Celebrating Black Girlhood: The Beautiful Project Journal Issue 4

For over an year, our team has been working hard on creating the latest edition of The Beautiful Project Journal, which is an annual publication full of words and images captured by the women and girls in our collective.
This year’s issue is special because it centers the voices and perspectives of young writers and photographers who participated in our programs over the last couple of years. We hope this publication can be a tool for Black girls to feel encouraged in the pandemic and in these escalating times. May this journal give readers a brief reprieve from the pervasive racism around the world and help them refocus around their peace, power and voice.  
Below, you will find an excerpt of the beautiful letter from this issue’s co-editor, Pamela Thompson. To read the full publication, as well as previous issues, visit here.

For the life of The Beautiful Project, it has been our honor to work for and with Black girls. Our work features Black girls and is aimed at highlighting and centering their beauty, wisdom, complexity and joy. Throughout time, we have refined and extended our programming and positioned writing and photography as tools the girls can use to express themselves and share with the world their remarkable perspectives and visions. Unlike the well-meaning adults of our youth, we have been careful not to repeat the mistake of creating worlds and work for girls without creating space for those girls to speak about, think through and create for themselves, alongside us. 

Over the past few years, we have invested ourselves and our time in training girls and then yielding to their interpretations and ideas about how to use these tools and skills. This edition of The Journal is dedicated to the dreams and visions of the little girls and their families who trusted us to train them in the activist work of image making. We lift up their bold and remarkable iterations of what can be created by Black girls when we take the time to equip them, put our confidence in them and give them the prerogative to create through exploring photography and writing. We have been enlightened, thrilled, challenged and stretched in pursuit of connecting girls to their own brilliance and prowess by showing them how to do a thing and then stepping back and allowing them to do. the. thing.  

This Journal is a manifestation of the minds and hearts of our young image makers. It is our intention to make space for our girls to quiet their inhibitions and distractions and connect with themselves in order to hear the whispers of their heart where stories are yearning to be told. Our dream is to see Black girls unencumbered, fiercely and courageously writing and documenting themselves into history.

We hope you enjoy.

Today marks the release of the third issue of The Beautiful Project Journal, a biannual publication that gives insight on the inner workings of our collective of Black girls and women. Our first issue, Activating Sisterhood, served as our re-introduction to the world as a collective of image makers and explored how we cultivate sisterhood with each other. Our second issue, Doing The Work, went deeper into what it means for us, as Black women and girls, to do this type of work that is before us. This current Journal focuses on the notion of wellness and healing for Black women and girls.

We are interrogating the nuances of self-care, exploring the necessity of collective care, and sharing tools and strategies on how to pursue wellness and healing for ourselves and each other. You will find articles and images that capture the themes of sisterhood, liberation, healing, and transformation. We hope you enjoy!

Thank you to the wonderful women who contributed to this issue and made it happen:

Editors: Khayla Deans and Pamela Thompson 

Designer: Winnie Okwakol

Images & Text Contributors: Frances Adomako, Ahmadie Bowles, Zoey Bowles, Jade Clauden, Morgan Crutchfield, Dawn Downey, Pasha Gray, Jamaica Gilmer, Alexandria Miller, Cecilia Moore, Della Mosley, Madylin Nixon-Taplet, Avery Patterson, Sydney Patterson, AlineSitoe A. Sy

Our love to Timisha, Lacquen, Margaret, Lisa, Nadia, Ashley, Krystyn, Shyla, Alex, April, Najauna, and Joan for blessing us with your presence.

Today marks the release of the second issue of The Beautiful Project Journal, a biannual publication that gives insight on the inner workings of our collective. Our first issue, Activating Sisterhood, served as our re-introduction to the world as a collective of image makers and explored how we cultivate sisterhood with each other. In this new issue, we are digging deeper into what it means for us, as Black women and girls, to do this work that is before us.

We define our work as creating spaces for Black women and girls to confront the mass misrepresentation of our likeness in the media and the world. This publication is a manifestation of how we approach image activism through photography, writing and care. In this particular issue, you will find a personal story by our Director of Wellness Programming, Erin M. Stephens, on practicing transformative care, a compelling short story by author Afabwaje Kurian, a glimpse into the lives and work of Black women in our community, and much more.

Thank you to the wonderful women who contributed to this issue and made it happen: Pamela, Erin, Jamaica, Meron, Madylin, Kaci, and Afa. Also, much love to Mama Toni and Sakarah for blessing our cover so gracefully!

You can view Doing The Work here.  We hope you enjoy!

 

 

Written by Khayla Deans for TBP

Cover Images by Jamaica Gilmer

During a staff meeting late last year, someone brought up the idea for TBP to start releasing a newsletter again. The initial purpose was to update our community with news about what’s going on within the organization, share new TBP campaigns, and to expand our virtual community. As we continued to brainstorm what the newsletter could become, we specified the importance of creating something that feels like us — thoughtful, serene, welcoming, and creative. As image makers and storytellers, we wanted to creatively give our community a deeper look into who we are as an organization and a behind the scenes look into our work. Soon, the dream that we were creating extended beyond a simple newsletter and blossomed into something larger. And thus, The Beautiful Project Journal was born.

The Beautiful Project Journal is a biannual publication that gives insight on the inner workings of a collective of Black women storytellers who choose to empower women & girls through words and images.

Twice a year, we will release the TBP Journal under a new theme that captures an element of one of our core values. The Journal will feature words and images by members of our collective and the greater community. In this inaugural issue, we focus on what it means for us to activate sisterhood for Black women and girls. We hope you enjoy our first issue and will feel inspired to activate and cultivate sisterhood with the women and girls in your own lives. Enjoy!