2017 in Review, and What’s Coming in 2018

Aaminah Shakur
5 min readDec 22, 2017
A few of the journals I have painted the covers of and made available for purchase (see link below)

2017 was a rotten year for pretty much everyone, in pretty much every way. It would be really easy to get bogged down in all the negatives of the year. In fact, last week when I started to put together a list of links to my writing on Twitter, I began by saying I didn’t publish much and had made no money. In the process of compiling the links I realized 1) I published more than usual, 2) While I did self-publish an awful lot on Medium, and I did not make much money, I did also have the best paid writing year I’ve had in a long time. In the same vein, I can’t help but to notice I participated in zero art shows, markets, or any other sort of way to sell my art in 2017, but I had modest sales regardless. So, let’s go all the way back to the beginning and look at the year in review:


I had the opportunity to write some really intense things about some important topics, such as living with bipolar disorder, teen suicide, how the ACA repeal will affect disabled people, and advice for people who want to support Muslims and BIPOC. I worked with wonderful editors at Rest for Resistance, Wear Your Voice, Ceilings & Standards, OTV Magazine, Alyss Lit, and Bitch Media. Here is a list with links to some of the best things I published this year (the complete list can be found here):

Carrie Fisher Helped Me Survive Bipolar Disorder, Ceilings & Standards (essay)

Campus Sexual Violence, Misinformation, and Mismanagement, OTV Magazine (essay)

Death Awaits Us: Life After the ACA Repeal, Alyss (essay)

10 Ways to Support Muslims in the U.S. Right NOW, Aaminah Shakur on Medium (essay)

Everybody Street, OTV Magazine (poetry)

Pronouns & Other Language That Matters: A Guide for Educators, Part 1, Aaminah Shakur on Medium (essay)

Pronouns & Other Language That Matters: A Guide for Educators, Part 2, Aaminah Shakur on Medium (essay)

It’s Us Failing Them, Not Them Failing Us: Disconnected Adults Are the Problem in 13 Reasons Why, Bitch Media (essay)

Proud to Stay Home and Rest: Surviving Pride Month, Rest for Resistance (essay)

Stealthing Negates Consent and Is Rape, Wear Your Voice Magazine (essay)

On Fatness: Acceptable Fat, Respectability, & the Silencing of Super Fats, Aaminah Shakur on Medium (essay)

Practical Ways White Allies Can Influence Their Communities, Wear Your Voice Magazine (essay)

Some Practical Responses to Facebook List Making, Aaminah Shakur on Medium (essay/tutorial)

The 10 Things No Woman or Femme Should Wear After They Turn 40, Aaminah Shakur on Medium (list, humor, fashion advice)

Additionally, I wrote an awful lot about art, including some critique/reviews and publishing two research papers in Rigorous. Here are some of the better art-specific stories I’ve written (you can access all art related writing at the same link above, or if you are only interested in art and don’t want to wade through my other writing, they are also collected here):

US IS THEM Asks Hard Questions & Seeks Communal Solutions, H.A.C.K. Blog (exhibition review)

Black Femme Lesbian Identities in the Paintings & Photography of Mickalene Thomas, Rigorous (academic essay)

Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian, Muskegon Museum of Art, H.A.C.K. Blog (exhibition review)

Illustrating the Life of Frida Kahlo in a Beautiful Vacuum — A Review of Frida, the Film, ArtSmarts by Aaminah Shakur (film review)


Because this year has been so focused on school and because a lot of energy was put into moving in February/March, I haven’t had time to create much in the way of art. I did create a series of painted journals that are available for purchase here.


I did pretty well this past year in school. There were definitely times when I was concerned I would not do well, and when I felt overwhelmed. But I finished the year with grades I am very proud of and a solid 3.77 GPA.

Spring 2017 transcripts
Summer 2017 transcripts
Autumn 2017 transcripts

I received scholarships from the Grand Rapids Trans Foundation for both the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 school years, maintained my merit scholarship through the college, and also won a small endowed scholarship. I am in the process of applying for a couple of disability scholarships for the next school year.

I have continued to work in the Fed Galleries at KCAD, and also begun a few hours a week of providing administrative support to the art history department. In addition, I have begun volunteering at the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives (GRAAMA), and earlier in the year I provided extensive research and writing for the artist statements for the US IS THEM exhibition at the UICA. You can read more about these projects and various other places where I have been quoted in the media here.

2018 — What’s New, What’s Coming

I will be hard at work for the next few weeks on some visual art work I’ve been sketching for almost all year. I am part of a group show titled “Tart” that opens in late January in Holland (Michigan), curated by Tamara Fox.

As you may have noticed from my publications, I’ve also just started a new arts-related blog, ArtSmarts by Aaminah Shakur, where I will be sharing much more of my musings on art and culture and publishing research and other writing produced in my classes.

I am also launching a monthly newsletter the first week of January. You can join the mail list here.

I’m all signed up for my Spring classes, and ready to sign up for Summer classes as soon as they open. I’ve even got my Autumn 2018 classes already plotted out!

My Statement of Purpose is being constantly updated and refined to best represent who I am and what I’m trying to do. And in 2018 I will begin applying to grad school!

If you’d like to directly support me as a full time student and crip/chronically sick QTPOC, please consider donating via Paypal (if you’d like to avoid fees coming out of what I receive, you can send Paypal to “friends & family” at aaminahshakur@gmail.com). One of the purposes of my new monthly newsletter is to serve as a reminder to folks who want to give monthly but may not want to work through the Patreon platform. If Paypal isn’t an option for you, I do have a Patreon and Square Cash App.

Thank you for your support, readership, claps, etc. If you are celebrating holidays at this time, I hope they are blessed, and that you are hopeful for the new year.