It’s no doubt that the grant process is frustrating, especially when most recipients look nothing like me… a woman of color. On the other hand, grants focused on supporting artist of color make it very clear that the “artist” work should encompass the “black experience”.
But I am the black experience.
I am the black experience when I step out into the world and I am judged FIRST based on the color of my skin and not my talents. I am the black experience when I’m constantly in the position of having to fight for my children to be treated equally in a public school institution. I am the black experience when I am in fear and question if my husband will safely return home after a “routine traffic stop”. I am the black experience when I live in a system created against people who look like me.
And my list goes on…
Although I wish the grant process… well life in general, wasn’t biased, it is my unfortunate reality. When I apply, though I do my best and hope for a great outcome, I know that most likely the “look” of the grantees won’t change.
Then on the other end of the spectrum, some of the organizations that fund projects by artist of color has a specific criteria. The topic of focus should include slavery, racial injustice, police brutality, immigration, etc. Is that all the black experience encompasses?
In this case, my work is too black for one… not black enough for the other… and a box I simply can’t fit in.
Does this mean I change the direction of my work? Absolutely not. Although this isn’t the case for all organizations, it is evident that I have to continue working 3 times as hard. But not to worry. I get what I set my mind to. Nonetheless, I do look forward to the day when more opportunities live outside the box. Who knows? I may just start something new… in due time.
You can help me finish my documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair.
Join me as I present my research behind my project, meet the women who participated and take part in a Q&A. Book signing to follow.
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Busboys and Poets
5311 Baltimore Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20781
There will be an open menu for food and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Tickets are $10. Proceeds from tickets sales will go towards the finishing funds for my film.