We are losing sight of civility in government and politics. Debate and dialogue is taking a back seat to the politics of destruction and anger and control. Dogma has replaced thoughtful discussion between people of differing views.
- James McGreevey

My Existence is Social Justice

As a black artist, I often feel expected to create work that engages with the social issues of that aspect of my identity. I recognize the need for the work, especially with the heightened attention brought to the greater community about the pre-existing circumstances of living with a visible black identity. Today is the perfect time to capitalize on this discourse and make work that engages with and supports it. However, I couldn't do it. I mean I could do it if I tried but my artistic soul is not pulling me towards subject matters that would be deemed as particularly socially provocative. This frustrated me to no end. I'm black why am I not drawn to make this work when I am drawn to this work. I love to view it and talk about it! Why can't I make it? Isn't it my responsibility as a black artist to make this work? This thought process was becoming self-destructive so I decided to reevaluate and ask questions of my questions. Who am I responsible to? What is social justice work? What is my social justice work? I concluded that I am responsible for myself before anyone else. If I am manufacturing work to fit in an expectation then I am oppressing my artistic soul and insulting the people I would be inevitably imitating. On the questions of "What is social justice?" and "What is my social justice work" I decided that social justice is whatever I deem to be in the effort of the progress for myself and my community and with that logic everything I make is social justice and in fact my existence is social justice. My existence as an active, black, and educated artist is a direct attack on the systems and powers in place moving to erase the voice of my people. Art defines culture, and culture is at the heart of how we operate as a society. Therefore, artists have the power to define how society functions. What is social justice other than actively challenging the way society functions? This is the power of art fully realized. Art fully realized is work that has leverage that penetrates the forces that contribute to the functions of society. It creates culture. Culture that has control over companies like apple, google, universal music group, Facebook, etc. Their products and content are at the core of our daily lives so much that we act in a pattern that is compatible with the form they create. This is evidenced by how much we rely on iPhones and apps for navigation, music, file storage, etc.. So... How deep does my process have to be, how authentic, how vulnerable, and how invested do I have to be to make work that can be as important and relevant to this day and age as the iPhone. And how could I possibly reach and ultimate level in myself if I'm worried about expectations? Fuck expectations. I’m a black artist and the art I make is black art. My work is social justice. My existence is social justice, and my existence in this time will be seminal and my legacy will be revolutionary.

Antiquated Elections: Validity vs Virtue