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What Did I Do? Cup

What Did I Do? Cup

What Did I Do? Cup


What Did I Do? Cup
Words: Danez Smith
Image: Klai Brown
Cup Design: Nick Moen
Porcelain 3 7/8" x 4" x 3 3/8" with decal, 14 fl oz
For the longevity of your decal, please avoid the dishwasher.
Please note that cups are made to order. Your cup will ship within 3-4 weeks. 
Pictured is the front and back of one cup.

Danez Smith quote on the inside of the lip reads, "What did I do? What did I do? Be born? Be black? Meet you?"

Danez Smith 
The quote on the cup is pulled from a poem I wrote called "summer, somewhere". The poem is all about imagining a paradise like afterlife exclusive to black men who have been murdered while commenting on the possibly and/or frequently dystopic current reality we live in. I hope never to put words in the dead's mouth, but I think the ghost have questions for the world and the people that killed them.  

Klai Brown
I designed the surface of the cup with images of 6 deaths of Black Americans by police officers with the hopes of keeping the discussion of police shootings in spotlight, combined with the startling words of Danez Smith. My intention is to the keep the behaviors of the police in our country at eye level so that we as don’t forget what is needlessly occurring daily. I hope that we can change this together. 

Nick Moen
Because of the bipartisan nature of our system I think the largest thing missing in American politics is empathy. Empathy and understanding can only come through conversations and shared experiences. So, how do those conversations start? With this project we are encouraging this vessel to be a means of self expression. We know that this project will provide an opportunity to explain what these special images are and provide a platform for constructive discourse.

Ceramic objects tend to be cultural markers or bookmarks; if our cups are excavated in 2,000 years there will be evidence of the state of things in 2016. On the cup that I designed, I collaborated with an influential figure for empathy in my life, Danez Smith. Danez is fluent in poetic speech.  He is strong in sharing his unique perspective in the world which many people share. Working with Klai Brown and Danez on a cup depicting the black individuals brutally murdered by police officers has allowed me to be a part of a constructive conversation and learn more about the events.

I think we are living in a terrifying time. I was told to trust the system. Unfortunately, I am incredibly impatient, and the way the system was set up to function was in a painfully slow manner. So, here we are in 2016 in a pivotal time for human rights and our relationship to the rest of the world and the environment. I think having a political voice goes beyond your involvement at the polls. Outside of voting, the political system is ultimately shaped by a cultural understanding of what is good for the future of our country.