Ebony Xscape

In Spring 2018, I had the opportunity to go to New York City with three professors and some other students from the Studio Art Department from College of Charleston. Let it be known that I have never traveled beyond Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida (Disney World in elementary school). Let it be known that I have also never been on a plane. Whole bunch of firsts happening.

New York, Stay Remarkable

Do things that scare you.


The concept of being in a flying metal machine for a few hours was scary, but the thing that helped ramp up my anxiety was going through security. When it came to the plane, I was like “My gosh, at least I can sit down now.” Having to dump all your junk into those bins in a timely manner, while also half stripping (because I’m dressed for New York cold) was enough to overstimulate me. On the way back to South Carolina, my chest actually set off the body scanner, so I had to be checked there. It’s not like it was traumatic because a woman did it, she explained why and where her hands were going. I should count myself lucky because my roommate set off a large portion of her body.

Back to the plane.

Getting off the ground was a surprisingly slow experience because everybody’s got to get situated, flight attendants check that the compartments are shut and people got their butts in their chairs, we disconnect from the tube, stroll around the field, and then we’re racing. Before we took off, my professor wanted to know if I needed to sit with her (in not a window seat). I said no because I wanted to kick my Anxiety disorder in the face. Not gonna lie, when we started racing, I grabbed the arms of my chair, but I stared out the window and watched us lift and tilt towards the sky. There’s nothing like looking at how the world is weaved together below you. Anything could have happened up in the sky, but that did not stop me and I think that’s where the true power is.

NEW YORK!


Y’all my mom is from Co-Ops city in the Bronx and I used to have dreams of Columbia and Julliard, so I was pumped to go there. We landed in LaGuardia in New Jersey and took the bus to get to the subway. I have only seen people traversing the city in the movies, so the hustle and near trampling speed took adjustment, but my professor said that I looked totally chill as we were running around the streets and subways, so maybe my mom’s powers were transferred to me. Yet, she actually hated the subway and I like it. I could do without the sweltering hot, packed in, rush hour episodes…and the two guys who were about to fight when one guy was mad at the world and the other guy thought he could be the hero. I understand that is just a Tuesday, but I’m a girl from the South, so I was a little scared for my life.😁 Still, it did not take away from my doe-eyed fascination as we explored Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

What I Learned! – Keep New York Remarkable


I was in New York as an art student, so I got to visit the MOMA, the MET, and the Whitney. Beyond art school stuff, I got to walk Times Square, walk through Central Park, and had lunch in Chinatown. From the canvas to the streets, the thing that fascinated me the most was the diversity. You don’t even need to walk half a block to hear an array of accents and languages (the MET had like at least 20 different brochures to accomodate languages), see an array of colors, and witness crazy talent. (There was a busker who killed Photograph and Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran!) I got to see the work of titans like Starry Night by Van Gogh, but there was a lot more things I wouldn’t get to see in South Carolina, like the MET Native American art/artifacts exhibit, the African art/artifacts exhibit, the Middle Eastern art/artifacts exhibit, none of which I finished because they were so expansive. I saw so many colors and diversity in the artwork and in the people and as we move forward into a much more diverse America, we need to appreciate it and uplift that multi-faceted idea. I’m not gonna lie, returning to the South, was a wake up call, but with dangerous tilting finances, New York is way to close to becoming and staying a place of the poorest poor and the richest rich with no healthy range of in between. I’m just saying that I learned that we need to look out for each other and keep every different colored voice and creation in mind, from the past, in the present, and for the future. That is how we can keep New York remarkable and how we can keep the United States remarkable!

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Ya’ll I saw Black Panther on Friday, February 16, 2018 and I am starstruck and inspired. Yeah, all the stars are closer. As a person of color, seeing this movie definitely had an impact of how I view Black Panther. When I first heard Black Panther, all I knew was that it was a fists up fros out group in the 60’s filled with people of color tirelessly fighting for their rights. I had no idea that at the same time the title Black Panther was bestowed upon a hero. I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t see Avengers Civil War, but I did see clips of the trailers and there was this man running around in a black cat suit. So I was interested and so I googled and so my mom bought the comics. I was so hype to learn about a black hero, an African hero and that he came from an Afrofuturism El Dorado of a city hidden in Africa.
The nature of the story and how it was portrayed on screen shatters stereotypes about Africa and people of color in general in terms of humanization, intelligence, diversity, technology, and culture. Ya’ll I came to the movie in a Dora Milaje shirt and a Wakanda Foreign Exchange student hoodie wrapped around my waist. I was confident that this movie was gonna be bomb and it truly was. It felt so good to look at the characters as dimensional humans who made mistakes and tried to find their pathway, whether it led them to good or evil and not focus on their blackness as a tainting feature. Still, their blackness spoke volumes from the scenes in Oakland, California to Killmonger’s antics and T’Challa’s home in Wakanda.

Black Panther
Believe the hype. It is really good and beyond my liking it as a person of color that gets to see a dynamic superhero of color, Black Panther is genuinely an interesting hero and the world of Wakanda is intriguing as well. As many have said, this isn’t just a nice addition to the Marvel universe. Black Panther is also just a great film and a great story to see even if you know nothing about the Marvel universe. My only issue is that I wanna see more Wakanda and I gotta wait until it’s out on DVD to get some screenshots or find a Wakanda world book or something, which would be really helpful given that I’m having worldbuilding issues in my current WIP.
But thats not all I wanted to talk about. I’m so proud of the people involved in Black Panther because it serves as inspiration for me. I’m writing my own book in the vein of Afrofuturism, but I’m nowhere near done, so I can’t stand with these bomb creatives, but they are helping to push me along. Naturally, since I am still writing, I can’t tell you much but I can show you what’s inspiring me, which is why I opened up my secret Pinterest board on my book…


 

There’ll be a post about my writing later and the general ideas of the book.
I hope that we keep seeing more films about heroes of color and the worlds that they come from. I felt like a kid when I went to go see this movie and I can’t imagine what it was like for the little black girl who walked past me in the theater to see herself on screen in so many different characters with the privilege to so many different identities. Keep Xscaping! Wakanda Forever!

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