Art Le Gritaron Negra

Title: They shouted BLACK at her // Artist: Keshia DeLeon // Date: October, 2020

There is one word that like a lovely velvet ribbon unifies every creative act, that word is HUMANITY. At the core of every one of my public art works is a burning hope to AFFIRM the HUMANITY of black and brown people all over the world. This is an act of courage, an act of faith. My piece “They shouted black at her” serves a two fold purpose, it is a homage to Peru’s most prolific black performer, the matron of creative expression and blackness Ms. Victoria Santa Cruz. Her poem “Me gritaron negra!” Is emotive, expressive but most of all TRANSFORMATIVE! I is an empowering hymn of affirmation for black and brown women in every generation. It is my response to Nina Simones Song “I wish I knew how it felt to be free”. Santa Cruz speaks to this longing with a stanza in her poem that reads “Am I black?” – I said to myself “What is it to be black?” And I did not know the sad truth that that was hiding” This is realization, is a defining moment in the lives of all people of color. The day we realize that society defines us as categorically different, and even worse, less. In later stanzas Santa Cruz describes an intentional decision, to take up space. A transition from victim to victor, a determination to take up space and walk confidently in her black womanhood, and this is what it feels like to be free. Click this link to hear Victoria Santa Cruz’ poem “Me gritaron negra.”