There was a time when I noticed that I was the first instance someone was seeing a black person not fed to them on the media. I remember when I was a teen and I was the token black friend and dealt with terrible behaviour because of it.
Then I went to university and saw a different world, intermingling with people of different regions cities counties socioeconomic background ethics and different classes who had never met a black person before. All they saw was what was shown to them on the news, this was a time before social media.
Now we have social media to amplify the stickiest subject matter that happens to be disturbing imagery. I’m still seen as one of the good ones, so at best I’m guessing it isn’t the most endearing imagery of blacks people they have seen, to have this opinion and have never met one.
That being said I discover that imagery and media are a drastic factor in how people will perceive entire communities they have zero interaction with in the real life. So in many ways I’m a token non threatening avatar. There were many instances where I hated that part of my life, legitimately felt like Pinocchio ‘trying to be a real boy’ and not have the standard of what people think of a black person on me. it’s hard frustrating and restrictive, as no matter what if you show you’re human, who makes mistakes, one time, they wipe out your whole history and initiate the “I always knew there was something…”
I say that to say, dealing in black imagery is very agonising to live through, extremely dense characters are part of your audience and many black people feel like the have to shuck and jive till the make it home. There are others now who welcome the challenge and endear themselves to the ideal of, only black person in the room, ‘my presence is representation’, ‘I am one of the good ones’, ‘black people are sluggish lazy, stupid and unconcerned but not me’. Which is enough to make this a very political game at every phase of life, this goes all the way to the top.
This is all my understanding, before I really cared about fashion writing and black supermodels. What hits the most to me is the monotony of the monopoly of black womens imagery. It upset me enough to start my career out talking about needing more black supermodels then doubling down and speaking up about the fetishisation of our extremes of either light or dark skin. Black people with albinism and those with hyperpigmentation, namely Sudan models.
How I developed interest was in part protest and just knowing better, over time images I have saved and curated around black imagery that has a multifaceted appeal quality and diversity.
I call it vintage black glamour as it is more than just Black people in fashion or in books that are out of print it is the worlds worth of Africans that are who they are and someone has taken a snapshot of them doing it, being themselves. Some of the best works I can say conceived surrounding black people. I had wondered if I should make a page about this but there’s enough. My pages are built with this ethos regardless. So this isn’t about an @ it’s about a life choice, to share black people as is. Beauty splendour rugged Curt firm coarse gritty bright and everything in between.
My enemy is peoples decision to not have quality control in their lifestyle choices of media they share. Nobodies perfect and there are some amazing pages out there there’s just a story that needs to be told and I want to teach and open myself up to that journal properly. If you’re with me follow Voicesin Fashion on Instagram and Twitter
Meet with me on this journey every week on the voices in fashion page for updates