Visualizations of Blackness and Womanhood: Artwork by Nakeya B.
"My work is the visualization of blackness and womanhood with an emphasis on the politics of hair- one the most scrutinized components of a black woman’s body.” (Source: Nakeyab.com)
If you have been scrolling Tumblr lately you have probably been exposed to some or all of the featured images. The photographs have been making their way around this social media site (one single image has a little over 12,000 notes). It is safe to assume that the images are, if nothing else, resonating with people. The artist, Nakeya Brown is a Rutgers University graduate, and one look at her CV (Curriculm Vitae) will tell you that she has been heavily invested in sharing Black women’s experiences for quite a while.
The titles of some of her collections are enough to spark conversations alone. For example, one of the titles is, “The Refutation of Good Hair.” If the title alone does not urge you to form an opinion, seeing Black women nonchalantly consume hair against calm pastel backgrounds certainly will. The awesome thing about Brown’s work is that it is presented to us as nonchalantly as some of her models expressions. Nothing about the stand alone images directs the audience towards her opinion on the subject matter. In a world of social media made hair gurus, and other capitalistic Black hair experts, it is refreshing to see natural hair dealt with so neutrally. It is almost as if Brown already knows how some of us feel, creating the work so that we may share a unified girlmetoo moment, no matter where we fall on the opinion spectrum.
“Through past memories and personal observations, I use photography to examine how the racialized notion of beauty shape self-perception from a black feminist context.”
If you are looking for artistic interpretations of some of our shared cultural experiences, both past and present, look to Nakeya Brown. Her work places Black women and our hair center stage. Although at first glance the color schemes seem harmless, her work quietly pulls our strongest opinions out of us and to the forefront.
Nakeya B’s work here:
Ashely Tisdale is a recent graduate of Florida A&M University. She earned my Bachelor’s degree in English, and is currently in the process of pursuing a PhD. She is a big sister, dreamer, prayer, girlfriend, and underemployed window shopping enthusiast. She thinks "Black Girls Are Fly because history has simultaneously deemed us un-credited trendsetters and undesirable. Despite these consistent inconsistencies, we celebrate ourselves." Find her: Boldbuxombeautiful.com| StoriesofSisterhood.com