Crystal colleen mercer watson (she/her/they/them) is a daughter of the Diaspora from the American South, born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. A gem from The Natural State, she is a Black, Designer, Textile Artist, Actor, Activist, Poet, SONGWRITER, Playwright, Published Author (A Love Story Waiting To Happen, Butterfly Typeface Publishing, 2018, and From Cotton to Silk: The Magic of Black Hair, Et Alia Press, 2021), Found(her) and Executive Director of A BLACK SPACE, a nonprofit that serves and liberates Black folks through culture bearing, oral tradition, and ancestral craft, and Lead Designer and Merchant of Mercer Textile Mercantile. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and Dance from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a graduate of the Clinton School of Public Service (MPS).
In addition to her education, creative passions, and business savvy, she holds a number of professional positions, from full-time, to contracted and commissioned work. She recorded her debut poetry EP, Black Glow Matters, while living in Accra, Ghana and produced a short film with the same name, releasing both projects in 2020. Through that work, Mercer activates change in spaces, curates cultural gatherings, and expresses narratives with an emphasis of uplifting voices of color and making marginalized populations visible. Mercer’s past credits include a number of plays, musicals, and performances in Arkansas, off-Broadway in New York, and internationally in Canterbury, England and Accra, Ghana.
She has been consistently nominated for the Arkansas Times of Best, winning Best Poet of 2021 and 2022 (nominated two years prior before winning two years in a row), and was a finalist for Best Author (2021), Best Arkansan (2021, 2022, 2023), Best Little Rocker (2021, 2022), and Best Artisan (2023). She believes that Arkansas can be a cultural mecca of The South and only hopes to amplify what The Natural State means as a watering hole for community and magic.
A dedicated public servant, a woman of many unique talents, and the daughter of legendary late civil rights lawyer, Attorney Christopher C. Mercer, Jr., she honors the legacy of her father by using artistic mediums as a tool for empowerment, education, and radical justice. In every thread of her being, she is weaving a tapestry of her ancestors, draped in Afro-futurism. From Little Rock, Arkansas to Accra, Ghana, Mercer has made an international impact as an artist and an activist, activated by those pillars, she knows, shows, and cares about what’s going on in the hood.