Dear young Black creatives,
My name is Tobi Oladejo and I am one of the many voices who want to live in a nation where Black expression is celebrated and respected. I write to you not to warn but to inform and encourage. This is meant for your growth in a world where your pigmentation is seen as a threat; in a place where absolute acceptance and equality isn’t in the description of your basic rights.
Never forget, an excuse is all they're asking for, that small window of opportunity to give you exactly what you "deserve". Because you shine brighter but look darker, your life is that much more at risk of all the hatred this world has to offer. There is indeed beauty in this struggle however, and it resides in you. The future of this nation and our progress as a people lie directly in your hands. It is the power in your voices, your art, your music, your very own creative inspiration that will outlive the racist grasp this nation has for so long tried to hold us down with. Acknowledgment and the utmost love of your identity is the strongest thing you can possess in a world that most often times won’t and will tell you to do otherwise. We continue to rise only when the love we have for each other combines with the passion for our creative vision. Despite the conditional freedoms many of our brothers and sisters continue to face, it is the world you create through your beautifully crafted minds that allow for a liberty that can never be touched. It is the emotion that you pour out through your artistry that make us who we are in a society that tries to define that through systematic dos and don’ts.
The same passion for progress in the voices of those before you will never die because they continue to live through you. It’s our generation that has taken the torch and paved our own path. That flame has taken the form of your art and it is your job to ensure a legacy in the power of expression. Let no one tell you what direction is right for you because the wave is only created when you disrupt the currents of normality. A friend of mine once told me history doesn’t remember those who maintained the status quo. Lift up your people, your craft, and change the face of a culture that has the most room to be impacted. Don’t ever be mistaken, hate will always be in your rear view, but it’s the gas that you should use to fuel the fire in your heart. The beauty of your artistry will always be testament to the fact that love survives. Change the plot of the “inevitable” and create your own beautiful, Black ending. Make your vision a reality while creating a better world for those looking up to you, one that fosters the epitome of self-expression. You have a purpose on this earth, one that was fought for by those before us and it is now the time for that dream to manifest. Let’s create.
Tobi Oladejo, 20