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Rashaad Newsome

“Real social justice among the Black community will remain incomplete until mental health disparities among this group are addressed.”

Portrait of Rashaad Newsome, a dark-skinned Black man with salt and pepper beard and moustache. He stares directly at the camera and wears a black sweater. Newsome stands in front of two dark wooden-framed mirrors on a white wall.

Credit: Whitney Legge

Date and place of birth
b. 1979
Current location
Oakland, CA
Year(s) of residency and/or fellowship
2009, Project Resident; 2020, Rapid Response Fellow

Rashaad Newsome is an interdisciplinary artist whose work blends several practices, including collage, sculpture, film, photography, music, computer programming, software engineering, community organizing, and performance. Using the diasporic traditions of improvisation and collage, he pulls from the world of advertising, the internet, and Black and queer culture to produce counter-hegemonic work that exists between social practice, abstraction, and intersectionality. His work reclaims the Black body, celebrates Black contributions to the artistic canon, and creates innovative and inclusive forms of culture and media. Newsome has exhibited and performed in galleries, museums, institutions, and festivals throughout the world, and his work is in numerous public and private collections.

Rapid Response Project

With the support of Rapid Response program, Newsome created, tested, and launched the Being 1.5, an app that directly addresses the lack of mental healthcare in the African-American community. A large data corpus created from findings, research, and writings by Black psychotherapists and scholars who focus on race, gender, and class in American society will inform the creation of counter-hegemonic algorithms (e.g., search algorithms that use non-Western indexing methods, or that highlight alternate histories and archives) to craft a user interaction that feels like a genuine therapeutic exchange.



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