We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Blak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikki, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
I think that the most important thing that I’ve done as a parent is parent myself. Understanding that I don’t own my children and that my job is to simply guide, affirm and bear witness to their lives allows me to interrogate my own social conditioning. Parenting myself empowers me to resist the urge to control them. I belong to me. No one else does, not even my kids. They belong to themselves. That realization, is incredibly liberating and humanizing and allows me to give myself grace and grow in compassion. When I do that, my children benefit.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a writer. I write everything from poetry and fiction to essays and copy. I think that there are several things that set me apart from others, one being my approach to storytelling that centers the relationships, not the events. I’m also very analytical so I write the details.
My influences are other art forms, so I carry my love for dance, film, and visual art into my writing. As an 80’s baby, I’m a child of hip hop, so my influences are somewhat unconventional within the context of literature and in academia. I have no problem leaning into it and so it shows up pretty heavily in my writing. It makes my work more conversational in tone and gives it some very sharp edges.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting, I’d just bring them to meet my other friends. I know the most amazing, hilarious, talented, creative, intelligent, iconic people. I’m blessed to be surrounded by brilliance.
Once we’ve assembled the crew, we’d go to all the places — up PCH, Amoeba Records, Griffith Park, Masa in Echo Park, Millie’s on Sunset, The Serving Spoon, Dockweiler State Beach, Leimert Park, MOCA, CAAM, hella thrift stores — just everywhere. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly, I have to say that my hometown, Inglewood and the County of Los Angeles deserves credit and recognition in my story. Where I was born and raised is such a huge part of me. I wouldn’t be who I am today without this place. I hope I make my hometowns as proud as I am to be from here.