(June 1st, 1986 – Currently Living)Noteworthy Accomplishments & Historical Facts [su_list icon_color=”#191f17″]
- An Up-and-Coming Artist who uses his art to empower Black women and bring Black people to the forefront of the art world
The Unspoken Reality Black Women Face In Society
I am not speaking from personal experience; however, I am not blind to the hurt some Black women have felt due to negative views of women in our culture. Throughout history, Blacks have been made to feel less than; less than worthy, less than capable, and for many of our women, less than beautiful. Blacks in America have had to deal with white superiority in the sense that everything has been controlled by Whites, more specifically for this topic, the media.
Black women have been subconsciously made to feel that they were not beautiful because they did not fit the European standards of beauty. There was a brief period in time, in the 60’s during the Black Power Movement, where Black women embraced their dark skin and their natural hair – that was the moment when Black women started owning that Black is Beautiful.
Fast forward a few years, and you have Black women who started trying to adhere to the European standards of beauty, as they were viewed more beautiful by other races, than the women who wore their natural hair. This created a divide among Blacks, and subconsciously fueled self hate within the Black community (e.g. Light skinned vs Dark Skinned).
“Fair skin is a common beauty standard across the world, one strengthened by Euro-centrism (the West produces and influences the majority of the world’s media). However, most of the world’s population is possessed of brown skin tones of varying shades, which drastically narrows the typical ideal of beauty. As the trope title states, this hits ethnic Africans particularly hard; many casting directors are in the habit of only—or mostly—hiring minority actors and actresses with lighter skin tones, in the belief that they are more attractive to a largely-white mainstream audience. Actresses are hit even harder, particularly if they are supposed to add sex appeal to the show.” – TV Tropes
Today, there are still Black women who feel less than, or who do things to drastically change their appearance such as lightening their skin, straightening the hair, dyeing their hair, wearing colored contacts, or weaves that do not resemble the texture of their own hair. Light skinned Black women are more revered in media, and among most Black men; so it is safe to say, dark skinned women are suffering the most (emotionally) from not fitting in with European standards of beauty. If you think I’m wrong, ask yourself how many times have you heard someone say, “She’s pretty for a dark skinned girl.”
Now, before anyone gets up in arms, I’m not saying that every woman who wears weaves, or dyes her hair is attempting to fit into society’s standard of beauty, because I am one that dyes my hair, a lot, and not because I’m trying to fit in, but because I like to experiment with color. The problem lies within those women who are doing this because they fear judgement of society, or they are changing their looks to appeal to the masses by rejecting their African heritage. This is about healing any deep seeded self-hate within the Black community, more specifically among Black women. They do not need to adhere to any European standards of beauty because they are already beautiful. There are beautiful women in every race, and every color, but it just has to be recognized that the European standard of beauty is not law. Beauty is beauty no matter what your nationality is.
“It isn’t a matter of black is beautiful as much as it is white is not all that’s beautiful. ” – Bill Cosby
This reason alone is what made me highlight a man who is doing his best to counteract some of the negative feelings Black women harbor, through his art.
Who Is MarKus Pr1m3
Marcus (a.k.a. MarKus Pr1m3), is a 27-year-old artist who can draw just about anything, but at this time, has chosen to focus on drawing Black women. He has been drawing since the first time he picked up a pen (or a crayon since he was so young). As a toddler, he began trying to trace over pictures. His mother and grandparents, being supportive of his talents, bought him paper, and different books to allow him to keep drawing. Back in high school, he paid less attention to schoolwork and more attention to perfecting his craft. Instead of taking tests, he would draw on the tests, desks, friend’s binders, and whatever else he could find to draw on.
Today, MarKus makes certain to draw every day, this is his way of working his “artistic muscle.” His ambitions to get his artwork more known keeps him committed to his craft. He chooses to spend his free time drawing, rather than going out partying. His philosophy is, why should he go out and party when he hasn’t reached the level of success he’s seeking. Luckily for him, his fan-base continues to grow every day via social networks; however, as with the struggle with nearly every artist, the art of converting those admirers into buyers is a process.
Conversations with MarKus
I had the pleasure of speaking with MarKus to garner more insight into why he does what he does. One of the many things that I like about MarKus is he is a very confident artist, he is confident is his craft, and he makes NO excuses for his art. He realizes that he cannot please everyone, and he does not try. There is a level of vulnerability one must have as a true artist, as you are bearing your soul through your medium. As a visual artist, your job is to convey a message without words. Art is meant to inspire the soul of not only the artist, but also of the admirer, and good art is often controversial enough to invoke thought – MarKus covers all of these bases.
“As an artist, you’re supposed to be vulnerable.”
MarKus on Why He Draws Black Women
Of course, I had to ask, why he chose to focus on Black women, and why he felt the need to empower them. His response said it all. As a kid who grew up watching cartoons, he realized that every character was white. Do you know how hard that is to have all these shows on TV and not one person look like you? From there he began drawing the characters he liked as Black characters. When he was questioned about why he did that, he felt like, “why wouldn’t I draw something that resembles me?” He got a lot of negativity and hateful responses, then briefly reverted to drawing regular characters.
As he got older he realized that Blacks still were underrepresented in the Art world. He also feels that it is hard enough for Black people in America, but it is much harder for Black women because it’s already hard to be a woman in America, but adding the fact that she is Black makes it much harder. It doesn’t help that women in America (of all races) aren’t respected as they should be (for various reasons), and the media is making it acceptable for the disrespect of women.
“In high school there was never really any emphasis on respecting women in general.”
He wasn’t around many Black women until he was in the 8th grade, it was then that he seen how negative Black women were to one another. This is one reason why he continues to push this message, because Blacks are hard on themselves. Black women and men continue to have this light skin vs. dark skin debate, when in fact we are all BLACK. However, Black women tend to be harder on themselves, and other Black women. They need to learn to lift each other up and realize their worth.
Nudity, Other Races, and the Future
So why are most of the women he draws naked? He says, when he was younger he had a hard time drawing nude women, and when he learned how to he was stoked, so he kept doing it! Another reason is because people in America get so weirded out by the naked body that he is gonna put it to the forefront. It doesn’t make sense why people were fans of renaissance art, but get offended when he does it – it’s art.
“Both of my parents are pastors, and I have a 17-year-old brother. My mother was not exactly happy that I chose to draw naked women, but I was able to convince them. My mother realized that I portrayed the women in a positive way, and not overtly sexual, so she was fine with it. If they can come around, why can’t America?”
Also, the naked body is a symbol of beauty, and if you’re trying to convey a message that Black woman are beautiful, why not do it in a way that shows them in their whole, raw form? He wants Black women to be proud of their bodies.
When asked about why he doesn’t draw women of other backgrounds on social media, this was his response:
“All women are beautiful. ALL. Yes I represent my people in my art because it is needed. But I am more than proud to say I believe in unity and the progression of human accepting our differences and similarities. Color and culture make us unique but we are all still human. There will come a time where we WILL have to lean on someone that is different from us. The only thing that will stop that from happening is you. Know where you came from but understand you are not the only one on this planet. Racism is a virus. But a cure is out there, I’ve seen it work. “
In the future, MarKus would like to expand his art to include those of different nationalities, but until then, he loves drawing Beautiful Black Women.
Interview with MarKus Pr1m3