Let’s make America great again. And no, Trump, I don’t mean you. Just within the past few months that I’ve been home for summer lay-off, it seems that the delicate balance of things has shifted tremendously. The current social climate is like one large Jenga game; each day another piece is removed and a loud collapse seems imminent. The upcoming election, police brutality, terrorist attacks overseas and around the corner, another innocent life lost, PokemonGo. It’s absolute madness. It’s easy to feel angry, overwhelmed and helpless. We know the system is broken but are we powerful enough to fix it? Every time I watch the news or open up social media, the body count of innocent lives lost is daunting. I stare at the screen, terrified and confused, and ask myself what can we do? What can I do? What the &%^!* are we going to do? The collective “we” being my friends, my generation, my fellow artists, young professionals hyper-aware of current events and the heightened hysteria and misinformation spread by the mass media agenda. As the summer days wiz by, and the daily news remains grim, I realized that there is something we can do.
I walked into a small art gallery in Harlem last weekend to support a friend DJing. I thought it would be a typical gallery showing, a wine and cheese schmooze event with some light jazz playing softly in the background. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Artists and performers from Broadway shows, professional dancers and singers, visual artists and friends gathered to observe and take part in a performance inspired by recent current events. The performance I witnessed was both tear-jerking and powerful. The art on the wall showed faces of innocent children who were victims of police gunfire. It showed the chaos and madness of peaceful protests that ended violently, and a mother blind to the horrors only her young son can see. The lyrics of the poetry and songs cried out for justice, unity and change. People of every color and background were listening, mesmerized.
Artist: Dáreece J. Walker
Art heals. Art unites.
Many of the artists who participated at the Long Gallery event in Harlem have been using their craft to create change for years. Organized by Broadway and film star Daniel J. Watts, the group refers to themselves as The Innerview. They sang in solidarity down 42nd after the death of Eric Garner, and they sang out in solidarity last weekend for the countless lives that have been lost since. Their art, just like all art, has the ability to bring people of all walks of life together. Art is the universal language that can gather people of different races, religions and cultures under one roof. As artists, especially these days, we have to use our voices to make a positive change. I promise you, people will listen….my pointe exactly.
“Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees” -Marcel Proust