I have to admit the first thing I thought about when I saw this picture by itself was that it represented an obsession of some sort. The fact that black hair is so facinating on one hand but at the same time what it is and what we have done with it culturally and historically is virtually erased on some platforms.
This is one photo in a series of photos taken by photographer Daniel Stewart with the creative direction of Imani Love who you see in the photo.
The caption that came with that picture explained just what both artists were trying to do.
To deteriorate, decrease, diminish or destroy. A photo project encapsulating white society’s lustful appropriation of a black woman’s body. So often black women are slandered for the same physical attributes that are then praised on white women. This is us speaking out.
Creative Direction by @thoughtsandkeys
Imani also gave her own explanation for the series:
“Black women are so often shamed and penalized for the same physical attributes that are then praised, and made trendy for white women. This project is meant to capture the black woman’s experience as a hypersexualized being, who’s [sic] body is constantly appropriated in white society.”
We loved this project and I couldn’t help but think about how much we have talked about how our hair does draw a ton of attention both negative and positive.
Many of us have had grown individuals offer to pet us or touch our hair to determine why it looks the way it does and if it is actually soft.
Much of this is pretty insulting because of the underlying assumptions that come with the strange curiosity. On the other side of the coin, I am also reminded that we have to be careful of not doing the same thing to ourselves. Sometimes we get so caught up with what we want our hair to do rather than just accepting what our hair does.
So like the ‘white hands’ in the photograph, we are constantly pulling and tugging as well getting our hair to conform to some ideal that doesn’t fit what our hair naturally does on its own.
We love the entire series, you can check the rest of the photos out yourself here.