New York City is renowned for being on the cutting edge of art, activism, and beautifully bridging the two disciplines together. One radical art collective is continuing this tradition with the creation of BUFU, a Brooklyn art-based community initiative creating kinship between two vastly different, albeit connected Diasporas in the United States.
“BUFU (By Us for Us) is a collective of young, queer, femme artists supporting and fostering the discourse of Black and Asian solidarity,” writes Ayasha Guerin of The Village Voice. “Tsige Tafesse, Jazmin Jones, Sonia Choi, and Katherine Tom describe their collective’s work as a ‘decentralized multimedia documentary project’ dedicated to collecting and presenting marginalized voices through facilitated conversations.”
The founders of BUFU understand the perceived challenge of working cross-culturally to foster genuine affinities between Black and Asian folks. The relationship between the two cultures is complex, and at times incredibly awkward. Black and Asian communities are also racialized differently in the United States, initially making the process of finding common ground challenging. BUFU isn’t comfortable telling people what Black and Asian solidarity is; rather, they are interested in exploring what it could be through constant community engagement.
In June, organizers transformed a vacant garage into a community space, in which screenings, performances, dinners, social-justice discussions, and radical dialogues as part of a month-long project. The community space also served as a base for a five-part documentary series that will be released in the spring of 2017. The group also organizes events with other DIY crews in New York City; the collective co-hosted an anti-prom event with the radical Skate Brujas and Princess Nokia earlier this year, and most recently supported the Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X dedication mural on 125th street and Broadway.