Show Transcript
I'm an artist. At the end of the day, most famous artists are old dead white guys. While that might be great for some people, I'm not completely comfortable with having to look at that as inspiration all the time. There's a need for exposure for young artists of color and young **** artists and other marginalized peoples. Why don't we make the platform to launch other people's art and get other people recognized. Black women have to start so much further back. If someone is saying you're gonna be uncomfortable because that's just the way it is in society. That's great. But I would like to know what specifically in society makes it like that. So I can try to fix it. So other people don't have to feel that way. Way. [MUSIC] I think that's like a beautiful thing to be unapologetic and a black woman. [MUSIC] My dad wanted to name me Savannah, and my mom was like, no. She wanted something that would be pretty but also meaningful. It's a lot of pressure to live up to that name. Being wise was definitely something they wanted from me, and so that became my name, Sage. [MUSIC] The internet was really influential in helping me find the right consciousness. I started to see a lot more content that was breaking the mold, care-free black kids, gender-fluid black kids. It's something that I've been feeling for a long time and I didn't know other people felt that way. So, I started sharing my own art and started posting my own pictures. Making a real community and just being us is not enough. There should be somewhere that everyone can really tap in And really live through that so you didn't get to create art when you were younger create some art now. What is stopping you from being that care free black kid that you were never. [MUSIC] My friend posted this picture and the caption was art ho A blogger that I knew, Mars, said I think this a really good word to summarize being a young creative of color at this time. And through that came the Arthoe Collective. The collective is a group of, not only bloggers, but other creatives. Kids of color kind of coming together and creating a platform for art is not something That has really been seen before. [BLANK_AUDIO] It's important that it's called Art Hoes because we want to define how we're being seen. I noticed that no matter if I was wearing the same outfit as a white girl, I was the one who was getting dress coded because of my inherent dangerous sexuality. In the same way that Black boys are hyper masculinized, Black girls are hyper sexualized and dehumanized. So we get to choose our narrative, we get to represent ourselves. [MUSIC] I was raised very firmly to be who I was at all points. [MUSIC] I had a really good childhood. I was really curious. My mom encouraged me to do fencing and gymnastics. She's always trying to push me to do things that aren't in the norm for black girls My dad, he just thought me a lot about the world. He read the paper to me, we read a bunch of books together. I was very free always free [MUSIC] And then once you start to get older, things get more complicated. I was one of two black girls in the same environment as all these like one percenter white kids. I started to feel as if I didn't have a reason to be this confident. I was comparing and contrasting myself to all of these white people. That really started to bottle up. And so my mom started to help me meet some other intelligent young black women and some very powerful mentors. Then I read books like Sister Citizen, Their Eyes Were Watching God, I read Assata. Now I had some basis for Feeling awesome and female and black. It changed my perspective of where my place was in the world. And then my dad passed away. My art teacher said to me, do you have a need of place just to hangout? The art room is a safe space for you. It gave me a voice. [MUSIC] When you go through a tragedy, everything is gonna suck for a long time if you don't find something that you're so passionate about that makes you get out of bed every morning. [MUSIC] My activism, my art, it just woke me up in the morning [MUSIC] That's taking back those negative images and turning them on other people and showing them that my culture's beautiful. And it's just as beautiful as yours. [MUSIC] My life is a little different than my parents pictured for me. They thought I'd have stellar grades that I'd be this amazing academic. This whole avenue of activism is something that they didn't really plan [MUSIC] My dad reading the New York Times every morning, he really fueled my interest in politics from an early age. Giving me access to politics as something that I'm entitled to, rather than something I have no place in. [MUSIC] I don't know if I've earned the name Sage yet but I think he would be pretty happy that I decided to use my personality to really try to put myself out there for other people. People. I didn't start on the internet to be a personality or be someone that people recognized. I started it because I didn't recognize myself. There's so many voices that are really just waiting to be heard. I want to do something that Gives people the chances that I had. [MUSIC] I think my purpose [MUSIC] Here on this Earth is to create safe environments for people who look like me. And even people who don't look like me. But are the only people who look them in the place that they are. [MUSIC] Having Black Girl Magic to me means having the space to not only be myself but improve the world for others to be themselves. [MUSIC]

Watch Episode 1 of ESSENCE Black Girl Magic Docu-Series: Meet Artist and Activist Sage Adams

Directed by Laurie Thomas, episode one of 'ESSENCE Black Girl Magic' features 18-year-old Sage Adams, a Brooklyn-based artist and activist who has chosen to use her talents and voice to make a difference.