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Kai lightner (@kailightner ) has always had a passion for climbing.
“as an adhd kid, i would find ways to climb everything around the house and everywhere i went in public,” says the 20-year-old professional rock climber. kai won his first youth national championship at 10 years old, the youth world championships at 14, and at 15 he won the first of his two adult national championship titles. “one of the many obstacles in increasing minority participation and creating an inclusive environment in the outdoor industry is the lack of representation for bipoc athletes.
growing up rock climbing, i was always very aware i was different. i would always be the only black person in every climbing environment and none of my friends from my neighborhood understood why i enjoyed the sport. the lack of representation and black role models in rock climbing made it hard for them to visualize what success for us looked like in my sport.
however, i recognize that my achievements have opened the door for other young black athletes to have the role model i never had. i believe that seeing accomplished athletes that look like you, or come from similar backgrounds, can serve as motivation and inspiration to young athletes.
stereotypes don’t have to limit your possibilities; you can participate and be successful in any activity you set your mind to, regardless of societal expectations.”
photo of @kailightner by @shanemesser86
53 minutes ago
Holland (@holland_vvv ) has taken an unconventional path and fiercely independent approach to his music career from the start. the first openly g*y k-pop idol, holland manages his own image and crowdfunds his music to maintain artistic control.
the video for holland’s 2018 debut release “neverland” featured the singer’s same-sex kiss. it gained a million online views overnight and grew his global audience. “i make music with the inspiration and life lessons i have gained in mind. that’s how i grew on my own and forged my bond with my fans. my work itself is an embodiment of holland. k-pop, or music these days in general, blends sound, melody, lyrics, photos, videos and even fashion. as such, it lets me heal my wounds and helps me enrich myself culturally. i can’t live without music now.”
holland came out in middle school and takes his name from the country which was the first to legalize same-sex marriage. “the people who were the greatest source of strength for me when i was getting bullied at school were pop artists that openly supported the lgbtq community,” he says. “i resolved to become the kind of person with social influence who could be a source of strength for the little hollands later on.” #thisweekoninstagram
photo by @holland_vvv
“my paintings can be called visual music,” says painter and educator kildren (@kildren ), who creates both digital and analog pieces inspired by music and the people who make it. “all my paintings coexist with realistic parts and abstract elements,” he explains. “balance is as important as composition.”
Lia kim (@liakimhappy ) took her first dance class at 15 and hasn’t stopped moving since. “my dance style is a combination of popping, hip-hop, waacking, vogueing and contemporary,” says the choreographer, who first gained recognition by participating in street dance battles.
lia is responsible for some of k-pop’s most iconic dance routines and co-founded the 1million dance studio (@1milliondance ) — which extends from its physical location in seoul, south korea, to a massive global audience online. “in korea, there weren’t many opportunities given to dancers or choreographers. i felt it was incredibly important for the dancers to be able to have a place where they can truly be the artists, rather than being seen as backup dancers for singers and the support for other artists,” she explains.
“it’s an amazing feeling to see that people are watching my dances and feeling inspired to cover my choreography and upload their videos.” #thisweekoninstagram
photo by @liakimhappy
3 days ago
#hellofrom ivalo, lapland, finland. we’re currently dreaming of this glass-domed building that offers the perfect vantage point to watch the northern lights at night.
photo by @giuliogroebert
Visual artist and photographer adeyemi adegbesan’s (@yung.yemi ) fantastical imagery examines the intersectionality of black identity.
“my work is a celebration of black cultural elements from across the diaspora,” says adeyemi, whose work is heavily inspired by the concepts of afrofuturism and pan-africanism. “i try to take elements that speak to my lived experience and weave it into a coherent narrative. i try to make work that portrays black people in a way that is powerful, resilient and autonomous.”
i want people to see the diversity within the concept of ‘blackness’. i think a lot of times the concept of being black gets represented as this monolithic entity. my work is comprised by many different pieces and references that i use to represent a wide array of cultures, religions and aesthetics that are part of being ‘black’.
i think both covid-19’s disproportionately heavy effect on black communities and all the protests in the wake of george floyd’s death have raised the general level of awareness of some of the barriers that the black community faces. that’s led me to have a lot of conversations with people that weren’t previously receptive to those facts, which i’m encouraged by.
in terms of my artwork, i’m really trying to maintain my focus. these issues have always been in the forefront of my mind while i’m working, so i just want to keep that same energy moving forward.”
illustration by @yung.yemi
2 weeks ago
Author and independent curator kimberly drew (@museummammy ) works at the intersection of art, design and activism. a special focus of her work is celebrating black, indigenous, disabled and otherwise marginalized creatives.
“i want people to know the incredible abundance of diversity. i want people to know that they should always have an imagination about what’s possible when we learn from each other,” says kimberly.
“2020 has taught me that many people weren’t paying attention to the racist, ableist foundations of our world. many people didn’t hold themselves accountable to the work of dismantling white supremacy. many people have been complicit. i hope we all continue to learn more about our shared responsibility for a better world.
i think it’s important that a platform like instagram highlights, amplifies and makes space for black creatives, because for far too long our voices have been unrightfully pushed to the margins. and, quite frankly, if you aren’t amplifying black voices, you’re silencing them. it’s as simple as that.
the instagram community should take on any opportunity to follow someone who may be different from them.”
photo of @museummammy by @tylersphotos
2 weeks ago
For artist arielle bobb-willis (@ariellebobbwillis ), her camera is a tool for empowerment. arielle’s colorful photographic compositions of contorted human bodies are a response to her battles with depression and also a celebration of “black joy, self-preservation, empathy, sunny days and peace of mind.”
“i’m motivated by healing and the release of fear,” says arielle. “i would say a big theme in my work is finding healthy ways to be yourself. freedom is important to me. working on getting to know myself allowed me to find the confidence to create whatever i want without the imaginary limits i had once accepted in my life.
it took a long time for me to give myself permission to be who i am. people will project their fears onto you and to me my work is a physical representation of what it means to reject that in every way,” she says.
“the world is filled with so many beautiful voices and perspectives. limiting that is deeply problematic because it leaves the black perspective in the hands of others, who have never experienced it. it’s important to understand that black lives come in all shapes and sizes and we are more than what the world has pigeonholed us to be.
we are vibrant and it’s important to spotlight our stories because as you can see our diversity has been pushed to the side for too long. there’s immense power in your sensitivity, your vulnerability and your imagination. please keep going, i know you can do it. ❤️”
photo by @ariellebobbwillis
2 weeks ago
#hellofrom point reyes national seashore. we’re currently dreaming of this moment, captured during a calm and foggy california morning at the cypress tree tunnel.
photo by @markian.b
2 weeks ago
Here are the faces of #pride. bold, bright and beautiful. 🌈💋✨
meet @pradaolic , @watoniki, @sgairewood and @hibiscussseater . these lgbtq+ makeup artists from around the world created new looks that represent how they #sharewithpride, this june and beyond.
“i #sharewithpride by recognizing the black and brown q***r folks who fought for lgbtqia+ rights to this day,” says 19-year-old myla (@pradaolic ). “and also by unapologetically being myself and doing things that make me happy.
see how all these pride looks were created and learn more about each makeup artist, right now on our story and igtv.
photos by @pradaolic , @watoniki, @sgairewood and @hibiscussseater
2 weeks ago
In celebration of the lgbtq+ community, makeup artists @pradaolic, @watoniki, @sgairewood and @hibiscussseater share amazing new looks inspired by the bold, bright and beautiful spirit of #pride.