Kizer Quarterly

Javaron Buckley

Insight from a Black lawyer doing pro bono work to support BLM protesters and the queer community.

Words by Nichole Shaw

“You are your ancestor’s wildest dream.”

The new Jim Crow is upon us, as it continues to shapeshift before our eyes. It began as a series of overt, anti-Black laws in the South, including racial segregation and deadly violence against Black folk. It prohibited us from voting, getting and keeping jobs, receiving an education, and more. It allowed for Black children to be snatched from their mothers for labor purposes. It controlled where they lived. Jim Crow was an indentured servitude forced upon Black people after the ratification of the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Now, White America is perhaps waking up to the fact that Jim Crow never actually ended in 1968, contrary to what they learned in their history classes. 

Today, Black folk are still prohibited in some capacity from voting through voter suppression tactics, and not just in the South. This has happened in 2019 and 2020 in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Texas. Preceding 2019, voter suppression happened in these states, as well as Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Maryland, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Alabama, and Indiana. Today, Black folk find it harder to hold jobs than their white counterparts, with higher unemployment rates and widespread financial burdens, less access to jobs, fewer jobs with benefits and a stable income, and of course, a growing wealth gap. Today, Black folk have a pipeline from subpar education systems that are underfunded to prison, the new slavery. Today, Black Americans are racially segregated into specific neighborhoods, so as to not tinge the White community and their schools. Just take a look at Chicago’s legacy of segregation and some of its suburbs. 

Today, Black people are hanging from trees, shot dead in their own homes, and suffocated on the street in front of crowds. We are assaulted on the daily, with our very lives being snatched away from us and captured in the pixels and drives of smartphones. That is why it is important we understand the resources we have to protect ourselves in the wake of this revolution.

This is how I came to know Javaron Buckley, a Chicago lawyer from a small town called Bassfield in Mississippi. He’s been on the frontlines of this movement since he learned of George Floyd’s death at the knee of Derek Chauvin. When he first saw the video he didn’t think twice, figuring it was just another instance of everyday police brutality against Black people—something we regard with a duality of experience, as we both feel a part of ourselves die with the death of another one of our people, while it has become so regular an occurrence that we force ourselves into a state of numbness to survive. 

After finding out Floyd died Monday morning, Buckley hopped on the next flight to Minneapolis. Less than an hour after landings, he went to Cup Foods, the location where Floyd was arrested. “I went alone,” Buckley said. “But when I got there, I did not feel like I was alone. The way the community embraced me, the support they showed, it was outstanding. I immediately took to the ground and started helping.”

He grilled over 200 hot dogs and hamburgers with the people and spoke at a protest. The site where Floyd was murdered is sacred. While precincts were rioted against and buildings were burning, you went to the site Floyd gasped for his last breaths to find peace, calm, and quiet. It was a place to be nurtured and to nurture others.

“I felt like I had to do something, because I’m a Black man,” Buckley said. “I have a son, and he’s gonna grow up to be a Black man. I don’t want him to endure some of the things that we’re enduring, at least [not] on the level we are.”

Thus, Javaron Buckley returned to Chicago after receiving immediate responses to his post about representing peaceful protesters who have been arrested for free with the Chicago-based practice called Buckley Law Group, a P.C. that he owns and operates. His city was on fire. As soon as he touched down, he went straight to the police precinct and freed people after proving he was there to represent them as their lawyer. For the people that he couldn’t have freed, he went into the precinct, spoke to them as their attorney, and let them know that their family members were outside and waiting for them. On the second day of Buckley’s pro bono work, he gets a call from locals about Malcolm London, a Chicago poet, educator, activist, organizer, and musician. How ironic that he was arrested at the brutal hands of police, when he was previously part of a historic youth delegation to the United Nations in Geneva that addressed police violence in Chicago.

After receiving numerous calls that night—one of them being London’s girlfriend Indya Moore, better known as an American actor for the TV show Pose, Buckley went down to 5101 Wentworth to see him. Although Buckley arrived to find what looked like a SWAT barricade outside the precinct, although they were actually regular CPD officers, he managed to get through after quarreling about his position as an attorney. After making his way inside, Buckley found that London was actually at the St. Bernard Hospital, because police officers had beat him so extensively. Upon arriving at the hospital, Buckley found London cuffed to a wheelchair with his back and hands bruised, as well as what looked like a sprained wrist. Buckley was told by CPD officers that London had already been processed back at the jail, and that when he leaves the hospital, they would transfer him back to the precinct. Buckley learned later that CPD tried to charge him with Class 2 Aggravated Battery to a police officer, which is a Class 2 felony.

“I looked him in his eye. He was in the cell when I spoke to him,” Buckley said. “I said, ‘Hey man, I’m not going anywhere until you get out of here. You have my word. I’m not going.’ And there I was, my second day without sleep, minimum food, surviving off God’s grace and fighting to get this man free.”

He kept his word. Today, Malcom London is free.

Buckley has not only represented London but dozens of other people in the Chicago area. While on a conference with me, he received a call, as well as another one right before we connected. He’s been answering every call, every email, and every text message he can, because he aims to support his people and ensure everyone receives their constitutional right to an attorney. 

“I’m showing up with my sweats, because I may get arrested. I come to be there with the people and for the people. I’m not coming for clout or press conferences. In fact, I turned down dozens of press conferences when I was at the precinct. I did not leave the  precinct until Malcolm came out,” Buckley said.

That kind of commitment is exhausting, but it’s a responsibility Buckley carries. When I asked him how he was really doing, he answered, “I’m tired, but it’s a necessary tired. Physically, I’m ready to get back up and get back out there. Mentally, I’m exhausted with what I’m seeing out here in the world. But, overall, I’m making it.” It’s a sentiment I share, as I am exhausted every day, traumatized by the images that flash across my screen and the screams of my brothers and sisters as videos play on loop. I have a responsibility, though, to provide information and resources to the public, to the community, and to my people, to support them and provide resources for them to further educate themselves and take action. We are tired, but it is a necessary tired. So, while the world turns its focus on to other things and resumes life as normal, whatever that means, we are still here, serving our communities, tired but here for the people, as this fight is not over.

It’s crucial for those of you reading to understand your rights amidst this revolution. #BlackLivesMatter and they matter to us:

  1. The constitutional right to freedom of speech
  2. The constitutional right of the people peaceably to assemble
  3. The constitutional right to petition the government for a redress of grievances

—The First Amendment.

Be sure to protest on public property,

It is on private property where you become vulnerable to arrest. 

Read more here or watch an informative video on the matter.

  1. The constitutional right to an attorney
  2. The constitutional right to remain silent

— The Fifth Amendment.

  1. The right to vote

—The Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Twenty-Fourth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendment.

Buckley has specific advice on how to proceed after an arrest: “The charges that they’ve been sticking people with are disorderly conduct. Do not plead guilty to it. A police officer cannot be a victim of disorderly conduct; by the very nature of his or her job, they are to deal with disorderly people. That’s what they do. Don’t plead. The city is throwing these charges at people, hoping that it sticks, because there are some people out there who cannot afford or find a lawyer. Do not plead guilty to the disorderly misconduct charge. They can’t prove it. It needs to be a civilian on the other end, not a police officer. You have the right to remain silent. Do not incriminate yourself. Don’t speak. Call a lawyer.”

While a lot of the coverage has focused on Black men and the injustices they’ve endured, we recognize that all Black people have been assaulted and traumatized as a direct result of systemic racism in America. Perhaps the group of people most targeted and abused, while also largely ignored in the narrative of Black Lives Matter, is Black trans women and Black, queer identifying individuals in general.

“I’ve seen a lot of the LGBTQ community out there at the hands of tyranny,” Buckley said. “So, throughout the month of June, Pride Month, my firm is representing members of the LGBT community for free. If I can do it, I’ll do it. I’m not looking to make money off these people. I just want to help them.”

Buckley already has three cases from people in the LGBTQ+ community, all suffering at the hands of a homophobic parnter in their own home who yells racial and homophobic slurs to them, to the point where they’re imprisoned in their own room. While George’s name is carrying the message, the fact is that we are protesting for a lot more in separate cities for different murders, for racial equality, and for equal treatment. The road to revolution has many lanes. What matters, Buckley says, is keeping your foot on the gas. 

Javaron Buckley, on the revolution and the saying“I ain’t my ancestor”:

You are your ancestor’s wildest dream. 

White people that showed up, your ancestors were the ones who hid us in their basements and in their attics to keep us from being lynched. They did it in a very secretive way for obvious reasons. They didn’t want to be lynched themselves by other whites, and they couldn’t come out and do what you do today. You are your ancestors’ wildest dreams. If they could be here, they would probably be right out here on the lines with us. And that goes the same for us black people. 

We got to stop saying I ain’t my ancestor. I keep seeing that online: I ain’t my ancestor, I’ll do this to you. That’s an insult, a direct insult to your ancestor. You are your ancestor, you’re just more evolved. You got all those rights that they fought for, plus the ones that we are fighting for today.

Black lives are not just male lives—they are women and queer folk, too. As we move to hold our country to the standards of equality we demand, it is important to recognize and invest in Black people by acknowledging that there is a broken police system where departments across the country receive billions of dollars from city budget allocations.

“We need to reform the police. I’m not trying to be in solidarity with them, because being in solidarity with them could mean being on my neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. I don’t want that. I want reform,” Buckley said. 

People say defunding the police is radical, but think about how radical it is that Black people have been defunded their entire life. People are understanding of a White kid who commits a mass shooting as a result of bullying, but black folk protesting centuries of oppression is somehow incomprehensible. 

White people have weaponized their privilege and the police against us. 

“People are fed up, and it’s time to get the wheels of justice turning swiftly,” Buckley said. “A couple years ago, it was a felony in most places to sell marijuana after Bill Clinton signed the Three Strikes law. There are businesses that are selling marijuana during the pandemic that are open, because they’re considered essential business. But how many of our brothers are in prison right now because of the dimebag they sold back in the mid 90s?” 

There’s a problem with police culture. In the videos we see on social media, peaceful protesters are dragged out of crowds, thrown on to the ground, beaten with batons, kneeled on, maced in the face, and shot with rubber bullets that leave lasting physical impairments, nevermind the psychological ones. Met with this brutality is another form of injustice, coming in the form of charges as police fortify the blue wall of silence to mask the indecent and inhumane actions of their coworkers. Pleading guilty to these charges  impacts  people’s lives for a long time. The right kind of felony would keep you from getting financial aid. It keeps you from voting and keeps you from owning firearms. It keeps you from going to other countries. It keeps you from joining the military or going on a military base. The impact of these protests are going to have a lasting effect on people, and that’s why it’s important to have adequate representation when you’re going into the courtroom. 

“Do not just go in there thinking that you’re gonna get a ticket, pay a fine, and be done,” Buckley said. “You need to go in there and fight. Make them work for it.”

Javaron Buckley is available 24/7. His cell phone number is 808-927-1621. His Instagram page is @buckleylawgroup. He wants you to know he is here for the people. “I’m not an opportunist, I’m not looking to get famous behind any of this. I just genuinely want to be there and help the people.”

Kizer Quarterly


The true history of America, as celebrated by Black folk.

“Are the great principles of political freedom and natural justice, embodied in the Declaration of Independence, extended to us? What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?”

—Frederick Douglass, 1855

What to the Black American is your Fourth of July, America? While on that day we may have become independent from one oppressor, America was certainly not free—not when 3.95 million people in America were still enslaved by 7.4 percent of all American families five years after Douglass made this statement. Those numbers could even be low, since it was common for a White Southerner to be a slave master but not technically a slave owner. 

Today, Black Americans do not remember July 4th as their Independence Day, because we were not freed from slavery until June 19th, 1865.

Juneteenth (a combination of ‘June’ and ‘19th’) commemorates the day in which all Americans were declared free, which is also why the holiday is celebrated as ‘Juneteenth Independence Day,’ ‘Freedom Day,’ or ‘Emancipation Day.’ It came two years and some change after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, leader of the pro-slavery force during the Civil War, surrendered at Appotamox, Virginia, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to inform enslaved African Americans that the bloodiest war in U.S. history had ended. It was on this day, June 19th, that every Black person in America was freed, at least in the officia, legal context of a White person owning a Black person on paper.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

— Major General Gordon Granger, General Order Number 3 (June 19, 1865)

For years, the United States has recognized July 4th as Independence Day for the country. But that day has not been a marker of liberation for Black folk historically and it is not true to the authentic American narrative of independence today. As a national day of independence, it’s quite hypocritical for America to consider the Fourth of July the marker when a sizable population of the country, and a population that built the very economic structure of this country, was still enslaved. Black labor was foundational to the growth of this country and its economy. Our ancestors built this country, from its earliest infrastructure— including everything from the White House, the U.S. State Capitol, Wall Street, and railroads in the South, to the very music genre of Rock n’ Roll, Blues, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. Our potato chips, ironing boards, traffic lights, and caller ID were made by Black folks. 

What’s more, 40 out of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves. That’s right—over 70 percent of our nation’s founders owned another human being and claimed their country were free from tyranny. Under our Constitution, Black people were considered three-fifths of a person. Ten of our first 12 presidents—the representatives of the people—actively claimed ownership of another human being. This is who we were as a nation. We are a country founded on White supremacy, a country conceived in liberty and born in shackles.

Any development made in this country often had Black people behind it, because we have always been exploited for cheap labor, taken advantage of by oppressive systems. This is not to say that the Indigineous people and immigrants of this country didn’t perform amazing advancements for America as well, because they often did, but it was the enslavement of Black people that catalyzed America’s economy and made us a world power. Black people are the blueprint. 

We cannot begin to celebrate the Fourth of July until we as a nation recognize where the true roots of independence for all Americans planted themselves and when that freedom was given the chance to grow.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia now recognize Juneteenth as a holiday, with Texas being the first to do so in 1980. Texas houses the very site where the last slaves were notified of their freedom. Texans, however, began celebrating Juneteenth “beginning in 1866, with community-centric events, such as parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, historical and cultural readings, and musical performances,” according to Congressional Research Service’s “Juneteenth: Fact Sheet. “Over time, communities have developed their own traditions. Some communities purchased land for Juneteenth celebrations, such as Emancipation Park in Houston, TX. As families emigrated from Texas to other parts of the United States, they carried the Juneteenth celebrations with them.” 

The celebration of this holiday by Black folk is ingrained into our culture. It is our history and the history of America. While the rest of the country rejoices on the Fourth of July, Black folk are turning up two weeks earlier, celebrating the breaking of literal shackles bound to us and the hope of a future where we can be truly free. The Declaration of Independence is a fine document, but it was not created with every American in mind, for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was stolen from, and built upon, Black people. Juneteenth is the extension of that promised independence.

No president of the United States has ever supported declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday. At this point, it is an obvious disservice to the authentic narrative of this country and its history. To change that, the US Senate passed a resolution last year recognizing “Juneteenth Independence Day” as a national holiday, but it has not yet been approved in the House. Federal regard for Juneteenth would allow for paid holiday time for a lot Americans and a legitimate recognition of a point in our history that true progress was really made. Large American corporations like the NFL have made Juneteenth as a company-wide paid holiday, according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but this move is rich with irony, coming from an entity that deals in the exploitation and regulation (think Capernick) of black bodies.

As the nation experiences the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, with global support and outcry for the injustices they see in other countries, it is crucial we understand the true history of each space we inhabit. That starts with recognizing the horrors of slavery, the lack of reparations still present today, and the importance of Juneteenth. The disrespect shown every day to Black folk is perpetuated by our president, who initially scheduled his rally for Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of one of the most severe White-on-Black attacks in American history: the Black Wall Street Massacre. That’s literally terrorism.

Unfortunately, it’s also important to recognize that not every Black American was truly freed on Juneteenth. While it is the date that many have come to recognize as the national abolition of slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to border states in the Union at the time, so remaining slaves were shackled until the ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 18th, 1985—almost six months later. Even then, Black Americans faced involuntary servitude and inhumane labor conditions. For decades after the ratification, former plantations still had a stronghold on Black Americans, making leaving the sites of their trauma as risky as escaping official slavery in prior years. Juneteenth is not only a day to celebrate the emancipation of Black people in America, but also a day of mourning for those to whom freedom was never granted.

Over a century-and-a-half since Juneteenth, Black Americans are still not yet free from the bondage of slavery in the sense that we are still terrorized by violence from our oppressors and systemic racism that continues to kill, maim, destroy, and imprison Black lives. We are not only in the middle of a global pandemic that disproportionately affects Black people, we are the country with the highest prison and jail population, as well as the highest incarceration rate in the world. In 23 days of protests for Black Lives Matter, at least six people have been killed and at least three Black bodies have been left hanging in public spaces, deemed as suicides by the police, despite their resemblance to lynchings. The 13th Amendment does not, in fact, end slavery, but protects it.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

— The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution

The free labor of prisoners in the United States represents a minimum annual value of $2 billion of jail and prison industrial output. While we no longer practice chattel slavery in America, slavery is not at all dead. It lives on in the prison system that entraps Black Americans in systemic imprisonment, effectively prohibiting them from voting and getting jobs. It lives on in consistent police brutality against Black people, under the assumption that they are inherently criminals, rather than real human beings. There is no brutality against our White counterparts when they perform the same actions we do (i.e. holding a bag of skittles, wearing a hoodie, sleeping in our car, sitting in our own home, playing with a toy gun, etc.). This is why we chant ‘RememberTheirNames,’ and not just the names of Black men, but the Black and queer women who have been specifically ignored and had their narrative either erased or disregarded in the conversation on race in America today. Modern-day slavery is seen in the disproportionate charging and sentencing of Black folks committing the same crimes as Whites. It is seen in the imprisonment of brothers possessing dime bags of weed back in the 90s while White businesses profit off of marijuana sales and are declared essential businesses during a global pandemic. Black people are still enslaved—now, they’re just the property of the government, used for cheap and often free labor to turn a profit.

Juneteenth is an opportunity for us to celebrate the end of the slavery in some aspects, but Juneteenth is also a holiday of mourning, and it’s a time for us to reflect on the positionality of Black people in America. It’s an opportunity for us as Black people to take back our power by living in the truth of our narratives and continuing to demand the freedom and equal treatment of Black folk in every capacity.

This Juneteenth, let’s come together and remember our ancestors, the ones who live in the coding of our DNA and our shared experiences as a powerful and brilliant group of people. Find comfort in the food of our culture and allow it to feed your soul as we let ourselves rest, and allow us to participate in the radical practice of self care before continuing the fight. 

As a friend of mine said, “You are your ancestor’s wildest dream.”

Sign the petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday here.

For more information on Juneteenth itself, visit

Kizer Quarterly

Let’s Take a Look At Snow Bunnies

Warning: Don’t look them up on Facebook, because they’ll make you nauseous

You might see the headline of this story and think oh finally, a story about attractive young women who love to ski or a young child who is learning how to ski. If you roll with a different crowd, you might know this term as it relates to people, typically women, who are addicted to cocaine. If so, you’re in for a different kind of adventure, because this isn’t a story about skiing or cocaine. This is an expose of snow bunnies in the context of White women who explicitly fetishize their preference for relationships with Black men and vice versa. 

Also, I’d like to let it be known that I will be discussing the term snow bunny as it pertains to White women that exclusively date Black men, but this can apply to all genders along the spectrum, as discrimination and toxic fetishization do not just pertain to one gender. A snow bunny can also be a gay White man who exclusively dates Black men, a straight White man who exclusively dates Black women, and so on.

Actually, the term is a part of a larger phrase: “snow bunnies with jungle fever.” It’s a repugnant fetishiszation frequently used by entities like PornHub. Most often, I saw these comments on Tinder and Bumble. I’m bi, so I had the lovely privilege of seeing cis-gendered individuals looking to match on both sides of the binary. I’d see bio descriptions from women with the clarification that they were seeking big black cock or booty only—#teamblackboys or #teamblackgirls and bio descriptions from men with the goal of finding their perfect snow bunny.

As a person of mixed race, I technically could fit into both descriptions. I tended to be rejected by both groups of people, although I wasn’t looking to be accepted by people who limit their intimate relations to a specific race. As a human being, I didn’t want to fit within such constraints, nor did I feel such “preferences” were appropriate to advertise.

I’m no stranger to having my race play a huge part in my intimate relationships. Most often, my race is a point of contention or fascination for those who, upon initially seeing me in a social setting, feel the need to comment on my mixed race and try to engage me on the basis of exotic allure. “What are you?” is often the question I get hit with before I proceed to roll my eyes and walk away or placate my disdain with a nervous smile to ensure my safety.

To get into the nitty gritty repercussions of snow bunnies, let’s take a look at some of the reasons White women limit their racial pool in dating to just Black men:

  1. The Big Black Cock
  2. The Hallmark of “I Can’t Be Racist, My Boyfriend Is Black”
  3. The Experience of ‘Jungle Fever’
  4. The Mixed Baby

These are all disgusting and turn Black people into objects. It’s fucking dehumanizing.

Let it be known that if you are a White woman reading this, it’s okay to date Black men! It’s just not okay to only date Black men for any of the reasons included in my four-point list. By doing that, you are inherently discriminating against all other races and placing a nasty level of fetishization upon Black men by viewing them as an object for your image and/or future, rather than real human beings with value and diversity within race. Also know that there is an inherent subjugation of women of color in this racial preference because by enabling the idea of the snow bunny, the WOC is regarded as less than, as impure, crazy, bitter, or angry.

Guess what? We are fucking angry.

It’s exhausting to be regarded as an object of fascination before the fetishization kicks in about how one’s race plays into their personality and their character and their so-called abilities based on provocative and harmful stereotypes. I think what’s most frustrating about this snow bunny trend is that it also enables White people to take freely from Black culture—not in the sense that they are ‘taking’ our people from us—in the form of cultural hijacking that people of color get judged for on the daily. By dating Black men, White women feel enabled to take on a culture that wasn’t meant for them and mutilate it. They get weaves and are seen as trendy, turning a profit; Black women get the weaves they’ve been getting for decades and they’re regarded as ghetto, ratchet, and unnatural. White women wear styles taken from Black fashion—like the ribbed bodycon dress and skin tight tracksuits— and are called inclusive and progressive, markers of change and acceptance. Black women wear the styles they made and get called ugly, stupid, tacky, and ghetto (gettofabulous, if society is feeling generous that day).

This is not an attack on White women or White people. We all need to do better. White people need to stop regarding Black lives as objects for their pleasure and entertainment, because Black people are not items. Consequently, Black people must show themselves more respect and fight their own dehumanization.

The idolization of Whiteness or Blackness ostracizes the individual, telling them that their worth is based on the color of their skin rather than recognizing that they are complex human beings. Not all White women are the same; neither are Black guys carbon copies of one another.

We are more. Let us show each other.

As a word of advice for the reader, I’d avoid looking up “snow bunny” on Facebook. It’s nauseating.

Kizer Quarterly


“Namu myōhō renge kyō.”

Chant it out loud. Speak it into existence. This mystic law of cause and effect through sound permeates through life, calling karma by its name, allowing my humanity to be tied to yours.

Vocal performance artist Sun BLVD lives by the Japanese Buddhist mantra, for it saved her from crippling losses of friendships that turned out to be superficial and an all-consuming depression. Buddhism was where Sunny permitted herself to change the root cause of her suffering, no matter how ugly the process. What lives now is a will so vibrant and a heart so compassionate to love and understand others. She is brimming with limitless potential.

Photos by jacq (@jacvillian) with edits by sunny herself (or SUN BLVD).

A jack of all trades and a master of herself, Sunny lives in her beauty as a black queer woman. Growing up, she felt overcast by the clouds of life, unaware of what those titles of Black, queer, and woman meant and how to manage the blessings and havoc those identities unveiled in her life. Finding the light in performance and the art of music allowed her to revel in her existence and take pride in the everyday struggle of life. Her faith is directly tied to that light—daily practice to fight for what you want and need every day. In the words of the artist herself, “There is no life with no struggle.”

Hence, the name Sunny was born after evolving throughout her years. Starting as little Taylor in Chicago, she struggled to find her roots in one place. At nineteen-year-old, she was overwhelmed with what being a black queer woman meant in a society that feeds itself off of boxing people into labels. She found confidence in herself to be the root of her existence after checking out of an outpatient center treating her depression, escaping the superficial attachment and necessity for material items that the world is so consumed by.

“This whole thing was birthed out of the need to love me,” Sunny said.

The name Sunny was born from that birth of self-love. Sunny coming from her ability to center herself instead of revolving around others and BLVD coming from her experiences of houses on a street she was evicted from. Sunny is a light to hang on to, and now it is paramount of her existence.

Meeting Sunny was like getting swept up in an emotional current so intense it left you breathless. Roaring laughter chimed through the social club as she envisioned her pop star dream coming to fruition. The shoulder pad of t-shirt soaked as tears trickled down smooth skin, reminiscing the fight to survive when everything was crashing down around her. A theater of emotion was exploding from her very being to teach us, to remind us, what it means to be human.

“Art is the way to touch people,” Sunny said. “I want to be able to open up debates and be open and help other people understand how vast we are as a people.”

There’s an art in the words and lyrics Sunny spins. It makes you want to revolve around her, be apart of her orbit. Stories are being told, and love is at the foundation of it all, whether it’s love for herself or others around. It’s an encouraging call you want to listen to; to be able to love yourself in a way you hadn’t before and trust in your ability to fight the everyday struggle and come out victorious and so confident in the essence of you.

“People hurt other people when they don’t love themselves,” Sunny said. Queue the art she creates that not only saved her in dark places but is meant to protect you, to ensure you love yourself, so there’s less hurt in the world.

With pop star dreams and fluid artistic energy, Sunny aims to mold her platform into one that holds people’s ear—makes them listen and influence change in a way other forms of art, politics, or religion might not be able to. For the work she creates is meant to be felt and heard in an ephemeral experience, not listened to and forgotten about in a splitting noise that drowns out what’s essential in life.

A story is sung by the sun, and people move to it. Sunny tells stories, a musical rendering of her life that she pieces together in transit to a destination she’s always searching to find. A performance everyone can relate to, an empathetic experience that touches souls.

“Performing is the best drug I’ve ever had,” Sunny said. “It’s so exhilarating to tell your experience and tell your life to an audience and see people understand it and move to it.”

That experience and connection are why Sunny is a performing artist, not a recording artist. She’s out on the stage for the primary purpose to keep herself grounded and be a light for someone else, to instill a core principle of happiness in where you are and who you are in the present. It’s an alignment of humanity and a message she wants to especially emphasize to the youth of the world.

Children are people that possess a limitless potential and a power that can’t be measured. Insightful in ways adults cannot be, Sunny urges everyone to feed the wonder they hold and bestow upon others. Speaking your truth, rather than talking down to youth is something that should be nurtured because it teaches us how to relate to and respect each other. The mind is the most potent asset, If you change that, then you can change your life and speak over the material events and struggles that are happening—a fortunate wonder.

“I want everybody to be fortune babies.”

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