When award ceremonies like the Golden Globes roll around, the red carpet frocks and ethereal glamour looks of the A-list often come to the front of the media foray. But yesterday Meryl Streep broke the Internet – and it wasn’t for her designer dress.
In her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, Meryl took the opportunity to address the social, political and cultural issues that are currently at the heart of the American people, and further, the global community, preaching the need for inclusion and acceptance.
“I was born and raised and created in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola [Davis] was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, and grew up in Central falls, Long Island. Sarah Paulson was raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Italy. Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates?” Using her fellow actors to point out the diversity within the room.
In her conclusion, Meryl quoted her dear friend Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), “Take your broken heart, make it into art.” Inspired by her words (much like the rest of the world) we highlight four creatives who have done just that.
L-Fresh The Lion, Rapper
Sukhdeep Singh grew up in Sydney’s south-west, spending his childhood on the streets of Liverpool and Campbelltown, NSW. As a son of Indian Punjab immigrants, Sukhdeep felt a stark contrast, and therefore, divide between his strong cultural lineage and fitting into the society that he was now a part of. His answer? Hip-hop.
Being particularly inspired by the conscious rap movement that took place in the US between the late 1990s and early 2000s. “I could relate to the themes of feeling like an outcast or feeling worthless or not seeing where you could fit in. Once I started writing my own raps, I started making sense of who I am and what I meant to myself,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald in a recent interview. Spitting lyrics under the moniker of L-Fresh The Lion, his style is relaxed and upbeat underneath the melody his potent lyrics reveal the tension that is still prevalent in mainstream society:
Spiritual genocide and the war is in the mirror
How can life be sweet when you feel so bitter
I grit my teeth and dig deep
With so many questions on my mind, I miss sleep
Since 2009, the artist has toured nationally with hip-hop heavyweights Nas and Talib Kewli. Sukhdeep also has an entrepreneurial side, creating Power To The People, a clothing label that aims to encourage conversation around peace and acceptance.
Laura Callaghan, Artist
Vibrant colours, detailed illustrations, and girls with disgruntled faces doing things. These are the defining characteristics of artist Laura Callaghan’s work. Using her passion for feminism through her illustrations, Laura grew tired of seeing perfect women on Instagram, who seemingly have it all together, all the time. Her work focuses on the reality of being a woman, in everyday situations who are having a bad day, because let’s be honest, we all do sometimes don’t we?
Whether her painted feminine figures are scaling a mountain or simply doing the groceries she portrays all types of women with different ethnic backgrounds, age ranges and body types. With an impressive social media following and her portfolio including brands like Urban Outfitters, The Sunday Times and Refinery29, it’s clear that what Laura is trying to say has got people listening.
Amy Sall, Digital Influencer and Writer
A graduate from Columbia University, and holding her master’s degree in Human Rights Studies, Amy Sall also dabbles in the world of blogging. But more than outfit posts and product endorsements this social media ‘it’ girl has created an enviable aesthete that explores the political, social and cultural imagery of African culture, highlighting great thinkers through art and collated vintage photos through her Instagram account @sunujournal.
Her beautifully curated feed aims to encourage a continued dialogue around the preservation of African culture, particularly in Western countries. Her flawless style and Instagram savvy has also been picked up by Vogue, Elle, Kenzo and retail giant H&M.
Maria Qamar, Illustrator
Growing up in Toronto, Maria Qamar felt different. A daughter of Pakistani immigrants, her love of art and desire to pursue it was a battle a constant battle in her household. Being torn between two worlds Maria reluctantly completed her degree in advertising, drawing sketches behind closed doors.
Bossy aunties, interracial dating, Bollywood movies and dramatic parents are all themes that arise in her pop-art meme creations under her art alias Hate Copy. With laugh out loud eliciting illustrations, Maria has been able to take her cultural diaspora and turn it into a brand that she is proud of, her work being featured on Vogue India, Elle Canada and BuzzFeed.