I have to say: I. LOVE. THIS. SO. MUCH! Artist Debra Cartwright has answered prayers I didn’t even know I had!
There certainly is nothing wrong with the images of strong, Black women, but aren’t there a few things missing?
I must admit, sometimes I feel a bit left out when I see the “Strong, Black, Sistah” imagery. Often times the woman portrayed gorgeous, unsmiling with full features and thick thighs. A brickhouse, force to be reckoned with. She unapologetically exudes power and strength. Her defiance is justified, as she refuses to be silenced in a world that is trying to force her to shut up.
She is stunning, but I don’t quite see myself when I see those images. I see some of what I still aspire to.
What I am now – and part of what I intend to always be – is girly, delicate, sweet. In that nursery rhyme definition of a girl, I’m more on the sugar side than the spice. These beautiful watercolor paintings by Debra Cartwright aim to include those traits in the images we see of Black women.
“We’re seen as ‘angry’ when we have opinions, our hair is ‘unprofessional’ or ‘militant’ when it’s just how it grows out of our head,” Cartwright said in an article with The Huffington Post. “I seek to portray us as soft, feminine and carefree. The fluidity of watercolors really lends to that message.
I think it’s important that the image of Black women is well-rounded and encompasses all that we are, even when some of those traits seem to contradict. We’re far too complex to oversimplify or easily define.
(photo of Debra Cartwright’s watercolor painting retrieved from HuffingtonPost.com)