DeVonn Francis

At the convergence of Pride Month and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, WWD speaks to creatives in the Black LGBTQ community about creative expression as activism and hopes for the future.

DeVonn Francis is an artist, chef and the founder of Yardy, a creative studio in the food and events world. A first-generation Jamaican-American, through Yardy, Francis aims to “investigate his own role in Caribbean culture and to encourage others to seek joy and celebration in their own identities.”

What does being a Black LGBTQ activist mean to you?
“My particular brand of activism is about redistributing wealth and other resources to folks who don’t have immediate access to things they may need to improve their lives. I think that my Blackness means disrupting systemic injustices and oppressive forces that tell Black people that their voices, needs and ways of making culture do not matter. The fact of the matter is Black people have been the shapers and builders of so many important forms of dance, food, fashion and music, and it’s time to be properly credited and paid for that labor.”

What inspired you to become an artist?
“I was inspired to be an artist by my family, who are all incredibly creative in so many ways. They always encouraged me to use my voice and work to manifest the kind of world that I wanted to live in. A lot of artists don’t often get that support from their family so I feel incredibly privileged to have them in my life.”

What do you hope the future will hold for the Black LGBTQ community?
“I want Black queer people to own more property, land, businesses, spaces and tools for wellness and healing. Our needs and desires are inherently different from non-Black people and straight people. By virtue of this we have to define our healing and agency in ways that are on our own terms.”

DeVonn Francis

DeVonn Francis  Erica Genece/WWD

DeVonn Francis

DeVonn Francis  Erica Genece/WWD