We had the good fortune of connecting with Darius V. Daughtry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Darius, how does your business help the community or world?
One of the most powerful things that any human being has is their voice. When we are able to speak authentically about our experiences and perspectives, we are empowered, and in turn, we empower others. If a people feels unheard, they feel invisible. Through my work as arts educator and program designer, I seek to help others realize just how valid their voices are despite the contrary lies they’ve been fed. As a creative, I have found strength and enlightenment through telling stories. Whether those stories are shared through poetry, theatrical production or curating a multi-disciplinary exhibit, it is vital that the story is told. Sometimes it is painful, but that catharsis is liberating. How do you create a more empathetic society? You create spaces for people to feel. You share stories that make people uncomfortable and cause them to examine perspectives and opinions they’ve held for far too long. That’s how barriers are broken. If I’m able to take you on a journey through a poem or monologue or song or dance, then it’s now on you to navigate these new feelings. The hope is that there is some discovery, and with that discovery, subtle shifts begin. With enough subtle shifts, we can move mountains.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It all starts with the word. I write poetry. I write plays. I write screenplays. I write short stories. I write unfinished novels. I’ve been writing sense I was 6 or 7 years old. I also started acting at around that time. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I even considered the prospect of a creative life. I was going to be an accountant, but a teacher saw me and put a bug in my ear that I could never shake. In everything I do, I try to capture an authenticity that resonates with others. I push to tell stories that will move people to thought. My collection of poetry, And the Walls Came Tumbling, is crafted in a way that readers have no choice but to think and question. The pieces are vulnerable, and that is what seems to resonate with people I written and directed four plays to date, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to put more on stage. I feel a sense of responsibility as an artist to create work with a revolutionary spirit. My work is revolutionary to me and within me. I am changed by creating it and by sharing it. Seeing how impactful the work was for me, I founded an nonprofit arts collective, Art Prevails Project. The goal is to create equitable opportunity for arts experiences. I want everyone to have the chance to express themselves in ways that set them and their communities free in the most honest and authentic ways. I want that to be my legacy – the fact that my art, my creativity was not just for me. It’s for the people.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Given that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, and I consider myself a responsible citizen, the itinerary would include a lot fewer places. Unfortunately, there isn’t the live music and entertainment that I love and am often responsible for producing happening. But there is take-out. We’d have to visit a couple of my favorite coffee shops – Circle House Coffee and Sip Java Co. Both are near Downtown Fort Lauderdale and offer amazing drinks, food and ambiance. For lunch or dinner, iL Mulino is the place to go. The Italian cuisine is top notch and when you’re allowed to sit at the bar again, you’re guaranteed to make a great connection over your Malbec. For brunch or a quick smoothie, we’d hit Myapapaya, which is minutes from the beach. Yes, the beach. A definite destination for our week-long excursion.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is perfect, because I am made of so many that have pushed me to be here. First, I have to shout out my mother. The sacrifices she made allowed me to fail enough to find my way. My Big Brother, Frank, dropped gems on me as a youngster. He showed me what it means to show up for people with your whole, authentic self. Ms. Bills, my High School English/Creative Writing teacher, was the first to see something in my writing. She urged me to explore more and purse the craft. While we’re at it, shout out to Mrs. Rogers. She was my teacher before Mrs. Bills. She refused to see me as a human being and tried to stifle me. She’s the reason I met Ms. Bills. Thanks…you suck. My creative mentor, Atiim Kweli Johnson, helped unlock some things in me that will continue to push me above and beyond. And James Baldwin. A hero. An idol. One who I’ve studied and will continue to study. He’s that Holy Grail that I chase.
Other: https://artprevailsproject.org instagram.com/artprevailsproject facebook.com/artprevailsproject
Passion Ward Photography Jai Simone Photography