Often when I see collectives I imagine how beneficial it would be to be a part of one. Everyone comes together with their assortment of talents and uses said talents to produce something amazing. Each person must play their role to the best of their ability because all the roles depend on one another. Collectives were created to make a space for people with the same interests such as art or music. As Black artists, we may have a difficult time finding spaces that accept us and our art so it was important to find collectives made of people who look like us.
As y’all already know we are a multi talented people. Forming art collectives together gives us the chance to showcase these talents outside of outlets that can’t handle (don’t want) us for whatever reason. When we come together, everyone gets put on. We get to promote, not only ourselves but the group as a whole – which still benefits everyone individually. We get to support each other on a level that goes much farther than words of affirmation. We get to see each other do what we do best while simultaneously improving our craft so we can be even better. Also, there’s a chance we might even learn something new from a member of the collective and they might learn something from us. Basically, no matter how you look at it, collectives are units that offer mutual benefits all around.
Being that we are in 2019, the excuse of not knowing about any collectives is pretty much unacceptable. We use the internet for everything and using it to form a collective is not only conveintet but often quite successful as well. Enter Art Hoe Collective which was established around 2015 and has a goal to “empower and nurture the works of people of color (POC) — especially young people, women, queer, trans, sex workers, and non-binary folk who are too often left without a platform.” (Source: Vivala.com) While mainly active on social media, Art Hoe Collective has appeared at Afropunk and featured in both i-D and Essence Magazine. Their focus is to showcase original artwork and their submissions come from womxn all over the world.
Another collective that’s making it’s mark is AWGE. You probably recognize the acronym from the beginning of every A$AP Mob member’s (and Carti) video released within the past few years. It’s popularity stems from it’s affiliation with A$ap Rocky – as he is it’s founder. AWGE does all the promotion for the A$AP Mob members as well as creates pop up shows for a variety of their associated acts — that of course include music as well as merchandise. They also have the “AWGE DVD” series which currently has 3 volumes. Each DVD consists of tour footage, behind the scenes footage, freestyles and more from the Mob and their associated acts. Basically AWGE is a collective rooted in the media with their claim to fame being their visual creativity and editing style for their media. Making their staple aesthetic vintage throwback film mixed with a futuristic flare, AWGE consistently starts the visual trend we see today. It’s members consist of A$ap Mob, Playboi Carti, Key!, Smooky Margielaa, Ben Baller, Matt Henson, Hidjifilms, and many more.
The Slug Agency‘s motto is: “WHERE AN OPPORTUNITY DOES NOT EXIST, WE CREATE IT.” This goes back to my initial point. When they won’t let us do it, we will do it ourselves. Founded by singer BOSCO, The Slug Agency focuses on giving opportunities to underrepresented groups and a platform to showcase their talents. Their speciality is visual creative endeavors that are created through visual media as well music and of course the culture as a whole. The Slug Agency also has a distinct look to their work often using bright colors and 90s inspired aesthetics. With Pop Up Shops and faithful clients they are without a doubt giving a voice to the voiceless. Their most recent success has been their collaboration with Red Bull at their Red Bull Treehouse in Atlanta.
Now that I’ve gone over what everyone else is doing y’all gotta be put on to what we’re doing. Debuting in Fall 2019, Her Art Collective is by Women of Color for Women of Color. Also known as HAC, it’s a subsidiary of another one of our platforms, Gurls Inspired. Want to be a part of it? More details are coming soon…