September 28, 2023

A Burning House


By Alicia R. Smith

HOUSTON- Recently, New Orleans Artist, TI Rock Moore presented, “A Burning House” exhibit at the Houston Museum of African American Culture. She became an artist after Hurricane Katrina, she was also made aware of modern racism after witnessing and experiencing the prejudices New Orleans residents experienced after the devastation.

Moore is an activist who creates art to challenge White Supremacy in America. She also protests for African-American’s equality and social justice. Her exhibits are labeled as provocative, controversial and thought-provoking. She is what we consider a modern-day abolitionist and freedom rider, who uses her White privilege to speak against social injustice and educate Whites on present-day racism.

However, past exhibits of Michael Brown (2014 teen gunned down by police) sparked controversy. Brown’s family said the presentation was disgusting. The art exhibit provoked mass emotions from White and Black audiences. Graphic images have a history of instigating social injustice. For instance, Emmitt Till’s open casket publicized on Jet Magazine cover led to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. The images from D-DAY Birmingham 1963 of Black children being drowned by fire hoses, bitten by dogs and jailed for protesting quickly enforced the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

She is aware of the impact of powerful images and exhibits in America’s political climate. Her displays are taking Civil Rights to a new level by portraying images of the era of, “The Burning House” in America. Although integration has been enforced since 1964, another phase of racism emerged.

Moore believes Whiteness is the problem of America. So, she created a frozen milk statue of Donald Trump, to display how Whiteness needs to melt. Whiteness melting is not Whites disappearing, but White privilege melting away in our society. Also, the great display “Gazing” is the image of a Black man sitting on White Bricks forcing spectators to look up to him. The exhibition has several meanings depending on the spectator’s interpretation.

TI Rock Moore’s activism represents indifference is stronger than hate. As she mentioned, Whiteness is the problem, because Many Whites are indifferent towards other group’s struggles and inequalities. Activist Eliezer Wiesel said, “The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference.” When fellow Americans show indifference towards police brutality, hate crimes, economic discrimination and educational inequality, they are adding insult to injury. There is a reason why failing to seek aid for an injured party is illegal. It is inhumane to lack empathy for others.


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