If you've spent any time on Twitter over the weekend, you might have noticed a lot of really cool art from around the world taking over your feed.
You can thank Annabelle Hayford (@sparklyfawn), a 19-year-old, agender artist studying animation and illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for rallying others in their field to share their work.
"During the summer, I worked as an animation production intern at Warner Bros. though the Hanna-Barbera Reach Honorship. However, like a lot of black artists, I didn't really see my identity properly represented in the art world [due to] the lack of black art or black artists," Hayford told Refinery29 in an email. "That why I think this hashtag is important. It show[s] everyone that black artists do exist! We just need the same recognition that our white counterparts [get] so this industry can be more accessible for everyone."
Despite the success of the hashtag, some people naturally complained about the emphasis on Black artists, finding it "discriminatory," but Hayford is unfazed.
"Of course there was backlash from others who felt that race has nothing to do with art," they said, "but those people need to realize that art isn't in a vacuum. Your experiences affect your work and career, and that includes race."
Hayford says they also want the outpouring of talent to serve as a networking tool and a resource to people with the power to advocate for others — i.e., people in hiring positions.
"I think the biggest takeaway from #DrawingWhileBlack is that it's okay to be proud of who you are! Whether you are black and/or an artist, you should celebrate your identity — especially in places where you don't see your identity represented," they continued. "It is also important to work, connect, and support others who share the same experiences as you. The art industry is small, and the black industry is smaller, so it important to create communities with each other. I want employers to see this hashtag and understand they don't really have an excuse to not reach out and hire minorities. We are out here making art; we just need the resources, visibility, and understanding."
Check out more of the shared work below, and at the hashtag.