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Jackie Hill Perry On Art Reflecting The Times (Interview)

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Nationwide-conversation-sparking tragedies
regularly dominate news coverage, and artists like
Jackie Hill Perry feel a burden to contribute to those
conversations with their art.
“Nina Simone said, ‘How can you be an artist and
not reflect the times?’” Jackie Hill Perry told Rapzilla in an interview at Legacy Conference 2016. “On my album which was two years ago, my song ‘The
Solution’, I wrote that after Jordan Davis was killed
after having his music up too loud.

The guy
thought thought that it was justifiable for him to
shoot the gun into the car. And so even then, I was
writing about these issues because it’s like, if that’s what’s on my heart, that’s what’s going to come
out.

“I feel like, as an artist, I’m equally an artist and an
influencer, and so it’s like, how can I create songs
or poems or blogs that will influence people’s
thinking to right thinking — not away from Christ, but how do we see the scriptures, how do we think
through this stuff and how do we apply it to our
lives and our hearts where it affects how we love
people and how we love God? And so I can’t help
but talk about it.

“If you just want me to talk about justification and not talk about loving your neighbor who may or
may not be a believer, then I’m not the artist for
you.”

Hill Perry referenced a spoken-word poem that she
performed at Legacy, “7 Things I Want to Say to America”, as an example of her art reflecting the times.

“I just had a lot of issues that I wanted to get out,”
she said, “and so I wanted to talk about why are
black neighborhoods food deserts? Why are there
no grocery stores, but why are there liquor stores
and Popeyes Chicken? If we don’t die by the bullet, we might die by high blood pressure. I think that’s
a problem.

“I also talked about my increased fear of the police.
I don’t trust them cats. It’s hard for me to believe
that when you pull me over, I’ma leave alive when
I’ve consistently seen that not happen.” In the interview, Hill Perry also talked about her
husband, Preston, being racially profiled, her job at
GRIP Outreach For Youth and the Poets in Autumn Tour.

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