How Serge Gay Uses His Art to Fight for Black and Gay Rights
ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER
Serge Gay is a painter. Art director. Fashion designer. He works as a creative director and in post-production art in film and in music videos. Through it all, he’s a Black, gay immigrant from Haiti who sees his art as a tool of liberation for his communities. Recently, that culminated in this beautiful custom Trucker Jacket, which Serge named ‘Black Movement.’ We caught up with Serge to talk about how he designed ‘Black Movement,’ the meaning of All Black Lives Matter and giving a voice to the voiceless.
This Trucker Jacket is called Black Movement. It deals with a lot of movements within the Black community and the gay community. It covers protests and rallies through history from the Civil Rights Era to Stonewall to the first Pride to what’s going on today. Recent events made me target those movements and protesting in the Black and gay communities.
I really wanted to do original Civil-Rights pins and patches. I wanted them to be historically accurate, but also create my own version. The first patch I wanted to do was the raised fist. Then I added pins based on the Black Lives Matter movement, like “Enough is Enough.” I added pins representing the LA Riots and the Detroit Riots, too. I grew up in Miami, but went to Detroit for art school. The Detroit Riots were in 1967, and parts of Detroit are still burned today. I was shocked: Whoa, this is still like this? So I wanted my Trucker to shine a light and show that some things still are not resolved.
After I got all the imagery I wanted, I painted right on the jacket with acrylic paint, to give the illusion that these were patches. The whole thing took me about a week.
The stories I tell in my art are my stories. It’s always a struggle, making people understand that Black rights are gay rights and trans rights. That’s what we should be fighting for when we say All Black Lives Matter.
I think this current moment has changed everybody. It’s changed me, and I’ve known and talked about race since I was born. We’ve all been having uncomfortable conversations with friends and family. It can be exhausting trying to help and educate people.
Art plays a huge role in liberation. I never use it as a tool for making beautiful things. It’s my voice — something that helps me communicate to people. I use it to help others in communities who don’t have a voice. I’m fortunate that I have it. Without my art, I think I’d be going insane.
I always look at different ways we can use our voice, either on the streets or voting. The amount of people who’ve been in the streets recently gives me hope. This has become a global movement.
But we have to keep going.