When Oakland-based artist and activist Nia King launched a podcast a few years back, the goal was simple: to capture the stories of queer and trans artists of color. But the stories, which captured a diverse range of voices, from performer and organizer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha to talk-show host Janet Mock, were so good that King (a former intern at Race Forward, Colorlines’ publisher) decided to turn them into a book.
The collection, which was successfully funded with crowdsourced money, includes 16 interviews with queer and trans artists who have fused their political and creative work. In a digital world, those printed stories were crucial. As King wrote in the introduction for the book, published last fall, called “Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives:”
I wanted to create this book so that the work of these amazing artists who have influenced me will not seem like a flash in the pan if they eventually burn out or go broke and have to stop creating. I want there to be a record of their wisdom and their influence and their greatness that will inspire others to create as well. I really do believe that QTPOC art activism saves lives, and this book is just one of my many efforts to show how and why.
King’s work is vital, especially in a moment of supposed victory for LGBT communities. As Autostraddle pointed out:
The voices and experiences of queer and trans people of color (especially queer and trans women of color) are so often erased, silenced or pushed to the background. When our stories are told, they are told by people outside the community who don’t always tell the story the way it really happened. This book proudly stands in direct defiance of these traditions.
The book is available at indy stores across the country and on Amazon.