Trinidad and Tobago author: Support black artists

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Author Tiffanie Drayton’s book Black American Refugee-

AUTHOR Tiffanie Drayton urged people to support the works of black artists to ensure their viability, talking at the final day of the virtual 2022 Bocas Lit Fest.

Under the banner of Four Days to Change the World, the theme of the final day of the event was Write the Hardest Lines.

Drayton recalled lessons from writing her book, Black American Refugee, which recounted the systemic racism she had encountered on moving to the US as a youngster from TT. She wrote it at the time of the killing of George Floyd by a policeman kneeling on his neck and the resultant Black Lives Matter protests across the US and even worldwide.

“I was at home in Tobago on my keyboard, literally frantic, trying to let people understand how we had got to that point.

“That’s what my New York Times essay, ‘I’m an American; I have to get out’ told the story of. It was just really my journey across the US, seeking decent housing, fighting systemic racism and how my mum was a single parent and a nurse struggling to make ends meet for her three kids.” Drayton implored support for writers of colour.

Tiffanie Drayton –

“I think it is super crucial that people of colour understand how hard it is for artists of colour to really make it and be successful in these industries.

“When people see books by people of colour, movies by people of colour, the same excitement and tenacity that one would express over a Marvel movie and run to the theatres to go watch it, is what we should be doing when we see art created by people who look like us and art that speaks to our struggles and our culture and our reality.

“In doing so, demand is created and without demand you cannot sustain anything in this capitalist system.

“Support black artists!”

She urged support for the likes of soca artists, writers.

“It doesn’t matter who it is. Support us, with your dollars. Make it happen. Buy the album, buy the book, stream the thing and don’t get mih mad.”

Drayton said she was tired of hearing people say that no-one buys black books.

“Well it’s time I can be able to say that’s a lie. It’s time to crush all of those things.”