Beautiful Photo Series Showcases Black Women Reclaiming and Celebrating Their Bodies
August 27, 2015 at 6:00 am
Black female bodies are consistently hypersexualized and fetishized, stripping black women of the agency to control the representation of our own bodies. In an effort to allow black women to reclaim our bodies and be “in control of our sexy,” Jo’Nella Queen Ellerbe envisioned using photography as a tool. Together, Ellerbe and her creative team Taylor Michael and Jacinta Lomba created the breathtaking photo series Eminence.
“Eminence: A Photo Project to Glorify and Decolonize the Bodies of Black Women represents women of the African diaspora of various sizes and colors: with two inescapable, uniting factors; that we are black, and that we are women.”
Each participant chose a personal phrase or quotation, words that were then painted onto their backs. The placement of the words on these women’s backs was deliberate. The creators recognize that our backs symbolize many things. They remind us of our histories dating back to slavery and the centuries of whippings and beatings that black women endured. Additionally, our backs are both a source of strength and symbolize the stresses and burdens that fall upon us.
“Our backs carry both a weight and a lightness,” Ellerbe, Michael, and Lomba write. “And, it’s okay that sometimes we feel angry or carefree or a range of other feelings.”
They certainly got that one right. Black women have the right to have agency over our own feelings and our own bodies.
Scroll down to see these remarkable photos of healing and resistance.