We had the good fortune of connecting with Leyla Havok and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leyla, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
Being a half black and Half Mexican female artist, it has always been extremely important to me that I use my art to show young kids of color that your voice matters, especially with what’s happening in the world today, Your art, your vision… YOU MATTER. We live in a society that there is not a lot of opportunities for POC. The road we take is very hard, depressive, and alienating. I want my legacy to be an inspiration for kids who look like me. To tell those who have been alone and abused that no matter what life throws at you, you make sure you never give up your voice, your music, your art. I want people to remember that I never gave up no matter what situation i was in, No matter what racial discrimination I faced, No matter what loss I had to go through. I still got up and hit back with my art. I fight for the little girl that’s been picked on for how big her hair is, I fight for the boy who thinks his skin is ugly cause its black, I fight for the kids that society doesn’t see them as human beings. These are not thugs these are Kings and Queens…. These are Artists.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is Nostalgic, I try to paint a good memory you had sitting with your brother on a Saturday morning with your favorite cereal watching your favorite cartoon. I loved Nickelodeon, Toonami, shows like Kablam and DBZ. I was a huge Nightmare before Christmas Fan, and other spooky stuff like Tales from the Crypt. I remember how excited we were when we got our first Nintendo, and got to play Super Mario with my siblings. I’m trying to remind people of that special time in their life when there wasn’t so much noise or negativity. I’m very passionate about my work, I’ll sit for 12 hours just to complete a piece and come back to do it again the next day. I want to be showing kids of color that you can be as weird as you want, and that you can be your true self, no matter where you come from. I definitely got a lot of No’s before I got a lot of yes’s. I started by hosting at Art show at my high school with my teacher Mr.Fields. It was a success and we were able to put on art shows every Friday at lunch that raised money that raised money for the art department. The lessons I learned were to never give up when ever I heard No. No matter if it was friends or family saying it, I still kept going because of a little voice that always told me to keep going no matter what. I want the world to just not give up, no matter what life throws at you. Always give back to your community.

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?
I always wanted to visit Mexico during Día de Muertos. I only went when I was a baby and I wish I got a chance to see all the colors, the art and the people. The festival is nothing like we have here. So special.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
All my success, my late nights and inspiration… I owe it all to my family. I know it seems cliche, but my mother gave me my first paint brush. She always wanted the best for me. Her being a single mother of 3, I got to see what a strong woman looks like. My brother Donta and my baby sister Maya always brought so much color to my life and made me into the creative person I am today. My determination and fire I get from my best friends Ayanna Vara Johnson and Shanice Johnson. Seeing their dreams come to life was incredible. It’s important to me to see successful black women and even more powerful to have grown up with them. I will be forever grateful and blessed to be apart of that.

Website: www.wearehavok.com
Instagram: leylahavok
Twitter: leylahavok
Facebook: I AM HAVOK

Image Credits
Yvonne Taylor Nick Wescott