“Black people, never short of ideas & fire, are fundraising for huge projects & seeing their goals being met in a matter of days, if not hours right now. It’s glorious. I’m so excited for these manifestations in the world. But it tells us resource was always there for this work.” – Amahra
We are setting up an ongoing, dedicated fund to support the work of Black writers, illustrators and other creatives. Commissioning and collaborating with Black creatives has always been part of Skin Deep, not just in times of crisis for Black communities.
Your donations to this fund will allow us to make even more space for Black creatives to explore what matters to them, and be paid for their labour.
The events of the past couple months have shone an unflinching light on the systemic racism we have always known to exist. From the disproportionate fatalities of Black and Brown people as a result of COVID-19, to the traumatising loop of Black death by cop in both the US and the UK, we have all watched the world become seemingly attuned to the realities of Black existence, to realities we have never stopped whispering, speaking, or shouting about. And we have seen an uptick in non-black voices vowing to do better.
For the last five years, Skin Deep has operated with very little in the way of financial resources. We have relied on countless hours of unpaid labour from a dedicated core team supported by our incredible contributors, collaborators and audiences. As the pandemic hit, cultural programs got cancelled and we lost thousands in potential income, we realised we shouldn’t have to work in such precarious conditions anymore. And neither should you.
As a predominantly Black and POC led organisation, we know what it means to exist in spaces that are committed to not seeing or hearing us. We also know that anti-blackness is specific. We know that anti-blackness is foundational to the world’s richest societies, shifting to new iterations over time and space but never really going anywhere. Anti-blackness bleeds into our classrooms, our offices, our public spaces. It governs the ways we are perceived, how we see ourselves, and our ability to feel comfortable in our own skin.
“It’s not about having joy despite the terror and wounds, but rather a disposition of constantly accessing the depths of our humanity. It’s not an evasion. It’s a sustaining life force.” – Imani Perry
Skin Deep has been using this time to build an internal structure that better secures our longevity, and you can read more about that here. As we do this work of building a future we want for ourselves, we also want to model the future possible for all Black artists. In this time, where many are still being asked to perform free and/or traumatic labour, we are creating an on-going fund devoted solely to commissioning the work of Black creatives. We are starting up the fund with £1000 from a recent emergency grant we received. We ask our audiences and beyond, aspiring allies included, to redistribute towards this fund.
Skin Deep are forever heartened by and grateful for the Black artists and activists who never stop speaking truth to power, even as the world around them consistently works to muffle their words, their experiences, their humanity, into a low din. Black History Month and instances of Black death should not be the only times Black writers are inundated with pitch requests. Black writers should not only be of interest when they can fulfil a niche to be checked off a list. Black writers should be allowed to write what they want, when they want. That’s what this fund is about.
Peopledem: redistribute your £££. Black creatives: get thinking about what you want to create, and watch this space for when we open submissions in July.
Skin Deep makes space for Black creatives and creatives of colour to work towards justice through cultural production. We’re still publishing work by all POC, but any money donated to this fund will be spent solely on commissioning Black creatives.