A friend forwarded your message regarding your planned sit-in at Faneuil Hall as part of your demand to get the name changed. I appreciate the history of civil disobedience in calling for a redress of a wrong.
When we were on RadioBoston together it was the first time we met. You clearly didn’t know anything about my work, my history, or my ideas. That’s fine. I thought our engaged and civil conversation would be an opening for you to find out about my work. I did you the courtesy of finding out about you before we met.
In that civil and engaged interview, I afforded you, your work, and your position respect and honor.
Now I see that in your calls for boycott and name changing, your are erasing me, a black artist, from the conversation and attributing my work to the Mayor of Boston. I said this to your face and now I repeat myself: my work comes out of my own engagement with the city and its history. My ideas are my own and in working as a BostonAIR artist, I had the opportunity to engage with the history of the city that I love and made my home over 30 years ago. I am not making work in response to your calls for a name change. I am not making work in response to your calls for a boycott. It is not the Mayor’s idea. It is the extension of the work I’ve been doing as an artist for over 20 years.
To be clear as possible, my work has nothing to do with you or your agenda.
It is a gutter insult for you to misrepresent the ideas behind my work and to call it “embarrassing” in order for you to gin up support for your agenda-an agenda in which I have never been interested. Worse yet is this specious claim that I have “insulted” the black community.
I am just as black as you are, Kevin. I live here, too. Please don’t act like you represent every black person or every position. I have done nothing to warrant this kind of opprobrium from you and I won’t stand for it. It’s beneath contempt.
Please advance your agenda without talking about my work in these reductive and insulting ways. You can go to my website and educate yourself about my ideas before you make statements that make you sound uninformed.
Best of luck with your civil action tomorrow.
Kevin responded to my email:
Neither you nor your work is either “embarrassing” or “insulting.” I can see how you can misinterpret my quote. I mean to say (and I do say it) that the mayors attempt politicize the Faneuil Hall name change by inserting your work into a discussion that began more than a year ago. You may disagree, but he has put you in the middle of it whether you know it or not. I find “that” insulting and embarrassing. Not you or your work. Remember, while we one the WBH show, I called your idea “lovely”. In certain respects I do consider it a good idea. But to have it placed into this discussion about white supremacy is not cool. You did not do that. The mayor did that. So you should think about how you as an artist and very spiritual person may have been put into a discussion which may have started before you became an artist in residence with the city of Boston. I see that you have copied numerous people on this email to me. But I’d like a private conversation with you to do two things: first, apologize for offending you and two, get your sense about how this issue about your work at Faneuil Hall may have been politicized by others. I am available at XXX.XXX.XXXX. My cell.