CF Do you feel that there are questions of identity that are exhaustible? Where can artists go at this point with those issues of identity that haven’t been dealt with?
LS As a black artist, the expectation of what you should be doing is always programmed for you regardless. There is a tendency to try to cubbyhole you that exists across the board in the art world. I would say in relationship to my white counterparts’ work, that when departures or new areas are explored, works that involve the figure are not questioned as to where the Caucasian figure went. People believe that you should have a particular signature for the rest of your life. I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of life that would be. I would not be able to do this work without having done the work I’ve done before. It informs, just like this work will inform future projects.
CF There’s a spirit in this movie that reminds me of Roy DeCarava’s photography. I’m thinking of an impulse…to humanize, to say that black life is about a range of experiences.
LS My question is, why does working with a black figure necessarily mean that the work loses a universal quality? Not to perceive its universality seems to me to be a shortcoming of the audience rather than of mine."
please don’t let yourself, your thoughts, your actions, your feelings, etc. fall too easily into two-category systems (black or white, bad or good, positive or negative, etc.). it is incredibly reductive of your humanity. i invite you here — into this space that i occupy with all of the dark as opposed to light, all of the silent when everyone craves something blaring. i just worry about my little sister and girls like her. i worry about it all. i wish people weren’t too afraid to fall on the other side of an invisible scale. and if no one else thinks it’s alright — if anyone makes you feel like your “bad” actually is that — that it could fit so tightly in a word, just ask them what defines “negativity.” what is the tipping point? and if they cannot draw the line, forever draw it for yourself. your unfortunate, your already happened and possibly hurtful or painful can live right beside all the sweet. and i just hope that no one is made to feel like it can’t. no part of you can fit on either side of an impossible, imaginary measurement unless it wants to be confined forever. and if you were sad yesterday, feel no super urge to be happy today because those are just words and what is underneath is a moving, living thing and there is love to overrule it all. just don’t, please? i’ll listen and i understand. i’ve got you.