On “Wokeness”

Dear Politically Savvy Reader,

I love the idea that being politically aware and mindful of the impact one’s behaviors have upon the world, especially with regard to systems of social and political oppression, is the same as being awake.

I love the idea that it is now a trendy bit of slang to be “woke.” I love that young people in this world are interested in being aware of systems of oppression, that they prize being that kind of aware, that awakened, that “woke.” I love that my art show, “Get Woke, Stay Woke,” falls during Black History Month–I hope my use of the term “woke” can help wake people up to the importance of fighting against racial prejudice.

I love Erykah Badu, and I have great respect for her 2008 song “Master Teacher,” which is sometimes credited with being the first use of the term “woke.”

That said, I am not African American. I stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter, and I will forever fight racial prejudice whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head in our world. But I am not African American, and I always try to steer clear of racial appropriation.

If you are at all offended by my use of the term “woke” in the title of my recent show, please let me know. (Email jojo.j.art@gmail.com.) I would like to engage with you. I would like to hear your point of view. Perhaps your point of view will shape my own–I am always learning, always growing.

My most heartfelt thanks for your interest in my art and in my political views.

In gratitude and solidarity,

JoJo

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