Where You Can Find Positive Female Role Models In A Negative Saturated Pop-Culture
I've mentioned a couple of times that the importance of following your dreams extends beyond that of your own personal 'deliverance' and freedom, but also includes that of others.
I mentioned that Carrie Mae Weems was inspired to become an artist, and more notably a photographer by coming across the work of 3 African-American photographers who published the book "The Black Photography Annual." It was Weems who in turn inspired Mickalene Thomas, whom I'll talk about more in a second, to switch her studies and apply to Pratt Institute in New York where she received her Bachelor in Fine Arts, and later Yale, where she would receive her Masters in Fine Arts. Thomas, has in turn inspired Jamilla Okubo, a young recent fashion graduate who draws inspiration from Thomas.
This is just one example of how this can work. It can be hard to find positive role models in your specific genre if you don't know where to look, and more so people that look like you and me. The media feeds off of portraying black women as one thing, the actual words that Mickalene Thomas says are used in pop-culture, I don't want to be found on this site, but you can read it for yourself here. This is however Thomas' reason for wanting and trying to "represent the beauty of the everyday black women" she sees in her life.
Thomas, an artist who uses both photography, sculpture, and her signature, rhinestones, in her pieces, is an American contemporary artist. Her work inspired Solange Knowles, so much so that she asked Thomas to create her album art cover (seen below).
The two recently sat down for a panel discussion with EXPO Chicago where they discussed "the emergence of a black American identity to working as a female creative". A worthy discussion if you ask me, and important because your identity, how you see yourself will most certainly influence how you live your life and determine what you deem yourself worthy of.
As another fellow artist put it, seen here, "You can't sit around waiting for somebody else to say who you are." Own your truth and all that it encompasses, that is the beauty that is YOU. You are worthy of all that you've ever dreamed of, you are worthy of success. All you have to do is work, work, and work some more towards it.
You literarily (or perhaps more so spiritually) have to fight the negative depictions trying to impose itself on you through media and your surroundings. Your sense of beauty and self-image is what Solange and Thomas are working to recognize and confront these challenges, and I pray that this blog is in line with that service, showing you the many positive black women that own their truth and subsequently their craft.
You can catch Thomas' work, currently on display at the Jepson Centre in Savannah, GA, as part of the "Mickalene Thomas at Giverny" show, from September 11, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
If you were an art piece, what would you be/look like/represent? Comment below. Personally I would be a Violet (duh, lol), however with alternate black and purple pedals, emerging from snow covered tundra. It's weird, I just thought of that, but the more I think about it, that's a pretty accurate description/depiction. However as long as I bloom, I don't care where or what I grew out of ;)