Local Event Focuses on Minority Culture
This year has been fraught with racial tension.
Celebrities and audiences have been speaking out on Twitter about #OscarsSoWhite, and #BlackLivesMatter participants are raising awareness in the streets.
In New Mexico, Ebony Isis Booth is drawing attention to issues of black inclusion in a different way: through celebration.
“Rather than taking this as an opportunity to stand in protest, we wanted to stand in celebration and to champion the beauty and the dynamic nature of black culture as a whole to serve as a reminder to the community that we are valuable for what we contribute,” she said.
Booth and co-founder Jennifer DePaolo created Burque Noir as an event in which the black members of Albuquerque’s creative community can be celebrated, while also giving the local community an opportunity to see the city in a different light.
“We provide a different source of entertainment for the community of Albuquerque that celebrates black art or black artists outside of the calendar of Black History Month or Kwanzaa, or whatever is currently on trend when we gather,” Booth said.
Booth said she moved to Albuquerque from Denver in February of last year. As a poet and vocalist, she immediately dove into the city’s thriving creative community – and found it lacking.
“I observed a palpable absence of black representation in a lot of the areas in which I was moving,” she said. “Albuquerque’s diversity is amazing; however, it does leave something to be desired where it relates to the black community specifically.”
This absence is unsurprising, given that the New Mexico census numbers residents who identify as black at only 2.1 percent of the whole. Booth said there’s still many important reasons to be
more inclusive of black artists.
“There’s just such a vast array of talent in New Mexico that also includes black artists,” Booth said. “I wanted them to have a space where they felt like they could showcase that in a community setting.”
The evidence of this is in the list of individuals performing or exhibiting their works at Burque Noir. The website’s growing list has a total of 19 participating artists, as of this printing, and includes Albuquerque’s first poet laurate, Hakim Bellamy; crowd-pleaser The Sticky LIVE FUNK; and popular artisan jeweler Nafshiyah Moon.
Burque Noir will run from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the South Broadway Cultural Center on Oct. 15, with an after party at Canvas Artistry. For more information, click here.