Alexis McGrigg

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B L A C K (1920 x 1080i), video performance, NFD

I am examining the concept of value in terms of relative lightness or darkness, and value in terms of significance and relative worth. Being an African-American woman, the color Black carries a world of weight. It is carried with us daily in our hair, our smiles, our walk, our talk, looming over our lives as a definitive source of identity. As young girls we grow up knowing that we are the “other.” This piece represents the emotions I felt – believing that the darkness of my skin somehow devalued my appearance. However, if I could speak to my younger self, I would tell her this:
We are made to feel ashamed of the radiance that penetrates through our skin; our souls are daily dying to break free. Black girl, black girl, black girl, you are not alone in this cruel world. Don’t let the anger outside be internalized; your blackness cannot be erased, cannot be patronized. So, bring forth your rage and let it flow free, because soon black girl, a woman you will be. Look inward dear and forget the stares peering back at you. See with your own eyes the beauty that is inescapably in you. And when you realize the love of this skin that entraps your soul, it will be more than just Blackness that builds the character you hold.