What's New

Black Joy Meets #BlackArtNOW

By 651 ARTS on December 13, 2017

A reflection by Kleaver Cruz.

Freedom must be imagined before it can be attained. We must believe in its possibility in order to manifest it. One of the most radical tools we have as Black people is our imagination, the ability to create what is not (yet) in the world. Black art is a bridge between what we witness in the world, how it is affecting us and what we see as (re)solutions. At its best, Black art is not only a record of our existence, it is a space of reckoning with it as well. It is an opportunity to make sense of where we have come, where we are and where we can be.

My work with The Black Joy Project serves both as a digital archive for our presence as it exists across the world as well as an imagining of Black transnational solidarity. It is an opportunity to insert the historic practice of Diasporic connection in service of liberation and the understanding that Blackness exists with great nuance. The work I have been able to do through this project has shown me the power of collaboration and as Issa Rae calls it, “networking across.”

One of the most successful iterations of my Black Joy Photo Booths has been through a partnership with my friend and talented photographer, Dominique Sindayiganza. What we have been able to produce together is an incredible experience of Black joy for everyone who has participated in those photo shoots. Dominique’s passion for photography and deep belief in the cause allows for beautiful images to be captured while I am able to connect with, welcome and affirm each participant in the understanding of Black joy as an act of resistance and how we can further it along in community.

My collaboration with Dominique is a great example of how Black art leads to effective ingenuity. Together, Dominique and I have been able to set up a process that allows for both technical tasks to be completed (photos, intake forms, etc.) and community to be built, which is ultimately what I believe the purpose of Black art is. It is a tool that is as much for expression as it is as for social/political change. That a Black person can be attracted to an image of another Black person smiling and then be engaged in a conversation around understandings and practices pertaining to Black joy as a form of resistance is not to be taken lightly. Black art now creates the opportunities for artistic expression to be coupled with social change. It reminds us that we are not alone in our experiences and that there are deep connections to be made as we exist across the world.

About Kleaver Cruz

Kleaver Cruz

Kleaver Cruz is a Bronx-based writer and creator of The Black Joy Project, a digital and real world movement to center Black joy as a form of resistance.

Photo Credit: Dominique Sindayiganza

A #BlackArtNow Manifesto

By 651 ARTS on November 28, 2017

....because blackness is fly. because black people are fly. and fly begets swag. and swag begets beats. and beats beget a tremor in a community. and the community fuels art. and the art feeds the community. and what a lovely necessary cycle of being.

6-5-1: Anisia Uzeyman

By 651 ARTS on October 23, 2017

6-5-1: An interview with Anisia Uzeyman, one of the filmmakers of DREAMSTATES.

6-5-1: Olivier Tarpaga

By 651 ARTS on October 02, 2017

6-5-1: An interview with Olivier Tarpaga, choreographer of Declassified Memory Fragment.

Putting Us Back Together Again: Home & Reparations

By 651 ARTS on May 15, 2017

DeeArah Wright, Co-Director of JACK and Home in the Time of Brooklyn artist, writes a guest blog about reparations—defining creative, accountable, and healing homes for our full selves while reflecting on what we cling to, what we let go, and how we move forward.

Cultural Plan Analysis from Anthony Rosado

By 651 ARTS on April 17, 2017

Anthony Rosado analyzes the NYC Cultural Plan in an effort to “preserve the rich, vibrant culture of our city that our ancestors gardened.”

Reflecting on “The Great Migration” and Making Home

By 651 ARTS on March 22, 2017

Jessica Lynne and DéLana R.A. Dameron reflect on ways they make a home, creatively, wherever they are.

6-5-1: Sydnie L. Mosley and André Zachery

By 651 ARTS on February 27, 2017

6-5-1: An interview with New Media & Arts Fellowship facilitators Sydnie L. Mosley and André Zachery.

6-5-1: Okwui Okpokwasili and Maria Bauman

By 651 ARTS on January 25, 2017

6-5-1: An interview with Home in the Time of Brooklyn facilitators Okwui Okpokwasili and Maria Bauman.

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By 651 ARTS on December 27, 2016

A Home in the Time of Brooklyn participant reflects on Home.

6-5-1: Nora Chipaumire and Shamar Watt

By 651 ARTS on September 28, 2016

6-5-1: An interview with choreographer Nora Chipaumire and performer Shamar Watt.

6-5-1: Crystal Boyd

By 651 ARTS on April 05, 2016

6-5-1: An interview with 651 ARTS Program Manager Crystal Boyd.

6-5-1: Debbie Blunden-Diggs

By 651 ARTS on March 18, 2016

6-5-1: An interview with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company Artistic Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs.

6-5-1: Kris Bowers

By 651 ARTS on March 05, 2016

6-5-1: An interview with award-winning pianist and composer Kris Bowers.

6-5-1: Toni Blackman

By 651 ARTS on February 29, 2016

6-5-1: An interview with Hip Hop Ambassador and MC Toni Blackman.

What's New?

Black Joy Meets #BlackArtNOW

...Black art is not only a record of our existence, it is a space of reckoning with it as well. It is an opportunity to make sense of where we have come, where we are and where we can be.

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