Love and Valor Personified

Allison Brown has this way of making the room go still, locking eyes with you so that you can hear your way to freedom in her next words. When we falter and are afraid, she intensely mobilizes support so that we can keep moving. Our lives are better because of her sisterhood, and we are humbled to have her on our board. Allison is love and valor personified. As she reflects on facing life and cancer, we hope her words propel you as they have us.

“I am re-making myself, I hope, in the image of the divine, of Love. Love has kept me, comforted me, grounded me. Love is re-orienting me. It is my bread crumbs when I am lost. It is the impossibly heavy-duty crane that lifts me from my bed when all that is on repeat in my mind is ‘I cannot’. It is the tidal wave that somehow miraculously compels my feet, one in front of the other when I am otherwise paralyzed by pain, malaise, fear.”

Continue reading Of Love and Cancer via medium

“Take a day to heal from the lies you’ve told yourself and the ones that have been told to you.”

-Maya Angelou

 

 

 

photography by Kaci Kennedy for TBP

 

 

 

 

We offered these words as an affirmation for the speakers and organizers of the 2017 Grantmakers for Girls of Color Convening. We offer them now to those who commit their time and emotional labor to ensure and protect space for Black girls and women all over the world.

 

written by Pamela Thompson + photography by Elisabeth Michel for TBP

co-curated by Deborah Willis and Melissa Harris

Exhibition runs through January 13, 2018 at the Gulf + Western Gallery, 721 Broadway, Lobby and 8th Floor. 

“Re-imagining A Safe Space will explore critical questions regarding the idea of a safe space. Through text and image, the exhibition will include the perspectives of artists, activists, and students who have confronted some of these issues in their respective circumstances and work.”

Congrats to the amazing TBP image makers included in this show!!! 

Kaci Kennedy, Arielle Jean Pierre, Pamela Thompson and Jamaica Gilmer

 

More information about the exhibition: https://tisch.nyu.edu/photo/events/reimagining-a-safe-space-exhibition-nyu

“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic. – the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.” 

 — Charles de Lint

September 10th, Durham’s own Village of Wisdom hosted its 2017 Black Genius Fest in the heart of the city’s Northgate park. A myriad of local organizations – all of which promote the political, social and educational advancement of black youth – were invited as an outreach and resource to black families across the Triangle. The Beautiful Project set up stage creating an interactive #dearblackgirl experience that allowed families of black girls and boys alike to both receive and contribute nodes of positive thought to their sisters, daughters, mothers, friends, and selves.

 

“If you were able, what would you say to a black girl that you know and love?” This simple question proposed a creative platform of amity and inspiration to the young minds who visited the booth, and challenge these same brilliant minds to explore the magic and care in their hearts.

After reading the #dearblackgirl letters of so many other genuine souls around the world, and composing their own works of prose, they were each given the opportunity to have their imaginative excitement documented as a keepsake photograph.

While the experience was a sure way for The Beautiful Project to collaborate with so many amazing souls young and old, it also extended a dais to these same creatives for their own declaration of black girl magic and black boy joy.

We invite all who attended and even those who could not to continue the work of #dearblackgirl in their own rite. As the saying goes, “be the change you wish to see in the world,” –  be the voice that brings light and love to black girls everywhere! 

 

Written by Madylin Nixon-Taplet for TBP

Photography team: Alexis Dennis, Kaci Kennedy, Alexandria Miller, Natalie Wiggins, Madylin Nixon-Taplet, Jamaica Gilmer & Tamara Gibbs 

Last summer, we partnered with the folks at Black August in the Park  to create mini photo docs of social justice organizations who fundamentally believe in the beauty and power of Black people. Spaces of joy, pause and peace are integral for Black people’s well being in the midst of the weight of our fight. In celebration of Black August in the Park 2017’s fast approach, we are grateful for the reflections of the Black Youth Project 100-Durham Chapter.

Today, journey with us to learn more about BYP100-Durham Chapter!

 

BYP100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. BYP100 is committed to building a collective focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy and education using a Black queer feminist lens.


Why do you do this work?

“I do this work because there was a seed planted long before I existed, but someone knew I would manifest to be willing to be transformed in the service of the work. I do this work because I went to terrible schools and it was easier to get a gun than to get to the library. I do this work because I want black liberation for all black people.” 

-D’atra “Dee Dee” Jackson, she/her, BYP100 Durham Chapter Co-Chair


How do you define power?

“Power is the ability to have control over our bodies and the environment we exist in.”

-Nhawndie, They/Them, Healing & Safety member


How do you define beauty?

“I can’t provide a full definition, but when I think of beauty, I think of security. Beauty to me is resistance and reaffirmation of what has been devalued. Beauty is community. Beauty is loving the most authentic you.”

-Angum Check,Organizing committee 


When do you feel the most powerful?

I feel most powerful when I am with my movement family because they make me feel safe, valued, and loved!”

-Nhawndie,They/Them, Healing & Safety member



How do you define beauty?

“I define beauty existing wherever there is compassion.” 

-D’atra “Dee Dee” Jackson, she/her, Durham Chapter Co-Chair 


When do you the most powerful?

“I feel most powerful when I am challenging everything designed to eliminate or restrict me, whether that’s through my mind in decolonizing and unlearned toxicity or through tangible actions like protesting.”

Angum Check, Organizing committee


Visit BYP-100 to learn more!


Black August in the Park is a stunning experience that affirms Blackness and creates an opportunity to connect with others who are fighting to make the world–and Durham–a space that is safe and welcome for all Black people. See you at Black August in the Park 8.20.17!

 


PHOTOGRAPHY by Meron Habtemariam,Kaci Kennedy,Madylin Vernise Nixon-Taplet and Jamaica Gilmer for The Beautiful Project

 

Black August in the Park provides spaces where people of all different corners of the diaspora and Black experience can connect with local and regional justice movements while unapologetically celebrating their blackness. Grateful the Black August in the Park team asked us to create mini photo docs of three social justice organizations who support and uplift the beauty and power of Black people: Village of Wisdom (VOW), SpiritHouse, Inc and Black Youth Project 100-Durham (BYP 100). 

This week learn more about, SpiritHouse!

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SpiritHouse, Inc is a multigenerational, black-women-led organization that uses culture, art and media to support the empowerment of communities impacted by racism and poverty. SpiritHouse’s strategies include cultural organizing and coalition building and are based in community customs, culture and practices.


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How do you define power?

“Sovereignty to be me.”

Tia Hall/Cultural Alchemist & Program Developer


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When do you feel the most powerful?

“When I am am able to learn from my mistakes, when I am able to bring my gifts online to help myself, my family and my community, when I am able to regenerate and reanimate myself after a particularly hard period, when I cease to judge myself and other people for being human, when I find joy in simply breathing.”

Omisade Burney-Scott/SpiritHouse Board Member


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“Imagine a world where everybody is safe and no one is thrown away…”

The Harm Free Zone is a series of popular education sessions designed to help people uncover and discover strategies for creating Harm Free communities. The project provides tools and trainings to both strengthen and develop our capacity to confront and transform harm.


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How do you define beauty?

“When what radiates inside shines outside.”

Tia Hall/Cultural Alchemist & Program Developer


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SpiritHouse is committed to using community driven strategies to uncover and uproot the systemic barriers that prevent families from gaining the resources, leverage and capacity for long-term self-sufficiency.


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Visit SpiritHouse, Inc to learn more about The Harm Free Zone – Transformative Justice Training!


 JOIN US THIS FRIDAY @ the BLACK MARKET 11-6pm!

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Brought to you by the Black August in the Park Team, the Black Market is an annual marketplace for local, regional and national Black-owned businesses to gain exposure to new clientele and network with one another. The Black Market also provides educational opportunities to prospective business owners during the annual event. Join us at the Black Market Friday, November 25 2016 11-6pm.

 


PHOTOGRAPHY by Meron Habtemariam,Kaci Kennedy,Madylin Vernise Nixon-Taplet and Jamaica Gilmer for The Beautiful Project

 

This year our team partnered with the folks at Black August in the Park to create mini photo docs of three social justice organizations who fundamentally believe in the beauty and power of Black people: Village of Wisdom (VOW), SpiritHouse, Inc. and Black Youth Project 100-Durham (BYP 100). Black August in the Park is a stunning experience that affirms Blackness and creates an opportunity to connect with others who are fighting to make the world–and Durham–a space that is safe and welcome for Black people.

Today, journey with us to learn more about Village of Wisdom!

 

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Village of Wisdom (VOW) is an organization committed to working with families to protect Black Genius. Through VOW, families build a network of support building and protecting the healthy development and reflection of black youth.

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Why do you do this work?

“I do this work because on the day that our children inherit this Earth, I want them to know what to do with It.”

Taylor Webber-Fields/VOW Volunteer


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How do you define power?

“Being in a position where you can make a change and/or influence others in a positive way.”

-Brie Dorsey/VOW Intern


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Why do you do this work?

“I want Black youth to have the freedom and happiness they deserve.”

-Liz Adams/VOW Board Member


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When do you feel the most beautiful?

I feel the most beautiful when I stop to realize that my daughters are a reflection of me.”

-Jasmine Bowles/VOW Family Engagement & Event Director


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How do you define power?

“Power is the ability to pursue one’s Highest Self without fear for punishment or reproach.”

-Taylor Webber-Fields/VOW Volunteer


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Join Village of Wisdom  for this month’s Black Genius Workshop THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10 @Dress for Success in Northgate Mall!

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PHOTOGRAPHY by Meron Habtemariam,Kaci Kennedy,Madylin Vernise Nixon-Taplet and Jamaica Gilmer for The Beautiful Project

Brought to you by the Black August in the Park Team, the Black Market is an annual marketplace for local, regional and national Black-owned businesses to gain exposure to new clientele and network with one another. The Black Market also provides educational opportunities to prospective business owners during the annual event. Save the date!

They are quiet and fierce. Loud and loving. Angry and hopeful. They join us in this work, taking up pen and lens to create and protect space for Black girls and women. Welcome with us, our new class of image makers:

Kaci Kennedy/North Carolina Central University

Meron Habtemariam/North Carolina State University

Madylin Vernise Nixon-Taplet/University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Alexandria Miller/Duke University

Image Makers

 

Love to you Meron, Alex, Kaci, and Madylin!

 

 

We are overjoyed by the outpour of your hearts on the page. Overcome by how so many of you rose to the occasion and spread the word. Know that we see you and we are grateful.

#DearBlackGirl letters will debut on our blog, The Lens beginning Wednesday, October 14.  Stay tuned good people, this is just the first phase of an inter-generational space where Black girls’ and women’s voices will rise, challenge, and heal.

To subscribe to The Lens just go to our menu bar and click “subscribe to our blog”.

With respect and gratitude,

The Beautiful Project