This year’s Black History Month theme of Celebrating African Americans and the Arts recognizes the impact of Black artists and their creations as well as the significant role of copyright in creative industries. As part of this year’s celebration, we reflect on the legacy of Alice Walker and her book The Color Purple.
This year’s theme of Black Resistance is a reminder that while Black history holds captivating stories of innovation, triumph, pride, and joy, we must also acknowledge the many ways that African Americans have had to resist historic and ongoing oppression.
As part of this year’s celebration, Office staff sat down with Dakarai Akil, a dynamic, Los Angeles-based collage artist, for a conversation about collage art, creative process, identity, and Black resistance. Akil has engaged with the copyright system, and over the span of his career, he self-published three art books and had his work published in The New York Times, Wired Magazine, and Readers Digest. Akil’s website describes his creations as “small windows into the worlds of Black surrealism & afrofuturism,” and he describes his own work as challenging expectations.
Black history tells powerful stories of innovation, perseverance, triumph, and celebration but also stories of loss, tragedy, trauma, and pain. Historically, African Americans have turned to art for its inexplicable healing powers. There is healing in African American spirituals and in praise dance; in African drums; and in beatboxing, in storytelling, and in rhythm and blues. …