Arien Wilkerson Uncut

Interview outtakes from Hartford performer Arien Wilkerson that our writer wished he could’ve fit into our October/November 2017 print issue.

Arien Wilkerson in Hartford's Willie Ware Park. Photo by Brittany Solem

Arien Wilkerson in Hartford’s Willie Ware Park. Photo by Brittany Solem

Arien Wilkerson on his genderfluid approach to fashion:

“I want to have my ass out if I want have my ass out, I want to have my titties out if I want to have my titties out. That’s it.”

On his contextual gender fluidity:

“I definitely identify as non-binary. I feel like the hard part about my gender is having to correct people a lot. I’m okay with they, them, him, his. When we’re going out and we’re partying, it’s all girl all day long. When we’re at the club, my gender is straight up femme out the ass. In corporate settings, it’s non-binary. In the ’hood, it’s he/him/his.”

On the label “boy”:

“When I was studying African dance, everything was boy, boy, boy. I actually liked it because it was so innocent and playful. African dance has so much energy and I feel like a little boy when I’m doing it.”

On his reluctant participation in youth sports:

“My mom used to make me play basketball. You know how it is when you’re just a young queer kid who knows he’s queer—and your mom makes you play sports.”

On his “rockstar lifestyle”:

“I totally believe in the rock star lifestyle—but when rock star lifestyle can cross over into high art and fine art…you got me! But when that same rock star lifestyle doesn’t cross over into that shit, I’m like ooo, ew you sloppy. You better have some dope-ass motherfucking shit if you’re going to act like that.”

On financial sacrifices for his work:

“When I say no money, I mean no money for me. If Arien wants to go to the mall or get some ice cream, he can’t.”

On persistence:

“I’ve learned that if you want something, you’re gonna call that person. You’re gonna email this person. Then if you want something else, you’re going to Facebook friend-request everyone in that company, like all their photos, and then contact one of them. Throw yourself out there.”

Read the full profile on Wilkerson that appeared in the October/November 2017 issue of Take here.

Top image of Arien Wilkerson by Brittany Solem
John ArvanitisArien Wilkerson Uncut

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