My hair has always played a significant role in my life.
When I was a child, I would run around my parents’ house with a towel on top of my head, shaking my head as if the towel was a part of my scalp. I got my first relaxer at age 6 and was so excited to bounce my straight ends around like the other white girls I knew and saw on TV. I grew up as a competitive gymnast and I was usually the only brown girl competing. It was imperative that my hair was “kept”, and my edges were sleek and laid back for competitions, so I would get my hair done before every gymnastics meet. My mom was my gymnastics coach and I don’t believe then that she realized the impact of having to look “kept” in order to be accepted as a champion would have on my life.
As I grew older my hair began falling out due to the relaxers and in order to avoid bullying in school and to feel beautiful, I would wear weaves and various styles of braids and twists with extensions. It was not until I reached college that I was able to accept, love and appreciate my natural curly kinky black hair. Understanding the conditioning of beauty standards within our society and learning about the divinity of spirals and fractals within nature led me to embrace my hair to its fullest extent and also helped me understand what my hair means to me as a black woman.
I have met several young African American girls who deal with the issues of loving themselves and getting to know themselves due to our European standard of beauty and our whitewashed history lessons. Therefore, it is my mission as an artist to embrace the underrepresented and unappreciated beauty standards of black girls, women, and even men and to highlight our accomplishments, tell our stories, and also exhibit our humanity through painting.
I am a multi-media artist, I paint my community while keeping in mind that our natural black hair is a mere extension of our nervous system. It is a part of who we are as a people and it is not something that should be shunned but embraced and celebrated. I celebrate black hair, black features, and empower my people by representing our experiences. I use hair supplies as materials to relate to my black female experience, like synthetic hair, afro picks, combs, brushes, and rollers to mark into my paintings and to discuss the lines, patterns, and shapes within our hairstyles and our spiritual bodies, then interpret how these patterns connect us to nature.