Breaking Culture

breaking culture: tyler, the creator & eric andre

September 20, 2019

The theme of September is ‘Breaking Culture’, an opportunity to show love to the pioneers who dismantle the status quo and move culture in a direction not previously imagined. Leading by example, these fearless, forward-thinking imaginers challenge others to think for themselves and celebrate who they are. With this definition of culture breakers heavy on my mind, there couldn’t have been a better month for me to witness Tyler, The Creator and Eric Andre perform to crowds that didn’t exist before them. 

Last week, I was standing under an awning avoiding the rain and waiting for my friends to arrive at the Igor show at Madison Square Garden. As I waited, I watched person after person enter the venue in iterations of uniforms created by Tyler: Golf shoes and shirts, pastel suits, blonde wigs, sunglasses. Unashamedly staring at everyone, I thought about how Tyler must have felt his impact that night. He sold out one of the most iconic venues in the world and got his first two platinum records on the same day. But mostly I was impressed by the diverse crowd of people matching every single note as him while wearing clothes he designed. It was one of those concerts where you know you’re lucky to be there and your kids will ask you all about it someday, because Tyler is that special. He created a culture that aggressively ordered you to be yourself at a formative time for those of us who needed it. Tyler had two messages for us during his show. First, he asked us to do one thing for him: move our bodies. Then, after telling us about his platinum wins (plural) he made sure to say, “and I did it all by being myself the whole time.” The joy of people like Tyler is they share their secrets to breaking culture because they know there is room for all.

Eric Andre was the perfect follow up to Tyler’s show. He took me to Church this past Sunday. In between watching an audience member chug a bottle of ranch, freestyle and then get butt naked with Eric, he made some very bold political commentary on race, the police and the White House. Andre did not shy away from anything to please anybody creating the perfect audience atmosphere. The crowd that gathered at Kings Theater was full of young adults, a lot of men, and all races. I was in awe of the space Eric has managed to create, one where the room feels encouraged to be their full selves and one with an unwritten rule of respect for all. Eric screamed out feminist, pro-Black, fuck the police statements grounded in fact and heart. His research and his ability to share his learnings in an accessible way is powerful. It’s what attracts all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds and gives them the space to relate to and take in Eric’s perspective for the night.

These are the kinds of shows that give hope for the future. They allow people to fail as long as they are being honest. They encourage flaws, trials, and speaking your truth. Artists like these remind us we are on our way to a culture that celebrates all. These are two of the heroes that make breaking culture look easy.


ArtBreaking CultureBreaking CultureBreaking CultureMusic

Harmonizing Justice: Keith LaMar’s Jazz Odyssey in the Fight Against Injustice

ActivismActivismActivismBody Politics

Evolving Out of Body Positivity and Centering Anti-Fat Justice

Black FuturesCultureCultureListsOpinionOpinionPoliticsRaceRevolutionary

Are You Watching Enough Long Form Black YouTube?