Updated: Sep 15
It is well known now that many were devastated by the outbreak of Covid-19. It has been a tragic event that has effected all of our lives in differing ways. As enabled artists with epilepsy and asthma, Melissa Bush and Christopher Carter continue to be positive role models for those who choose the roads less traveled. They hope to make this a possibility for enabled groups (thise with autism, GAD, Alzheimer's, parkinsons, etc.) And also to provide a pathway to artistic expression for people of color as well as those who express non traditional views and or lifestyles (LGBTQ, black, feminists, athiests, non-partisans, independents, etc.)
Being an artist today is perhaps more difficult than ever. However, enabled artists know that adversity only makes us stronger. While it is true that we all must rely on each other when needed, and should not guilt each other when we do, it is worth noting that artists are indeed real people who struggle with real problems.
Perhaps the largrest failure for artists has been the arts community itself. Every year in the bay area we have watched our arts community suffer huge losses to their possible job opportunities. We were constantly told that art had no place in the future and that we all better learn to be engineers or jump off a cliff.
If we fast forward twenty years suicide is now throught the roof, but I'm sure thats just a coincidence. I'm sure its also just a coincidence that, while it preaches the gospel of equality, the bay area artistic elite has gone out of its way to exclude actors of color and the enabled from their all inclusive utopia. Bay area artists of color and the enabled have been shunned by the very culture they helped create and it is time to say something about it.
The truth is mainline artists are terrified because no one likes popular art anymore. Its all self indulgent and over priced. Both hollywood and Broadway are mainly attended by tourists from other countries, not americans. It is also a fact that the more diverse a cast is the morre profitable it is. Black panther for example is one of marvels highest ranking films with a cast that was not recognizeable by name at the time. Disneys the Lion king smash hit on Broadway followed a similiar formula and americans attended in droves.
But the bay area artistic elite care little for the opinion of Americans. So the mainstream bay area producers say "theyre not classically trained" and when they find out we are all of a sudden we "are not experienced enough" or if that one fails we "are not the right type". But this isnt racism or prejudice. Its California! And here you cant be a racist or prejudice no matter how hard you try.
After california fired all of its teachers for wanting to afford to eat back in the early 2000s and most artists who could left for Oregon due to overpriced housing it called on minorities and the enabled to pick up a series of gig jobs to fill the gaps. It worked like a charm. California limped its way to health on the back of its colored and enabled population. We taught countless arts classes, watched children, tutored, performed as guest artisrd (it means you make less money), etc. You name it, we did it for very little money and with empty hopes of progress in our hearts.
We sacrificed our health, security and well being so you could laugh and go to starbucks to avoid your families. We did that for over a decade. We are done.
I'm not saying a revolution is coming. I'm sure youll continue to find minority artists like Chadwick Boseman and countless others who sacrifice their well being for your happy time. Some people are selfless, but most are not. Most of us secretly despise the bay area arts community because it has turned its back on us once more.
Far more people of color and enabled people are unemployed at shocking ratio of 13 percent to 7.8 percent who are white and full time. This means that as we have converted performance online the very colored and enabled people who you begged to save you before are now the most unemployed and dont even qualify for trumps unemployment boost. They are literally starving in the street and the arts community has done nothing, again.
In light of this I am encouraging all artists of color and enabled people to start their own businesses and to rely on each other to make our dreams occur the way we want them to, not on the terms of a system that has been openly hostile to us. I'm not saying stop auditioning I'm just saying to remember that the "minorities may be included" section on your audition sheet is not legally binding or even sincere. It is a california publicity stunt to appear sincere while pulling the rug out from under its own citizenry.
So always have a few other side hustles to your side hustle my colored, freethinking enabled family. The bay area artistic elite is once again trying to abandon us and, surely, they will come crying for us again as soon as they realize no one will consume their boring online art for them. Only we can make something like that work! My advice to you is dont wait for the tears to flow. Start your own online business and turn the shallow art leaders on their pointy heads. Its time to take back our creations!