Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors hosted an event at Second Home L.A. where she expressed her thoughts on Black artists and showcased her ‘Harriet’ piece.
Damon Turner curated the panel, and they held a family conversation discussing Black culture, mental health, building tribes, regaining your power, and more.
Patrisse, who found her calling at a young age, inspires the community to find their power by connecting with people who remind you of your greatness. Cullors also spoke about the challenges of growing up the Black sheep in her family.
Cullors stated how her grandmother planted a seed of power within, and shortly after, she realized the power of her artwork.
Second Home L.A. reached out and asked Cullors to put a piece in their space. “The moment they asked, I knew it was going to be Harriet’s last words,” says Cullors regarding her artwork.
Harriet Tubman is one of Patrisse’s obsessions, and she has a piece named ‘Harriet.’ She dedicated it to people who are imagining a new world and fighting for one every day. Cullors states her artwork is geared towards our descendants and healing our ancestral trauma.
“All art is political,” says the BLM co-founder. Everything Cullors is involved with tends to focus on the mission to get free.
According to Cullors, all she did was think about Black people’s freedom ever since she was young. “The first book I got my hands on was about the Civil Rights movement.”
A chart towards freedom is something that people will always see in her work, says Cullors. She believes every Black artist’s work is centered around freedom because we are not free. Cullors says Black art is healing work and challenges trauma.
“It does something to you psychologically and spiritually, and it does something to your work. If you watch the Black artists movement, their work is always brilliant. The only reason it becomes political is because of White supremacy.”
Cullors says she was born into a family she loves and adores, but they are not her chosen family. “I needed to find people like me. Some people are born into families where they know that’s their tribe. That wasn’t the case for me. I have to work to be in communication with my blood family. I’m very different from them. I needed people like me.”
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The BLM co-founder notes that all the work she does comes from a place of spirit. “I was born into a very religious family, and I feel like God shouldn’t be in a category. God is everywhere, and God is me. So much of the work that I do is reminding folks that we have God inside of us as well. What we do is in connection with the spirit.”
Black people are in a county where we are just surviving, but we deserve to thrive, says Cullors. “Part of being an artist is reminding me that I deserve to thrive as well.”
Cullors reminded the guests that Black art helps activate your power to change the external systems so that we can collectively be powerful.
“Black artists and creatives have been exploited because of capitalism. So part of the work we’re doing is disrupting capitalism.”
Patrisse tells the L.A. Sentinel, “Part of what it means to be a Black artist in our full power is also disrupting a system of capitalism that has continued to us.”