Colored, Negro, Black, African American…
The black community has a long history of trying to define themselves with a label that showed a sense of pride and self-esteem. Through our history the community constantly debated what the labels meant and how they defined us. Leaders such as WEB DuBois and Booker T Washington, initiated movements to establish what it meant to be Negro as opposed to Colored, and groups such as the Black Panthers used Black as a means to instill a progressive movement within a community that was lacking an indigenous identity. To fill this void many moved to identify us as African-American, thinking this would give us some cultural integrity. Even still, others felt the term African-American was too inclusive, since Africa is made up of many cultures, and not all can trace their roots back to Africa. So, through these changes and years of history, have these labels helped us get any closer to understanding our social definition in America?
The series, BLACK, begins to examine the deconstruction of these labels and the meaning of being black in America today. Pairing appropriated images from the Civil Rights Movement with self-portraits, I begin a journey of not only self-discovery, but of communal discovery. Addressing, What it means to be BLACK in America today?, we can begin to remember those before us who were determined to define themselves within a global perspective as American.
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