Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit down and rap with a phenomenal young man who has dedicated endless hours transforming his entire living space into an urban mecca to promote and support the development of burgeoning youth cultural communities in Brooklyn. Winston Scarlett of Williamsburg, NY is the owner of Slackgaze, a zine covering the organic, unfolding developments of our generation’s whereabouts, lives, experiences, hopes and desires that document the effort of those creating and building for subsequent generations thereafter. In the words of Winston, Slackgaze is “[n]ot a brand or a genre. It’s the thought of the generation. It’s music appreciation. It’s an archive of the moment. Our concerns aren’t monetary. They are sincerity and preservation. We aren’t concerned about social climb. We’re an incubator for artists, geeks, slackers, and dreamers.” Similar to myself, Winston began his journey into archiving the development of youth culture in urban communities out of the need to get involved with his environment through artistic means. A self-proclaimed “slacker,” Winston spoke of his time spent in post-graduate life, not really doing much and looking for change instead of creating opportunity for himself.
But one day he decided to tag along with the band Surfing on tour to in Harrisonburg, Virginia, he spent a total of 3 weeks documenting the youth culture scene throughout the area, thus leading him to create an accessible space for Brooklynites and other various townspeople to congregate in and build communities around positive livelihoods and inspiring energy, all by the means of art. From lengthy discussions covering topics like the re-emergence of slacker culture, the lies that institutions promise you when you graduate from their lairs infested of human debt, Newark as an epicenter for cultural renaissance, plans for our respective camps, to our historical rooting in the local music scene in New Jersey, I learned that there really do exist scores of other black artists and creatives like myself who seek partnership with one another and are consistently working as hard – or possibly even more – as me to build movements based in the arts and subversive cultures in and around the NYC-NJ area that go relatively unnoticed in the above ground scenes.
Winston and myself are planning to collaborate on a few projects in the works right now, dealing with curating space to throw events and bring more creative communities together that experience the fault-line politics of access to good space for art and community building. We also plan on becoming active contributors to each other’s work, as well as expand our networks in the relatively small black DIY community and unify the vast Black Arts Diaspora scattered all around the city.
I’m really excited about this collaboration and look forward to the extraordinary things that Winston and myself will accomplish from these efforts.
Check out Slackgaze’s site and peep some visuals from Slackgaze’s past events below. For my exclusive interview with Winston as well as the motion recaps from their grand opening last week, click here. For more photos from the photographer/videographer, click here. As always, support the local arts, keep the movement worldwide, and repeat.