The world is in a state of upheaval.
For many, the condition we're in is a symptom of a disease that has been bubbling at the surface for years. In the United States, we're having to interrogate how white supremacy and anti-Blackness manifest in policy and everyday practice. In Europe, xenophobia and failing economics are causing division. And throughout the world, mounting pressure for economic reform, environmental policies, and human rights are ever-present.
But the truth is, older generations saw these issues coming. Particular to the Black Lives Matter global movement, the foundations of many countries were built on human crimes that, to this day, manifest themselves in legislation, social-economic gaps, and health care. To make matters more dire, COVID-19 has caused global devastation and disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities as well. For a lot of young people, these issues seem too large to change.
Fortunately, that’s not true.
As creative people, our job is to document the world through empathetic eyes. We’re given a unique lens to capture pain, vitality, and everything in between, with nuance. Yes, the world appears to be in a state of darkness, but there is hope, and it lies in those who have the ability to manifest dreams.
In your lives, specifically in Italy, your campus was shut down and the typical university experience has warped into digital classes and email correspondence. As creators, the lack of human interaction is unnatural. And for some of you, the loss of loved ones is top of mind. In addition to worrying about finding jobs and being successful, a lot of you are in mourning.
But in the stillness of this moment, when things seem bad, imagine solutions. Imagine a world that is safe, accepting, and diverse. Imagine a clean planet, sustainability as the standard, and respect for each and every human life. Approach fashion from a fresh perspective; challenge archaic practices and flip the industry upside down. If this time of chaos has afforded us anything, it’s revolutionary thinking. Now, more than ever before, is the time to start challenging paradigms across every industry. Use this moment to take a seat at the table, and if the table isn’t making life better for your generation, shake it — or better yet, break it down and build a new one.
Director of Culture and Entertainment at Teen Vogue
Danielle Kwateng is Director of Culture and Entertainment at Teen Vogue. She has been a journalist for almost ten years. She started her curated digital shop, TheVolta.co as a place for talented artisans of color to sell their goods — while highlighting other creatives in the field. Her passion is championing women and artists of African diaspora.