Today we’d like to introduce you to Maridian Skyy.
Hi Maridian, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started as a witness to the arts and roots and culture within my community.
From having a brother— now an ancestor who was loved by his people and an amazing freestyle rapper; to having a mother who was an influential advocate for community and Lady President of the MD Universal Negro Improvement Association — my earliest years were surrounded by creativity and power.
A brother named Khaki, may he rest in power also was a prominent primary inspiration as he was the first muralist that I personally knew- whose Rastafarian art still stands on places like North Avenue. I have felt pride knowing him since the age of 6; pointing it out in childlike excitement.
He also gave me my first calabash shekere instrument around that same age and introduced me to the djembe, a beloved and cherished instrument of mine. I was always around reggae and Rastafarian culture which is still a big influence on my values and outlook on community.
I can say that freestyle rapping was my first outlet for joy and creativity. It is something that I have done, and still do, since the age of 5 years old. My brother would have me join ciphers with his friends and he would hype me up to no end!
The first loves that I independently pursued were photography and poetry/essay writing around the age of 14.
Nature photography was the first thing that called me— I remember the blooming of spring and the fullness of the moon enchanting me and somehow feeling like a mirror.
As for writing, it became an extension of emotion that was otherwise not recognized or validated. It also was a refuge for nights where I could not / would not sleep until 7 am. In those poems, essays, short stories, and scripts, I would confess love, imagine myself being seen through different characters, and reflect on/critique society.
My first written work was published when I was around 15 or 16 years old, where I wrote on feminine Egyptian pharaohs/African leaders for the Soul School Institute.
I also have been making music since I was 12, this is a form that I hold very close to my heart and am working on sharing more when it’s aligned. My earliest explorations were making loops with my voice and drumset on Audacity as a teen.
These are some of the origins of my creative life.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Throughout my life after certain traumas and many transitions, I experienced a lot of deep suppression.
I was heavily discouraged for having a personality that had experienced a lot of pain and loss, yet deeply necessitated joy wherever I went. After the passing of my brother, I was relocated for “safety”, attending a k-12 baptist school for about ten years of my life.
Although in these spaces we sang, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”- there was heavy persecution of my personal light, especially by caretakers, and educators outside of my family. We also did not have art education so even though I knew I loved art, it was like someone I knew I’d hit with but rarely spent time with.
Living with the loss of my brother in this realm, being in environments that did not affirm me, and coping with feelings of alienation did not make the road smooth; but I feel that faith has been a pillar in my life.
After experiencing violence early on— I learned quickly that life will be hard sometimes, but it continues and so I must, too. And more importantly, I want to. I also learned the importance of healing, honey!!! This perspective I believe is a blessing and a privilege.
I am happy that I chose to believe in myself and am grateful for all the mentors that have affirmed me along the way.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a multi-dimensional artist, educator, and organizer. As far as what I’m “known for”- it very much depends on who you ask… As well as when/where they know me from.
In some spaces, I have thrived as a poet, and educator on LGBTQ+ issues— being a featured poet in the Blackbird Poetry Festival, and publications like the Muse and the “Rootwork Journal”. I have also been a consultant for works done by HCC’s Arts Collective that focused on queer living.
As for where I’ve been more recently in life – I have been focusing on my painting; primarily “abstract” art that very much is an extension of my mind, body, and spirit. It is a space for release that actively heals my body.
I am also the founder of “Light Within the Margins” or “Light Within B’more”, where I hold and facilitate healing catharsis through creative arts, storytelling, and sharing space with one another. I have been actively doing this work since 2019 and have been blessed to collaborate with many artists, community organizers, and beautiful elders within the community.
In 2020, I officially launched my clothing brand “EveryWare” described as “aesthetic affirmation”- wearable art to affirm ones on their flow. It’s been an extremely exciting success!
Most recently I have been blessed to also enter the realm of visual works through set design and direction, and have worked with artists like Ray Winder and AfroVelvet. I am very much hoping to dive deeper into the realm of concept design, and video production as a whole!
Finally, I also serve my community by offering personal grant writing and editing assistance for artists, organizers, etc. Who needs the support. I love helping people bring things to fruition, and I believe we all deserve access to what’s out there for us— especially institutional hidden gems.
What sets me apart is my willingness. I believe that the creative process is an intimate one that requires intention and commitment. It’s babymaking! So when I say, “I’m Here.”, it’s true and I am trusted to see things through while being loving and attentive during the process.
Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
My heartfulness. I am very emotionally and passionately driven. This creates a realm of authenticity that is very much cultivated and nurtured within all my heArt work.
I am flexible although grounded in my beliefs, boundaries, and influences. I am responsive- whether to myself, my spirit, the canvas or paper in front of me; as well as to my community and counterparts.
All of these characteristics allow for a creative process and presence that births works, spaces, and communities of radical love. They also create environments of mutual embrace.
“Artist”, “Organizer”, and “Educator”, are all just descriptors of my spirit expressed and shared… This is who I am.
In simple- I ain’t doing nothing that doesn’t resonate with my heart, mind, and spirit. Even simpler- I keep it real and close to the heart!
- Workshop Facilitation for orgs- 27$ / hr. (or TBD based on consultation).
- Grant Writing- 25$/hr. (or to be discussed based on needs).
- Instagram: @maridianskyy & @lightwithinbmore
- SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/H2rEyXeeE9j7rttn8
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip Muriel, Sean Mancho, Maridian Skyy, Ray Baylor, DRE, and Michele Blu