Adapting through Voice and Authority

Throughout the past few classes of Dr. McCoy’s African-American Literature class, we have been talking a lot about authority, originality, and voice. This has gotten me to start thinking about Harriet Jacob and Frederick Douglass’ stories in Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition. Jacob and Douglass both told their stories about their own lives through slavery, and how they may have changed their story to grab a certain audience’s attention. Douglass and Jacob use their voice to show their audiences about their own experiences and what happened during that time by telling their stories. Continue reading “Adapting through Voice and Authority”

Labels: Necessary or a Nuisance?

When it comes to the human race, we have a tendency to create hierarchies amongst ourselves to get further ahead in society, so to speak. The etymology of the word label comes from Old French meaning “narrow band or strip of cloth,” or “lapp” in Germanic.” In our class discussion last week Monday, we talked about the difference between an author and a writer, then we went over Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1781) which made we question, “what is the significance of labels, other than differentiating one thing from another?” I am well aware that I might not receive a concrete answer to this question, but at least I can put it out there for others to contemplate as well.

Side note: I will be discussing race and ethnicity with examples from Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1781). Even though I won’t be going that much into detail, I would like to forewarn what can be expected in this blog.

Continue reading “Labels: Necessary or a Nuisance?”

My Pivot Is So Strong

As my previous blog post discusses noticing, a concept that I observed in “African-American Women’s Quilting” by Elsa Barkley Brown was the statement: pivot the center. Pivoting the center entails understanding one’s self first and in that sense, the ability to identify and classify self-awareness. By first being able to identify one’s own strength, weaknesses, and prior background experiences, would then only one be comfortable and confident enough in their identity. When there is an element of uncertainty in terms of one’s identity, a lack of confidence and direction can be felt. A great deal of self-awareness may occur in this process as at times, an identity may have to deal with the balancing of two different systems: one at home and one at school, for example.

Continue reading “My Pivot Is So Strong”

The Price

A history permanently erased is not enough to question who I am, for who I am is more than my history. However my history does play a role as to why I am here. And then there is the question to why am I here?  A question that will probably remain unanswered by the end of this post and time  itself. I had recently come into contact with two artist that had taught me to look at line and space in unimaginable ways. There is the literal sense of looking at space and line as they surround you. And then there is that of the imaginary lines and space in which we use to limit or extend ourselves.

My history connects to imaginary space and line as to explain that I’ve been taught as my parents before me have been taught to think in a particular manor. To never go outside the lines, and to go around such space. Growing up in America I have become spoiled yet hindered in the way that I think, and that is not to just blame the country. My hindrance is in part my own responsibility. But it does not become hard to blame another identity for your restraints. Especially when in part they hold some responsibility. The idea of America’s biggest mistake, slavery, being something to confront, gives us a power like no other. We are able to acknowledge at least out loud that the damaging and genocide of innocent people were and is wrong. But we later think after confronting such issues what do we do? After the struggle what is there? I find it hard to celebrate when the consequences are so severe. Trauma is lasting generations affecting our mental health and what are we to do? How do we move on when moving on doesn’t always feel right? 

As a first year student I am struggling to find out who I am as a person and what my purpose is, all I have come up with so far is uncertainty. I have tried to look into history to see that all that has been done, the fighting, and protesting, and the endurance of lost and discrimination are sacrifices that I am reaping the benefits of. There is a guilt of not paying that sacrifice the justice that it deserves. But I can assume that not knowing, and having that freedom to exercise uncertainty is to in a way pay such sacrifice a thank you. And to be welcoming to the idea that history however ugly and blotchy it may be, the acts of fighting and continuous fighting were made for such benefits and should be celebrated. While looking at the work of Steve Prince, particularly Urban Mix-tape I was able to see the in-clarity in our history as African Americans. But I was also able to see clearly what came out of such a dark error, and era. And I think in time, although it will prove difficult I will be able to see the beauty in it somewhere.


Image result for steve prince the artist the art work with the Dj

(Fertile Mind by Steve Prince)

Art and Discipline

Art and discipline are akin; these two branches of expression and practice

I could not use my original image, so I substituted this one.

work together in order to produce structure and allow the expression of an idea through that structure. Some may believe it obvious: art and discipline’s interdependence, but the two are often described as  completely different forms. The typical connotations associated with discipline and art are strict regulation and extremely liberal and raw expression with little form, respectively.

I was once aware of both the detachment and coalition of art and discipline, conscious that the two were related somehow,  but I was unaware of how different and how indifferent they were. I recognized that an artist needs practice to better their ability of expression through a medium, but I was not aware of the rules and absolute structure that stopped art from actually being “raw expression” with little form. Concepts like lighting, the horizon line, and perspective are essential parts of the foundation needed for the creation of a proper composition in an area like visual arts; artists follow these basic rule to connect their art and simultaneously explore the options and possibility surrounding these rules. Continue reading “Art and Discipline”

From Apprehension to Eagerness

When I first walked into our classroom, I was intimidated. I know nothing about art, but here I am in a class called the Art of Steve Prince. As the class began my feelings did not improve. Instead, it intensified when the class broke into smaller groups to analyze Steve Prince’s art. I did not know what I was supposed to look at and what to say about it. When class concluded I was wondering if I made the right decision of enrolling into the course. However, what made everything click was Steve Prince visiting SUNY Geneseo.

Continue reading “From Apprehension to Eagerness”

The More You Know

It’s honestly wild how little I knew about really any African culture or history. Lookin at you, US education system.

This semester, I’m taking a class, The Art of Steve Prince. Steve Prince is an artist, or in his words, an art evangelist. His passion lies in community art projects, and most recently, he assigned one of those projects to the students of Geneseo. Ironically, I got super sick right before, and missed that entire project. I have however, gotten to see the end result. The project is called Urban Garden, and it featured three walls turned into a mural. One side, representing the worst in humanity, the struggles of the oppressed. The mural on the opposing wall represents the best of humanity, the passion for strength and justice. The mural was beautiful, one of the nicest things was to see friends looking at each other’s work and saying, “Oh you must’ve done this, I love it!”

While I missed Steve Prince’s lecture and art project, I was able to read the article, “The Kongo Cosmogram” and the Flash of the Spirit Jism. Never have I learned so much about African culture, specifically the Kongo. These articles/chapters went into how the people from the Kongo influenced culture in the Americas. In the US, Kongo culture influenced current slang in the English language, such as words like ‘funk’, and ‘jizz’ and ‘goofer’. Interestingly, goofer is connected to conjure-work, “Goofer Dust” refers to the Ki-Kongo verb, “kufwa”, the dirt from a grave, and is used in charm. Earth from a grave is regarded as one with the spirit of the buried. The information in these passages was interesting to learn about, but by far, the most inspiring thing about them was the resilience of the people of the Kongo. They refused to let their culture die, and now it has influenced modern life for people all around the world.

Recursion in Hollywood

The past few classes have sparked me to think about the concept of originality, particularly when it comes to Hollywood with films and television. Ask yourself- how many films or TV shows have you seen that are original ideas and were made in recent years? The answer probably isn’t many. Many of the things produced today are based off of other people’s stories. This can include other writers’ books, following similar plot lines of previous works, other people’s life experiences or are simply sequels or remakes to a successful film of the past. In the simplest terms there aren’t many original pieces of entertainment being produced today. Hollywood is trying to imitate what has worked in the past. Continue reading “Recursion in Hollywood”