In May of 2018, Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) released This is America, his searing music video exposé of racism and gun violence in America. If you haven't seen it, watch it now and, to understand it's subtle meanings, watch this breakdown. It is a gut-wrenching look at our country's disease of racism. And it is mind boggling to think about where we are two years later.
Countless more racist murders but also Confederate monuments being torn down. Hundreds of thousands of black and brown families disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 but also millions of people of all colors marching in support of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world. Even as I write this, America's racist president has promised that protestors will be met with violence at his upcoming campaign rally and yet, the nearest "protest" is a Juneteenth celebration with food trucks and face painting.
All week, we've been using the hashtag #ArtIsAHammer as a reference to the Bertolt Brecht quote, "Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it". I think the power of This is America lies in it being a mirror AND a hammer. While as jewelers, we love to make pretty things, we also have a responsibility to make difficult and uncomfortable things. As artists we have a place - maybe even a duty - in this moment to use our powers for good. Here are a few things you can do:
1. Support the Black Lives Matter movement: Donate to a bail fund to help marchers (most ve been arrested while peacefully protesting) or support legal action to build a more just future.
2. Let people know that you are antiracist: Wear your beliefs to inspire others. You can even support great metalsmiths making BLM-inspired jewelry right now at the online Instargam auction by Metalsmiths for Change.
2. MAKE ART THAT MATTERS. Make something that expresses your feelings, ideas, hopes, fears, frustrations, anger, sorrow and even joy about where we are today, in this moment. Then share it by tagging us on Instagram or Facebook (links below).
As far as we've come, can't be undone. This is America on Juneteenth 2020.
(Multimedia collage by @AmeStanko reposted from Juneteenth 2018)
Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.