Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Samantha Black was 10 when she moved to Pittsburgh and immersed herself in the arts — from dance to creative writing. At 18, she joined the U.S. Army. A multidisciplinary artist, Samantha works with laser cutters, 3D printers and welding, and produces “projects and events at the intersection of art and social change.” Her work has been seen in exhibits throughout Pittsburgh, and her writing has been published by Very Smart Brothas and Nubian Impulse.
Legislative assistant to Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr., Samantha serves on the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Partners Board, Hill District Arts Council and Mayor Peduto’s Startup and Entrepreneur Advisory Council. What has been her “most challenging and rewarding endeavor” yet? She says it’s being mom to Gabriel (5) and Tori (4).
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
Best part of your job?
Making sure great artists have opportunities and receive payment for their craft. We should really revise this whole idea that paying artists in “exposure” and “experience” is a viable option.
What’s your big idea for Pittsburgh?
A documentary chronicling the plight of black artists, a Caribbean carnival, tiny desk concerts and an awards show. Hopefully no one steals my ideas and executes them poorly.
Ideal date night in Pittsburgh?
Going to the Schenley Oval with a basket of bar chicken to look at the city skyline and discuss world domination (in a good way of course).
It’s time to unwind. Where do you head?
Who should be the unofficial Mayor of Pittsburgh?
Jake Wheatley, Jr. He doesn’t use emojis in texts though, so I’m not sure how hip of a mayor he will be.
Best PGH brunch spot?
What song in your playlist is on endless repeat?
Two songs: “Bickenhead” by Cardi B and “’Til It’s Over” By Anderson .Paak. Balance.
You need a drink. Where do you go?
Young Brothers Bar on the Northside. Best chicken in the city and the drinks won’t cost you rent.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ll tackle this week?
The laundry on my bed that has been sitting there for a few weeks. The first thing I’ll do when I get rich is hire a maid, because I’m way too good at avoiding these responsibilities.
Who is the last person you texted (and what was it about)?
I drunk texted my ex to tell him that I love him, but he left me on “read” — *cue the world’s tiniest violin*
What is the one thing that would surprise Pittsburghers most about you?
I absolutely hate fries on my salad. It’s a greasy, salty abomination.
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