Change the Default

I have been in discussions with brilliant like-minded people at In Battalions, a festival to share innovative ideas about the politics of the arts in collaboration with Devoted and Disgruntled.

We were empowered to run our own sessions, talk about what we want to about the arts – in celebration, to defend it, to criticise, to share our love for it.

My discussion group was based around “popping the middle class bubble.” But surprisingly it wasn’t just about having a rant about the government and everything middle class. There was real insight into this generation who want to be apart of solving not complaining. Finding solutions and not just being a serial soap box-er.

So I’m a black woman from a predominately black community, where single parent homes are the majority and someone’s cousin, uncle or brother has been or still is in prison. But I’m also a black woman who sees all this, knows all this and is sitting here, on my day off from work, amongst people I have never met, because, my God, something needs to change. And I’ll channel anyone who has ever had a dream to do something to make even the smallest part of their world better. To join in the journey (because it will be a journey) and do something. Something is better than nothing. Nothing is the worst thing you can do because you’ll end up going with the tide, like people who don’t vote, yet still habitually moan.

“Change the default”. Then we will have a level playing field. The default presently, fits into a tight, tight box where only the few have the key. Those key holders need to make copies to give out to different people so the box can get bigger. Then from that level – it opens out completely with less boundaries. The default has changed.

I believe we are underestimating our audiences. Who said that the audience doesn’t want to see non- White people on TV, film, dancing or in a play? Or women? Or gay people? Who said they want to see the same thing over and over and over…

But this is why I do what I do. I didn’t think it was and all those years ago, wanting to be a writer because I loved making up stories about my dolls – I never thought it would be anything more than that. I’m a writer because I have something to say and want to say it in an expressive, creative and dramatic way. Fair enough. But it’s now become something to be a black, female writer. Or a writer who happens to be black and female. I’m not sure what way it should be. Or should it matter? Now it’s become important and it’s my responsibility to represent. I work with young people who are looking at me and looking to me. And because I don’t want to be a habitual moaner who doesn’t vote, and because I don’t want to just be someone who stands on their soap box and does nothing – I’ll take on that responsibility in my writing. I’ll use any platform I have to promote what I represent. Gladly. Because those looking at me and to me – I can only hope will eventually lead them becoming the people who are apart of changing the default.


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