Hearing on Black Lives Matter, Anti-racism, Structural Racism and the Arts

New York City Council Hearing

Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations

James G. Van Bramer, Chair

Members: Joseph C. Borelli, Laurie A. Cumbo, Mark Gjonaj and Francisco P. Moya

Hearing Black Lives Matter, Anti-racism, Structural Racism and the Arts

Hearing Details

                    Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m

Tropicalfete’s statement:

This time in history is critical for the voices of black cultural institutions and artists to be heard.  One way to root out systematic racism from society is to use art and culture as a catalyst for that change.  The disparity in today’s society on economic justice, equality and fairness can be traced back to the support that black cultural institutions and artists have received from government, foundations, media, etc. Today, artists are raising their voices with the aim of triggering private and public discussions on social injustice.

Black art representation becomes limited when artists let themselves be crunched into other people’s imagination. When black artists author their own images, they are able to achieve some sovereignty that goes beyond colonial based ideas and racist methodologies. Today we are witnessing the flourish of black creativity and art. For instance, today, it is possible to experience through art the thoughts, reactions, and experiences of Black people based on our own perspectives and unmediated.  It is important that the leadership positions in main stream  arts organizations are diverse. 

Black cultural institutions safeguard against the loss of black history as it documents daily diaries based on experiences. The cultural institutions can either die or flourish depending on the level of nourishment they are offered. Leaving such institutions without funding will make them feel the pinch. All efforts should be geared toward proper funding to give them shape and form. There has been a gap in government funding black cultural institutions and artists hence the dire need for addressing this issue.

The ability of an individual or community to obtain fair and equal justice can be improved through fair media coverage. Each and every person deserves an opportunity to achieve full potential in his or her aspirations. The influence on media is so huge that it aims at educating even persons with no credible knowledge. Media should play a role in legitimization of the courses of action of the black cultural institutions and artists.  Avoid racial stereotypes in all mediums.  Diversity needs to be embraced for our sociality to blossom. 

Our December production “Tropicalfete’s Finale 2020” will most likely be virtual. The theme will be about the injustice in society such as the school system, the medical system, housing, criminal justice system, etc. In one of our meetings, a parent recommended we explore how we treat each other as fellow human beings.  Tropicalfete will be exploring those things in song, dance, music, costume and spoken word

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