Afro Velvet is a multidisciplinary artist from the DMV area who uses different creative mediums to “communicate in the highest expression” of themselves.
They are known throughout the DMV for their eclectic music, various entrepreneurial ventures – including their popular artist community and fashion brand Clothed Captions, and their directing skills. Earlier in May, Afro Velvet debuted the first screening of their latest film, “AV-olution 0.1,” at Film Works Baltimore to a private audience.
“AV-olution 0.1” celebrates Black bodies, wearable art, and soundscapes. It was filmed in 2017 and 2018 as Afro Velvet was reflecting on possible future outcomes for the world. As an artist, Afro Velvet has always honored nature in their works. Consequently, they have long been an advocate for the preservation of nature, resources and environmental justice. As an environmentalist, Afro Velvet used “AV- olution 0.1” to criticize the environmental harms caused by rampant industrialism.
“AV-olution 0.1” featured an all-Black cast of models who were positioned at different points around the DMV, near waste polluting plants and other environmental hazards, all while wearing outfits composed of raw materials and scraps that you can find at construction sites. The soundscapes employed in the film are meant to illustrate feelings of being trapped in an industrial world, while our roots are in nature. Ultimately, “AV-olution 0.1” serves as a call to action — a pull to appreciate nature and to recognize the harmful effects of pollutants and industrialism on our planet.
Through all of their work, Afro Velvet hopes to inspire a sense of — or craving for — freedom within the Black community. Regardless of personal life circumstances, Afro Velvet wants all Black people to be able to “operate as our highest selves.”
“Often we feel limited by our circumstance and by systematic oppression — all of these things that are very real — but we need to also think about how we can release ourselves from this. A lot of us as artists are now exploring that realm where there are no limitations. We can be whoever we want to be. We can return back to source, who we are and who we have been to this earth for centuries. I want us to operate in our power, and I have to do that first to be an example,” Afro Velvet says.
“AV-olution 0.1” will be available for public screening in July 2022. In the meantime, you can stay up to date on all of Afro Velvet’s latest work by following them on Instagram, and by checking out their website.
To other aspiring artists, Afro Velvet says, “Believe in yourself. Have confidence in your creations even if you do not feel understood.”