Uncommon Realist Dot Com w/ BbRush

I had a moment to sit and interview with journalist, photographer , awesome woman Shae McCoy. Founder of uncommon realist. I’m gonna share her photos and post our interview below. Really happy how this came out. Thankful that she took the time to talk to me.  Enjoy!

[The Uncommon Creatives] Interview with Bobbi Rush

 

Photo Credit: Shae McCoy

 

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A Night In A Life.

It’s Wednesday April 24th 2019. Myself and hundreds of other guests stood in a line that wrapped around The Baltimore Museum of Art. I believe we all showed up to be inspired and have a good time. Tonight, The Baltimore Museum of Art would be presenting their fourth installment of a public program series titled : The Necessity of Tomorrow(s), “a conversation series on art, race, social justice, and imagining the future(s) we want”. 

Prior to tonight, Chris Bedford, BMA Director of two and a half years hosted this event with Artist Mark Bradford, Author and Journalist Te- Nihisi Coates, and Conceptual Artist Hank Willis Thomas. Tonight, we’d be hearing from Visual Artist Mickalene Thomas and Film Director, rapper and activist Boots Riley. 

The Baltimore Museum of Art has never been this diverse when it comes to black artists. Not this many. There’s always one or two, to show that they’re including us, but this was a lot of black people. Outside of the nationally known artists they’d be conversing with this evening, they invited a list of local, growing black performers from Baltimore. The opening acts of the program were Randi Withani and Infinity Knives with David Jacober. Blaqstarr, Al Rogers, Cheyanne Zadia, Josh Stokes, Troy Long and Brandon Woody played a show after the conversation segment. 

The reasons we showed up is because we all were there. Chris Bedford opened the conversation asking, “What are you trying to do to history with your work?”. Both Boots and Mickalene had similar responses, representation. Mickalene replies, “family and personal relationships play a huge part in my history’s and my history at the moment and living within the world that I navigate. I wasn’t seeing myself represented in a way that I knew the women in my life were, and wanting to really claim those spaces”. 

I believe I speak for every black artist and creator sitting in the Meyerhoff auditorium, walking the heavily guarded halls of the Baltimore Museum of Art, we were there because black Art was so heavily represented. Before opening your mouth, it’s what we see. 

As the night continued, I mingled through the rooms, greeting friends, looking at the art. Drinks were provided by Gertrude’s, along with an open buffet provided by BlackSauce Kitchen, a mobile food business based in Baltimore. The food was incredible. I ate so much fried kale and lamb fried rice and sipped on a rum punch that made me a flirty girl all evening. I found myself at a photo booth with no line. Like anyone in their right mind, I had a photo shoot. It was an awesome night. 

I think it was a learning experience for us as well as the folks at The Baltimore Museum of Art. How we both can be in spaces together without the discomfort. I have hope that things will get better. I will leave off with this thought. I see a space for black artists, creators, and thinkers that isn’t tampered with. A space essential to all our tomorrows. One where we aren’t analyzed like science projects or being watched like wild animals or thieves. I ask this question to white folks and white institutions, what do you want from black people? Do you want to understand them? Or do you want to regulate what you can’t and simply won’t understand ?

Considering also, these spaces don’t have to have us and we don’t have to be there either. So it’s a huge leap, what the BMA is doing. I do hope they keep good intentions and continue to grow. 

 

Below are some candid shots from my view.

 

 

 

Giving Voice.

We Speak For Ourselves 

A Word From Forgotten Black America

By: D. Watkins

April 15, 2019

Personal Essay by : BobbiRush

Speaking For Ourselves. Rediscovering Our Power.

The more I walk through Baltimore, I understand that forgotten Black America isn’t just poor black people. It’s not just black people who don’t have access to the best education, fair opportunities to work or survive. Forgotten black America is also the abandoned homes that we are surrounded by. Beautiful empty spaces that we can’t fill. It’s the addicts on the corner, who are or could be our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, barely standing but never falling. Everything around us, that we’re told is ours, is dilapidated, burned down, vacant or being renovated and filled with white people or other. Not us, folks who look like, feel like or care about us. 

These unfilled spaces serve as reminders to keep us down and discouraged. Everything around us starts to feel like nothing, like there’s no hope or growth. The mind believes what it sees and becomes the person. Our neighborhoods have become nowhere for us to go. 

D. Watkins will release a book titled, ‘We Speak For Ourselves. A Word From Forgotten Black America’. He shines light on the useless and gives it meaning with facts of our history. He speaks about our resilience and also our disadvantages in this corrupt, white system. ‘The Tradition Of Failure’ – Chapter 4 page 34. “Blacks have been in America since 1619 and received virtually no schooling until  after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. That is a 244 year head start given to whites–244 years of exposure to scientific thought, hundreds of years to discover the power of books and reading and shape dreams into reality”. We still have not recovered from what has taken place within that 244 year head start. Will we ever? My brain and my heart immediately opened up with this new knowledge about myself, my folks. 

Today, D. Watkins has my attention.

I instantly wanted to do more. I kept on reading the book. Prior to this, I’d only listened to the voices of black women writers.  I wondered why people liked D. Watkins, or held space for what he had to say. I found that its not just what he says, but how he says it that really grabs you. He’s funny, honest, smart mouthed, but serious and very intelligent. He’s every Baltimore child. Which is why so many students cling to him.

We see ourselves when we read his words, and we aren’t bored when he teaches us history through his writing. We are interested, eager and want to do more for ourselves and the  people that we love. 

‘Be The Person You Needed growing Up’ – Chapter 13 page 157. “The Coldest Winter Ever opened up my mind and led me to consume more and more books. My thoughts changed. I developed new ideas. I was forever transformed. Within months I went from being a guy who solved problems by breaking a bottle over someone’s forehead to using solution-based thinking when resolving issues. It was as if reading instantly civilized me. It also made me acknowledge the need for culturally relevant material. Familiar information is less intimidating. And if it worked for me, I believe it can work for anybody”. 

What I love most about this book is that D. Watkins honors the power of reading, and the power of the mind. All it takes is the right book and you’ve set a fire in the hearts of so many. This is why schools and students can’t get enough of his books, his voice. ‘We Speak For Ourselves”, I must admit is my first D. Watkins reading. I was fortunate enough to shadow and interview him before reading the book, which made me even more excited to get into it. D. Watkins sees potential in us all. Students, writers, aspiring creators, he supports us. Whether it be book suggestions or dropping knowledge during a conversation, he’s helpful. 

This book We Speak For Ourselves is broken into four parts and holds 15 chapters. Its about people who are no longer taking whats given. D. Watkins sees us, says yes we can have it and shows us how. He shows us ourselves. We’re positioning ourselves to have it, by creating it through the power of our minds. Speaking for ourselves takes encouragement, nerve, real knowledge and gut. This book speaks to the heart of gut, the heart of nerve and the heart of knowledge which is the mind.

 

Much love to D. Watkins for his time.

Stay in touch :

IG: @DWatkinsworld

 

 

Flowers.

Parents can also be oppressors.

When the child lives or is creating a new found reality of their own, it shows on them like holes in ripped jeans.

It becomes them. Their language , their sound. The eye roll, the distance.

For their parents , only fear. Sometimes envy or anger, but fear. Of not having control or the thought of losing control. That which does not exist – Or won’t exist.

The child will be as a seed in this new garden. No matter how, it will grow.

In harmony or discord – an inevitable growth will take place.

For the sower and the seed.

A “why”.

Pussy- simply because , woman.

To me.

A girl – growing, not yet grown.

A girl in a woman speaking to her self how to be well and be alone.

How to stay sweet while strong.

Being strong is to be taught lessons.

Lessons have the potential to harden.

Pussy is a warm place.