We had the good fortune of connecting with Keris Love’ and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keris, why did you pursue a creative career?
For me art is the perfect platform to discuss all issues, especially issues that are difficult or make us feel uncomfortable. I noticed I’m most happy when I am being creative and it’s important we love what we do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art intersects with social activism. All the work I curate is connected to uplifting racial and social injustices. As artist we have autonomy to tell whatever story we please. I chose to uplift issues that are difficult for those to speak on, while shedding light on issues that everyone may not be privy to. I’m most proud of two things, one being a song I wrote for the movement, called “I believe”. The song is representative of how our movement is intergenerational. Black people have been fighting for civil rights since the enslavement of our people. The movement sometimes seems to feel individual with each generation having a period of demonstrations and uprisings. This is however not the truth, we are carrying the baton from the elders on a marathon to liberation. The second thing I’m most proud of was co curating a social activism exhibit in NYC. It was an exciting and necessary exhibit that highlighted artist whose art work covered issues from housing to environmental justice. A gallery of amazing art work that also led to important conversations. I’d like to think that I’m still on my journey to where I want to be professionally, but getting where I am now was largely due to my mentorship, and my faith in myself. Believing in yourself even if others don’t is half the battle. The one thing I want the world to know about my brand is that I’m more than an artist. Using art to strike a conversation about important issues is only the first step. Bringing change to those issues is the ultimate goal, which is why connecting my artistry to policy change is what makes my brand unique. Once an issue has been brought to light, the advocacy, and organizing that I do with policy makers is what is important.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
New York City has been always been a destination hotspot for tourist, but if I had to show a friend around my city, I would focus on the places everyday New Yorkers frequent starting with my home, The Bronx. We would get BaconEggandCheese (yes one word) from the local bodega for breakfast. Take a walk through Starlight park and then hop on the 6 train to Harlem. Visit the Apollo and then Jacobs for lunch. We would definitely do a roof top brunch in nice weather and if it’s the summer, catch an evening concert in the park.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would first like to shoutout my Femtor Carmen Perez- Jordan who is the Executive Director of the Gathering for Justice, co- founder of Justice League NYC and co Chair of the Womens March. When I met Carmen I was already an established songwriter and on my way to becoming an activist. She took me under her wing and helped me realize that my artistry and activism was not separate. She gave me the title “Artivist” and put me in spaces that would allow me to be my whole self. Her Femtorship gave me the courage I needed when I co founded NNLB with 6 other Black Women. NNLB has been a safe space for Black women organizers across New York State. Both Carmen and NNLB have been an intricate part of my journey as an Artivist.
Youtube: Keris Love’
Other: Please also follow my Organization on IG @nnlbunited
@Soulsofamovement, and @Kishabari