This past weekend at Afropunk Atlanta, Trap Heals created a garden to play on the juxtaposition of the mainstream perception of “The Trap” against an unlikely backdrop. This softness represents how Trap Heals sees and connects with the community. They took over the red stage with artists from Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Since they are also powered by the Black Lives Matter movement, we asked Trap heals on how they use their platforms and art to speak on the issues the Black community goes through, while also bringing up an important question:
How would you like to see “The Trap” community heal and change?
Damon Turner, Cultural Architect
“Trap Heals is a prayer, a prophecy, a dream. It is the uncomfortable tension between what is and what is to come. Trap Heals is my life’s work…building the infrastructure that will get Black folks closer to freedom…globally.
The subject of my art specifically focuses on the future of where our people can and will ultimately go. Black Lives Matter has done an amazing job at raising the mainstream profile of what is happening to our people. As they continue elevating these stories, I am channeling the future and bringing elements back to the present in order to progress beyond the current state of the global Black experience.
Whether we build a garden in the middle of the Afropunk festival and invite local trap niggas who are using trapping as a means to get into the music business to come kick it next to trees and other Black people, or we create a company where folks who are formerly incarcerated can share their creative visions with the world, or we provide a stage for young Black men to get out of their hoods to feel the freedom of performing on/producing a large stage…Trap Heals is building the infrastructure for folks to experience spiritual healing through tangible means.”
Oto A. Attah, Art Director for Trap Heals
Source: Ojos Nebulosos / Ojos Nebulosos
“The trap can be withholding you from doing what you need to do whether it be financial, mental, or whatever life choices the hinder you from being free. The connotation of trap is a bad thing and dark place, but from that place great things are happening that light is not being shed on and that is what trap heals is. Trap Heals is that light that shows the beauty in the trap and that things can flourish from this place and helping people find that; that’s where the healing is.”
Richie Reseda, Artist and Musician Behind “Black Collar Crime”
C: When the term “healing” is brought up many believe that it means going to a professional to talk about their issues. Unfortunately, not many people can afford this service and many times those growing up in lower-income communities are shamed for seeking that help. As an artist/musician how do you use your work to help Black people heal and grow?
“With Black Collar Crime, we take pictures of Black people taking care of themselves and others while wearing ski masks. We then put those images on shirts and donate $10 per shirt to organizations doing actual work. We are literally using fashion to invest in Black healing. We’re promoting Black healing by putting it on t-shirts and we also invest in healing the Black economy by hiring all-Black staff and collaborators”
“For me, it’s important to shed light on these issues that the community goes through because it’s something I have to deal with on a daily basis and I feel my music can help spread awareness and give some type of hope.
As an artist, I use my music to paint pictures and talk about things I go through in life. I give motivational jewels to tell people to go out and get what they want and let no barrier stop them.
I speak from my perspective and give people something to think about while listening to my music.”
Damon Davis, Artist Behind “Heartache and Paint”
“Art is supposed to reflect life. These issues are things that Black people encounter in their lives daily, whether directly or indirectly. I feel like I just talk about what is going on in my head or is in conversation for us as a community, that’s why this subject finds its way into my work.
I try to use my work to help people heal and grow in multiple ways. One way is to show them the world as I see it, basically reflecting it back. Using art as a mirror can him enlighten, fortify and valid people who experience the world the way I do. The other is to use my art to show another world or worlds, that we could be living in. Artists have active imaginations and an active imagination is exactly what we need to create the world we all wanna live in.”
Rocky, Half of Hip Hop Group “The Knuckles”
C: People are constantly changing, not only as individuals but as part of a community. At this event Afro-Punk Trap x Heals created a safe place for Black people to free themselves from the constant pressures that society puts upon them. As trap keeps changing, how would you like to see it develop and how can other young Black people help create that change?
“I would like to see the change by not feeding culture and not exploiting it like an unimaginative puppet. By having some fun and not being a downer 24/7. By loving our fellow person and not wishing the worst.
The Knuckles try to heal our listeners/viewers/supporters by letting it be known that we have faced many of the same issues that they do. To make sure that anyone that is in earshot/eyeshot of us knows how NOT alone they are. If they ever feel that way, just turn us on — we’ll be there for you.”
– Rocky from The Knuckles
Homme Boy, Creative Director for “Trap Heals” and Musician
“Homme Boy, coined the acronym: T.rap R.eggae A.lternative P.unk. This is the change; Black Inclusivity. Trap is Blues. Trap is Rock and Roll. Trap is Jazz. Trap is ever evolving, and our mission is to guide the genre to a place where the popular narratives are rooted in more critical reflection, respect for women, and empowerment. Young Black folks can create this change by supporting innovative ideas like Trap Heals (Damon Turner) or Black Collar Crime (Richie Reseda), or Darker Gods in the Garden of Low Hanging Heavens (Damon Davis) with their time, money, influence.”
– as told by Damon Turner