We employ blackout poetry - a genre of our craft in which words are omitted or reformed within a primary source text so that both a poem and an illustration might emerge - as a tool of deconstructing racist rhetoric and derogatory prose used to misinterpret and denigrate the Black experience.
We believe in the power of the spoken and written word to shape minds that interpret the shape of reality. We take up the mantle of revisiting and revising the language of past and present white supremacist power structures so words given to describe Blackness are commanded by none other than those chosen to carry it.
Growing up in the Deep South will leave you fascinated with roots, the story from seed to tree and all the splintering, lengthening pain left in between. Alabama, where BlackGround was first sown, is a sweet home for so many things, including a legacy of racial hatred, laced with the legendary truths centering courageous civil rights foot soldiers. That astounding legacy, its roots and stories, inspired the founding of BlackGround Co. as a home for art created to explore the relationship among language, African American history and nature - namely trees.
Our country's founding was accomplished through the creation of language that dictated American life and narratives of the past and present for the future. This language also spawned a vast collective of racist rhetoric in the United States, language that still seeds much of the hatred we witness today and has long gone unchallenged. BlackGround Co. challenges that rhetoric by creating blackout poetry using historical articles and other primary source documents. Each blackout poem planted in the soiled rhetoric of the prejudiced primary source text produces another poem before blooming into a visual art piece that honors the entwined history and beauty of black bodies in nature. Each poem and piece produced here is purposed with inspiring a new way of seeing and a new wave of claiming the agency, healing and beauty that can bloom from the language lining our nation's roots.