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Interview: Devyn Springer, Queer Black Muslim, On Art And Mental Illness

For part three of Roqayah Chamseddine’s interview with Devyn Springer, a queer black Muslim, he highlights his work as an artist.

Springer published a book called “Grayishblack” in the summer of poetry and prose with photography and excerpts from his journal. He was inspired by black feminist writer Audre Lorde to make the personal political and write literature that “could feel like therapy” to those who read his book.

Through his photography, Springer, who suffers from anxiety and depression, he confronts mental illness. He was tired of praying about his mental illness. He found photography was an outlet for expression that could help him cope.

When we talk about mental illness, Springer says it is referred to as a “struggle.” Mental illness is not treated the same way as physical illness. He creates art to expose the double standard and express feelings that challenge stigmas around mental illness. He adds Muslims should give themselves permission to ask for help instead of relying on prayer to solve a problem that prayer may not fix.

Roqayah’s “Islam In America” series is an ongoing project, which amplifies the stories of American Muslims and what they struggle with in their day-to-day lives beyond just Islamophobia. It promotes an alternative to the fear of Donald Trump’s presidential administration.

Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of her interview with Springer.

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