Rico Gatson Rico Gatson and Baseera Khan: Jenkins Johnson Projects

Artforum Aug 31, 2019

Conceptualized in the aftermath of the sociopolitical upheavals of the late 1960s and released in November 1972, Free to Be . . . You and Me was an award-winning children’s record album and illustrated book that promoted a vision of self-determination minus the strictures of traditional gender norms. Organized by actress Marlo Thomas, the album featured songs and stories recorded by celebrities such as Alan Alda, Carol Channing, Roberta Flack, Michael Jackson, and Diana Ross. Drawing its title from that pioneering franchise, this two-person show, featuring Rico Gatson and Baseera Khan, subtly extended its progressive message of self-empowerment to include other social categories—namely, race and religion, which often serve as the basis for discrimination and hate in the United States—by paying homage to the many activist women of color at the front lines of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.

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