What Questlove Taught Me: "Is This Allowed?"


There’s an episode of the A Piece of Work podcast all about emojis and whether they should be considered art or not. In one segment the host is interviewing Questlove, drummer for  The Roots and guy in the picture above this paragraph). He brings up this idea I absolutely love. He’s talking about music and says:

"…any album that’s ever come out and I had to ask “is this allowed?” Then it’s pretty much high art."

Now, I don’t know anything about art and I’d feel like a complete idiot if I started calling anything at all HIGH ART but I love the concept.

Think of ANYTHING groundbreaking, unique, revolutionary, or influential in our culture. There was a moment with all of them when people first encountered it and had to ask "are they allowed to do this?"

We get to so used to how things are already being done. How everything should look, sound, and feel.

Subconsciously trends turn into rules and we feel like we’re not allowed to break them.

I want to be more aware of this. When I’m brainstorming, when I’m working on something new, if I ever have an idea that makes me nervous and causes me to ask “is that allowed” I know I’m heading in the right direction.