'Power(ed) by Grace' is shifting the lens to black womanhood
Going into this process, there was no grand hypothesis or even end product in mind. I really just wanted to know what black womanhood meant to black women. I knew that the women I interacted with every day had complex and nuanced lives, but I also knew that statistics from studies and biased news stories could not and would not convey that. I knew that as much as I love seeing us on the covers of magazines and on primetime TV, I was just as interested in these women’s lives beyond the limelight. Too often the intricacies of our internal lives are ignored or taken for granted, and I realized that void was the space I wanted to operate in.
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I came to focus on exploring the small moments in black women’s lives because, when pulled together, these are what make us who we are. I wanted to get into the minutiae of our days, gathering slice-of-life images and stories that anyone and everyone can relate to, but filtering all of this through the lens of black women’s lived experiences. I wanted to show black womanhood as starting a business in your home studio. As talking to your homegirl on the corner about trying to find a decent place you can afford. As going to the farmer’s market with your sisters to pick fresh produce. By lifting up our everyday ups and downs, I hoped to provide a space where we could see and appreciate the beauty in ourselves and consequently share that with the world.
Black women are human beings deserving of care and consideration, and we deserve images that reflect the nuances, trials and triumphs of our lives. I’m not the only person doing this work by a long shot, but it’s a privilege to be able to make a contribution. The content and stories on this platform are a simple declaration that we’re here, we’ve been here and we’re not going anywhere. I hope that there are black girls and women out there who will see this and find some of their stories, but I also hope that anyone who engages in this work can see it and find their stories, too.Njaimeh Njie is a Pittsburgh-based multimedia producer, freelancing across video, photography and curating. Check out Power(ed) by Grace on Instagram and Facebook. Catch up with Njaimeh here.