Traditional Professions v. Professions that Embrace the Arts

Like most individuals who come from an African immigrant background, my parents urged me to pursue a career that possesses conventional prestige. These fit into distinct boxes in which artistic creativity goes to die; medicine, law, and well, medicine and law. I embraced these boxes and pursued law because my talents happen to coincide with the field, but I always did have a passion for music, theater, and fashion.

Our educational attainment is certainly not a bad thing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African immigrants are the most educated immigrants in the United States.

But how about those who don’t have talents that fit into these narrow fields? Or those who wish to pursue other industries? We are now seeing a resurgence of African artists and many are choosing related fields as a career choice, through writing, fashion, theater, and animation, as demonstrated on this site. However, were these parts of our culture always undervalued as career choices? Or have we just never attempted to go outside the box before? Are we the ones who preferred to follow the “rules” of the African (or insert almost any type of immigrant) child/adult? Are there ways to use our traditional careers to contribute to the creative space?

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