Would you say The Black Burner project was birthed in search of creating a community within a community? A place of comfort for the Black Burners?
I would say it was created as a means of comfort, as a means to drive awareness about the event, and to have a visual space that showed we are out here too, available for people to find.……it was because so many people reached out to me after my first time truly wanting to know more, or they expressed their knowledge of the event, and desire to experience. Because they didn’t know or see anyone who looked like them who went, they figured it wasn’t for them. It was those people I needed to make this for. I thought to myself…..Wow, this person has known about Burning Man for 10 years longer than me, and never went because they didn’t feel it was a welcoming space, and missed out on such a beautiful experience, and all it would have brought to their life…….the people, freedom, change in perspective, opportunities unlimited. They missed it because of the lack of representation which then goes into awareness as a community. Because we don’t go, then we don’t know. I am not here to convince everyone to go because it’s not for everyone, but I feel if more people knew about it, and also hear the stories of Black and Brown burners, they can make a better decision on that, even if it is scary because it is. I encourage everyone to step into spaces, and experiences that will challenge us in the best of ways especially those where we are few.
I’ve researched and had plans to attend burning man and it always felt like a place where people who already draw outside the lines could exist for that week-judgment free. Are Black Burners afforded that same freedom at Burning man?
Yes. It’s a place that gives you permission to be you….to create, to experiment, to play, to sleep, to do whatever you want, and not be judged. It is for those who already draw outside the lines, some of which have always lived life that way, others started after Burning Man. It is for those who have been holding back, who are looking to find themselves to see what it feels like to be, just do, to try, and not think too hard. It is a permission engine!
I think there are always scenarios where Black and Brown burners have felt unwelcomed. I also feel we bring with us our own baggage, feelings, and thoughts, but the journey of Burning Man is to help you leave it at the gate, and to teach you not to pick it back up when you leave.