CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Black Lives Matter movement brought attention to the injustices African Americans face everyday. But the movement also highlighted the contributions of African Americans, especially in the art realm.
Murals popped up across the country, and here in Charlotte, amplifying Black voices.
The Black Lives Matter mural in Uptown is just one of several street art pieces around the city showcasing the Black experience.
DeNeer Davis helped paint the mural. Davis grew up on the west side of town, where she says opportunities are limited.
“I don’t recall anybody being an artist. Coming from where I come from, we’re mostly sports players, athletes, cheerleaders, hair dressers,” Davis says.
In 2020, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor allowed Davis to be a part of the narrative of the Black voice in Charlotte.
She explains the importance of being involved in that artwork.
“It meant a lot to use my voice to express what we go through as people. It allowed me to project a voice through my art,” she says.
Davis says incorporating the Black experience in her art means highlighting love and the need for more of it.
Like Davis, Makayla Binter grew up with very few Black artists to look up to. The lack of representation inspired Binter to explore her artistic side.
“I didn’t learn about Black women painters, drawers, artists in college, and I was super curious as to why,” Binter explains.
Binter’s art focuses on the experience of the Black woman.
But for both Davis and Binter, being a Black artist is about more than painting Black men and women on city buildings, it’s about encouraging change and transforming the art into action.
“If you’re commissioning the artist to do this, then I hope the city follows through with it. Like, you say Black lives matter, well show me,” Binter adds.
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