damali ayo
Since 2005
Works in United States of America

damali ayo brings a unique style of playful humor and piercing honesty to the conversation about race and human relationships.

damali ayo uses art, wit and satire to expose the remedial state of race relations with such creations as "the race card," "white noise," "panhandling for reparations," and the website "rent-a-negro.com." The international success of the web site was followed by her best-selling book How to Rent a Negro, a satirical guidebook that explores the absurd state of race relations in our culture. damali's newest book (2010) Obamistan! Land without Racism explodes the myth of post-racism America.
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: rentagerman


i'm not sure who this is, you didn't sign your email. my apologies if
i don't recognize your handle.

i was going to do a point-by-point comparison of the two sites but 1)
that started to make me nauseous and 2) i hate web-discussions and
didn't want the chat to go on forever and ever, nit-picking detail
after detail.

besides the obvious concept and execution in web-site format, it
doesn't take long to see that some of his language is mine with just
a few changes, the layout issues meaning the sections that are
featured, the satisfied customer comments, the presentation of fees,
etc. this isn't to say he hasn't made innovative additions. it's
has more graphics, and i quite like the photos, and the send-in your
own photo component.

i know there are other take-offs of my site out there. there was a
rental zine produced, even a band that did a "rent a homo" song. what
fun! the zine credited me. the song, for all i know, may or may not
have anything to do with my work. i'm not so arrogant to think i am
the "mother of all rent-a-person projects." i am thrilled to inspire
other artists as they have inspired me. but i'm also big on giving
credit where credit is due. perhaps this is expecting too much.

at the end of the day, it's all part of the risk we take as artists.
though i sometimes have unrealistically high expectations for us as a
group, i'm willing to accept the quirks that come with the territory.

peace to all,

ps. sorry for the typos in my last post, i hate it when i do that.


Re: Re: Re: Re: rentagerman

johannes et al:

hello there. i'm just going to drop a quick note into this discussion. i don't want to get into a heavy back and forth, but i do think a significant point is being missed.

rent-a-negro.com received international press upon its release, and therefore it is very likely that johannes had heard of it prior to creating his "rent a german" site.

what is more telling that he was aware of my work, however, is the fact that he took the concept, layout, structure, but most telling- even some of the *exact language* from my site.

this is not a matter of similarity. the commonalities are too identical to be dismissed as "borrowed" or "inspired."

i'm not interested in a he-said/she-said with johannes, the sites speak for themselves.

yet, i do find myself wanting the arts community to honor those artists who create powerful work in the original form. for example, i once performed "cut piece" by yoko ono. this is one of the most potent works of performance i've ever done. even though i made two changes on the nites of my performance (for my saftey and for an aesthetic impact) the work is still clearly hers. i would never ever even consider performing this work or a work like this without crediting the original artist.

perhaps johannes will credit rent-a-negro.com on his site. since he's obviously taken much of his site from there.

for the record, i checked all of my email files (which i keep diligently) and have no record of johannes' claimed attempted contact. i find his suggestion that i should go cry in my milk not only adolescent, but irreverant to say to the artist whose work you obviously cribbed. you're welcome, by the way. much congratulations on your success. i'll pass on the offer to collaborate.

when i find people claiming others art ideas as their own (not only mine, but anyone's) i find it imperative that we hold up the orignial (and usually more effective) source. we all work hard as artists. we should support each other in this sometimes challenging field, not undermine our accomplishments through blatant "appropriation" (a nice euphamism).

best to all of you,
and thanks to rhizome for this important discussion.


ps: i tend to get pretty worn out by web-discussions, so this may be the only post i make.