Black Man Creativity: What Inspires You to Make What You Do?

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( Black folks have always been creative whether it was in the Old World, the Mother Land, or the New World. The environments and settings that spawned and staged that creativity but it all influenced pop culture, fashion and culture at large and impacted society.

Black Man Creativity: What Inspires You to Make What You Do?

My Creative Journey

In my youth, I sketched and practiced my drawing regularly, got the opportunity to paint in middle school, and went on to graphic design school. Writing wasn’t a talent or activity I indulged in much or focused on. It was a part of my hobbies but that was it: a skill developed because of my hobbies.

After leaving my work as a computer instructor, I started to focus on writing as a career but it wasn’t creative in nature. It wasn’t until I managed to get some free time that I really explored the creative side of writing. Mind you, it took a few years to get around to it as I needed to work but it gave me that room to breathe and conditioned me to write large volumes.

While exploring the creative side, I had an idea of what I wanted to do with writing: long-form stories. Novelas, novelettes, short stories in anthologies. I wanted to do fiction—sci-fi and fantasy—that depicted Black and brown characters in significant roles.

I was inspired after reading Black fiction writers like Balogun Ojetade and Milton J. Davis which led to me discovering OGs such as Steven Barnes and Charles R. Saunders. They’re writers who delivered the harder-edged, faster-paced fiction I love and want to write.

What Inspires My Fellow Black Men Creatives?

Black men have a presence in every form of creative media—literature, film, music, and so on. While I can read interviews from established or popular creatives and see what went into their ability and projects, there are those who plug along and are still in the building and honing stage.

They probably have a couple of rejections, they might have a finished book but it needs a lot of work, an unfinished project because life be lifin’—there are many reasons as to why they’re at the stage they’re at. Some might be valid and others might come off as excuses. In my case, I can see most of this story I’ve been working on either needing to be reworked overall or piecing it into shorter adventures.

My reason? Work and moving into other ideas and concepts for a story. If it moves me or ignites that creative bug and I have the time, I’ll move on to a new project. It could be a show or album with an interesting setting or themes—which it usually is.

I tend to wonder about the writers at the stage I’m at—the building or honing stage where you’re either working on projects and preparing to publish work or you’re still sharpening your skills. What inspires you to sing, write, rap, perform, act, draw, dance or paint?

Is it having a story to tell? A desire to leave something behind as proof that you existed? Money? Fame? The love of creating? Do you wish to teach or lesson? Maybe you saw someone else do it and felt you could do it better. Hell, it could be you want to create something that wasn’t there for you at a younger age. Again, the reasons vary wildly and depending on who hears it, it might be viewed as selfish but it’s your talent and your reason, ultimately it just has to make sense to you and push you. If it doesn’t meet one of those, it might not be the best reason for you to keep going.

Of course, that doesn’t mean hang up the mic, close the computer, or put drawing tablet away. What it means is that you’ll have to look at your reasons then and now. Over time, that reason can change. I started writing because of work but now I write because I love it and I want to share stories and takes with others in geek and nerd spaces.

For the Black men of us who create: why did you start and why are you doing it now? What inspires you to take on projects or create works? Does that motivation and inspiration carry you through rejection, creative block, and setbacks?

Share your experiences below.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.