Marshall L. Shorts: Black Creatives’ Manifesto

Unapologetic: We are unapologetically Black and Creative— in whatever way those identities manifest themselves.

Acknowledge: We acknowledge the creative wealth in our history, recognize our ancestors’ contributions to the world, and accept the torch that has been passed to us. We also acknowledge the significant contributions by our peers.

Resist: We believe that creating is an act of resistance, so we are committed to never stop creating.

Love: We love ourselves and, by extension, we love what we create. We take ownership of what we create, even if it is to be shared.

Storytelling: We understand that “WE are the stories WE tell” and that we should continue the tradition of telling our stories creatively, authentically, and completely.

Creativity: We believe that the realm of creativity goes beyond that of the visual and performing arts. Our creativity has broadened the spaces of design, science, invention and technology. With this in mind, we acknowledge that, while the arts are the expression of culture, they also form the foundation of innovation from the street to the academy and beyond.

Self–Determination: We believe we are free to imagine and create the world in which we want to live and we will use our art and creativity to resist any opposing forces that stand to hinder our progression.

Aesthetic: We understand that the Black aesthetic has been vilified while arguably being the most appropriated aesthetic in history. We say NO MORE. We believe in creating, validating, acknowledging and OWNING our own standards. We will not subscribe solely to Eurocentric ideals of what is GOOD and RIGHT.

Self–Care: We are committed to self-care. This means that we build time for self-love and wellness into our creative process, even in times of difficulty.

Affirmation: We believe in affirming our collective Black experiences and contributions to the creative landscape.

Community: We are committed to freedom, building community and creating spaces in which Black people can control our narratives and where our work can be experienced and supported peacefully.

Black Futures: We envision the world where Black creatives have unlimited access to resources that enable us to create at our highest levels in a free society.

Originally published in 2017

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