BY Led Black (@Led_Black)
Q. What are some of the things you love about living Uptown?
A. I lived in other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx and definitely dig Harlem the best. What I like about Uptown and where I live is that its the city, but it’s not terribly crowded like downtown and it’s still close enough to the refuge of parks like St. Nick and CP, Riverbank and the entire West Side. This allows me both the cultural diversity I seek and the spatial diversity I need.
A. I am my own Hero is a creed that I live life by. I’ve always thought that as I mature, one of the hardest things to do would be to hold onto the integrity of my true self as life’s challenges confronted me. It’s a struggle, and I think one of the best ways to remain steadfast is to live life with passion and to be true to your inner voice. I am my own hero means being someone you can respect and feel proud of no matter what happens. The series draws on the inner strength of its subjects. Many of the subjects are inspirational people who I believe represent the very essence of I am my own Hero, such as Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, Billie Jean King or Steven Hawking; and these people I call Superheroes.
A. I write, fiction, screenplays, short comedy and video journalism. Right now I’m writing an action/adventure martial arts film. The last screenplay was a dark comedy about a man whose fiancé begins to slowly transform into an aardvark. I’m also producing a documentary film about Islam in the African American community, and doing a lot of independent comedy production in the tradition of SNL.
Q. How would you describe yourself as an artist?
A. Since my mediums of art range from literary to video to canvas, it can be hard to recognize my work immediately, however, there is always an energy in my work that is either bursting or confined and often both. Freedom and entrapment are interlocking threads found in all of my work. I often have the blues, so I paint in bright colors, but one day I will switch back to dark colors. I love to laugh, but I’m also very serious and passionate about politics and human rights. I like to confront challenges; make art from chaos. I need to be reminded I’m alive so that I don’t slip into complacency and forget my inner self and lose respect for myself. This is why I do everything I do. My life is art.
Q. Is there anything else you would like our audience to know about you or your work?
A. An ability to draw is my first and most natural talent. There was a long period in my youth and further, that I thought maybe I wasn’t creative enough to be in the arts. I used to have to create a gap between my painting and writing so that my brain didn’t freeze and give me writers block. But, creativity feeds creativity and the deeper I tunnel toward my inner strengths, the easier it is for me to switch between writing and painting. A tremendous amount of effort goes into my script and film work. Painting relaxes me and I often find myself using it to express a muse. Lol. But truly, I’m married to my MAC.
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Steven R. HazlettJanuary 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Sovereign Real EstateJanuary 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm
Not only is the artwork by Layla Jade absolutely stunning, but we really love her answer to why she loves living Uptown. We love the idea of spatial and cultural diversity in one location. You certainly find that Uptown!
angelaJanuary 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm
Thanks for sharing your work…I look forward to seeing more of your art in the future!You are truly talented
Detroit Misses you, but New York City is Lucky to have you:)