Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa - Creative Arts, Haiti

How long does it take to get famous?

The past 6 weeks have been hectic with travels to London, Durban, Cape Town, Nairobi, Cape Town and finally landing in Joburg. Some of you may have read my write up on my CT experience and what a relief it is to be out of that place! I am still tired but slowly getting things together including hoping this blog will survive the next 6 months of travel. What are the ethics about republishing something you published two 1/2 years ago? I dont know but I was reading a book at a friends on Jean Michel Basquiat and thought of one of the first posts I made back in June 2004 – there is also the Haitian connection.

I am not conversant with the technicalities of art. I just know when I see something and it moves me in some way that I can appreciate and Basquiat’s moves me. It has no borders or limitations; it is anarchistic and full of insight into the power structures that attempt to control our lives – his life.

John-Michel Basquiat: 1960-1988.His words like his work are subversive and he always went for the jugular. Its all mixed up but you get the meaning.


Q: How long does it take to get famous

JMB: 4 yeas – 6 to get rich. First you have to dress right then hang out with famous people – right? Make friends with the right BLOND people y’know. Go to the right parties you know – socialite. Then you got to do your work all the time as youre doing that. I’m talking about the same kinda of work, the same style so people can recognise you and don’t get confused. Then once you’re famous – airborne – you got to keep doing it in the same way even after its boring unless you want people to get mad at you which they will anyway. You know famous people are usually to fucking stupid – you are too smart!

Resentment begins – you get a little attention then you get all uppity.

Q: Upitty nigger you mean?

JMB: Everyone wants a piece of the action – a piece of the "gutter" – commodification of blackness – of the gutter.

What is it about art anyway that we give it so much importance?    Stitting at a "white" dinner surrounded by "maullers" indulging in Blackness like swarming youerus fucking assholes –

We are no longer collecting art – we’re buying people arent we? they don’t like that

Q  Can you decifer this for us – where do you take your words from

JMB: Bloody stupid question – everything must be subject to scientific analysis. This is the white way.

Q: Are you some sort of primal expressionist?

JMB: A primmate? – an ape?

Q: Do you consider yourself a painter or a black painter?

JMB: I use a lot of colours not just black

Q: How do you respond to being the picanny of the art world?

JMB: No no he said I was the Eddie Murphy of the art world – push the button and he will expload.

Q: Are you angry?

JMB: When will I meet the woman of my dreams – share my feelings, loves hates understandings?


My version of how long it takes to get famous!




  1. Sokari, I find the last line of your post very interesting. A very provoking connection between a white world and a white death…

  2. Hi Sokari,

    Happy New Year. The Cape Town Outpost was very interesting…Stay blessed

  3. Comment by post author


    Annie@ I say he lived in white world and died a white death because if you begin to look into his life you see the appropriation not just of his work but of his body, his inner self by the “white art establishment” and to a lesser extent the media. This distortion and exploitation of his whole self is what I believe led to his untimely death – he was treated like a freak show as the excerpt from the above interview show.

  4. “A white death.”

    Right. Very perceptive.