Student artist creates pro-black art


Art is a universal and visual language embraced and appreciated by many. One specific style of art, ‘pro-black art,’ is making waves on social media platforms. The art movement’s focus is to recognize the beauty and empowerment of black people displayed through a series of drawings and paintings.

Chico state senior Yashar Clemons is taking the art world by storm with his Japanese-style and comic art combined to create what he calls ‘pro-black art.’

Clemons is adamant about valuing black people and their achievements through his artwork. “I’ve always been a firm believer of highlighting the strength and beauty of my people,” clemons said. “I see black people as heroes, kings and queens and nothing else beneath that.”

Clemons began drawing at the age of 4 and hasn’t stopped since.

Yashar Clemons

“My dad was the one who inspired me to get into art,” he said. “It was passed down to me and slowly became a passion.”

Some of his inspirations include art legend Jean-Michel Basquiat and the popular Japanese manga series Yu Yu Hakusho. Although those two techniques of art are completely different from each other, Clemons says he implements both styles to create his pieces.

“I love how Basquiat always thought outside of the box and I’ve always been a fan of manga art,” Clemons said. “When it comes to my drawings, I like to use detailed brushwork and Japanese inspiration to emphasize black beauty and features.”

“Black is beautiful,” he said. “We’ve been taught for so long to hate our features and who we are. If anything, we are the originators and trendsetters in so many of today’s pop culture.”

Photo credit: All photos courtesy of Yashar Clemons

Art is a medium for him to express himself in the truest form.

“Music is universal because it appeals to everybody,” he explained. “You can pick a song that matches your mood. Art is the same way. The only difference is that it’s visual and conceptualized.”

His main focus is represent originality in his drawings.

“These days, people tend to follow trends on what’s cool and popular,” Clemons said. “However, I’ve been appreciative of black culture my whole life. Although it’s great that black art is finally being recognized, we should always take pride of who we are as a people.”

Clemons’ goal is to teach and inspire individuals to follow their dreams and march to the beat of their own drum.

“It has nothing to do with racial superiority or anything like that. It’s all love for everyone,” Clemons said. “However, I want to teach little black boys and girls to love themselves no matter what.”

Yashar Clemons is taking pro-black art to the next level.

See more of Clemons’ work on Instagram.

Niyat Teferi can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.