On February 10, VSU’s Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion hosted their Creative Forum event. The title of the event was “Being a Black Sheep in the Creative Community,” and dealt with issues such as the creative and educational identity of the African-American community in 2022, how the past and present have affected these identities, and how the surrounding communities can help amplify these identities in the present and future. Five participants were chosen to speak and talk about their personal experiences with these prompts.
When asked about what black history meant to him, head of the VSU music department Isrea Butler, said, “Part of the hidden history of America, and something only talked about one month of the year but should be taught more in schools.”
In response to the same question, audio engineer and singer/songwriter Jabarri Bradley said, “Understanding your roots and understanding why you should push forward, and educating and inspiring yourself and others.”
The audience was encouraged to participate and provided questions throughout the panel relating to the given prompts, and giving their own insights on their work and struggles. The conversation that ensued was one that was both encouraging and enlightening. Everyone present was entertained and inspired by the end of the panel.
When asked about what inspired his work, Isrea Butler said, “Students. Helping students learn what I learned, and helping them believe in themselves.”
Contrastingly, Jabarri Bradley said, “To create an ecosystem for artists and creatives ranging from singers, rappers, poets, etc, and break the barriers of society’s way of thinking that art needs to be a certain way.”
The panel provided both participants and audience with an eye-opening conversation about identity, both as African-Americans and as artists, and the factors that shaped that identity. It was one that many of these artists and creatives found to be necessary, and gave advice to the ones who needed it and the ones who didn’t think they did.
Writen by Bailey Wilson. Photo courtesy of VSU Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion.