her perspective / by Sean Beauford

this past saturday, myself, cey adams, and hannibal hopson did an artist talk for our exhibition, the other side of pop, at the august wilson center. it was my first time doing an artist talk or any kind of public speaking about my curatorial work, so i wasn't really sure what to expect.

we kicked the talk off with cey giving a brief synopsis of his history, then hannibal talking about his work, then me touching on the overall idea behind the exhibit, and opening it up to the audience for discussion.

all was good; everyone was engaged and seemed eager to talk about art and culture with us. then out of nowhere i'm blindsided like waldo geraldo faldo in the opening credits of family matters, with a comment about the exhibit's lack of a female voice. i mean... valid. but dang.

there's no excuse but the reason for this lack of perspective was because it wasn't on my mind, (or apparently any of the female artists involved) to depict pop culture from the viewpoint of a woman specifically. i didn't set out to show a man's perspective either. i looked for art that dealt with pop culture from an urban perspective. i came across what i came across and showed what i liked.

but i realized that it's this kind of oversight that made me, as a young black man, feel slighted in so many art exhibitions that claimed to represent society or millennials, but not guys like me that come from where i come from. that's the reason i did TOSOP. it's easy for those who are able to see themselves in the world to not be conscious of those who can't. i realize that you can't just expect those with voices to automatically understand the voiceless. you can't automatically expect them to understand your plight. everyone ain't that woke. you have to speak up and say something. i've been surrounded by women literally my entire life, i have a new daughter who has raised my awareness by a million, and i STILL did not consider the lack of female perspectives. well, there were female perspectives, just not works that spoke to being a woman.

i've actually been wanting to do a show about/for women for a while now but where i went wrong was thinking that i had to save that to be it's own separate thing, instead of just incorporating that consideration in everything i do. it's the difference between celebrating black history in one specific month vs celebrating it with all history, all the time, all year round.

i won't make the same mistake going forward. i love women too much. i love Neon too much. i hold women in such a high regard and appreciate them so much, i need to show it more. women endure a lot and we don't show our appreciation for all that they do, like we should. we don't uplift them like we should. even though i'm here for all women, it must be pointed out that black women especially, NEVER forget to make sure black men are represented. they fight and march for us and go harder for us than a lot of us deserve. that love has to be returned.

i can't speak for anyone else, and will never ask anything of anyone else, but i will do my part.

i also need to look out more for those with disabilities. did you see stevie wonder at the grammys calling for more accessibility!? shout out to the GOAT for telling us all that we've been slacking.

i need to do more. i will.

and if i slack, call me out on it.