Consistently reading James Baldwin and Albert Murray centers, to and for me, what it means to suffer and what it means to refine that into good work. I don’t get lost in forms of pity, guilt, or shame like I used to, and I understand my duty, as an artist, to be nothing but honest and precise.
Because I can do art, It is my responsibility to do it with integrity, and that’s it.
This thrift store by the train station has allowed me cheap gender-affirming clothing many times over, which is a nice stepping stone, I think, to just find confidence from elsewhere as I continue building my own, from my ideas and my past, so I’m very thankful for the powerful relief.
Arthur Blythe’s “Lenox Avenue Breakdown” album + a lot of what Duke Ellington was able to do was inspired by Harlem as well, and that universalized improvisation guides me heavily.