Perspectives – Windhover Vol. LV

Page 1

2020 – 2021

2020 – 2021

FOREWARD This special edition of Windhover is meant to shine a spotlight on Black creators at NC State and uplift their voices. The title and theme, Perspectives, is intended to highlight a viewpoint that is often overlooked in the arts: the Black perspective. With this edition, we aspire to start and contribute to a conversation about equity in the arts, but more importantly, we want to give Black narratives the support, recognition and space they deserve. In light of the Black Lives Matter movement starting in 2013, the world has become more aware of how racism and prejudice has infiltrated all aspects of society, including the arts. Black artists and artwork have been grossly underrepresented in the arts, a sentiment that has a long history deeply rooted in the story of privilege and discrimination in America. Despite coming a long way, the state of the creative world today shows that there is still much work to be done. Black art and storytelling has not been showcased on the same stage as those of white counterparts. This is not limited to the Black community; the same goes for people of color and women. A recent study showed that nearly all works in U.S. art museums were created by white men with only 1.2 percent made by African American artists (Diversity of artists in major U.S. museums, Chad M. Topaz, 2019). Museums such as the MOMA and Smithsonian recognize that it is time to rectify that disparity and are working towards including more diverse artists in their exhibitions. However, this isn’t something that will happen overnight; it falls on everyone to share and uplift the artists who have been pushed to the shadows for too long in all levels of society. I believe it’s time for new stories and perspectives to be widely-shared so that we may change the way we see the world.

It became abundantly clear to myself and the rest of the Windhover staff that we could be doing more as an arts organization to apply this idea within the NC State community. With the help and guidance of the Women’s Center, the African American Cultural Center, the Black Oak Society, the Black Artist Coalition and many others we decided to use our medium as a space where Black students, faculty and alumni can have their perspectives brought to the spotlight through what we do best: exhibiting them in our magazine. As an artist myself, I often enjoy roaming art museums and immersing myself in the narratives that are being told, taking in abstract forms, sweeping brush strokes and much more. When I see the rare paintings that feature people like me, most only show the dark history of our past. However, Black culture is more than our struggles: it is a woven tale of resilience, vibrance, joy and celebration. I am more than my history and I believe that by presenting this edition I am helping to share those narratives with the world. In the pages of this Windhover special edition, you will find a collection of stellar works created by talented Black visionaries: I invite you to take the time to enjoy the depth and layers of their stories. Maya Mitchall Perspectives Edition Project Lead

photographer Roy DeCarava (1996)

“The artist creates the material that we look back upon as part of history.”

7 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 24 25 26 27 28 30 31 33 34 36 38 40 42

PROSE Nothing Good Can Grow Here · RJ Washington VISUAL African Water Jug: A Heavy Load · Maya Mitchall Downtown Wagon · Noah Baldwin Sunlit Self-Portrait · Noah Baldwin In My Skin · Kayla Clark Couldn’t Love You More · Kayla Clark ice cream man · Jakada Khalfani peeking · Jakada Khalfani Untitled (2020) · Jon Copes Mutual Aid (2020) · Jon Copes Kaleidoscope Sun · Kayla Clark Limitless · Pearl Knight Vanessa · Je’wel Lucas Monotony (Look 1) · Amaya Abraham Monotony (Look 2) · Amaya Abraham In Motion (2020) · Jon Copes Migrating Reef · Christopher Oates POETRY What Will the Last Man Search · Patricia Ndombe Dinner Time · Chaniya Williams Blues and Bicycles · James Daniels Chimera · Ronada Frazier VIDEO Video · Various creators RESOURCES Staff compilation of resources

RJ Washington

Nothing Good Can Grow Here It was around 10 a.m. when my boss threw her husband down a well. She used the extra-large Christmas tree storage bag that she’d bought last year. Mr. Getty’s dirty, skeletal arm was hanging limply out of the partially unzipped top, bouncing and waving as Mrs. Getty struggled to drag her husband’s weight through the field. Sweat poured down her face, and she paused to roll up her billowy dress sleeves before continuing. The thought crossed my mind to offer to help, but she was only a few feet away from the well. She hoisted him up into her arms and dropped him down over the edge, dusting off her skirt and walking away without listening for the sound of impact. When I followed her into the house, she was in the kitchen, looking for the kettle. “Shirley,” she greeted me with her confident smile, a bit of dirt on her cheek. “You’re here early.” “Momma got called in, so she had to drop me off,” I said. “You making tea?” “Yes, would you like some?” “I can make it for you.” She shook her head, then beckoned for me to sit at the table, which had only an empty vase and one of her fancy china plates, with a matching teacup. I’d only seen her use the good dining ware twice: when her last brother died, and when her tomato garden had been voted the best in the county, second-best in the state. A celebration, or a mourning: I couldn’t tell. “How’s your sister doing?” she asked, locating the kettle and filling it with water. I told her my sister was doing fine, her grades were

2020 – 2021 | 7

improving and she was making friends. I thanked her again for putting in a good word for her at the academy, and she smiled again. “She’s a nice little girl. Any way I can help, I will.” Once the kettle was on the stove, she sat down next to me, fanning herself with her hand. “You might be cooler if you’d stop wearing those dresses,” I said. “Looking good don’t matter when you catch a stroke.” “Can’t be caught not looking my best. Besides, this heat is nothing,” she said. “I’m sure you’re used to hotter, working outside all the time. The beasts must be used to hotter, still. Poor things.” “Did you decide to feed them today?” She said “I haven’t done much of anything today,” her face as straight as the drop her husband took. “You know I’m too old to go chasin’ after them chickens, that’s your job.” I didn’t know how to bring up the elephant in the room, or if I even should. But you couldn’t hide anything from Mrs. Getty. She could see through you in a second, and she did. “Something the matter, child?” “I saw you throwing something in the well. Could’ve been some old trash or…” I didn’t know how to rationalize it. “I don’t mean to pry.” She gave me a hard look, her mouth a tight line. I turned away. The kettle whistled. She stood up and turned off the stove, dropping some tea leaves that she grew herself into a teapot and slowly pouring the water in after. Something about the whole situation and the gentle sound of the water filling up the pot reminded me of a place with flowing water, somewhere I couldn’t quite place my finger on, but made a seed of worry bud in my belly. She left the teapot to sit between us on the table, after fetching another teacup for me. I dared a glance at her face, finding that she had another smile for me. “That was James,” she said. “He’s been dead for about two months. Green or oolong, dear?” “Green,” I said, surprised my voice was still with me, surprised I was still sitting there. My mind focused on the nugget of apprehension in my gut. I thought back to the last time I had had this same feeling: when me and my sister used to play somewhere Momma told me never to go. I look at the teapot and I recall it was a creek about a mile from our house. It was scenic and fun, and a great place to be alone. I liked exploring it,

8 | Perspectives Edition

and my father used to take me there sometimes, just the two of us. But the worry was still there, and I couldn’t decipher why. Before I can dwell on it more, Mrs. Getty spoke again. “Girl after my own heart. James loved oolong, but I can’t stand to wait long enough to make it.” She poured some tea for the both of us, handing me a spoon. “Be careful, now. Sugar?” I told her yes. She fished some packets from a drawer and handed them to me. “I reckon you want to know how it happened?” I debated it for a while, then nodded. She drank a bit of her tea. “My family wasn’t exactly well off, but we managed. My great-granddaddy wanted a secure future for his children. He built this house and this farm. He owned it, but not really. James’ great-granddaddy owned my great-granddaddy, due to some bad deals and account of nobody botherin’ to learn how to read the fine print. So I was owed to James before either of us were even born.” I thought back to the couple of times I’d seen Mr. James Getty. He was a tall, imposing man, having what my momma would call a “hard” face, callous and full of disdain. He spent much of his time walking the fields or tilling them, trying desperately to get his crops to germinate and grow. He never said a word to me, unless it was a command to feed the pigs or clean the house or wash his tractor. Technically, I was only hired to help watch the animals, but Mr. Getty wanted me to do it all. I wondered why Mrs. Getty told me to stop doing most of my chores a while back, (and why I didn’t see much of Mr. Getty), but I didn’t question it. Now, I help clean just because Mrs. Getty doesn’t ask me to. I don’t mind with her. “He acted like a big man, just ‘cuz he had a couple of acres of land. Thought he was running the show because of his ‘white’ roots. He talked about his heritage a lot, coming from a slave master and proud his ‘folks took the land back.’ He was black as dirt but he sure didn’t act like it. And he had a temper that he wasn’t afraid to show.” “Mrs. Getty,” I said, my heart skipping a beat. “He had some bad habits, and they only got worse when I couldn’t have any babies. I was sad, when I found out I couldn’t give birth. But I got over it. I don’t know what he’d do to those children. Either beat ‘em

2020 – 2021 | 9

blue or fill their heads up with the poppycock his pappy fed him. Didn’t need to bring more hate to this world.” “How did he die?” I asked. “He went in his sleep.” She paused, adding “I gave him some cough medicine. Too much I suppose.” “He had a cough?” “No. Anyway, I felt very inconvenienced. I had to buy another bed. I had to find someone to take his body and put it…somewhere. Make funeral arrangements, since his parents wanted him buried with them. I couldn’t afford all that. But I’m a woman who has survived by making do, and – well, I just decided to put him in the garden.” The garden? With the meticulously maintained flowerbeds and awardwinning tomato plants? I could typically find Mrs. Getty in this place, located just behind the house and surrounded by a low rock wall. It was extravagant, an oasis in the midst of acres and acres of dead fields and rough, dry ground. It was her pride and joy. She took another sip of tea just before letting out a long sigh. “It’s been some weeks, and I had to dig him up. He was killing my damn petunias.” “I think you’d have to leave it longer,” I say. It? Him? “I imagine it’s similar to…composting cow dung.” She chuckled. “Composting? Oh, I don’t know. I believe I said I dislike waiting. And, I don’t have any sawdust for the smell. I think when you spend forty-four years with someone, you’re allowed some moments of impatience. You haven’t drunk any of your tea.” My eyes flick to my cup, and I dip my spoon into it, breaking the

10 | Perspectives Edition

surface of the warm brown liquid. Immediately images of the creek flash in my mind. My father, floating still, face down in the water. Momma holding me. She’s sopping wet, and my legs are too cold despite the summer sun above us. I’m staring at the man who took me here and raised me and I don’t really feel anything except sadness and shame. I remember that Momma had told me that she was going to make sure nobody hurt me anymore, and I believed her. “Anyway, you caught me red-handed, as they say,” Mrs. Getty said, leaning back into her chair. Her cup was empty. “I don’t know if you understand why I did what I did.” “I do,” I said. “Some people are like weeds, Shirley, and you have to cut them out before they spoil the whole garden. Nothing good can grow from them. You hear me?” “Yes ma’am,” I said. “Obviously, I’ve given you an extreme case, but you’ll discover eventually that it isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Black women are longsuffering, and my momma used to tell me that’s just how it is, but I don’t think it has to be that way. Nope. I hope you don’t have to hurt like us old people have. But you do what you have to do.” “Yes ma’am,” I said. “Can I start working now?” “Whatever you’d like,” she said, smiling kindly. As I stood up to head outside and begin my tasks, I caution another look at my untouched teacup. It is still, and harmless, and instead of thinking about my father and the creek, I think about how warm it feels in my hand. I take a sip and relish the bittersweet taste. “Ms. Getty, can I take some leaves back home to Momma?” I asked. “Whatever you’d like.”

2020 – 2021 | 11

↓ African Water Jug: A Heavy Load | Maya Mitchall, ceramics

Maya Mitchall was a volunteer for this volume. As per our Submission Policy volunteers are not permitted to take part in the review of their submission(s) to prevent subjectivity and bias. The acceptance and consideration of their piece(s) is decided by the editor-in-chief and managing editor based on a pre-established critique process.

2020 – 2021 | 13

↑ Downtown Wagon | Noah Baldwin, photography → Sunlit Self-Portrait | Noah Baldwin, photography

14 | Perspectives Edition

2020 – 2021 | 15

16 | Perspectives Edition

← In My Skin | Kayla Clark, charcoal ↓ Couldn’t Love You More | Kayla Clark, charcoal

2020 – 2021 | 17

↑ ice cream man | Jakada Khalfani, acrylic → peeking | Jakada Khalfani, acrylic

18 | Perspectives Edition

2020 – 2021 | 19

↓ Untitled (2020) | Jon Copes, photography

20 | Perspectives Edition

2020 – 2021 | 21

22 | Perspectives Edition

↑ Mutual Aid (2020) | Jon Copes, photography

2020 – 2021 | 23

↑ Kaleidoscope Sun | Kayla Clark, watercolor → Limitless | Pearl Knight, digital media

24 | Perspectives Edition

2020 – 2021 | 25

↓ Vanessa | Je'wel Lucas, acrylic and oil

26 | Perspectives Edition

↑ Monotony (Look 1) | Amaya Abraham, fashion design

2020 – 2021 | 27

↑ Monotony (Look 2) | Amaya Abraham, fashion design

28 | Perspectives Edition

2020 – 2021 | 29

↓ In Motion (2020) | Jon Copes, double exposure photography

30 | Perspectives Edition

↑ Migrating Reef | Christopher Oates, pen and ink

2020 – 2021 | 31

Patricia Ndombe

What Will the Last Man Search what will the last man search what will the last man search when the lion lies down with the very last lamb what will the last man search when the last blade withers and the final flower fades what will the last man search when atlas collapses and drops the skies what will the last man search when god starts the last jumanji round what will the last man search when emmett finally says hello what will the last man search when chadwick asks him so how did it go

2020 – 2021 | 33

Dinner Time Chaniya Williams

How do you nourish a mouth that’s been starved for identity? When you lack fatherly love and a mother’s homemade meal to suffice your deteriorating mentality? She offers a temporary fix to spilled milk. Was it dairy or diary? It’s hard to remember when she tells me not to cry over either. I try to be strong, but what’s strong without melting all over the kitchen table? The milk’s spoiled now and I tear into myself thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s not butter!”. What’s left of my brain matter doesn’t make a good seasoning. They eat my morbidness for dinner and spit out the chunks that stutter out bits of reasoning.

34 34 || Perspectives PerspectivesEdition Edition

It’s hard to believe I slandered myself for the opinions of pigs that feed off whatever you throw in the stable. We don’t listen to sheep as they say, but no one confesses they live amongst the herd. And if it’s anything I’ve learned, You either become the wolf or live long enough to see yourself devoured by one.

2020 2020 –– 2021 2021 | 35

James Daniels

Blues and Bicycles Inspired by Thelonius Monks’ “Round Midnight” Brown girl dips around corners On a squeaky blue bicycle Using the rubber on the bottom Of her shoes to brake And brown her ripped soles Or ripped soul— Whichever came first. Which came first? The hearse or the cream Converses Draped over the power lines Like a curtain call Next to orange street lights. She slips home to make Bodies work in unison—her Coffee brown communion. Sweat keeps bubbling down To her dark shins And wrapping ’round staccato toes Tip tapping on momma’s broke tile ’till Silk spirits move from Ma Rainey records, Spinning like her bike tires, To puddled passion

36 | Perspectives Edition

On the coffee-stained lamp shade Next to a bed of first tries And second chances. Now the music dances, And swivel-strained hips Cemented by sweat Wet the sheets with pink salt only. Same salt on momma’s hand When she caught ’em both After swing shift. Same salt in brown girl’s eyes Watching her pink lover fumble down Brick steps into the street, And gun it to the corner store Wearing cream Converses, stopped & Frisked—shot and kissed By the concrete. And the cycle goes on And on, And on, ’Round midnight.

2020 – 2021 | 37

Ronada Frazier

Chimera As the house settles and Daytime sounds become nighttime creaks A thought emerges of what America could be Or better what it should be It’s different for everyone, yours and mine are not the same I saunter onto my porch, watching kids play in the yard. I watch their youthful energy on high display. My kitchen is full of food and the neighbors wave as they pass. I’m able to send them to schools and camps without fear that they will be judged for being too They thrive in the society that embraces their talents and sees their excellence as ways to forge new paths into the pursuit of making the world better. A place where their contributions are written into the history books and journals, Where their existence is not pushed to the margins of the narrative. But is this utopia or is it a dream? As disease spreads and the Earth scorches, The structures and systems that you’ve created to keep your version of America as the norm begins to singe.

38 | Perspectives Edition

The foundation on which you’ve placed your heroes begins to shake. And my America takes shape. From the rumbling Earth and the scorched land, We build, we fortify, we organize, we unify, to change the colors of the rooms where decisions are made. To break up and tear down the strings from the trees that snuffed out lives far too early. To curtail the callous disregard for our pain as we bring bundles of black joy into the world and collectively watch over them like lighthouses guiding ships into the darkness until they are able to maneuver in the world on their own. Yes, I see it Don’t you A different hue It’s not utopia and it isn’t a dream

2020 – 2021 | 39



40 | Perspectives Edition

THE ROSE THAT GREW FROM CONCRETE :: 3 PART POEM SERIES Dakota Batch Caged Bird, Maya Angelou I, Too, Langston Hughes Beautiful Black Men, Nikki Giovanni

2020 – 2021 | 41

Links to these resources can be located at Fundraisers and organizations — Activation Residency Afrotectopia Arts Administrators of Color Network Arts Leaders of Color Fund Art Hoe Collective Black Artist Coalition at NC State Black Artists and Designers Guild: Black Artist Fund Black Artists Network in Dialogue Black Art Futures Fund Black Girl Magik Black Lunch Table Black Oak Society, Raleigh’s Black literary and arts magazine Black Trans Femmes in the Arts Black Visions Collection Black Women’s Blueprint Black Youth Project Bkyln Boihood Brown Art Link By Us for Us East Bay/Oakland Relief Fund for Individuals in the Arts (Fem)power Harlem Arts Alliance Life Pieces to Masterpieces The Sphinx Organization Spicy Zine Tessera Arts Collective

42 | Perspectives Edition

Black Business Lists —–directory/–owned–businesses/ More links can be found on Windhover’s website To follow on social media — Kehinde Wiley (Visual Artist) – @kehindewiley Kenturah Davis (Multimedia Visual Artist) – @kenturah Samantha Irby (NY Times Bestselling Author) – @bitchesgottaeat Deun Ivory (Art Director, Photographer) – @deunivory Vashti Harrison (Illustrator) – @vashtiharrison Chimmamanda Adichie (Novelist) – @chimmamanda_adichie Yoyo Lander (Painter) – @yoyolander Kiley Reid (Bestselling Author) – @kileyreid Tianna Bracey (Painter) – @tiannabraceyart Shantell Martin (Artist) – @shantell_martin Azure Antoinette (Poet) – @hello_azureantoinette Reading lists — Oprah Magazine’s 44 of the Best Books by Black Authors You Should Read in Your Lifetime Penguin Random House’s 33 Books by Contemporary Black Authors Links to these lists can be found on Windhover’s website Additional links to resources for people who want to learn more about Black underrepresentation in the arts can be found on Windhover’s website at

2020 – 2021 | 43

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.