By Edward Henderson
The HBCU experience has a unique way of broadening perspectives, planting seeds of pride and calling its graduates towards giving back to the community that produced them. For San Diego native James Malone, his time spent at Howard University in Washington, D.C. not only expanded his periphery, it also gave him a sense of tunnel vision and focus as well.
Today, Malone is the brain trust behind a movement which empowers black contemporary artists with everything they need to reclaim their worth and stand at the forefront of their narratives. His collective, which is based in Brooklyn, NY, is aptly named ‘TunnelVision’. Malone is returning home to San Diego from April 10th to May 1st with the intention of observing the local arts scene to determine where he can use the knowledge he’s gained away from home to help build a rich and thriving community in the area that birthed him.
“The black community as a whole has a standard issue problem,” said Malone. “The same pressure has been applied to all of our communities no matter what region you’re from. My travels have given me a deeper understanding of art, and how it can change perceptions. I’m at a mind space now where I want to return home with a little more intention behind me and a grander plan to help build Southeast.”
The story behind Malone’s work with TunnelVision was recently featured on The Huffington Post. What began as an attempt to create his own space for artistic expression after his photography wasn’t ‘diverse’ enough when shopping to agencies, has morphed into a hub for other artists to produce and monetize content that represents their cultural identity without judgement.
In Malone’s previous visits home to San Diego, he noticed the growing art scene and talent developing here.
“The community is starting to claim its culture. I can also see the need for direct mobilizing and a little more direct infrastructure building. An awareness of where this can take us in the future for the entire black community. I see an artist scene here that is just as good as anywhere else in California.”
During his time back in San Diego, Malone wants to connect with the brands, artists and community leaders who have a hand into what it looks like to be actively involved the community and how his life experience can give to the direct mission of improving things.
“Howard exposed me to what a mobilized, functioning and identify positive black community can do for itself. I’ve been armored up properly to come home and give back in a way that I know for a fact that will have our community in a place where we’ve been trying to get at forever.”
If you’re interested in connecting with Malone and learning more about how he can aid your cause, contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, @tunnelvisionartists on Twitter, or @jdmalone33 on Instagram.