My Right to Fight as an Artist

Sam Page, Columnist • cjpage15@ehc.edu

haileyelliswomen'smarch

Photo by Hailey Ellis

 

I am an artist. An artist with a purpose. I’d also consider myself an activist. I think it’s important to say that I’m both because so often, there is a disconnect between the two. I am allowed to be an activist in this world, but God forbid I let my beliefs spill into my art. MY art. The art that runs through me like lightning through a Redwood and back out into the world in different shapes and forms I never really knew possible. Truth be told, my art is littered with what I believe, but some world rather I didn’t speak out in my requiems, or take a stand in my coupe turns.

I heard once from a man in power that artists had no right to ask for social justice but tell that to Chance and Bey who are fighting for my people everyday. Tell that Laverne who won’t let trans lives be forgotten are looked over. Tell that to me, a person that uses the experiences of some  to tell the stories of many. Lorranie Hansberry said, “when we reach the specific, that is where universality lives.”

I live by such a quote because There are those who believe that I, a poor, brown, and gay artist living on a predominantly white campus, in predominantly white southwest Virginia, have a story too niche or too specific for anyone to relate to. But is that not the essence of compassion and understanding? Taking that which you find no relation and seeking out a home within that story? Do you know what happens to a dream deferred? Neither do I, but don’t expect me to shut up before I figure it out.

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