Last Friday’s opening of “Cartooning While Black” with work by the artists Victor Varnado, Akeem Roberts, Yasin Osman, and Jerald Lewis II, was an historic occasion. The show is the very first exhibit by Black New Yorker cartoonists.
“I’m proud of the Cartooning While Black exhibition but I have to admit that in this instance I am an accidental pioneer. I didn’t set out to make the first all-Black New Yorker cartoonist gallery exhibit in history. I initially wanted to create an event to promote my book and theorized that filling out the ranks of the show would be a good idea since my fame is marginal at best. Since The Anti-Racism Activity Book was about (you guessed it) racism, I thought asking other Black cartoonists would be a good idea. As I was working on the press release it dawned on me what I had done. I was both happy something momentous had been created and saddened such an occurrence was unusual.
I’d like to say thank you to the other artists in the show. Jerald, Yasin, and Akeem, you rock. Also a big congratulations on your careers so far. Not to be forgotten, Liz Montague whom I reached out to for this exhibit, and Sarah Akinterinwa whom I was not familiar with at the time: I think you are both swell and I hope to work with you in the future. To what I hope are countless other Black cartoonists working towards publication or have already been given the “okay” and are waiting patiently (giggle) on a print date, I applaud you. You are forging through an industry that perhaps did not want you in the past and currently is still a little confused as to what you are even doing here. Good luck.”