Umbra For 'Eerbody Else

Umbra centers the experiences of Black womxn.

You might feel sad, frustrated, or angry– but understand that your feelings do not change the experiences of Black womxn. In fact, your overwhelming guilt harms Black womxn because you to fail to act when Black womxn need you most.

Intersectionality is a term meant to describe intersecting marginalized identities, not just two identities that intersect. Understand that all of the issues presented to you today– also involve you. Gaze, control, savior, (d)anger, burden, liberation– you are a contributor to each of these concepts. Seek to understand if you perpetuate the harm or find ways to remove and prevent it.

Your call to action throughout this exhibition is to accept the facts presented before you. These experiences are not left up to your “interpretation” of art– I make that very clear in the descriptions of each piece, so read them. Your call to action after the exhibition is to show up for Black womxn, open your mouth when you see a Black womxn being harmed, use your power to enact change, and fight for the liberation of Black womxn.


Cookie Cutter Becky

It is beyond exhausting being a Black womxn in this White world, full of basic version silhouette replications. Every day I step out of my home– the only “safe” place I am allowed– I am faced with the impossibility of assimilation. Forced to fit inside a mold of professionalism, respectability, and “calm down”s. Your fascination with my crown of hair and my melanin glow, are exhausting. Your stares aren’t a compliment, rather, a reminder of my otherness. If I hear “I wish my hair was like yours” or “how many braids do you have” ONE. MORE. TIME…


Were We Ever Children?

The problem is, you’d never admit to believing a Black girl is more aggressive or sexually mature than their White peers. But see, research “confirms that Black girls feel the sting of adultification bias.” This means that Black girls receive harsher treatment and higher standards in school, they are hyper sexualized and less believed in cases of sexual assault, they are required by you to “fix” their aggressive behavior in making them more passive, and educators and authorities treat Black girls more inappropriately. So yea, it’s a problem. 


Lynched By Police

Your version of safety is killing us. And you’re okay with that. #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName #SayHerName 


Sacred Sexism

The bible is used against us; punishing us for our carrying our curves, alienating us for living in our truths, and killing our spirits with the standard of the Proverbs 31 woman. The church is more upset about who you love than the racism and sexism they, themselves, perpetuate. The religious institution is a prison of our bodies and our minds. It is a tool of exclusion, classism, soul-sucking poverty, and internalized oppression. 


Help Me, Help You

Save yourself for once. Men– of all shades–  expect Black womxn to carry the brunt of your incompetence. You lead departments and organizations taking credit for what we do. You question our brilliant ideas on equity, claiming a non-existent sensationalism. You continually compare your acts of mediocrity to ours, as if they would even compare. All the while we continue to put up with your physical, mental, and spiritual abuse for the good of the people. Because we want to see our community and institutions move forward. For once, give credit where credit is due. Uplift every Black womxn you have the honor of being in the same presence with. Work with us, support us, and stop defending your toxic masculinity at every turn. 


I’m Not Sorry for My Blackness

White women, this piece is to show you that you haven’t been forgotten. In fact, I dedicate this whole piece to you. Because you really think you have nothing to be sorry for, like your womxnhood is somehow a ticket out of your continual perpetuation of racism. I hope that you, most of all, understand your role in the oppression of Black womxn. I think of all the harm we experience each day from interpersonal relationships in this community, the worst comes from you. You, White women, who claim to care about us but can never speak up for us in public when it really matters. You, White women, who ask to be “called out” when you cross the line but when we do, your tears take up ALL THE SPACE. You, white women, who expect us Black womxn to apologize for our Blackness– because we came across too strong. Try admitting that you’re afraid– afraid of seeing Black womxn in control of their own destiny, without YOUR help. And after you finish reading this, pick up a tissue and stop expecting us to wipe away your White guilt. Show up for us by finding out what we need, LISTEN, and then do what we ask you to do. 


Trigger Warning

Historical trauma lives in us from this world you created for us. And we birth this hereditary disease, plaguing our young with the history of forgottenness, loneliness, and abuse. We never chose this, and you’ve yet to admit your wrong doings and repair this historical harm. We never get a chance to heal from this trauma. Everyday that goes by without reparations is salt in the wound. You don’t care, because it doesn’t affect you. You don’t have to be worried that when you go to the hospital to birth a child into this world that you’re more likely to die because White doctors don’t believe Black womxn. So keep on doing nothing, yours is the hand pulling the pin. 


Don’t Tell Me to Calm Down

I am so sick of this shit. I am exhausted with the hypocritical bullshit you lay out for us. Does it bring you joy to fuck with us? To provoke us to anger? To ask us for our voice to be at the table but forget our fucking chair? And because we’re fucking resilient and don’t need your dusty-ass chair, we stand and speak our truth with passion. I know you want us to calm down, but don’t expect that shit. You want us to speak in a tone soft enough to hear but not loud enough for you to listen. You want us to dress professionally without hiring us at a living wage at your institutions. You want us to respect authority as they continue to gun us down in our own homes. You don’t want to be challenged to change the racism, sexism, and classism you embody. Why the fuck would we not be angry? 


To The Marrow

You’ve forced this system of oppression on us and you’ve given us no way out. And you think what you’re doing is enough to repair the trauma you’ve caused. Well, it’s not. EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING ISN’T DOING ENOUGH. It’s almost as if you enjoy seeing us fight so hard that we wither to bone and dust. But what you don’t realize is that even our dust has the power to rise up and take you. Don’t be on the receiving end of our fight. Try asking us how you can support us. Try asking us how we need you to show up. Try asking us how to support our fight. 



You expect us to fix the “racism” problem by creating a brand new world from scratch— home-made, like the archetype Aunt Jemima. All the while you demand we hold up your broken systems “from the inside” with our hands chained to poverty and exploitation for White people. And when we ask to be paid for our our talents, our time, or our research and first-hand experience into creating this world you say you want— we’re told by you that we come for free like our ancestor-slaves before us. You pat yourselves on the back for showing up and reading this, don’t you? You think you’re here for Black womxn, don’t you? 


Freedom, Finally

Freedom will exist when you learn to step back, support us, and show up for Black womxn. When Black womxn can exist without interference and obstruction from the system you’ve created. This is what it looks like when Black womxn are leading. You’ll see our backs, as you follow us to liberation. This is what it looks like when Black womxn are free. Honored for our Blackness and valued for our womxnhood.



I really wish I could tell you what a truly liberated future looks like. I spent months asking myself and other Black womxn this question, “What does liberation for Black womxn look like?” But how do you visualize peace, sustenance, and self-care? How do you visualize a world without police, prisons, and oppressive religious institutions? What does a world without violence look like, distilled into a 26 X 26 inch illustration? To be honest, I don’t know. I can’t know this liberated future because it is clouded by trauma and hate-filled fog. All I know is that it starts somewhere, so I began to paint. I painted this piece to communicate the action that I’m taking towards a future that I can’t even imagine and will probably die before seeing. I’m sure that when it’s finished, it will be be better than I could have even imagined. My question remains, what does liberation for Black womxn look like, and furthermore, what are you doing to help me get there?

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