How often do you hear stories of black kids robbing stores? Or getting into trouble at school? Or participating in gang violence? For me, it’s too often, especially when there are more instances of black kids succeeding and working hard and dreaming the impossible.
This weekend, I got to see the often overlooked personified by young people like Michael and Madison, pictured above advocating for the support of TheGifted Arts. The Mix, an event hosted at the Google Fiber location in Raleigh, NC, was a powerful display of discipline, dedication, and a genuine joy that many adults have to rediscover if we’re going to get back to loving life like we ought to.
TheGifted Arts, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that aims to influence academic outcomes and help build confidence with our students, by utilizing character building techniques and arts access, such as through: dance, music, fashion and drama, as a means of both creative expression
outlets and social personal development. Though it is not restricted to minority children, it was refreshing to see a group of kids who were undeniably of African descent expressing themselves freely through the arts, especially with so much negativity and desensitizing going on. When you see, without reservation, the bodies of black people, be they youth or adults being either placed in restraints like those from chattel slavery or, possibly worse, left to lie cold in the streets, you may become cold to the stories behind the negative pictures. These children and teenagers, through their various forms of art, brought back the positive warmth that I associate with my blackness. Their love and passion spoke to me like I didn’t know young people could.
On April 8th, TheGifted Arts is putting on “Anthem: Fashion with Purpose.” This is its fourth annual fashion show and is a major fundraiser for the participants of TheGifted Arts. We got a taste of these artists’ talent at The Mix and, if that’s any indication of how awesome Anthem will be, you are going to be in for a treat. So, if you’re in North Carolina on the second weekend
of April, I strongly suggest you invest your time (and dollars) in these kids. Make a night of it. Go to dinner before, catch the fashion show, and then catch some live music after. Support these young people and their intentional effort to use their energies to add hope and expression to a world and a media system that, more often than not, does not give us hope.
Or, to learn more about TheGifted Arts, click here. And, whether you can make the fashion show or not, please donate. Even if it’s only $5, give to these students’ and their dreams.
Make community engagement a priority.