SEPTEMBER 17, 2020
A Creative Community Newsletter for Information and Inspiration
In an effort to live our values and support equity and inclusion in the creative industries, we will use our newsletter to amplify voices of BIPOC creatives in Washington State. Each month we will invite a guest curator who is a person of color and ask that they populate the newsletter with information and inspiration that reflects their perspective and their community.

Each section of this newsletter is curated by our special guest with the exception of the GET INFORMED section. If there is any breaking industry news that you should know about, Whipsmart will add it to the newsletter there.  

This is our second guest curated newsletter. We hope you love it as much as we do!
Meet our guest curator, Darryl Crews
Darryl Crews, photo credit Michael Jordan Photography
Hello Friends. My name is Darryl Crews. I hail from the great city of Tacoma, Washington. I am a multitude of things but I like to think of myself above all as a professional communicator. I’ve worked in the music industry, television, politics, event production, education, recreation, and tourism. Just like many of you, the heart of what I do boils down to touching hearts, opening minds, and creating memories.

I run a big tent communication business called The January Group. My team and I plan events, make videos, write speeches, promote new music, consult with brands, create space for culture (physically and digitally) and advocate for important causes. Some of January’s clients have included Alaska Airlines, Atlantic Records, Apple Music, ARRAY, Seattle Aquarium, City of Tacoma, Revolt TV, among numerous others.

My life is a dance between the local and the global. You can read more about my philosophy regarding that here. In this newsletter, I’m going to speak to what moves me in hopes that you are moved as well. Let’s get started.
Vision is the lifeblood of what we do

Perspective is everything. If you see, you can be. When I was a child, my Grandmother used to tell me to visualize the most beautiful life that I could imagine and put myself right in the middle of that picture. Her teachings and those mental pictures are key components that have given me a life that I cherish. 

These past 6 months have been a very real opportunity to put my grandma’s instructions to the test. I am currently in deep visualization about a new future and a new current. Like many of you, COVID-19 has cost me more money than I care to disclose, cost a number of my loved ones their lives and re-arranged so much of what I had built my life around. Nothing is the same. So I’m not preaching a visualization gospel from a place of naïveté. I’m preaching visualization from a place of necessity. Vision is the lifeblood of what we do, as creative people we have the means to author the ways that the world functions and our growth predicts the ongoing state of the world.

That being said, this quarantine season has been full of opportunities. The world needs creativity now more than ever and it is incumbent on us to teach the world how to do business with the creative sector, to extol our value and exploit the multitude of opportunities provided by our new reality.

An article that has helped me make sense of my approach to this year is Chris Jordan’s 2020: Year Of The First Draft. It is full of insightful, actionable advice about how to make sense of a creative life in these times.

Another content piece that has helped me get motivated is a popular Art Williams speech from the 1980’s called Just Do It. Warning: you might laugh a little bit because Art has a very zany style but don’t overlook the gems. I encourage you to watch it and then do something.

Lastly in this section, I want to leave you with a video that has helped me a lot. It is Fred Rogers testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications in 1969 to assure the continued federal funding of public television. I always watch this before a big pitch. It’s a masterclass in sales and emotional intelligence. It’s also the epitome of the little guy with the big idea in front of the powers that be. That’s a place that so many of us are in this current moment. While reality may be a little disorienting, I use this to remember that our ideas can still be sold and that creators are worthy of power. I invite you to use it as well.
Tiffanny Hammonds has changed
the landscape of the South Sound with her art.
Learn about more about the woman behind the brush.
Tiffanny Hammonds, photo credit Tyler Jones Photography
Tiffanny Hammonds (she/her) is a Hilltop Artist based in Tacoma, Washington. Hammonds uses her expressions of art as a voice in her community. Since she was a child she has dabbled in acrylics and mixed media, then in 2015 she developed the medium of oils. Her style is best described as realism and expression with how she captures her surroundings. She is a youth advocate and is passionate about helping young people define themselves and discover their purpose. Some of the projects she’s involved in are, the People's Center Mural, the 5 Stages Mural, the Water Flume Mural, the Salishan Mural, Design the Hill and managing the Fab-5 Headquarters in Hilltop.
How did your love affair with art begin? 

My love affair with art began with my Dad giving me these white angel statues and making it seem like they weren’t colored yet, like a coloring book. He would give me paintbrushes, markers and crayons and tell me to color them however I wanted to color them. My brother was also a creative and whatever he did I would do as well. Whether it was skateboarding or playing with action figures, whatever he did I followed. So when it got to the point where he started doing graffiti, I had to learn how to do graffiti. I copied his letters, his color palette, his everything, because I looked up to him. My brother started hanging out with Chris (Jordan) and Kenji (Stoli). Chris ended up doing a mural in our basement and I would come downstairs and offer him water or a sandwich just to watch his process. I was blown away by his art. After a while, I intentionally drew the best piece that I could and put it on the refrigerator….. when Chris realized that the picture was mine he invited to help on a mural. Everything really grew from there.
A stunning mural by Tiffanny Hammonds painted on the Satori storefront
as a part of the Rapid Mural program initiated by Spaceworks
Photo credit Annie Marek-Barta
 How do you continue to do the work that you're doing?
I know that I'm not going to be in Tacoma forever but right now there's still a mission I have to accomplish and I'm not really a hundred percent sure what that is, but I mean, I know it involves young people, I know it involves the communities that I'm in. None of my art has anything to do with me or my voice or who I am as a person. My inspiration is to heal and create space because living in Washington where so many people are depressed and hopeless with all of these micro-aggressions, racism and problematic things. I see things in a different perspective and I put that perspective out to encourage, to bring hope and healing to people who don't have it.
What about color do you wish people understood on a deeper level?
In the heavenly realms, there are colors that we can’t even imagine. Color has the power to impact mood. It even has the power to make someone get an appetite. Color has the ability to represent different groups of people. When I use color I try very much to create messages and code things. Dark colors don't always mean bad and light colors doesn't always mean good. There are multiple sides to everything. My mother use to flag at church and she would change the color depending on the spiritual atmosphere. I mean I can go on but there are certain things you can see that you can't really explain. I might not have the widest vernacular, but I can mix colors. I can make any color that I see.
Tiffanny Hammonds in front of her colorful work
on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, Washington
Photo credit Annie Marek-Barta
How has Fab-5 empowered you as an artist?
Chris and Kenji don’t take credit for anything but I literally thank them all the time. I call Fab-5 my sanctuary…honest to God I feel like God used it as a tool to keep me alive. I recognize how important it is for Fab 5 to exist because it’s authentic and truly centered on creating leaders. It’s a catalyst for pulling greatness out of people and helping them do what they’re naturally created to do.
How does teaching influence your creation process?
Teaching opens my eyes. I’ve always been a youth advocate. My heart has always been for young people. I've been teaching since I was 12. I started at McCarver Scholars after school teaching graffiti classes and I've taught at Metro Parks, Fab-5, the YMCA, almost everywhere. Kids are the epitome of art. They are the perfect example of creativity. They’ll draw a scribble and you’ll think it’s a heart but they’ll tell you it’s a giraffe. They don’t hesitate. I like to tell the students to put out their thumbprints and encourage them to look around the room to try to find anyone else who has a thumbprint just like theirs. It’s a reminder about the individuality of your art. Many of the things that I doubt and overthink, my students do so effortlessly. Most of my teaching is really un-teaching. Being a chaperone, provoking their thoughts and provoking them to dig deeper into what they already do naturally.
Attention-Worthy Creatives
Dave B's song “Worthy” is a beautiful testament of black personhood. I love the video. It speaks to me and feels like home. It was produced by a 95% Black crew, directed by a talented young Black woman Bailey Williams and features a smorgasbord of Black people, Black products and Black energy. The best thing about “Worthy” is that it is a charity song and all of the revenue generated from it goes to 4 organizations dedicated to the betterment of the Black community (and by extension, the community at large): Creative Justice NW, Acts On Stage, WA Black Trans Task Force, Black Trans Travel Fund. Make sure to stream “Worthy” by Dave B on your preferred music streaming service.

Dumi “Draze” Maraire has been an active and notable figure in Seattle music for years. He’s made a major name for himself in the TV/Film/Commercial music space and is responsible for countless theme songs and commercial jingles. His latest project is something that I humbly believe trumps all of that. He is currently undergoing the creation of a program called Building Black Wealth

Launched on Juneteenth, Draze promotes black business owners through QVC/HSN style show typically broadcast through a social media takeover on a brand or social influencer’s page. The inaugural Juneteenth Building Black Wealth marketplace with Laila Ali, Angela Rye & 10 black businesses was a huge success. There were about 25,000 people tuned in live to the program on Laila Ali's Facebook page. Most importantly all of our businesses doubled or tripled their typical daily sales. Draze just followed up with a Seahawks focused episode. Keep your eye on this platform and above all support Black and minority business.
Re-Imagining Creative Black Lives
Public Enemy Is Joined By Nas, Black Thought & More
For a Rendition of Fight The Power at the 2020 BET Awards
I don’t know if you watched the BET Awards in June but if you didn’t you should connect with the content. The way that the show was produced in this COVID season really sparked my imagination about the way that culture, performance and advertising can be produced and televised in our new era. I think creative people will find value in it. If you only have a moment to watch one thing, watch the opening sequence (above) with the Fight The Power remake. It’s phenomenal and timely. You should also read this Atlantic article detailing the production thought process of the show.

In Tacoma, we’re blessed to have the Spaceworks Rapid Mural program. It was and is an artistic response to the boarded-up buildings that accompanied the COVID-19 related business closures. There is so much beautiful, incisive art being done through that program and seeing what has been done in Tacoma made me more curious about the impact of COVID on street art around the world. The Conversation did a great article about it.

Lastly, over the last few months I have had the privilege of being a part of a group called #TheShowMustBePaused. We’re a group of music industry folks that work in Black music who seek to restructure the framework that currently exists around Black music. There are a litany of issues that impact Black musicians and creative executives, too many to name honestly. But through multiple summits we have come up with a list of demands that we re challenging the music industry at large to respond to. This is our list of demands. I bring up #TheShowMustBePaused, because we have to be creative about the way we approach power in these upcoming days. We have to make demands, we have to use our tools and our networks to reimagine the lives of creative people and society at large. I encourage you to read the Billboard article about #TheShowMustBePaused leaders Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas. You may find a few transferable concepts.
The Latest from Whipsmart's Staff
Have you heard about ESD’s new Lost Wages Assistance program? You could qualify for an extra $300 for your weekly unemployment benefits. Check out this one sheet to learn more about the program, if you are eligible, and how to apply!

Local Sightings has gone virtual this year! Mark your calendars for September 22nd at 6pm, to join Washington Filmworks as they discuss safety on set in the time of COVID-19. Learn more about the state’s mandatory set safety protocols and the resources available on the Washington Filmworks website

Watch this short 25-minute video to get tips and tricks about working on a film set during COVID from Make-Up & Hair Artist Akemi Nakashima, Make-up Artist Luce Cousineau, and Costume and Wardrobe Stylist Meg Schmitt. Get their perspective on sanitation, the importance of PPE, and negotiating for more pre-production days with the client.

Washington's film industry has been back to work for almost two months—how’s it been going? If you’re curious to find out what it’s been like to be on set these days, and missed last week’s chat with commercial producers Nikki Sherritt and Buzzy Cancilla, you can watch it here.
At Whipsmart, we are unapologetic advocates for creative people and businesses. We give creative professionals the tools they need to succeed, by meeting them where they’re at—offering intentionally curated mentorships, job opportunities, and business resources scaled to every stage of their career.