Monét Noelle Marshall

When the world is destroyed, someone must remake the world. I think you’d call that art.

-The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson


The Why

You may soon wonder why, so let me answer in advance:

Because Basquiat died penniless at 27 but one of his paintings sold for $110.5 million in May. 

Because Black women created the wealth of this country by the labor of their hands and their bodies and yet the average net worth of a Black woman is $0. 

Because it's $0 if she went to college.

Because if she didn't its -$1100. 

Because the art world ain't loyal but my grandma's kitchen table always is. 

Because Black life is Black performance and y'all don't get Black life but yet you try to grasp Black performance. 

Because Black women have answers to questions that white people haven't even asked themselves yet. 

Because white artists wear their faux oppression like capes. 

Because my mama has been creating art for over 40 years and has yet to call herself a "professional artist". 

Because we talk about the "art market" as if it's different than the slave market. 

Because it still has blood on it. 

Because artists are often the harbingers of gentrification. 

Because I love us. 

Because Solange made a song about it and y'all still can't keep your hands off her hair. 

Because folks talk about rock n roll without Sister Rosetta Sharpe. 

Because I'm a queer Black woman artist in the South. 

Because my grandparents were domestics and sharecroppers and vets and postal workers and teacher's assistants and I have the privilege to call myself an artist. 

Because Tommy DeFrantz wrote that piece and Ebony Noelle Golden exists and my Mama. 

Because I'm angry and hurt and raging and laughing and loving and I have a lot to say but I'm gonna put it in the art instead. 

Because we need to. 


Image: Basquiat's $110.5 million painting Credit: 2017 The Guardian/2017 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS, via Sotheby's

Cover Photo by Chris Charles

Background image by Flickr user SlimJim