“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” Malcom X in 1962
Last year for my birthday one of my best friends whom I do several creative experiences with invited me to do the Brooklyn Sketch Book Project. It was sent to me around my birthday and due in 6 months. The first 3 months, I tried to figure out what I wanted to say in these moments. George Floyd had died at that knee of a police man and the protests began.
I realized it was time to listen more and accept that I was really fully understanding what had been happening. My privileges had shielded me so well from much truth. It was time to listen and learn. It is still time to listen and learn... there is so much to understand that I feel like all these months later, I have barely skimmed the surface and that is with learning something new nearly everyday.
As I kept learning, I would hear over and over again, the quote that Malcolm X said: “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” I realized that I needed to talk about Black women that I appreciate and respect so much instead of the subject that I usually opt for: kids with disabilities and/or their parents.
For me painting is both prayer and meditation and so each of these great Black women got a good dose of prayer with me. And that was for me. I have not been hearing everything I realize now I need to hear and understand.
There is a small part of me that also hopes this sketch book will help me find my long lost bestie from 3rd grade, Gina Thomas. In the age of google, I still can't find her. Her portrait had to come from memory because I couldn't find her picture she gave me. It's in an album somewhere in my mom's house in NC.
To all the amazing Black women, I see you, I appreciate you, I value you and I respect you.
You can see my digitized project here: