Friday, 30 October 2009

The Future is Now - Images of Empowerment for Black Women

It's not often that I put my own work out there for public consumption these days, but I am extremely proud of this image I worked on recently. There were very few iconic black females in the media when I was growing up in post 1960's Britain, so Tina Turner always managed to grab my attention whenever her music was played on the radio or on the very few occasions I spotted her on TV. The energy she emitted was so startling it was hard to imagine that I could even partly emulate her in the way young girls admire their favourite musisican do. When discussing the project brief with my sitter, Judith Saunders, it was easy to recognise the already iconic status of Turner as international musician, however I chose to devise a look that was deemed to be most empowering in the memory of myself and Judith - that of the female warrior Aunty Entity in the futuristic 1985 film, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. I sometimes don't see the point in sticking too closely to the past, it is the future that is most exciting - certainly the future for black women.

Joined by the make up artist Lottie Davies and photographed by Chris Lee, the final look arose from a collaborative effort that says as much about the participants as the image. It isn't often that black females are visualised as iconic, and it is my hope that the various images created for Black History Month by myself and my colleagues will be another point of inspiration for many young black females growing up in Britain today.

1 comment:

  1. Have you noticed that even within the Fashion Industry there are virtually no female black icons? There is Grace Jones and that was...what 20 years ago? It's interesting because whenever they have African American models emulating a black iconic woman it's ALWAYS Grace Jones. Chanel Iman in Vogue Italia, Sessilee Lopez, and most recently Rose Cordero in Vogue Paris. It's very interesting as well as sad to see how starved the world is of beautiful iconic women in a range of colors. Although I'm not in Britain, I can honestly say that growing up in the United States as a Black's hard. I have learned that people don't want to find me beautiful because of my skin color, and that's why we have so few black iconic women. Especially in the US with our persistent stereotypes of black women all being loud, ignorant, ghetto. I wish I lived in Britain :/

    But your work is beautiful. I'm excited to read your blog :)