Systems Awareness & How We Work

I not-ironically listened to this great Q&A Kanye West gave at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

It was a session on the creative process, making art, his experience trying to study and navigate unwelcoming systems.  I saw so many parallels between that space and the social change sector. Both worlds are art in their own right. Yet being able to thrive in either one and work with integrity to your vision while developing resources to ensure your work stays alive is a creative form all on it’s own. How we work is art.

For example, this reminds me of so many nonprofit “partnerships”…

KW: Well, metaphorically, to be stereotyped as a hip-hop artist can be very much a hood that can put you in positions where people wouldn’t expect you to be. And in the same way how, when you step into places that have a “you’re not from here”-type vibe, if you are from there, and you’re too accredited, a lot of times people will put their guards up, and be less willing to work with you. And a lot of times I’ve been able to work with the most amazing people on the planet because I was considered not be a threat to what they do—because I was just there to be a “hip-hop artist.”… Actually, I use that little box and that stereotype to my advantage–to just be able to put that hoodie on and collaborate as much as possible.

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