Peace! It's ya girl, SWT, here with the real, the beautiful, and the hottest talk of the Ville! On March 10th, 2023, The Arts Council was the place to be! Shades of brown skin swam like a warm ocean. Gathered in the heart of the gallery stood top-flight artists and black leaders with accomplished respects (in other words - pretty dope individuals). April Mata, the architect of the Black Artist Forum, wore a breathtaking orange; her chestnut brown skin illuminated the gallery. She shared, "Tonight, we are doing a free event to give back to the black artist community. We will be providing information about sustainability as an artist.”
A few night highlights were Dasan Ahanu and Marcus Doss. Dasan Ahanu is an artist, performer, and community leader. Ahanu, drenched in the sun's fire, spoke about the beauty of being an artist. He stated, "We control our art. And we also control how art should look in other places; we get to choose."
Marcus Doss, celebratory hair stylist extraordinaire, came with the pressure in a brilliant lime green suit. He described his journey as a hairstylist, "I went through high school not realizing it (cosmetology) was an art. It was just something I did to be creative from behind the chair." Marcus reminisced, "I got a 500.00 dollar car, and I did hair on the side at my house in the kitchen to get my books and my kit for school. Fast-forward, I have my salon. And not only that, I have a salon that stands out." Doss’ waist-length honey locs hung effortlessly. Marcus concluded, "You only have one life, so if you have anything you want to do, you should do it now."
At the forum's conclusion, I questioned the leaders for one last word. I asked, how do you know if you are going in the right direction? What is one word you can associate with knowing you are moving down the right path?
Jes Averhart said, "Rhythm." She said, "Sometimes it's fast, sometimes slow, but as long as you feel it, you reach a flow state. And in that flow state breathes possibilities."
Marcus Doss said, "Another chance." "Every day, when you go to sleep and wake up, you have another chance! Keep going!"
Dasan Ahanu's word was "Possibilities." Stating, "The gift you have been given is the ability to manifest possibilities. So when you are it, walk it, and carry it, there's no way you can be denied from it."
April Mata followed with "Flow." "There is this flow. It feels like a click, and giving it your all feels right."
Duane Jones' response was, "Weirdo." "No one can do what you do. Nobody can see the way you see. Nobody can think the way you think."
Sarah Busman responded with the word "Space." "You need the space to make mistakes. You need to take up space. You need to feel comfortable in your space and the people you are with.
Conclusively, Councilwoman Shakeyla Ingram expressed the word "Here." She stated, "My word is here. Right here. And recognizing that all I have is right now. So as long as I am here in this space, I am right where I need to be."
The forum undoubtedly made me want to turn up the heat as an artist. An important takeaway was understanding we are not alone as creators and it is a God-given birthright to color this world. I ask, do you feel a fire from within to create? If yes, this is your sign! To the artists of Fayetteville. If not now, then when? If not you, then who?
-To the Artists of Fayetteville
The Black Artist Forum
Writer + Editor