I am extremely honored to be interviewed by my cousin, Robert X Golphin. Robert is a very gifted, disciplined artist who moves seamlessly between mediums, in his roles as an award-winning actor, filmmaker, producer, and novelist. Robert asked a lot of thoughtful, probing questions during our conversation. I very much enjoyed and appreciated our time together. “What’s the difference between spoken word and poetry?” he wanted to know. Who were my early influences?
My emphasis as an artist is on Black Liberation, Cultural Preservation, and Emotional Healing. There’s an emotional response we want to create to help us heal and to move us away from victimhood,” I explained. “So when I’m talking about emotional healing, I’m talking about using the arts, either consuming them or expressing them, to heal us and to make us feel whole.”
During the 1970s, I graduated from Germantown High School in Philadelphia and subsequently, Hampton University, an HBCU in Hampton, Virginia. (Historically Black University/College) As you can imagine, coming of age during such a tumultuous time in American history, the Civil Rights Movement and The Black Arts Movement were huge influences on me. The influences of Black Culture and the struggle for dignity and respect, have remained with me, and definitely play a role in informing my work as an artist. My Consciousness about Black Liberation had been raised even before I reached high school. To this day, the Struggle for Black Liberation is a burning passion in my life, something I will work toward for the rest of my life, aware that I am working for generations as yet unborn. The struggle continues. I am humbled to contribute my part in upholding the beauty, grandeur, strength and resilience of Black people throughout the African Diaspora.
Since we are cousins, we also talked about family. We talked about gaining strength and inspiration from our family ties, and from our Ancestors.