Celebrating Creativity by African American Artists
Updated: Feb 27, 2022
As we wrap up African American history month, I've been thinking a lot about different creatives I enjoy. I've been following Jasmine Holmes, an African American author, for quite a while. On her instagram stories, she recently talked about the importance of African American History month. "Can you name 10 African Americans from history who were not slaves or MLK?" She challenged. This really struck me... I want to be able to rattle off ten African American creatives without hesitating in history and present day. I've been on the look out to enjoy different African American Artists this month... Here are a few that I've been intentionally enjoying this month, and I hope you do too.
Of course this list isn't exhaustive. I truly believe every person is creative, therefore I believe that every culture has rich creativity to share. If there's an African American Creative that you love, let us know in the comments below! We'd love to experience their work as well.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
One of my all time favorite figure artists, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, is mixed media artist who crafts larger than life collages. I've already written about how much I love her work here. You can find a fascinating artist talk by her here.
Morgan Harper Nichols
If you're not following Morgan Harper Nichols . . . what are you doing with your life? Poet, visual artist, designer, author, and so much more, Morgan Harper Nichols recently published a book called Peace is a Practice, which you can find here. You can find Nichols' website here.
April Cooper runs a fantastic youtube featuring her life as an artist as well as insights into her creative process. You can find it here. You can learn more about Cooper and her work here. I love the way that she narrates her creative practice and life.
Check out this article from NPR about Henry Tanner, one of the first African American painters with international recognition. You can read the article here.
Jasmine Holmes is an author. She's currently working on a book about shame, and she's written Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope and Carved in Ebony. You can find out more about Holmes here.
Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurtson, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an award winning writer. You can learn more about her and her work here.
Writer of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou wrote frankly about the various tragedies she faced throughout her life. You can read more about her and her writing here.
Musician Lecrae transcends multiple genres. His passion for music is palpable. You can listen to his work here.
Langston Hughes was a multidisciplinary creative. Best known for his poetry and plays, Hughes was also an active part of the Harlem Renaissance. You can learn more about his life and work here.
Beyoncé and JayZ are no doubt one of the power couples of our time. Lemonade continues to be one of my favorite films; the visuals are astounding and the vocals impressive. You can check out more of Beyoncé's work here.
Film maker, actor, and comedian, Peele is becoming one of the greatest entertainers of of our time. His movies are thought provoking, beautifully told, and much more. You can learn more about his various films here.
These are only a few African American Creatives who deserve to be celebrated. More and more come to me while I've been writing this post (Viola Davis, Kendrick Lamar, Jackie Hill Perry, Kara Walker, Light, Diana Vaden, to name a few). Who're you favorite African American Creatives? Share in the comments below so that we can celebrate them together.