We recently announced our Black Art Matters Scholarship and wanted to share some of the entries. To be eligible for the $500 scholarship you have to submit a 400 word essay on how the Empire TV show has contributed to today’s society. This post offers submissions from three contestants. Please use the poll below to let us know which essay is your favorite. Thank You!
If you submitted an essay and do not see it in below, do not panic, there will be another post with additional essays.
|Empire Fox Thirsty Rawlings|
One of my favorite of Kehinde Wiley’s painting that stood out to me is Judith and Holofernes. Judith and Holofernes was created in 2012. On this painting it has a strong, sophisticated, and beautiful African American woman holding a white woman’s head. When I look at this painting I think of dominance. I see a African American that is dominant but I also that a woman is dominant which isn’t popular in today’s society. When today’s society sees a African American they see trouble, ghetto, poor, uneducated, etc. When today’s society see a woman they think house wife, gold digger, weak or not as strong as men. But I KNOW that each one of those titles do not describe a African American nor a woman. The woman in this painting looks like she had enough whether it could be having enough of African Americans getting discriminated or tired of always getting treated inferior to whites like she is not good enough. Also another great quality in this painting is the differentiation of the black and the white womans hair. In the painting the black womans hair is thick, natural, and beautiful. The white woman’s hair is America’s outlook on how hair is “supposed” to look like. Which is straight, easy to comb, and long. For example everybody at my school always wonders and questions why does my hair looks so thick or “nappy”, or they wonder why my hair is isn’t easy to comb. This painting truly has inspire me that I can be ANYTHING I want no matter how I look on the outside.
Ever since 7th grade the flute has always been one of my greatest passions. I want to become a memorable flute player. I also want to teach young African Americans around the world to be better musicians and teach them tips on how to be a better flute player. I would like to set an example for African American musicians that you could be anything you want, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise; and NEVER take no for an answer because all it takes for you to be successful is your dedication.
Prior to 2015, when was the last time that you saw a mainstream television drama focusing on African-Americans? When was the last time that you saw one that captured the attention of millions of people while addressing LGBT issues, mental illness, and ALS awareness, while simultaneously supporting real-life African-American musicians?
For the first time in years, black actors and actresses have been allowed to explore deeper subjects and given more serious roles rather than being minor side characters in cheesy sitcoms. Since Empire’s premiere in early 2015, shows focusing on minorities have greatly increased. Television dramas such as How to Get Away with Murder, Rosewood, Minority Report, Atlanta, and Pitch are just a few that feature black leads. Empire has contributed to society by using pop culture and media to remind everyone that, if given the same opportunities as white actors, minority actors can be just as successful and create powerful content.
Kehinde Wiley’s art is bold and unique. His combination of cultural influences with classical art and techniques creates a highly individualized style.
This style is especially apparent in a portrait of rapper Ice T. This painting is based on Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s 1806 portrait of Napoleon. In Ingres’s original artwork, Napoleon is depicted as a supernal ruler rather than as his notable historical role as a military leader. The gold detailing on his throne and outfit, combined with his vehement post, gives him the presence of a Greek god.
Wiley’s portrait maintains all of the same details of the background, giving Ice T a regal and formidable air, however Ice T’s stance is very different. Napoleon appears to be almost stiff and makes direct eye contact with the viewer, showing that he is unafraid. Ice T is more relaxed and looks down at the viewer, showing that not only is he undaunted, but that the viewer is physically
and metaphorically beneath him.
Wiley’s style is distinctive, as he successfully combines knowledge of classical art with modern day influences. His art proudly features black people, depicting them as strong or beautiful. Historically, art has used darker people as a means of displaying exotic fetishism or as a way to show these people as subservient to their white counterparts. Wiley’s art retains the classical feel while making darker subjects the central figures of power.
I currently go to the University of Utah, where I am studying video game design with concentration on art. Video games are a multi-billion-dollar industry. In 2015 alone, the industry generated $23.5 billion in revenue, a 5% increase from the previous year.
There is, however, a severe lack of diversity in the industry. Just a few years ago, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) reported a rise in black developers, from .5 to 2.5 percent. This is a problem. As a result of a lack of black developers, black characters in video games are non-existent or horrendously stereotypical. They usually consist of the overtly muscular, angry black men. Black consumers are also stereotyped. Marketing companies usually don’t focus on African-Americans when advertising, and if they do, it’s usually for games related to sports like football or basketball. The industry creates the illusion that African-Americans don’t play video games, and most people don’t consider this to be a problem.
I want to improve the African-American art community by increasing the diversity in the video game industry and help to show that video games aren’t just for white men. Video games have amazing potential in terms of art, storytelling and pop culture influence. If changes aren’t made in the industry, however, games will continue to marginalize the role and contributions of African-Americans.
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November 11, 2016 at 04:21AM