Friday, March 22, 2019
The Provocateurs Series kicks off at the California African American Museum
By Contributing writer Darralynn Hutson
Published December 1, 2017

Author Walter Mosley addresses the audience during the CAAM and Black Lives Matter speakers series The Provacatuers in collaboration with the WE WANTED A REVOLUTION: BLACK RADICAL WOMEN EXHIBITION

We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women Exhibition with the Black Lives Matter Network

I can rightfully say that the Black Lives Matter activist movement is one of the most poignant and successful responses to unjust police brutality in America history. Often known for their peaceful marches and protests, healing toolkits and take action persona, it’s hard to remember that the movement was started by a small group of artists. Namely, three female artists that just wanted to express their frustrations to the masses in a productive and creative way. Last week, members of their Black Lives Matter California, Detroit and Montreal, Canada chapters celebrated that dialogue amongst artists that have made an impact on today’s culture. In partnership with the California African American Museum’s We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women’s exhibit, the conversation included Author, Walter Mosley, artist Emory Douglas, the infamous Artist and former Black Panther Party Minister of Culture who created the “Pig” image for the police, sculptor Maren Hassinger, Playright, Sarah Jones and spoken word/performing artist  Staceyann Chin, along with DJ, Lynnée Denise and dancers, Miss Prissy, “Queen Krump” and Shamell Bell.

“The vision behind “The Provocateurs” series to continue to build communication with the artistic community. We have the artists of today, kind of sitting at the feet and learning from the master teachers,” says Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter movement in 2013. “We’re in a wokeness and giving back is freedom. These artists are reaching back and feeding our #BLM network with their work and their voices. This isn’t a VIP situation, we’re all together, all learning from each other. That’s the idea.”

Produced in conjunction with the exhibition, “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women,” 1965–85, the series aims to share how artists practice to engage political or social concepts and challenge the establishment. The exhibition will be on display at CAAM October 13, 2017-January 14, 2018.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors introduces the audience to the evening speakers of Provocateurs at the CAAM

“We’re still challenging the establishment and acknowledging that art has always played a huge part in any cultural revolution,” believes John Sloan, Detroit Chapter of Black Lives Matter organizer supporting the series in Los Angeles. “Detroit is still the smallest big city and we share our own unique set of challenges with colonization and gentrification but artists are still connected to action. We’re obligated to stay connected to the community yet give voice to the struggle.”

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors introduces the audience to the evening speakers of Provocateurs at the CAAM

Events and series such as “The Provocateurs” serve to identify the numerous artists are striving to create radical social change through their work. Including renounced artists like Walter Mosley who shared his latest work with the crowd after sharing his vision of radical art. “Creating art within the radical framework can potentially be a weapon of mass destruction,” Mosley sharing with the audience. “We expose the core of life and because our fight for freedom and justice is complicated we think we can see an exit sign when no exit has been declared.”

Held before a diverse audience of artists and artists supporters alike, “The Provocateurs” series was filmed live and is now a part of the larger a creative video series featuring award winning performers, authors, visual artists and other established creatives known for their passionate abilities to interweave politically radical social change into their work.


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