interview: meet liv slaughter, the multi-talented artist/activist bringing poc visibility to boston’s art scene

January 17, 2017

So, are any of you still enjoying that Haasan Barclay album, Heaven is Your Last Dream? As brilliant as it is, that album probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as it has, if it wasn’t for the lady right beside him, Liv Slaughter. A photographer, an activist, a director and Haasan Barclay’s manager, she has worn multiple hats, as far as her jobs are concerned, and as a participator of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, she works mostly with artists, writers and other subjects of color. So, while it may be okay to call her Barclay’s other half (they both got hitched before the end of 2016), don’t dare call her his backup.

By Lightning Pill*, AFROPUNK contributor

LP: OK. Tell me how you got into photography?
LS: When I was really little I had a Barbie camera and I loved it. In 8th grade I borrowed a parents camera to take on a class trip and my mom recognized it was a passion. It wasn’t until high school where my best friend at the time, Adam white was taking photos that it made me realize it could be more. I received my first camera as a freshman in college and haven’t really put one down since. I started with natural lighting and flowers and while my work has evolved what I like pictures of has relatively stayed the same. I love portraits.

LP: OK. I hear that you are taking on a specific theme for your current photo project. Tell me about it.
LS: So my photo project is called “Color Temperature”, and it’s about the rate in which black bodies absorb light. I focus on the depth of someone’s face and the characteristics of the person I’m shooting. I try to make everyone look as much as themselves as possible and pull their personality out through the shots. It’s a celebration of POC skin, artists and musicians. It’s Boston based so it really highlights the culture of all my friends who are making art and contributing to the city. It’s usually a pretty fun and quick shoot.

LP: Happy to hear. Who are some of the people that you have shot so far? 
LS: I’ve shot Michael Christmas and his girlfriend Indi who is an amazing creative mind as well. The iconic OG Swaggerdick, the DJ’s Supersmash Broz, model and artist Lucii, Haasan Barclay, Fat P, RAMS, and the Samo D and many many more. That’s just to make a few

LP: Speaking of Haasan Barclay, I hear that you are his manager and his wife. Have you two ever had doubts about the relationship going as forward as it does, considering in the middle of it is business? If not, what is your philosophy on making somethign like that work?
LS: Haasan and I were best friends before anything else and the business works seamlessly because we are honest and hard working together. It wouldn’t work if we didn’t communicate. We improve constantly together and he is my driving force for success.

LP: OK. Before Hassan Barclay, did you want to be an A&R or manager? How would you describe the experience?
LS: Of course I did! I worked with Daniel Glogower for a bit helping work on artists like Jordan Bratton and Liana Banks. I find great passion in helping others grow. I love artistic direction and it allows me to be a creative director but also working on the business side of things. It’s something new and fresh everyday so it never gets boring.

LP:Happy to hear. What involvement did you have in the growth of Haasan’s sound and/or image?
LS: We direct his videos together and his photo shoots together. I just help make his vision cohesive.

LP: What other videos are you working on?
LS: I actually just directed a music video for DadJeans that I can’t wait to release

LP: Can you tell me the hardest part about juggling so many hats?
LS: Definitely knowing when to take a break. I love everything I do and tend to get lost in my work. I have to take the time to relax and have fun with it so it feels like I’m never working.

LP: Has there been any work you have done that tackles feminist points of view? I assume that when you are doing work that includes POCs, some work shines a light upon WOC as well.
LS: I’m a feminist by nature. I’m black, Jewish, queer and nonbinary. All of my work tries to highlight true personalities, unphotoshopped faces, and bodies and make you question your ideas of beauty.

LP: Has there been any outside criticsm upon focusing on that?
LS: Overall people have been wildly supportive and involved with my growth as an artist. I’ve been blessed to have so many amazing friends and mentors in my life. So no, everyone’s been chill.

LP: Cool. What are your future plans?
LS: I’d really like to continue to take pictures and have a show or two this year. I’ll be making a few music videos and managing Haasan. But I don’t want to say too much about that. Just going to keep it moving.

LP: Cool! That’s all the questions I have. Is there anything to wish to add?
LS: Just my instagram and my website and I should be fine from there.

*Lightning Pill, Boston’s 93rd favorite polymath. I write songs, compose music in various genres, make beats on occasion, write articles for IHeartNoise and Afropunk, write poetry, edit and direct videos, and drop science that most people would rather not hear. Oh yeah, I’m also an Aspie. Very important information. You can reach him @ or visit his Afropunk website. His Soundcloud can be found here and his main Bandcamp found here. Also here for the new agers.