“I shade people from love,” says Devyn Springer, who asserts that the library is always open for a free reading–to educate them about themselves, of course.??
“I have this theory–it’s part of being both queer and Black,” he explains: “We need to be read to filth every now and then and told about ourselves and only a queer Black person can do that correctly.”
It’s a chilly weeknight and we sit in the middle of a long stairway that leads from the street into what’s probably a block of renovated lofts or a “modern office space.” The small Atlanta street sees a few cars passing by every now and then, and passersby are either on their way to a show across at the local theater or leaving the bar next door.
Devyn Springer is an artist-activist and educator from Atlanta whose dedication to all people in the Black diaspora has not gone unnoticed in local communities. A student at Kennesaw State University, a teacher, a photographer, a poet and artist, Deyvn has enough titles to make a Game of Thrones monarch blush.
But that’s what happens when you’re poppin, amirite?
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Protest as Prayer
As I sit down with Devyn and talk about all things Black, queer, intersectional and occasionally shady, I find myself super impressed with the dude. He’s someone who regularly attends Black Lives Matter protests and blocks highways as an act of civil disobedience, but he’s under no illusions: He believes that protesting is something that shouldn’t be glamorized. In fact, to hear him tell it (and you can), protest can be prayer.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Deconstructing Hegemony
Devyn also deconstructs toxic cis-patriarchal masculinity and hegemony in the media and in collective spaces. Drawing from a peer, Zoe S., he says “A lot of people in the diaspora and a lot of people with this toxic nationalist perspective, they weaponize Pan-Africanism.” He goes on to talk about intersectionality as a method of work, as opposed to the way it’s wrongly used in the mainstream to be a fancy synonym for diversity.
We talk for an hour, and honestly I’m energized enough to keep going on–even if only to talk about silliness–but the cold keeps getting colder and the day trudges on. We end the interview talking about Devyn’s awesome book Grayish Black and the upcoming lecture he’ll give in Syracuse. Honestly, the whole conversation was magical. Check it out below!
LISTEN TO THE WHOLE PODCAST
#1: “Protest as Prayer/Shade as Love” Devyn Springer (HalfAtlanta)