“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” W.E.B. Du Bois

Creative representation of African American life and The Black Body has come a long way since W.E.B. Dubois’ seminal commentary, “The Souls of Black Folk.” Our varied and multidimensional modes of ‘art-thought’ continue to evolve and thrive — thanks to the determined efforts of talented and thought-provoking artists of color.

However, MONDO BLACK was all about looking beyond the ‘traditional’ representations of blackness created by mainstream African Diaspora cultural producers…but rather, chose to examine artists who work on the margins — independent ‘arts-activists’ who continue to reshape and redefine how we see ourselves, often without financial support or public accolades.

Perhaps because of the freedom that comes with this kind of ‘out the box’ creativity, we chose to spotlight a maverick brand of soul-keepers and dream-weavers… working stubbornly to help us keep “our eyes on us” – rather than remaining hostage to the woeful condition bemoaned by Du Bois in 1903.

MONDO BLACK visited with several such decidedly individualistic and creatively dazzling talents in this 1 of  2 part episode: Visual artist Kimberly Becoat and legendary writer/filmmaker Darius James.

Kimberly Becoat’s work layers drawings and painting with found/recycled objects and elements of graffiti, as well as incorporating the influence of commercial driven advertising styles; her work has been shown at The Skylight Gallery, The Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts (MoCADA), and Danny Simmons Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn, NYC, and Deutsche Bank. For more info on, click here click here

Writer, poet, and filmmaker Darius James – a.k.a. Dr. Snakeskin – is the author of avante-afro-classics “That’s Blaxploitation!: Roots of the Baadasssss ‘Tude (Rated X by an All-Whyte Jury)” and “Negrophobia.”  He is currently at work on a documentary film (“The United States of Hoodoo”) with German filmmaker Oliver Hardt, exploring the varied cultural and spiritual traditions throughout America that fall under the heading of “hoodoo.” For more about Darius, check out this interesting 2010 interview with Wax Poetics.