Black History Today: Darnell Lamont Walker, activist thought leader and throwback artist

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a pillar of the South Seattle community and a truly unsung hero, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his neighborhood and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Darnell Walker.jpg

“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go."
- James Baldwin

By Marcus Harden


A stumble happens in adulthood that begins to limit our imaginations about who we are in the world. We lose the spirit of adventure, the thrill of seeking what is new. We’re told to grow up and accept whatever it is “adulthood” brings.

We sometimes become afraid to be critical and especially to be criticized. One person who inspires the exact opposite is Darnell Lamont Walker. Darnell is authentically his unique self, not only marching to his own beat and drum, but shifting the band into an orchestra or into a hip-hop symphony if he so desires.

A throwback to the time of the artist and the philosophers we often lament, Darnell is fearless in challenging social norms, challenging others' espoused values and challenging the line of morality in a thought-provoking way. If he was a movie, he’d be rated PG-13 and question why there’s even a rating.

He challenges the notion of what blackness is, of what it means to be a Black man in America, and what it means to just explore the human experience. Whether writing thought-provoking and challenging blogs and post about pop culture, filming documentaries on being Black and escaping America’s Hold, or peeling back the mask behind mental health/suicide and Black men, Darnell continually pushes thoughts and minds.

Yet just as quickly he can shift and remind you about the possibilities of world travel on a dime (Passport Required featured in GQ magazine), or maybe at his rawest, documenting the growth of his greatest joy, his son, or just celebrating friends who have become family. Darnell is the embodiment of the quote, “Right when you think you have the answer, I go and change the question!”

Darnell colors outside of the lines and helps create a beautiful leadership mosaic. It's one that not all could follow, but he provides an erasable blue print for possibility and what could be. He lives in and for the moment, and that, among many other reasons, is why Darnell Lamont Walker is Black history, today.