately being defeated by heartbreak.
I’ve been that princess more than once, and Lyle reminds me a lot of some of my exes. You see all of this potential in the man, and you see that even though Nina is sleeping on her potential as well, you just know that she will outgrow him. And you know that the relationship is dysfunctional and she will continue to manipulate him emotionally until they can no longer be in each others’ lives. She’ll never see the man that she helped him to be.
And we don’t see what Lyle will be, either. We only see what his hopes are for himself and Nina through his dreams. That’s what this movie was about for me. Dreams. Kendrick had a dream, Martin had a dream, and Director Shaka King obviously had a dream too: to make a movie that would be relatable, easy to watch, easy to get pulled in to, and even piss us off a little at the ending. Needless to say, as a Black woman, as an indie arts supporter, as a human being and artist, I’m proud.
Talking to Shaka about his artistic process, I see that this is the beginning of a life long love affair with film. He studied at Vasser and now is writing and directing full time. He deserves at least $100,000 for the making of this film, he says. “He’s not getting paid for his time, he’s getting paid for the value of his product.” Says associate producer Johnny Blue, King’s cousin. Yes, it’s a family affair, which makes it all the more endearing. “Every time you see it you’re gonna love it more.” he adds. Cult classic in the making? I’m not sure, that would be up to the support of people like you and me. But I have a really good feeling about it.
Newlyweeds will be playing at Film Forum in NYC through October 8th. Go to www.filmforum.com for showtimes and tickets.
Don’t call this a film review. It’s more about how I internally processed this product of emulsion of blood, sweat, and tears.
The Triptych (dir. Terence Nance, 2012) highlights the work of artists Sanford Biggers, Wangechi Mutu and Barron Claiborne. It was screened at the Studio Museum of Harlem on August 9, 2013 for Uptown Fridays: No Filter.
I missed the first artist. I was having a drink, on a friend. It had a sprig of thyme in it. However, read on because there is still something to be gleaned from what I did see, and how it affected/challenged me.
Her work is pensive and multi textural /”multi species”, as she somewhat put it. What I do appreciate is that she uses the female image quite often. The only subject I ever used in my college art class was the nude black female body, so I could identify with that.
Being an artist myself (writer/singer), but not an art intellectual, (Cooper Union was the bedrock of Wagenchi’s art school knowledge), I have to say the work was…profound. So profound that I just didn’t get it. Maybe I was too base (chakra), too horny to understand what it all meant.
I like the scenes best where she was filmed at the studio and at school, I feel she was freer there. I enjoyed hearing her speak about her life. It was more relatable to me.
She spoke of wanting to have a crush on everything. Not wanting to know what’s going to happen next. That typifies my life, or what’s left of it. I don’t know I’m not really in the BEST place right now. I’m a point where I’ve just had to give it all up and just wait for the chips to fall where they may. So excuse my rawness. But for some reason I’m struggling to know why it’s important to me, why her work matters and why I’m even writing notes on her. I guess I’m “trying too hard” to get it. As Wagenchi said, “loving art is letting go.” Hmm, synchronicity. ‘Cause that is exactly where I am in my life. There aren’t really any more fucks to give.
I remember him. He actually took test shots of me last summer for a project he was supposed to do, back when I was going hard trying to be a nude model. He never got back to me, and for many a month that day had slipped from my memory.
He’s more vocal, his speech is clear and theatrical. Wagenchi was poetic, ethereal, and harder to follow.
He’s cool. When I was there, at his home studio, he served me tea. How can you not like someone who serves you tea?
The crowd thoroughly enjoyed his rant on the music industry and the difference in treatment of Whites and Blacks. “Race” seemed to be a theme in his segment of the film, understandably considering his work.
Watching him take pictures there, I remembered his process…I remember the background and how he never seemed to stop talking while he worked. With his words, he teaches, through stories. He’s kind of like a griot. But yet, there was stillness. Maybe I was nervous, so maybe I was quiet. And I’m never quiet.
“No one’s life is this miserable,” he says of characters in books like “Black Boy,” as the pages of all the typical books on black life we are made to read in school slowly curl into flames. Yes, some genius (and I do NOT mean that sarcastically) decided to blasphemously burn black classics (evil grin), and Barron’s voice is the soundtrack to that. Ironically, the crowd kind of roared with laughter. I always thought we humans were sick. (Yet somehow, innocent.)
As he paints his skin white, Barron tells that the NY Times never gave him assignments based on race until they realized he was Black, then they only gave him Black people to shoot. “Because they don’t see you as a Universal person.”
His work is so moving. It made my pussy wet. He shoots Black men in a way in which he wants them to look beautiful, their “true essence.”
The film ended with him swinging around his wand like he would a wand was the last scene.
It’s mass appeal balanced the first part of the film.
Oh shit. He’s fucking here.
I nervously stood and asked the first question to what felt like the Rat Pack of independent art films. “What ever happened to the piece I did a test shoot for?”
Barron’s response, “I’ve been taking pictures since I was ten, so sometimes I take pictures over a period of 2 to even 25 years.”
It’s important to note that in my question I slipped in there that I am a journalist and I still wanna be a nude model. I heard gasps. I wanted to repeat myself.
Someone on the panel said that Barron’s work is the most influential in terms of normalizing Black skin; someone else added that he subtly adds cliché notions of black skin in his work. “It is about color,” Barron frankly responds, adding, “I always admired artists who made their own kind of world and people still get it.” We got you, Barron. In more ways than you might even imagine.