by LaNesha DeBardelaben
From a global pandemic to a renewed focus on social justice, many have suggested that historians will one day look back on 2020 as a turning point for our nation. Turning points can spark much-needed progressive change, but only if we cultivate it, educate our communities, and hold decision makers accountable.
The past year made it painfully clear that some of the very institutions designed to keep neighborhoods and communities safe and healthy are failing People of Color.
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored health care disparities that put People of Color at greater risk. The COVID-19 death rate among Black people is 1.4 times higher than among white people, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. In King County, data shows that confirmed cases, hospitalized cases, and deaths due to COVID-19 are all higher within communities of color than for white residents. Data also shows racial disparities in the national distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations, with Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and deaths and compared to their shares of the total population in most states. As Seattle physician Dr. Ben Danielson noted at a recent conversation that we hosted at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), “This is about more than science; this is about us.”
Continue reading OPINION: The Teachings of Malcolm X Can Guide Our Path to Greater Equity
by Lisa Edge
In Lisa Myers Bulmash’s home, a new item commemorates her contest winner status — a cerulean pageant sash. The phrase “Miss Thang 2021” is written across it, and a rhinestone-encrusted safety pin ensures it stays in place. Bulmash can’t help but laugh when she talks about her husband’s playful gift.
Continue reading Lisa Myers Bulmash: the DNA and Soul of Black Art in Seattle
by Beverly Aarons
“What happens if we regard each other as powerful beings?” That’s Natasha Marin’s essential question in “Black Imagination: Sites of Power,” a virtual exhibition/experience originally slated to open at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) pre-pandemic. “I’m thinking about individuals as power conduits,” Marin said during our telephone interview. But in mainstream society, Black existence is not contextualized within the framework of power — not in the media, not in the movies, books, or games. “How does that change?” Marin asked. “How can we hear each other?”
Continue reading Black Imagination: Sites of Power, a Conversation With Natasha Marin
by M. Anthony Davis
Last night, Seattle Arts & Lectures in partnership with the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas hosted a virtual lecture with Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham to promote their co-edited new book Black Futures.
The lecture itself was a robust conversation about the writers’ journey curating this eclectic anthology and their experiences stepping into the realm of being editors for the first time. As a writer myself, it was especially interesting to hear about the dynamics of being on the opposite side of pressing due dates and having to tackle tasks like heavy cuts to pieces submitted by contributors.
Continue reading ‘Black Futures’: A Timeless Capture of What It Means to Be Black and Alive
by Vivian Hua 華婷婷
(This article first ran in REDEFINE Magazine and appears under a co-publishing agreement.)
Speak to Renton-based visual artist barry johnson for any substantial amount of time, and one quickly understands why his latest catchphrase, “anything is anything,” has become an overarching mantra. As johnson explains, “Because I’m a self-taught artist, [the phrase] gives me freedom …”
“anything is anything” was the title of johnson’s first solo art show at Tacoma’s Alma Mater in August 2019, and is now the title of his weekly podcast on “the origins of myths, idioms, stories, and nonsense.” Both offer tiny glimpses into johnson’s varied interests and atraditional way of moving through traditional art spaces, which has led to an art practice that includes numerous mediums, from painting and architecture to performance and film — all with a focus on Black communities.
Continue reading barry johnson Artist Interview: “anything is anything” Can Become Structural Change