A photo of Darol Olu Kae in black and white, looking directly at the camera, wearing a black beanie hat and a black shirt.

Issue 004 Summer 2022 From the Editor

Letter from the Editor

by Darol Olu Kae

With this fourth issue, we seek to extend Seen’s ongoing exploration of what it means to see and bear witness for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities globally.


Each piece in this issue explores the complexities of vision and visual culture in an ever-shifting world, from Jasmine Weber’s discerning feature on the groundbreaking architect Amaza Lee Meredith, to Jenzia Burgos’s incisive interrogation of music videos by the emerging Dominican rapper Tokischa, to Yume Murphy’s expansive profile of acclaimed artist Martine Syms, which centers her debut narrative feature film, The African Desperate (2022).

I am extremely honored to have served as guest editor of Seen—not once but twice! The opportunity and experience remain unmatched. To our general and leader, Maori Karmael Holmes, BlackStar’s CEO and founder, I send you a heartfelt thank-you for trusting and riding with us on this journey. I hope we made you proud.

Endless gratitude is owed to our editor-in-chief, Dessane Lopez Cassell, a singular thinker whose brilliance and controlled power deeply impacted this issue. Your leadership enriched every stage of this process, from conceptualization to curation to design and execution. The topics and conversations in this issue greatly benefitted from your critical eye and expertise as an editor, writer, and curator. As a team, we are stronger because of your stewardship. 

To our talented, creative design team, Caroline Washington and Leo Brooks—  Seen’s art director and design manager, respectively—your imagination, ingenuity, and meticulous approach to craft radiate off of every page of this issue. Thank you, Imran Siddiquee and Nehad Khader; your consistency and abundance of rich ideas greatly enhanced this issue.

A huge thanks to all of our patient, rigorous, and discerning editors: Kavita Rajanna, Yasmine Espert, Jasmine Weber, and Shauna Swartz. Your expertise, watchful eyes, and critical insights improved the quality of each piece that made it to your desks. We could not have done any of this without your collective effort.It’s been a complete honor to steward this issue with some of the most committed and beautiful minds. I hope you all continue to support Seen as they continue to define and reinvent the publication. Its future is boundless.

Darol Olu Kae
Guest Editor
Los Angeles, April 2022