How Do You Play When You’re Prey?

A Personal Exploration into Black Creative Healing


  • Natasha Thomas Music Therapy, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), USA



Blackness, Creativity, African Diaspora, Community Care, Autoethnograpy, Arts Based Research


Creativity is woven into the culture of Black America. Our histories and struggles as members of the minoritized African Diaspora are recorded and passed on in song and story, in movement and design. We are – and have been – the creators of an evolving culture that is simultaneously underestimated and desired by dominant culture. This othering poses real and pressing threats to our lives and livelihoods, as we are consumed and exploited to the point of erasure; and yet we keep creating. But why? What is creativity to the Black American living in such a predatory society? And how do I, as a Black creative minoritized in a Healing profession, engage with it? How do you play when you’re prey? These questions form the basis for an heuristic exploration into a video blog project entitled “Black Creative Healing,” where Black creatives are recorded engaging in conversation and collaboration over concepts relating to Blackness, Creativity, and the Healing process. Through arts-based analysis of past collaborations, available publicly on Youtube, I will investigate my own motivations, inspirations and roadblocks to the creative process as a Black healer. I will interrogate the directions and intentions laid bare by my creative endeavors and seek to define a central ethos by which other Black creatives may find themselves seen and encouraged, in the interest of finding balance between the “me” that is – and has been – prey, and the “me” that has only ever known – and been known by – play.


Author Biography

Natasha Thomas, Music Therapy, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), USA

Natasha Thomas, PhD is a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) and Assistant Professor at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). She serves on the steering committee of the Black Music Therapists Network (BMTN) and co-facilitates the BMTN sponsored podcast “Black Creative Healing” with Adenike Webb. Natasha is also serving with Marisol Norris as co-editor of an upcoming special issue from the Journal of Music Therapy on equity & justice. Natasha is a committed advocate for creative & culturally sustaining support for marginalized communities. Her current research focus involves Black creativity, particularly identity construction and community care. Natasha’s research and clinical work are inclusive of emerging technology, as well as the perspectives of disability and queer identities, and the unique ways those perspectives and resources can intersect to impact quality of life, identity construction and meaning making.

Picture of author Natasha Thomas



How to Cite

Thomas, N. (2021). How Do You Play When You’re Prey? A Personal Exploration into Black Creative Healing. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 21(1).