“Everybody eats B!”
So why not do it while supporting a good cause! Help us spread the work and make sure you get your Blaze Pizza While using this flyer on April 2nd, 2019 to help support Jazale’s Art Studio!
We want you to apply!!!
PERFORMERS | VISUAL ARTIST | WORK SHOPS
*Application deadline is February 28, 2019*
This year we are behind the scenes consulting with Riverwest Fem Fest to make sure we bring all the city out including YOU to be apart of the action. We want Women/Femmes of all backgrounds, ethnicities, classes, and creativities to be apart of this years festival. As a women owned business CopyWrite will stand with all of those determined to make positive change in the movement!
If we are defiant, it is only out of suppression. Tiptoeing through society has left us off balance, anxious, and unable to continue to survive playing it safe. This issue of CopyWrite is a Rebellion in its process. Our features are unorthodox characters with rule breaking methods. Interviews with Dream Lab owner Shawn Dekay, Leevel Ford, Mudy, Kane Rulan, Ex Fabula Feature Camille Davis & more.
“A picture is worth a thousand words but action is supreme.” - Emory Douglas
Emory Douglas, visual Revolutionary Artist and Black Panther Party icon, made his way to Milwaukee’s UWM campus Peck School of the Arts, on October 24th, to give a presentation on his extensive collection of socially critical imagery. His work within the Black Panther Party and his contribution to history have made his presence an exciting catalyst to the social narrative in which we have been discussing. CopyWrite magazine was asked by AIGA-Wisconsin and UWM to sit down with Emory, to get his take on his #SociallyResponsible artistic quest and all the other things that spread between the lines of his symbolism.
CW: “For all intents and purposes, you were the artist that drew all the images in The Black Panther newspaper?”
ED: “Ninety-nine percent. There were others who contributed but it was my responsibility to show them how to put social justice content into the artwork.”
Though we know Emory as the man behind the art, his contribution to history had to start off understanding not only the image but the purpose behind it.
ED: “Well that became my role when I . . . I would have to initially start when I was in the Black Arts Movement, transitioning into the Black Panther Party. I was attending City College of San Francisco and I was beginning to take up Commercial Art. That showed you production skills as opposed to Fine Art . . . You learn figure drawing, the printing process, design elements, all those things. While there, I was a part of the Black Arts Movement. I was also there as the Black Conscious Movement was coming about, where we began to define ourselves as Afro-American and Black opposed to being defined as Negro.”
Trying to figure out what he could do at the time to help the movement, he had been told that there was a meeting taking place where they were planning the visit of Malcolm X widow, Betty Shabazz, to the Bay Area. Emory was also asked to do a poster of Shabazz. When he went to the meeting they would also discuss security for that event. The men who would agree to be that security would soon after, change his life.
ED: “When they came, it was Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. It was after that meeting I asked them how I could join and they gave me a card . . . I eventually started calling Huey and I would catch the bus and go by his house. He would show me around the neighborhood and introduce me to folks. Then we would go by Bobby Seale’s house.”
He noted that this was all happening around early January into late February 1967. Only a few months after the initial start of the Black Panther Party in October of 1966.
Fast forwarding, Emory recalled the first issue of The Black Panther News Paper being on legal size paper, done with a typewriter, and markers. It was the editorial project of Bobby and another member known as, Elbert “Big Man” Howard. Emory noticed them working on the leaflet while convening at the Black House, where cultural events took place, and creatives like Sonia Sanchez and Ed Bullins would hang. Interesting enough, Eldridge Cleaver, who became the party’s Minister of Information, lived upstairs from the Black House and would be drafted over to help with its planning with his comprehensive writing skills.
ED: “One evening I went over there, nothing really was happening but Bobby, Huey, and Eldridge were downstairs. I saw them working on that first leaflet and I told them that maybe I could help them improve it. So I went and got my materials. I walked home and walked back, so it took me about an hour. When I got back they said, ‘Well we are finished with that. But you have been hanging around and you seem committed. We are going to start this paper and we want you to be the Revolutionary Artist.’ So that became my initial title. My job would be to tell our story from our perspective.”
And so it began. Emory would create the first tabloid paper for the Party from the content pressed at the Sacramento legislative meeting to change the de facto gun laws, that would affect The Panthers legal use. Setting the standard for The Black Panther Newspaper that would carry on until Fall of 1980, Emory’s art would become the visual rhetoric for a cultural movement we still dote on till this day. He would even be responsible for the visual interpretation of the Police as the “Pig”.
CW: “The first time you drew the pig was that the first time that it was projected in that way towards the police?”
ED: “It had been defined like that by Huey and Bobby. But when they asked me to do the pig drawing that was the first time [it appeared in that way] . . . there was a book from maybe 100 years or so ago that somebody had that defined the pig like that . . .”
CW: “As some type of authoritative figure?”
Huey had original requested Emory use a clipping of a pig on all four hooves, with a police badge number of those cops who were behaving as bad actors in the community every week.
ED: “Then it just came to me one day, ‘Why don't I just stand it up on two hooves?’ ”
CW: “Oh yeah? Like how it really looks?”
Emory lit up in laughter.
ED: “Haaaaaaaaaaaa, Yea. With the flies and everything. Then it really took on a life of its own. It became an iconic symbol that transcended the African American community. It became a universal symbol.”
CW: “Now everyone is calling them the pigs!”
He chuckled softly with a glimmer in his eye. As comical as the image was, and still is, it holds a weight that is the stringent representation of the unhuman like disposition the legal forces of our country has displayed against the disenfranchised. Though creativity comes in many forms, Emory had no clue his social expression would become such a major part of revolutionary rhetoric.
Now let's be clear, the times in which Emory made his mark were times of civil unrest, political and social scrutiny, and homefront combat. It was risky. There was bloodshed and unfortunately, there were lives lost. Enduring these times takes strength, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.
ED: “People had all kind of issues that came together, to deal with the social injustices that existed. So whatever it was that you had when you came into the party, you brought that baggage with you. We had to respond to those problems the best we could.”
But it was his next comment that dropped down on the room. Just as deep as his art could display, so would his words cut:
“You could say people were psychologically already messed up from colonization.”
Well, then . . . no argument here.
Discussing today's realities versus the past, Emory believes that today’s issues are even more trying. He marks the dynamics that generations face now are layered with environmental plight (global warming or not, polar caps are melting), corporate exploitation/investment in culture (representation is being marketed as gatekeepers to our communities authenticity), political friction (we are closer to nuclear war than ever before), and social dysfunction (police brutality is still alive and well).
ED: “As much as things change. Somethings stay the same.”
As an artist his opinions on purpose and meaning are strong. The messages that his art and many others’ creativity display are not isolated depictions, but should and have transcended cultures, classes, and even the disciplines in which they are created.
ED: “The message comes from listening to the people . . . Hearing what they are saying and their concerns, as well as your own concerns integrating, comes out in the artwork. I mean you had older Black middle-class brothers and sisters identifying with the Pig drawing just as much as you did with the people out in the streets.”
He argues that his aesthetic as an artist grew out of the awareness that needed to be displayed during that time. When questioned about the importance of visual art as a form of protest, from the time of his very controversial symbolism with the Black Panther’s till now, he reminded us that the context of his art came out of an organization backing a movement. It was not his voice alone. It was not the Black Panther Party versus the world. It was the system against the people.
images provided by: AIGA, www. journalstar.com, www.openculture.com , www.chicagoreader.com, and www.artnau.com
“We were like the nucleus or a spec of dust with a great impact. We inspired.”
CW: “Do you think without the Black Panther Party you would be the artist you are today?”
ED: “In some ways maybe, but not completely as I have developed. Because it's not only just the artwork itself but it's the collective environments. It's the criticizing and evaluation of the work and how you’ve done it. Sometimes it's in a casual way and other times it's in a real critical way.”
After the dis-assemblement of the Black Panther Party, Emory started working for the Black Press, creating imagery for their publication. Today he travels, collaborating with artist around the world to promote and produce socially conscious art that speaks on real-world issues. His mediums have even advanced beyond the production processes he learned in college so long ago, including the use of photoshop which he finds quite useful in the remixing his old compositions and his new wave artistic critic of the free world.
Throughout his lecture Emory commented on his art, its meaning, and his legacy, inspiring the room with his unyielding views. Regardless of if you agree with Emory’s position or not, his story is a reminder of the power of creativity, the communal service that can be a calling for an artist, and the impact a unified voice can make.
As we step forward in our purpose we must not forget that the revolution we call on is not a new one but the rebirth of its kind.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE.
Lexi for /CW
Uh-ohhhhhh, back again Milwaukee! Fall is approaching and so is FASHION! With a new season comes another InstaMeet. Last Sunday, CopyWrite Magazine assembled some of the best of the best when it comes to stylists, photographers, and models to come together and create art right here on our city’s streets. Hosted by Milwaukee’s own Vato (@vatomke) the InstaMeet featured on-the-spot styling, impromptu photo shoots, guest speakers and of course the chance to get your hands on an issue of CopyWrite Magazine!
Events like this are important for us creatives because it encourages collaboration! There is no competition and egos are left at the door. My personal favorite thing about the InstaMeet is meeting other creatives who are passionate about their art, no matter what their avenue is.
Special thanks to EVERYONE who came out and we look forward to seeing what heat you bring to the winter InstaMeet!
To find out more about events like this and for those coming in the future, keep your eyes peeled on CopyWrite Magazine (@copywritemag) and if you’d like to be a featured stylist, photographer, or a guest speaker at the next InstaMeet, contact us via email at email@example.com
Until next time,
Keep it fly, keep it local.
Women have been described as mysterious creatures that have been bound to human forms, whose stories transgress most laws of nature, exposing a magic that we call life…
Or that's what you should think!
Even as majestic as we hope the world will see us, there are stories that as women we carry and each nuance that defines us tells a piece of that story.
Corey Fells, a photographer from Milwaukee has released the entirety of his 100 Womxn project to be exhibited at the Museum of Wisconsin Art (205 Veterans Ave. West Bend, WI) showing from October 13th, 2018 to January 13th, 2019. The exhibit showcases 97 images of Black & Brown women (equalling 100 women photographed) in front of a morphing background of foliage that transition throughout several seasons in Milwaukee, like a continuous narrative that celebrates the diversity, majesty, and inspiration these women hold. He sat down with CopyWrite to discuss how his project is more than 100 Womxn, but more like 100 ways to impact our community.
CF: “Its story of individual Black & Brown women. It was about allowing them to express stories about their relevant stance in the community and a stance here in Milwaukee. Some of these stories overlap. Some are completely opposite, and some are exactly the same. This just allows people to understand that. . . As a society, we overlook woman's perspective. That's why I made this about women and only about women. Even within the title, the X is used to symbolize this has nothing to do with men, except for the fact that I (as a man) took the photos.”
Underlying the story of these women lays the story of Corey & the relationship between him and his late mother “Pookie”. Many media outlets have interviewed Corey about this project and have described it as just a simple homage to his mother as photos of women. But what they failed to report is how the process of taking these photos fill a void in his understanding of women, parenting, cultivation, and sense of self that Corey is trying to grasp.
CF: “So a lot of the questions that were prompted by me to the women while I was taking their photos, were questions about their moms, about their parents, siblings, and how they feel in relevance to that.”
His homage to his mother was always covert. It is the process of taking these photos were Corey has received insight into who women can be and has allowed women to speak their truths, in a midwest city that is often overlooked. The nuances of asking gives these women the agency to tell their story, and reveal their true perspectives.
CF: “In the beginning, I took pictures of 10 women I chose because I knew other women admired them. I couldn’t just take pictures of people in my family or something like that because it would seem disingenuous. So I chose women who I didn’t know anything about which made me have to force the conversation between myself and them. I couldn’t just assume anything. I can't say ‘hey this is who you are.’ I had to have this dialogue. I really wanted this to be something for me to learn and kind of get over. Because after my mom passed, I didn’t have that frame of reference and understanding of what a woman was. So these conversations are very genuine. Some of them I didn't even take a photo for the first hour of us standing and talking because it was just a genuine flow of authenticity between two people.”
Strategically, he asked me a question, flipping our interview into a discussion where he turned his photo taking methods into a conversation where my female perspective was just as vital to the narrative as his own thoughts.
CF: “How do you feel about women here in Milwaukee?”
CW (Lexi): “I feel like women here are amazing. I think only as of recently they have been able to express themselves in a way that is unapologetic and that is being accepted. What it means to be a woman here is definitely different, especially for Black & Brown women. I, myself and I think more women are starting to use their platforms to help cultivate our communities. I think it's dope, that we not just women but we are our craft, we are our story.”
He then asked questions about my personal power struggles in my successes as a woman of color, where I shared my arsenal on how to combat with the woes of a patriarchal system, after I clued him in he returned to his point:
CF: “These stories and these type of self-reflections help me. After I looked at this project, I realized that I’m getting older, life is going to happen. I want to have a daughter. There are going to be times when I have to explain to her certain things. I can pull different references from these stories and say, I heard something from these women. . . That may help me deliver that better or understand her better. I don’t want to be narrow-minded.”
As the story of women unfolds, morphs, and shapes our image in the same way the leaves change colors and fall from the vines in the hope that in the next season new ones will bloom in the 100 Womxn project, Corey hopes that this exhibit can be the blossoming of greater things.
CF: “My plan is to hopefully use this project as the concept for a panel discussion that starts here in Milwaukee and then moves over to other universities around the country. Mainly HBCUs.”
Even though the project has made an impact on Corey in positive ways, and has documented Black & Brown women, who have historically not been mused in such a reverent way, as he has chosen to exhibit it digitally and now physically in a museum, he is at the criticism of the viewer, who often have a perspective of their own.
CW: “Now that you are putting your project on public display, what does the outsider think of this work? What has been said?”
CF: “It’s funny that you ask that. I was actually looking through my Twitter, and you know Twitter is a place where people are highly opinionated. . . . [ a snippet of the project was released as a clip on an outside source] so there where people around the world that were just kind of like ‘I guess white women can’t be inspiring.’” (Say Word????) “Yeah! Or ‘This is very eclectic...’ with quotation marks, ‘. . . group of women.’ However, that just made me think about civil rights and reference that to women's rights...which everyone knows that the women's rights movement was more about white women's rights. So it was like ok, let me relate these things. It just makes perfect sense referencing the past. It really didn’t matter [ what they said]. I don't really care to make this a thing that is meant for anyone else. I just want to make sure that when I do create something I send it out to the people that do have the most knowledge about it.”
In other words, speaking as a woman of color writing this. . .White women, this one, this time, is not about you! Please have several seats. Your comments are insulting to the process and the agency that Black & Brown people don't have the right to be inspiring, MAGICAL, and relevant without you! *Flips Hair*
Even in the reference to the process of 100 Womxn, Corey sat down with many of his female friends to ask them their thoughts on the idea he was cultivating to do a project on women. He admits that the women he asked were highly opinionated and turned down many of his ideas because they were subpar, focussing on the nuances of detail that actually matter.
(He actually said they called them stupid. . .but let's just act like they said subpar Lol)
Men have been speaking for women far too long. It is important to know that as a photographer capturing a subject that exists outside his photos Corey has voluntarily admitted that he can not see all and know all from his perspective as a man and has allowed for women to help him develop this project far beyond their aesthetic value but actually for their expertise.
CF: “That was one of my biggest fears. I didn’t want anyone to think I was exploiting women.”
Actually (randomly) being one of the women captured in this project, I can firmly say that I don't feel exploited because of the agency I was allowed as a participant, and how he has used my photo and my story as a part of a narrative that is bigger than myself; a part of cultivating culture.
“Culture is a huge thing that I want to push out, really dive into, and allow people to express.”
After this exhibit, Corey is slated to do a project with the Milwaukee Art Museum, involving the youth of MKE. He is eager to make an impact by way of photography, noting that this is beyond him, and he trying to do his part by using his own skills and talents.
CF: “There is a gap between the older generations and the youth, and how they help them. Many of my peers are doing their things, and I’m just trying to find my way of doing that. . .It helps build up what the culture of photography is really all about.”
Next year he will be leaving to go to San Diego for military duty. His contribution to the creative scene and youth development by way of photography is what he hopes to leave as his legacy and contribution to Milwaukee.
CF: “My godfather always told me, before you leave anywhere you always make it better then you had it. I don't want to leave here and that's just what it is. I don't want photography to stop. I don't want momentum to stop. I don't want photographers to think you just upload to Instagram and it ends. Make it tangible. Allow people to see it and be integrated within the community.”
That's the true art.
Make sure you go check out the 100 Womxn exhibit at the Museum of Wisconsin Art this fall & reflect on what these women actually mean. We are more than what meets the eye.
Lexi for /CW
“We call America the land of the free for a reason and we are still waiting for freedom”, the voice of the youth is shaking the narrative.
“Amidst divisive national debate over immigration and policies that separate families, the new student lead music video El Color De La Libertad gives voice to Latino youth, providing a powerful perspective on freedom in the United States”, says project representatives in their submission. We have all seen it. The images, the news reports, and even the heartbreaking personal testimonies from those affected but still have the platform to speak. But what about our youth?
Through collaboration between Jazale’s Art Studio and Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School, El Color De La Libertad (The Color of Freedom) uses the words of Latino 7th grade students with the talents of Milwaukee-based musicians MC(Mikal), Klassik, SistaStrings, and filmmaker Wes Tank to produce a video that depicts the youth narrative and positive creative process to shed light on the subject.
Spearheaded by Lead Teacher, Nora Justin, and Lead Artist, Mikal Floyd-Pruitt known on stage as, MC(Mikal) the project that started in 2017 now has something to show, that disseminates more impact and reality then most national broadcast may ever display. Its bright colors, unifying aura and relatable production inspired by Letter to the Free, by Common, is an empowering and might we say emotional watch. (A few tears of community joy may have been dropped in the first viewing. Don’t judge! lol)
More of this is needed in the world, in our country, in our state, in our city, and in our community. Any disenfranchisement of a people is an issue that we all have to creatively address.
¿Qué son Los Colores de Libertad? All of them!
Please spread the good vibes, the bright spirits, and the youth voice. They will be our difference.
Press the heart bellow & leave a comment to let us know you stand with the freedom wave for all!