#DearBlackGirl is a community-curated, love note-portrait project that is centered on cultivating joy, healing, beauty, and the magic of Black women and girls*. Together we will co-create a collection of love letters that are written by and for Black women and girls. Alongside them, we will have portraits taken in a celebration of our magic. My hope is that this will be a community affirmation project and space where Black women* will feel loved and held.
Sitting here going through the images of my dear friend Kristianna giving birth, I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and admiration for this woman. Being able to capture such an incredibly sacred and spiritual moment in my friend's life reaffirmed for me the need for black women to share our stories, boldly and unapologetically.
As a person that doesn't have children, watching her, listening to her be so candid and actually being able to be in the room with Kristy and her family and loved ones, was one of the most powerful experiences I've ever had. Honestly, up until now, I've been super afraid of pregnancy and childbirth. I'm assuming that this is due to my lack of knowledge around what would happen to my mind/body/spirit during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
You hear stories of when people go into labor, sometimes it's something funny like, "Oh I was sitting at a restaurant and my water broke all over the floor," or you'll hear little stories about the way your body changes. For me, I can't remember hearing any stories from people that were detailed and honest accounts.
We live in a society that functions off of fear and isolation as a form of control. The one thing fear hates is to have a light shined on it because once we see it, all there is left to do is conquer it. Kristy is out here with a flashlight and giving us all light and hope.
My friend opened up her life to the world, she showed us and is continuing to show us how important it is to tell your story so that others can see themselves. She is pushing back on societies narratives about black mothers birthing.
Again, I am so grateful. There are very few moments in life that have taken my breath away. Here's Kristy's birthing story...
Make sure you check out Kristianna's blog, "The Curl-Less Journey" to read about her journey!
Like*Subscribe*Show her some love <3
Sunday afternoons sitting at the kitchen table of my grandparent's house, a ritual that my family and many black families have held onto throughout the generations. This is a place where we eat, laugh, cry, and love each other deeply. What is exchanged over this table is something that can't be bought but it's a spiritual experience that connects us through the generations, the hardships, divorces, babies and all other life events that shape and shift our families.
One Sunday, sitting at this table getting ready to eat. My Grandfather, Andrew Walker and Grandmother, Carrie Mae Walker had cooked a meal together, and in this meal were greens. I noticed that the greens weren’t our regular collards or mustard greens but something my grandfather called, "field greens." He went on to tell me a beautiful story on how he and my grandmother picked these greens off of the side of the church every year and brought them home to cook. He learned how to live off of the land from his father when he was a boy living in the south. This short story shook me, and from then I had a deep craving to sit by the elders in my family and black families to hear our stories and document them. How beautiful it will be to share this moment and story with my children and their children’s children.
Over the last two years, I’ve been on a personal healing journey. It’s been a beautiful, scary, ride filled with learning, stretching, planting and growing. Sitting, listening and documenting the stories of my family has been central to my internal shift towards healing. With this, Our Version of Events was born.
“Our Version of Events- A Rooted Black Oral History Project,” which seeks to document, archive and uplift the beautiful and rich history of our elders and community. The power of storytelling as an act of resistance is one of the most radical acts that communities who are constantly under attack can participate in.
Inspired by the work of Gordon Parks and personal narratives I have collected from my family, I want to create a space for Black elders to preserve their place as ancestors.
Our Version of Events is a visual and written project centered on documenting the voices of Black family elders through portraits as well as verbal and written testimony. This series asks participants to respond to the prompt, “Tell me a story of your life that you want your great-grandchildren to tell.” The project will include both street art style interviewing and interviews with individuals in their homes.
For those who are interested in being apart of the project, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love and Solidarity,
August 31, 2017
On a sunny, summer evening, in a church filled with laughter and love, I was able to witness the saying, "Love Conquers All." I haven't had many opportunities in my life to see what unconditional love looks like. But in that church, on that evening, while this couple was being born into something new; my heart began remember a familiar song.
The doors of the church opened and we awaited the bride to walk down the aisle. A ballad rendition of Stevie Wonder's, "As," was being sung in a duet and there wasn't a dry eye in the building. In that moment, the universe affirmed...Black Love is real, Black love heals, Black love is revolutionary.
"Until the rainbow burns the stars out in the sky...."
"Until the ocean covers every mountain high..."
"Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea..."
"Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream..."
"Until the day is night and night becomes a day..."
"Until the trees and seas just up and fly away..."
"I'll be loving you...always"
For a moment I didn’t recognize your face.
I was staring you dead in the eyes but you didn’t look quite the same.
You’d gotten a little older; time and life made your eyes a little dimmer.
I almost walked right by you but thank God for something there that still seemed familiar.
Where did you go hiding? What made you crawl into place?
I almost forgot about you my friend, I could barely remember your name.
My love, you were gone for so long and I hadn’t even realized that you were away.
But thank God for double takes and learning from mistakes
Because if it weren't for second chances, my dear, I could have lost you that day.
I saw a shooting star today…it reminded me of you.
A fleeting love; bursting into flames once entering the earth’s atmosphere, only to crash and burn upon arrival to the surface.
But you were mine…If only for just a moment.
We spent it in the sky high; completely consumed by each other.
Somehow I found perfect peace in the middle of our storm.
Your chaos was comforting.
I felt safe in your harm.
We were…The perfect destruction.