I’ve been portraying Black women as aliens and robots lately as a nod to afrofuturism, and because we are so often treated like we’re not human. One of my latest pieces is a portrait of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who was disrespected on television by Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling for her hair and her statements regarding Donald Trump. She responded in an elegant way and stated that she “[is] a strong Black woman [who] cannot be intimidated.” Her words gave me life and inspired me to create this portrait.
My friend Ryan gave me a photo book about the Black Panther Party and it fueled my pre-existing passion for Black women who fought for civil rights in late 20th century. There were portraits of some of the most famous women affiliated with the movement, including Kathleen Cleaver, Barbara Easley Cox, and Angela Davis. Ms. Davis’s life and work stood out to me and I can definitely say she’s someone I hope to be like one day—graceful, courageous, and intelligent. The quote in this digital drawing is a take on the serenity prayer and it sums up my current feelings about accepting mediocrity or abuse.
Being 100 percent confident in myself and my skills isn’t cutting it anymore. I’ve had to kill all doubt and increase my faith so much since moving to New York City. Although this isn’t my first time living here, each go-round presents its own challenges. This most recent journey was the hardest one yet, but the rewards for my hard work and determination made everything worth it. I am now more in touch with my intuition and fully confident in my existence.
Fruits of My Labor
I recently had a conversation with my brother-from-another-mother, Jemari. We talked about how fruit is amazing, but not something we can overindulge in. I treat fruit almost like a reward—a natural, sweet treat to keep me going. This can be applied to various aspects of life. Reaping the benefits of work is a lot of fun, but having too much fun can knock you off balance and make you forget what it’s all about. Enjoy, but stay woke.
During an interview from her My Time Now documentary, Nicki Minaj casually did her makeup while giving a powerful monologue about the way women’s actions are perceived. The quote in this piece is about being called a “bitch” for demanding respect and refusing to accept less that what she deserves. Meanwhile, men are seen as bosses for doing the same thing. Lately, I’ve been dealing with asserting myself in business and in my personal life, so this quote is very affirming for me. I will not be called out of my name for knowing my worth.
Studying symbolism is something that has interested me for about a year. I’ve been seeing and talking about cherries a lot lately, so I wanted to do a little research about what they mean; I don’t believe in coincidences. I found that they symbolize rebirth and reproduction, which are two recurring themes in my life. I’m letting old habits (namely fear and passivity, which is where “courage” comes in) and relationships die, creating new ones, and giving birth to many beautiful artistic creations. ♦