Here’s our Q&A with Jordan Anderson, that conceived the multilayered project My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness “, an exploration and celebration of Black Queer identity through art.
Can you talk to me about your project MQBMBQ?
“My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness” is an ongoing digital project in exploration of the multiple existing facets of black queer identity. It is a protest, a celebration that frames blackness as a polyphony, a genre or melody with a vast variety of notes & textures, denouncing both white queer racism and black queer antagonism by way art, film and literature. At the center of the three week project is a charity print sale including the works of industry behemoths such as Tim Walker, Campbell Addy, Michael Bailey Gates among others as they share their interpretations of black queer identity through photography, 100% of the proceeds of which will be donated to charities centered around aiding Black Trans men / women. The other two additional aspects of the project includes a daily updated journal in celebration of the journeys of trans / non binary people of color from all over the world who are shot remotely by photographer Damien Frost as well as a weekly screening of three films b y filmmaker the late Marlon Riggs that give further insight on the history of the black queer experience.
What message would you like to convey with this project?
Well firstly the project is in financial support of organizations centered around Trans Women of Color who I believe need the most support and ally ship at the moment. In general however, the message is about celebrating the multiple facets of black queer identity in all its forms, it’s about visibility and more so self celebration. The project consists of a print sale, a screening virtual room and a journal, with the stories of Trans / Non Binary people of color.
What struck you the most when collecting the stories of the Trans / Non Binary people of color for the project?
It was very interesting to hear about the way in which they go about everyday life and the way in which the world treats their existence as something foreign or alien. As a gay cis-gender black man, I could only relate to a certain point and not much more. There was a quote from a Transgendered man called Touka where he explained his experience on one of the dating apps Grindr which struck me. “Just the day before we had this interview I met up with a guy from Grindr, as usual, he did not read the text on my profile so he had to find out for himself that I had a pussy, so it was a surprise when he put his hand down in my pants, looking for my cock. With a shocked expression, he looked at my pussy and said, What is it? I said, What do you think it is? He said I can see that its a pussy with a cock in it, but how did you do that? !! I was baffled by his illogical interpretation of my clitoris. He then sat down and there I was, again, having to explain myself. Having to explain my existence, “he explained.
How do you think blackness and in particular black queerness are portrayed in the art world?
I really don’t think it’s portrayed enough. I find them too often be portrayed as two separate entities which is problematic. I don’t believe there is enough representation of the intersection of both worlds.
Tell me a little about yourself, your background, your studies?
I’m a Jamaican journalist and creative producer who moved to Milan around 3 years ago. I’d like to think of my background as being in just a little of everything I was raised on poetry, I took part in a bit of drama, I dabbled in and admired visual arts but my specialty lies in fashion, which essentially means finding ways to fuse all of these different things through fashion.
What are the clichés and stereotypes you’d like to dispel?
That one can either be pro-black OR pro-queer. The two don’t need to be separated. One can be, and should be as pro-black as they need to be pro-queer. The culture doesn’t have the best reputation for embracing queerness and I’d like to help change that.
What do you think should be done to tackle the lack of diversity in art and fashion?
Listen to the ones who are speaking, give opportunities and platform those who have something to say, even if it means taking a few steps back. Develop an eye for overlooked talent, which is more than often minority talent, and put steps and programs in place to nurture them.
Do you think art and fashion can have an impact in changing things?
I do believe so. Fashion and art do have the power to be impactful in changing minds systems or opinions. Art for the most part has been on this track, fashion however I’d say is quite behind. Mainly because it doesn’t just require service work of a show of diversity and inclusion, it will actually take the work of rewiring traditional systems that were only built to serve certain groups of people.
It’s an ongoing project, what are the next steps?
Only time will tell! Haha a big part of the ongoing feature is that I’d like to develop it as time goes, basing it off the necessities of the moment, morphing it as a reaction to current social events.