week 17 // 2016

Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour. Check your thoughts, attitude + heart.

I wince. Stifle a sigh.

Surely even over the phone you could hear my eyes close to cool the burn of incessant tears.

At this point, we both know an “I’m ok” is insufficient.

Matter of fact, a blatant lie.

Just days after you threaten to stop your own heart from beating.

You’ve always had this shoulder, these legs to hold you up, this heart to cry on. So why deny my hand so we can walk through hell together? Again. Why wait until you’re bursting, suffocating, drowning… and there are no arms long enough to pull you out?

So freely the L word flows when you’re ready to go, but no word on why. Why now? What’s wrong?

How many more conversations will start with evasion and end with denial? Should I stop asking how you’re doing, Liar? I care so I keep asking ..only to be stung. I don’t like being stung.

I wince. Silently sigh. Surely you can hear my eyes squeeze shut to cool the burn of incessant tears.

If you really wanted to end it all, you would have done it. No need to express your love for the last time. Make a liar out of me, Liar, and just do it. Let us find your body and weep for you.

But that’s not your style.

Instead you send out a warning shot to see who runs. Who proves they love you enough to make you want to give life another go.

But to answer you again, yes.

YES.

God, yes.

My selfish heart would ache for the loss of you. But it surely aches now for the fact that you know I can see through your masks of lies and lifeless smiles…

yet you continue to fix your lips to say “I’m ok.”


This piece was written with an old friend in mind who was contemplating suicide. I wrote it a few months ago, revised it a few hours ago + finally decided to share. These are just my honest words of love, frustration and helplessness inspired by this excerpt from Koko Boocro:

We hide behind the masks we wear from things we fear to acknowledge and reveal.

Black Art Matters

 

Ndidi Emefiele

ndi3

Ndidi Emefiele is a young talent from Nigeria. Having graduated from Delta State University in Abraka, she is now furthering her studies with a MFA at the Slade School of Art at UCL in London. Her work has charmed the public of 1:54 art fair’s third edition, and her pictures are hard to forget. Using discarded materials, fabric and found objects, she depicts expressive characters with spectacles and sunglasses constructed out of discarded CDs, which shiny surface creates a game between light and color. Encounter with a discerning artist:

My work is personal in the sense that I create art from personal experiences lived out or from those around me. I could decide to focus on a present issue or draw attention to an anomaly in that current space. I have lived with females for the most part of my life, having all sisters we would always engage in conversations that boarded on the feminine existence and what it meant to be female particularly in where we lived. Gradually the focus of my work began to shift from exploring landscapes to raising questions and high lighting some of these issues, such as the commodification of women in the northern part of my country. It was a very constricting and difficult space for a woman, as she is often confronted with pressures from family, culture, society, economic and religious groups and all demanding disparate dictations.

My media has become my means to protest.

The exaggerated heads are symbolic, particularly in the western part of Nigeria, where sculptural heads are depicted larger than they appear and embedded with cultural meanings. The head is called the “Ori” and it is considered the most important part of the body, regarded as the ‘locus of the ase of olodumare‘. The head is said to control a person’s destiny. My work is a combination of many things including culture. The glasses are my strategy to give the female some form of protection. It is that curtain, a veil, a mask behind which she masters the art of mobility, she is learning to work the alchemy of dissolving the hard conditions in which she finds herself. They have become a mark of identity, but also an element of style. source

ndi4

artwork ©Ndidi Emefiele

week 16 || 2016: when you’re a mutha bleeping artist and people don’t know ish

I love art. In all of its many facets.

In middle school, I used to draw and sell comics for classmates. I was a furniture salesman and merchandiser. I took one year of sewing in high school along with three years of various art classes. I have a BFA in fashion design + marketing. I bake and cook all the time and the shit is delicious. I like hiking. I love poetry. I’m into meditating and learning about the power of crystals. I enjoy taking photos and I think I’m pretty ok at it. I’ve interned with a bridal company. I travel as much as I can. I thoroughly enjoy attending art galleries and museums. I’m enamored with Moroccan interior decor. I’ve been in fashion shows/modeled a bit. I want to be a DJ. I love to learn how things are made. I attempted to start a clothing brand with an old friend I met off Craig’sList. {We should have just stayed friends.} I started a mobile bakeshop business and some of my baked goods can be found in a local tea shop. I love doing nails. I’ve worked visuals at Macy’s. I used to want to be a teacher long before drawing stole my heart. {I still might..} I draw all the time and post sketches on social media and sell or swap some of them and I have sketchbooks and notebooks and pieces of scrap scribbled with quotes, poems and ideas. I take random art classes in the city. I love decorating and organizing.

And now, as I type this, I am a writer.

My point? All of these things are me. I am all of these things. I can have a finger in any one or none of these art forms at any given time. Old acquaintances [and my parents] may look at me and say but don’t you have a degree in…? Weren’t you doing such and such last year? I thought you were doing ________. And so on.

The short answer? Sure, yea..what’s it to ya? I am an artist. You cannot put us in one box, or any box for that matter. Every artist I know is multifaceted; they may make their money in one or two areas and be really good at a handful of others, but their interests and skills are limitless. That is the beauty of art.

art:work4

art:work2

Being a creative adult in a society that does not celebrate creativity is not normal.

art:work

I’ve been that cartoon chicken; depressed. Drained. Unfulfilled. Lost. Spending too many late nights exhausted yet restless, wondering what the heck I’m doing with my life. “Adulting” by ignoring my gifts and callings for a paycheck, a few vacation days[aka escape time] and some cheap doctor visits I never used. But boxes -unless they’re kraft boxes- as I mentioned, don’t exist in an artist’s fantasy world of beauty and love and pain and adventure. It took me some time to understand that.. that maybe I was an orange in a basket of apples and needed to make some moves.

All I’m trying to say is I hope this inspires any other oranges to make the moves necessary for them to create a more satisfying existence.

Artists, in all forms, with this one life, never stop seeking new things to enjoy. Ever. There are no do-overs. No second acts. Even if you must sit in a cubicle or abide a supervisor you despise, don’t bend so far to where there’s no place for your imagination to be free. Look for or create your dream job. Foster all creative outlets. Make time to explore your interests. Find new parts of yourself. Drop the fear. Have fun with it. Be.

brilliant cartoons ©Doug Savage 

Black on Black Love

lovaste

lovasté

the lover in me honors the lover in you. –adrian michael

[photo cred: tumblr]

Black Love Matters

Remember when Musiq Soulchild was a rapper? Nah.. me neither.

They have been playing the heck out of his latest new single down here in GA, so I finally peeped the video and had to share. I love that I can always recognize his poetic, soulful sound. And, from what I can recall, he has always been an advocate for Black love in every one of his videos.

I do.. love this. Simple yet effective.

As a true fan boasting each of his albums in my collection, I was overcome with sadness when I found out that after being in the industry for like a decade, Musiq attempted to switch up his signature style due to his perception of mainstream music being more hip-hop focused at the time. [I believe he addresses this in his new track Alive and Well. Ryan Leslie also made this same move and it was horrifying, in my opinion. He’s an r+b singer, too, btw. And a great musician.] I am all for growth, but it’s just weird! Especially for an established artist with a loyal, healthy fanbase.

I don’t know who talked Musiq Soulchild into staying true to himself, but I am thankful.

View the official video for I Do here + download the new album.

More visuals like this, please!