Art Is Divinely Inspired: Karen Francis
“I’ve always found safety within my writing.”
Featured Works: Culture By Karen on Medium
Karen Francis’ brilliance shines through in all of her endeavors, whether in journalism and creative writing, entertainment law, or international activism.
An avid traveler, arts enthusiast and cultural critic, Francis brings both a wealth of experience and an open mind and heart to each new country she explores or social issue she thoughtfully unpacks. Her curiosity, wisdom, joy, compassion and grace fuel writings on inequity and justice, pop culture and media, self care and sisterhood, the African diaspora and intersectional identity, and other captivating topics. Check out her interview below and dive into her articles to hear her musings on global interconnectedness, the power of truth-telling, the importance of retreats for women of color, what it’s like being a Black woman named Karen these days, Prince’s incomparable legacy, humidity-proofing curls and coils, and more.
More featured works:
⁍Francis explores the complexities of pandemic friendships for Essence
⁍“From TV Stars To Business Executives, This Group Of Women Defined ‘Leveling Up’ During A Supportive Weekend In Jamaica,” Francis for Blavity
⁍“A Beautiful Journey: In Kolkata, a New Light Shines Over an Old Darkness,” Francis for Huffington Post
⁍“And Just Like That: The Ladies of SATC Are Made New In Reboot,” Francis for Medium
5 Questions for the Artist:
1. What is art to you?
Art reveals and uncovers the truth. Art is truth expressed creatively in a fixed form. It can’t be faked, which is what makes art so powerful and transformative when witnessed or beheld. Art is divinely inspired.
2. What did you make or do in the past and why?
I started writing songs and poems as an eight year old. From an early age, I was often silenced by the adults around me because to them, ‘children were to be seen and not heard.’ Writing was a means of safely expressing myself — my opinions, my feelings, my questions — in a way that was palatable and acceptable. I hid my truth within pages and jingles and because it was enjoyable to others, and I didn’t get in trouble for it or silenced because of it. I’ve always found safety within my writing.
3. What are you doing and making and why?
After going to law school, my creative writing moved gradually from poetry and fiction, to non-fiction and memoir writing. Coupled with a decades-long love of travel, I began sharing my encounters with people and faraway lands in my work. Initially, this was done in an effort to educate and entertain those who couldn’t afford travel, or who didn’t realize how rewarding and edifying a travel experience can be. The focus upon people of the African diaspora emerged over time, as my trips repeatedly brought me face-to-face with people who looked just like family all over the world.
4. What are your hopes for the future?
Through art, I hope to demonstrate how connected we all are, and how what we do to another, we ultimately do to our own selves. Were this realization more widespread, it would lead to greater empathy and self-awareness among us, which would undoubtedly transform human interactions — with self, others, animals, and the environment — in a sizable, positive and impactful way.
5. What else would you like to say?
Karen Francis (she/her/hers) is a West Indian writer and attorney who highlights the culture and interests of people of the African diaspora in her writing. She explores culture both domestically and internationally, and is fascinated by the common threads that unify the Black experience throughout the world.
Find Francis on Instagram, Twitter, Clubhouse, Medium and TikTok @culturebykaren.