Life is a process. Nothing is ever static, and everything is constantly expanding and becoming fuller. The light we must shine within ourselves outwardly is always present. Joy is our purpose. Passion fuels our expansion. Love is who we are. Forgetting to re-discover our essence allows us to generate new desires, expressions, and ways of experiencing life.
Artist Candace Nicholas-Lippman describes herself as joy, passion, love, and a bit of hustle and grind. She says, “My inner self is literally light.”
Freedom of expression is our natural state of being. Freedom means tuning into the infinite potentials of our becoming. Art is the messenger, but we can create our own message through art. The story we tell ourselves about the art we observe is always our choice.
“Art is freedom. It allows you to dream, imagine, and tap into your inner child. Art is life. Imagine all the beautiful things we see that take our breath away, allow us to escape, inspire us and that can motivate us through different mediums the arts provide,” says Candace.
Regardless of our religious or spiritual beliefs, we all at least once ask ourselves if there is more to us than what we can perceive with our physical faculties. And often, we try to assert our beliefs as the only truth to others. But what if every truth is the truth, but with a different angle and way to experience the Truth, God, Source, Universe, the Divine? What if the Oneness that embodies Everything That Exists expresses itself to know more of what it can become through the infinite angles we are innately free to choose as our truth?
About her truth, Candace says, “I do not classify myself as someone religious. My relationship with God is precisely that—a relationship. I’m someone who is on a faith walk and journey. The person who I deem as my creator is Jesus. But I don’t condemn or judge others for their beliefs; we can all coexist. I live in my truth. I love my God out loud. I believe in God’s love. But I’m still human. I try my best to ensure that I’m operating as close to His word and principles, out of light and love, genuinely. Because I don’t operate within the confines of religion, my God is everywhere, in everything, and I can commune with Him anywhere. I believe that He can speak through people, experiences, music, and art,” Candace pauses and then continues, “But you have to make sure you’re taking the time to actually listen. And honestly, sometimes it is hard for me to sit and just be still. But with life, everything we do comes down to a choice, and you must establish the discipline. So, it’s like, ‘Okay, God, I feel like I’m getting spiritually empty. I feel like I’m on the go, go, go, and I’m not spending the time to devote at least five minutes with you.’ While in prayer and worship, I try to be open to wherever I feel like God may be speaking. It’s important to me that I try my best to be in tune with God’s word. Again, we’re human, I’m human…, so I’m not perfect or always get it right. It’s again… a journey. I’m on a faith walk. So, I may ask, ‘Okay, God, are you speaking to me? Or is it my brain telling me to do this?’ But see, God will always follow up with a confirmation, so I know when I am in alignment with spirit.”
Creation does not come from efforting. Opening the gates of the Divine flowing through us comes when we ease up. We create with joy, passion, and love when we relax into being. Foremost, we are the ones experiencing the process of our creation. Therefore, it’s safe to say that we always create for ourselves first, which then reflects on anyone who wants to join our creation. When we create for an outcome, it’s a valid choice, but then the creation process becomes conditioned by that outcome. Creating because it resonates with us, even if it’s not rational or doesn’t make sense, always brings us the most satisfaction. Isn’t the process of creation supposed to be fulfilling for us?
Candace says about her creation process, “I’m very unorthodox in the way I create or write. I never want to go against the flow. If I feel like I have to force myself to create, then maybe I’m operating in my flesh instead of being in a flow with the spirit and what it is God is having me say through my art. All of my art comes from storytelling. My poetry is storytelling. I’m telling my truth in hopes to make a difference, evoke change, and inspire someone. I focus on being myself and ensuring I’m in tune with God, flowing in the flow with Him. Everything I want to do has to have a purpose. Many times, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I live in a very competitive industry. And even if you’re not in the same industry, we live in a world of social media where, unfortunately, everyone is competing and comparing. But I believe being an effective artist is living in your truth, sharing your voice/testimony and being your AUTHENTIC self. That’s how one makes a difference. Not by conforming or trying to be the same as everyone else. Your story is your story and everyone’s story is important. And to also know that not everything you create needs to be shared. I have so many binders of plays, poems, and scripts I wrote, but I never felt called to share them. Sometimes there is art that you create that’s just for you.”
Candace stars as Janelle in season two of Starz’ critically acclaimed musical-drama series, Blindspotting. “From playing Janelle, I’ve learned courage. Janelle and I are very similar in a lot of ways and like her, I’ve always wanted to travel the world. I come from humble beginnings in Sacramento, CA, and even moving to Los Angeles alone was a huge deal. I knew there was more to life. In playing a multifaceted character like Janelle, I love who she is; she is not stereotyped. She is not being placed in these little boxes when it comes to a chocolate-black woman on screen,” says Candace.
Many of us fight for justice. But fight brings more fight. Hate brings more hate. Love brings more love. The bullied needs love, but perhaps the aggressor needs it even more. It’s no secret that we have more in common than we would like to recognize. Don’t we all want to enjoy and express our passion and love? What would happen if we, those who want to be seen in a fuller light, start seeing ourselves the way we want to be seen instead of giving our power away to those who see us as the opposite? What if we, unconditionally to what others think and perceive of us, see others to their fullest potential? Doesn’t loving feel naturally good? When we love, who experiences that love firsthand?
Candace expresses, “Diversity is critical so we can start conversing and understanding each other. It also allows us to offer relatability and know that it’s all universal; no matter where we come from, our background, or what we look like, we all are having the human experience. That is why a character like Janelle, a chocolate, brown skin woman from Oakland, who travels the world, is important to see on screen. In season two, there’s a particular episode coming up soon that I’m excited about for Janelle because it will go against many stereotypes about love with black women. Speaking of stereotypes, the judicial system is a big issue for people of color in the US. In the show, we’re highlighting that and doing it through comedy, spoken word, and dance, etc, which I think is creative. Because instead of us preaching all of this information at you, we’re bringing it to you through all these different mediums of the art form, so that you can digest it a little bit easier. That way, you can sit at the table and start a conversation with us. After all, until we have a conversation, until awareness happens, nothing will ever change. I’m just hoping that people open their eyes. The incarceration rates for people of color, especially when it comes to marijuana, people are serving life sentences for having a dime bag of marijuana. That’s crazy. So I’m grateful to be on a show that is tackling such an important issue; moreover, bringing a character like Janelle to the screen. I am very passionate about my art. I don’t ever want to present anything; I don’t want to ‘act’; I want to be. I want to portray Janelle as authentic and grounded as possible so that other women who look like her or know someone who looks like her can feel seen. When you feel seen, it reminds you that you are valuable. Worthy. You matter too.”
Serving others feels so good. But to be able to serve, first, we have to ensure we have what to give. What can be more important than caring for our state of being, so we can lead and inspire others to what’s possible?
“I want to serve the underprivileged because I come from a very underprivileged background. I know what it’s like to be hungry, and not have a roof over your head. So when asked, If God could give me a limitless type of power, my response is I would want to give it all back. And that is a genuine answer from my heart. I understand my purpose. I understand being in service and that I am merely a vessel. So I would like to just give. To help others. I really want to make a difference. I understand that my energy and joy are rare in this world. I’ve had this since I was a kid. A friend always told me, ‘You live in a fairy tale.’ because I see the good in everything and everyone all the time. I have a lot of hope. And I love to see others also operating in their true selves,” concludes Candace.
Like Candace, are you choosing to see the world from the eyes of the Divine? Are you fully present in enjoying your passion from the perspective of love?
Photography // Storm Santos