The regality of blackness was on full display at the “God is a Woman of Color” (GIAWOC) exhibition at the Student Hotel on February 28th.
As GIAWOC was one of the final events of BHMF, a night of celebration was definitely in order. The music and decor complemented the infectious energy of the room perfectly, but it was the main attractions that stole the night.
Photographs depicting women basking in the richness of their different shades of blackness took center stage. Surrounded by these images I could just feel their energy bouncing from the walls. The glow of their skin was unreal, and their poses and facial expressions evoked power, grace and elegance. I loved the artists’ ability to capture both their strength and delicacy simultaneously in every shot.
A collection of poems was featured in the exhibition as well. They accompanied the photographs and provided some context to the exhibition. My favorite poem read:
Your existence is a fight
To be recognized
To be heard
To be autonomous
To your own body
To free your mind
To replenish your soul
With this poem I was reminded that to be woman and to be black intensifies this fight even further. The uniqueness of the black woman’s experience in this world is her existence at the intersection of these two worlds — blackness and womanhood — and her ability to navigate through the struggles that come with those two identities.
In a world that celebrates and promotes Eurocentric standards of beauty, It was refreshing to participate in a genuine appreciation of the beauty of blackness. Beyond its celebration of black features, afro-textured hair and melanated skin, it also celebrated the inner beauty of the black woman, her hardships, and the strength that she has built up because of it. Her glow was not just her glow, but the glow of the women that came before her, and their fight to survive a world that invokes constant attacks on their blackness.