Black Lives Matter, the social activist movement dedicated to countering systemic racism towards African American communities, is launching an arts platform this month. The platform, called BLM Arts+Culture, will be dedicated to promoting the works of African American artists and emphasize the importance of art in social change. All proceeds generated will be invested back into the organization and its 40 chapters in the US, according to Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders.
Cullors told the Hollywood Reporter, “Black Lives Matter Arts+Culture uplifts artists who are staging cultural interventions and changing the world through their work. I curated this group of artists because their work is critical to transforming the way we relate to the world and to ourselves.”
Cullors further explained that the platform is a first step for the organization to launch pop-up exhibitions, events and capsule collections. They most recently held an exhibition at ComplexCon in Long Beach, California where works by artists like Damon Davis, Carols Garcia and Oto Attah were on display.
The platform will also include an e-commerce component dedicated to selling merchandise, limited edition prints and apparel by artists and designers of color. The initiative’s first featured artist is Emory Douglas, a graphic artist and Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the early 1980’s when the party was dissolved. In celebration of Black Lives Matter’s five year anniversary, Douglas released a print of his iconic work, We Shall Survive, Without A Doubt.
Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 by Cullors, alongside Alicia Garza and Opal Tometiin, after protesting George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teenage in Florida. Since their founding, the organization has become a global movement and a network of activists initiating protests and demanding change around issues of police brutality, systematic racism and white supremacy.