Black student creatives fight for justice

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Photo Credit: Gianna Shahdad | Daily Texan Staff

After her parents told her she couldn’t attend a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Tarniesha Floyd said she wanted to find another way to support the movement. 

Floyd, a radio-television-film freshman, created Homies at Home, a website that gives Black creators and business owners a platform to share their work. It also provides links to petitions and fundraisers. 

“My goal for the website is to eventually have it become both a safe place for Black people as well as a place for allies to educate themselves freely and hopefully educate their peers,” Floyd said.

After the police killing of George Floyd in May, activists organized protests and petitions all over the country. Three months later, some young, Black creatives are continuing to use their voices to bring awareness to the social justice movement. 

Marketing sophomore Isaiah Williams makes music in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and those who have been silenced. He hasn’t released any of his own music to the public and said he creates music solely to express himself.

“I’ve been just rapping and making music for a while now, but I didn’t want to start actually producing music until (this year),” Williams said. “(Music) lets me talk about what’s going in in the world.”

Environmental science sophomore Aaliyah Smith has also become involved in the Black Lives Matter movement through her multimedia art. Smith sells her handmade commissioned paintings online through Etsy.

“I usually start by making my basic pieces, and then every once in a while, I’ll get a message from someone who wants a custom painting for their social media or decorations,” Smith said.

 

Over time, Smith has worked to raise money for the Black Lives Matter movement. Since March, she has donated over $600 of her profits to different organizations. She said she has given money to community bail fundraisers, Black LGBTQ+ organizations and GoFundMe pages for families affected by police brutality. 

“The Black Lives Matter movement means a lot to me,” Smith said. “I’ve personally seen many of my family members be directly affected by police brutality, so I plan to continue to donate money until there are some changes made to the system.”

Floyd said her website is meant to not only give her a platform to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement but to also inspire others to get involved. In the future, she said she plans to continue to shine a light on social injustices as a filmmaker.  

“As a film major, I want to create a moviegoing experience for Black people that doesn't exploit our trauma for profit,” Floyd said. “My ultimate goal is to create more film opportunities and representation for people in my community so that they don't feel that their dream is too far-fetched or unrealistic.” 

Floyd said she and others don’t plan on stopping their work with the Black Lives Matter movement anytime soon.  

“There may be a spotlight on the movement right now because everyone is at home and can no longer ignore the injustices against Black people in America, but once that goes away that doesn’t mean people are going to stop fighting,” Floyd said.