I see this artistry on smaller scales every day on the streets of Brooklyn in the form of artfully constructed bright dutch wax print outfits. I see it in the awe-inspiring iconography of Mickalene Thomas and Wangechi Mutu. I see it in the blown out afros of South African activists protesting their marginalization from school. And more than ever in my lifetime, I see empowering representations of Black women by Black women in mainstream media.
Because too often all of us—our histories, cultures, humanity— or parts of us—our beauty, achievements, intelligence, suffering, sexuality—are treated as if they are invisible, fully seeing and creating these images are for me life and sanity saving measures. Seeing images of Black women made by Black women allows me to continue myself clearly and joyfully. In this new season, I look forward to continue creating myself for myself and affirming others. Not because I’m magic, but because we’re real.
Yours in Solidarity,
PS If you are a professor, librarian or diversity programmer, consider screening Black and Cuba for your course or Latin@ Heritage Month. Syllabus help, discussion facilitator’s guides and other info is available at BlackandCuba.org.
PPS I hope to see you at the Black Portraitures III conference in Johannesburg this November, where I will be sharing a preview of my new documentary 9 GRAMS as well as giving a presentation about the Black woman prisoner in the moving image.