Meet Amanda Boston, Arts Research with Communities of Color Fellow

Amanda Boston joined The LP team as our Arts Research with Communities of Color Fellow earlier this month. Get to know more about her!

In what neighborhood do you live?

Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

How did you first become connected to The LP, or hear about The LP?

I am thrilled to have been selected to work with The LP as part of the Social Science Research Council’s Arts Research with Communities of Color program.

So, what attracted you to The LP? How does working here relate to your professional goals?

My research uncovers how Black popular culture has been incorporated into real estate projects that marginalize Black communities. The LP represents a powerful antidote to that sort of extraction by using art to build local power. Working here is aligned with my goals of exploring and elevating Black life, history, and culture, and challenging conventional wisdom about race, power, and the world we live in.

Do you have your own creative practice? If so, tell us more!

My primary creative practice these days is writing — mostly scholarly essays and articles as well as a book I’m completing on race and gentrification in Brooklyn.

Can you tell us about an artist or project that has inspired you?

Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series is my favorite artwork of all time. In 60 panels, it captures the challenges and triumphs of African Americans’ move from the rural South to the urban North — one of the most transformative demographic events in U.S. history. As the daughter and granddaughter of Southern migrants, I find that the series poignantly captures an important chapter in the history of my family and so many others like it.

What is your favorite film?…album?…food?

My favorite film is The Wiz. My favorite album is “Ready to Die” by the Notorious B.I.G. My favorite food is my mom’s macaroni and cheese.

Where do you do your laundry?

I do my laundry in the basement of my apartment building.

In your opinion, why does art matter?

Art matters because it is an accessible medium of expression for everyone. For that reason, when we look at the artistic production of people who have been marginalized within dominant venues for expression — such as the mainstream media and formal politics — we can find rich archives of creativity, joy, self-reflection, and resistance that aren’t as readily available elsewhere.

What LP value do you most related to and why?

“Be Propelled by Love” — in a time of so much overt interpersonal and institutionalized hatred, love is critical to building a future where freedom, dignity, and justice are available to everyone.

Amanda Boston is an assistant professor of Africana studies at the University of Pittsburgh and a visiting scholar at New York University’s Urban Democracy Lab. As a recipient of the Social Science Research Council’s Arts Research with Communities of Color Fellowship, she is conducting a year-long study with The Laundromat Project to document its history and culture. A proud Brooklynite, Boston’s research explores gentrification’s racial operations and their role in the making and unmaking of the borough’s Black communities. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Africana studies from Brown University as well as an M.A. in political science and a B.A. in political science and African & African American studies from Duke University. Boston is a trustee emerita of Brown and a member of the board of directors of the Municipal Art Society of New York. She is also on the alumni council of the New York City-based Prep for Prep program, which provides students of color with life-changing educational and leadership opportunities.