“A beat is a moment in the life a groove.”
– Wynton Marsailis
Given the current climate, many are struggling to find a perspective that helps interpret a time where emotion, resistance, confusion, suffering, and a lack of compassion are unabashedly on display. Some people are wondering if our world, our country, and our communities will ever find their groove and if so, what will that look like and where will it come from?
June happens to be known as Pride Month and I find it challenging to connect to the celebratory energy of pride. However, if I focus on its ethos and the journey surrounding, I discover inspiration in its message of unity, tolerance, understanding, and unwavering courage.
In commemoration of Stonewall and one year after the uprising, this June 28th would have marked the 50th anniversary for gay pride parades in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago, but due to COVID-19 parades have been canceled. These cities and many others are now mobilizing in support of Black Lives Matter.
Stonewall was a series of demonstrations in response to the abusive relationship between police and the LGBTQ community in 1969– before the acronym even existed. Two of the loudest voices during the Stonewall rebellion were that of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson.
One of the first rioters of Stonewall is Black activist and self-identified drag queen, Marsha P. Johnson. Though often homeless herself, she was a founding member of The Gay Liberation Front and Star House, a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth in 1970. She was devoted to her Christian faith and an advocate for those with HIV/AIDS, she herself a survivor of the disease. Marsha died in 1992 under suspicious circumstances, a case that still goes unsolved.
Members of Motionographer have chosen to donate funds to The Marsha P. Johnson Institute. The organization focuses on artistic expression and community organizing. Its founder and Executive Director is transgender artist and community organizer, Ellen Hearns. The institute is also supported by National Organizer and transmasculine artist Kei Francis, both of whom are former founding members of Black Lives Matter.
Black Lives Matter Arts+Culture Program seeks to inspire new realities by uplifting emerging Black artists who audaciously stand in solidarity with the most marginalized amongst us and carry a message of love, joy, dignity, and freedom. At Motionographer we understand that messaging and visibility correlate with perception, beliefs, and actions and that marginalized communities deserve a platform, which is why we are excited to dedicate the remainder of June to Pride.
During the month of June Motionographer has an “Open Call for All” until June 21, 2020. We are highlighting a variety of material designed by LGBTQ and non-binary artists, as well as their allies who have produced quality content for the community, regardless of the year it was generated. We also decided to push the envelope, the Motion Awards envelope to be specific.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pride Parade, The Motion Awards has created a whole new category. Introducing The Rainbow Award and the first 50 entries are free. In addition, and in the spirit of inclusivity, Motionographer has extended the deadline for ALL Motion Award entries through June 30th, 2020, and is eliminating late submission fees in honor of Pride, Love, Joy, Dignity, and Freedom.
At a time when parades around the globe have been canceled, we invite you to join Motionographer in a digital parade of stories, and images designed to animate pride in everyone, and we mean everyone. Let us be reminded that if it were not for Black activists like Marsha P. Johnson we do not know what the LGBTQ movement would look like today.
The irony of this year is not lost on me. It is 2020, yet collectively humanity is struggling to see clearly, as we fight for civility, equality, and for what should be an undeniable fact, that Black Lives Matter.
When a Justice of the Peace asked Marsha what the “P.” stood for in her middle name, she replied with the same answer she gave to those who questioned her gender, “Pay No Mind”. Loving, Genuine, Bold, Triumphant, and Questioning of the status quo, LGBTQ, there is so much for everyone to be proud of.
Allow me to reiterate the previously posed question, what does a groove look like?
I see it in the eyes of the courageous and inspired. The people with a broader vision, like Marsha P. Johnson, Ellen Hearns, Harvey Milk, Martin Luther King, and the person standing next to me at a parade or demonstration. For as the motion design community knows all too well, it takes a series of moments to create movement, just as it takes a series of beats, to form a groove.
Where does a groove come from? I’m not sure that we will ever know, but I speculate that a “Groove is in The Heart”.
“People should realize we are all brothers and sisters and human beings within the human race”.
– Marsha “Pay No Mind” Johnson.