The protests and violence disrupting our communities are signs that we need a new vision for society. We are ready for a new way to be Americans and people of faith and goodwill together — it’s long past time for us to make that new world a reality.
One way to see what it takes to build that new world can be glimpsed in the efforts of black artists who have been leading us in that direction for a long time. Here are three artists who have been using their craft to explicitly confront racism. Witnessing their work will allow us to imagine it for ourselves — and by imagining it, start to do it.
LA-based artist Miles Regis creates art for social justice and to bring about change. It’s not just paint, and it’s not just anger — Miles’s work transcends both.
“There’s a lot to be angry about,” Miles says. “I’m not gonna apologize for expressing my truth. At the end of the day, that’s what an artist needs to do.”
David Bailey founded the Urban Doxology Songwriting Internship to invest in young people and create new culture by helping them write songs that facilitate healing and justice. They write songs of healing, songs of hope, songs that will help to bring people together in unity.
“We have two choices: either we could be a part of the problem or we can be part of the solution,” David says. “And each of us has a piece to play and therefore we work together and create a beautiful picture of what we hope to see in the world.”
Ayana Baraka is the creator of an upcoming historical film about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Filmed on the actual Greenwood Avenue, this film is both a way to preserve history and bring healing. In fact, Ayana just released the virtual reality project to YouTube.
“When you film on the land with the ancestors of folks who were murdered or who survived, it resonated,” Ayana says. “And I think that was powerful, and that was the best takeaway.”
We know that sharing stories is a key part of the transformation we need to undergo. We need to seek out and embrace stories of people exposing inequality and meeting it with representation. It’s not enough to do only that, but it is a start.