A bit of a departure for this blog, but I wanted to write about this arts & media non-profit organisation as I like what they're doing and what they stand for. I love this kind of grass-roots movement, the sort of thing that, although it sounds clichéd, is 'by the people, for the people' - I really think that, whatever your beliefs, you can use your behaviour to make things better for you and those around you. I know the guys are trying to spread the word from their base in Chattanooga, Tennessee, so I asked co-founder Russ McGee (a.k.a. rapper Genesis The Greykid) a few questions about the organisation.
DJC: Who came up with the idea for the project
GTK: Chris Woodhull and I both meshed some ideas together which became the brainchild of Build Me A World; multi-media / fine arts collective developing poets, artists and designers...creating new stories and cultivating a movement of art activism in the black community:
- Connecting professional poets, film-makers and creatives to our collective
- Providing opportunities of positive self-expression through art and possible employment
- Building collaborative spaces for creative encounter
What's been the hardest part of setting it up so far?
Building up the proper awareness of the movement. It's getting some traction, but it really takes time...it's all built on relationships. There's no best practice dealing with culture, there's some great examples, but every community is different.
And what's been the biggest success?
There's a lot of things that are important to our work. So there's not really one big success, it's a bunch of little gears that play a major role in making this work.
Have you found that being involved has helped your own creativity?
Absolutely. We're both artists ourselves...both writers, poets, creatives. Working with the young, the old, the tires, the afflicted, they're all growing. You can't be a part of growth without growing yourself. We grow from the stories around us, the experience, the honest energy that bounces off the walls of the studio.
What would you say is your ultimate goal for the project?
To play a vital role in the narrative of the black community...it's time to create new stories.
How can people get involved / help you out if they want to?
So you heard him, go check it out and give them your support. And if you're thinking "I live hundreds of miles away, I wish there was something like this in my town" then maybe you should set your own up...