Search This Blog

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Storm Is Coming...Er, Here.

It's been a while. But I won't do any preamble, let's get into it.

Last year, November 25th 2014, I posted an image online of my rendition of Storm from the X-Men. The piece was done with a hip-hop twist, and there was a lot of symbolism I wanted to get out there. 

This was after the time of the Ferguson injustice where Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. On November 24, 2014, it was announced that the St. Louis County grand jury had decided not to indict Wilson. Since then there have been countless shootings of black men with pretty much the same results. It's despicable!! 

Now, this is a repost, but it's sad how apt all of my thoughts still are and how it seems like nothing is changing, which is why I wanted to share my thoughts on this piece again.

It was around that time that I saw a post on a friend's facebook page basically saying that he didn't understand why there were posts coming through his feed that didn't have anything to do with Ferguson. Now, this wasn't written for the sake of any beef or anything, me and him were/are still cool and always welcome honest debate, but for a second there I was a little angry cause I thought, 'Who the hell was he to dictate what I posted?'
But honestly..? I also felt a little guilty due to the fact that for a while I had been promoting a sale I was having, and with so much going on in Ferguson, not to mention the world, I hadn't taken the time to publicly address anything other than ME. After some thought though, I recognize that there was more than one way to have an impact..or to speak one's mind...And for me that was with my art.

I believe that one way for me to honor wrongful acts of injustice to Nubians is to make sure I put out images that don't perpetuate racial stereotypes. I feel we (indy artists and creators) can manifest images and works that don't fall back on the coward's disguise of "satire". Case in point-- When I first brainstormed what images I wanted to create for a new line of shirts, the base concept was "superheroes in casual clothes". I then honed the concept to specifically be "superheroes crossed with hip-hop". I calculated who would be the best fit for this theme (and yes, who might be the most marketable). I decided on Storm, Wolverine, and Deadpool. Everybody LOVES some Deadpool, right?

Anyways, for Storm I figured I'll give her a classic 'b-girl" look: hoody, headphones, rope-chain and all...should be pretty easy piece I figured. I had nearly finished the image when I decided to pull up some rope-chain reference..ya know, just to make sure I nailed it. And then, not till then, after seeing image after image of cooning rappers with gaudy expensive jewelery side by side with images of ACTUAL rope and NOOSES that it hit me-- what was I doing? Why did rappers think it was cool to wear symbols of ROPE around their neck? 

Why were some of these same rappers who were so fast to talk about "killing whitey" and "the oppression of black people" wearing the same things that were used to end the lives of so many Nubians? Why was THAT representative of hip-hop? I felt like someone had slapped me in the face with a dose of Wakedafucup juice! And it was then that I made a conscious decision not to be a part of that anymore. I quickly scraped the idea to have Wolverine in that style, and to DEFINTELY nix the Deadpool idea. (Deadpool was going to be my "ghetto" character...I'm talking throwing up signs, Lil' Wayne tatts, low riding jeans, the works. As I crumbled the paper I was disgusted with MYSELF for even THINKING of some ratchet ass stereotypical self-deprecating shit like that)

So instead, I started thinking about what could I do differently. After google'ing various styles of necklaces, I decided to give my Storm an Afrocentric inspired necklace with her traditional original X-Men headband as the medallion. It was like a new part of my mind was opened. And I can't go back.

So I want anyone who has made it this far to know NOW- I will always be true to myself and my images. I refuse to be a part of the shucking and jiving artistic buffoonery that's being perpetuated just for the sake of a dollar. And for anyone and everyone who thinks the world stops because of whatever mission they want to take up that week, that's not the case. The world didn't stop when my father was killed in that hit and run and neither did the bills. I have to do what I have to do to survive, but I will honor what I view to be injustice in the WAY I see fit, HOW I feel I can. And what does this all mean? That I won't watch an episode of Love and Hip-Hop NY ever again? No, I'm far from perfect, but keep in mind what they say about rocks and glass residences. You never know what a person is thinking or how they're dealing with something.
Cause while the new religion that is "Social Media" and the omnipresent god that is Facebook tries to make it seem we as a society SHOULD be saying every single thing that we think, that's not the case. While it seems that nothing should be private or sacred anymore, that's not the case. While it seems like we're all SUPPOSED to confess every single secret and thought to the masses so that someone can acknowledge and give us praise for how witty we are or how "deep" we think, that's not the case. We can use it, it's HOW we use it. With that said, check out the newest version of my Storm piece, with colors by Tommy Shelton.

And if you're still here, thank you. Be sure to check me out on these other spots:
Instagram @Pyroglyphics1 / Twitter @ShawnAlleyneArt / facebook


No comments:

Post a Comment