A few months ago I had the lovely opportunity to be featured in the Creative Quarterly's Design New Talent Issue. I turned to this page and there I was. Although I am truly honored and grateful for the feature I couldn't help but feel saddened at what I saw. Do you see what I'm talking about? Look closely.
I am the only brown face on the page, the only African-American featured.
Everyday in some form or fashion history is being made. As history unfolds, artists with pens, paintbrushes, cameras, and recorders are there ready to capture every moment. Without them, us, the past would not have a voice. Think about it, without Michaelangelo's paintings, Toulouse-Lautrec's prints or Erte's fashion illustrations we would not have a visual representation of the daily lives of the people who came before us. Surely now we have television and youtube to capture everything but there are so many ways to interpret one story (i.e. I love historical illustrations). And this leads me to my point. Without diversity in the fields of art the interpretations of our stories, our history, becomes very one-sided. This goes for the way it's depicted and who's doing the depicting.
We need all forms of art and we need every kind of person to be in those various areas recording our history. Whether it's behind the camera, easel, on the keyboard, in front of the computer or at a drafting table — it's purely mandatory. Through multiple perspectives we can get an accurate account of the world around us and also avoid mistakes like the controversial Vogue cover with Gisele Bündchen and Lebron James (I bet there wasn't anyone of color in that meeting to say, "hey this cover is way wrong").
So what does it take to make it happen? It's a question I always ponder over. I have some ideas, I guess it's just a matter of doing them. It's 2008. We have the very first African-American president, Edris Elba (so beautiful) is rumored to be the first African-American James Bond. All this is great but it has taken too long. We need more diversity in media production, design and fine arts ASAP!