Sweet thing

Sweet Thing. 6ft x 6ft x 5.5ft, Plaster, Clay, Lace, Scrim, 2017

Cultural appropriation is destroying and erasing the identities of black women. Black women are somehow seen as both the taboo and the coveted, where we are berated for taking part in our culture and in the same instance are having this culture taken from us and reassigned as “trends” created by white media. This piece alludes to this act.

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God is a black woman

 

God is a black woman. 6ft x 8ft x 5ft, Mixed media, 2017
​You come from a state of unlove, a city of forgotten, a country of degradation. If you dare love yourself they wonder why, why you think you are worthy of love when no one else does. Feel the need to tell you you’re pretty for a dark girl. Deglorify and sexualize you at the same time. Knock you off the pillar you built yourself time and time again when no one else would hold you up. They kill you in your sleep, cut your hands after you give them help, ridicule youin public, disgrace your name, they hate you. All these things justified by the darkness of your skin. Your too strong, too manly, too independent, too outspoken, too full of life, too full of love for somebody that everyone else is ashamed to love. Do not wear yellow, do not go into the sun, do not do anything that makes the melanin in your skin noticeable. Do not ever love yourself out loud. Do not think highly of yourself, do not try to save your own life, do not get pulled over, do not go to sleep in your own bed, do not say no, do not play your music too loud, do not live too loud, do not suffer too loud, this will get you dead. Be invisible, in all your glory, be invisible. No one wants to see you. Blackbird, black  girl jesus, you should have known better. The mother, the child, and the holy ghost, you are not supposed to save yourself in this world, just supposed to die quietly with a mouth full of forgiveness, skin covered in bruises no one else can see, hands bound, eyes sown shut, silently. Your dark skin, your strong back, your thick hair, aunt sarah. Your fair skin, how they say fair skin, your long hair, saffronia, your tan skin, your wide hips, your sweet lips, sweet thing. Your brown skin, your loud laugh, your louder pain, peaches. The brown paper bag, the hot comb, the relaxer. You only have yourself.
There is a clear divide, a duality, a duplicity, an ambiguity. Black gold, black gold, burnt back, cut hands, black gold, all hail, all fail, bent spine, black gold. Crucified for speaking your truth, your black gold too bold. How painful it must be to love yourself. You, the giving tree. You, the holy. You, the very sun they teach you to hide from. they spit you out like poison because there own truth is too hard to swallow. your anger does not suit their taste buds, when your silent they say you enjoyed it, when you speak they label you a domestic terrorist. why you wanna fly anyways. theres not enough space here for your pain. stay in this box, stay right there. why you so mad?

Sorry Miss Baartman, Miss Bland, Miss Aiyana jones, Miss Henrietta Lacks, Miss Charleena Lyles, Miss Korryn Gaines, and many others.

Thank you Nina Simone, Solange Knowles, Amandla Stenberg, Janelle Monae, Carrie mae weems, Sade, Shayna Mchayle, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kara Walker, Simone Leigh, Willow Smith, Lorna Simpson, Patra, Erykah Badu, Ava Duvernay, Bell Hooks, ViolaDavis, Serena Williams, Bree Newsome, Iesha Evans, Uzo Aduba, Awaeke Emezi, Danielle Brooks, Eartha Kitt, Keri Shahidi, Brenda Fassie, Wangechi Mutu, Rihanna, Issa Rae, Michelle Obama, and many others.

Riot

 

 

Riot, 6″, Clay, Installation at University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2014.

 

The late 60s saw lots of riots about Vietnam and racial riots on college campuses. It is rumored that UMBC, in an attempt to protect itself, created these riot stairs to slow down any riots that may happen on the campus.  The stairs still remain on the campus and makes for awkward and at times comedic ascendence. This piece is a light hearted play on this.