“If the oldest mitochondrial DNA traces back to an African woman, why then are black women the most mistreated in this society?”

This is one of many questions that Karen Seneferu (artist) and Melorra Green (curator) seek to answer through their spiritual exhibit, The Black Woman is God: Reprogramming that God Code (TBWIG). The Exhibit opened for its biggest installation yet on July 7th, 2016 at SOMarts Cultural Center in San Francisco.

“The Black Woman is God celebrates the Black female presence as the highest spiritual form and challenges viewers to do the same. More than 50 intergenerational artists highlight the vital contributions of Black women as artists and social change-makers, ensuring that the Black woman’s contribution to society is seen and valued.”

This exhibition manifests itself through an art exhibit, events, media and much more. It’s the ideology that in order to bring people into the divinity of black womanhood that we must simply be Gods. That in our DNA is not just the trauma of slavery or the resilience bred from surviving atrocity after atrocity, but that most literally, our ability to create is a part of our blue print. It’s in the way we create, the way we birth Demi gods, the way we command attention, the way our hair grows to meet the sun, and in the way we age gracefully, as if time has known us from the beginning. Instead of focusing on the negative images of black women, the project argues its case by showcasing the many ways black women manifest God.

It’s in the way we step into our #BlackGirlMagic, the way we crown ourselves as Divas, Bosses and Queens, and in the way #carefreeblackgirls take control of their own narratives. In an article on Blavity and a vlog by Philogynoir, the term “carefree black girl” is dissected: “Is the term exclusionary?” it asks. “Can black women really be carefree?”

These terms, much like the TBWIG project, are part of a larger movement where black women choose to define ourselves by creating counter narratives in which we shift the focus to what uplifts us, instead of what brings us down. Being carefree is not about forgetting the weight of oppression or responsibilities. It is about not giving energy to negative narratives the world has created about us.

There is not a secret recipe or a particular way we need to dress, wear our hair or act, to be a part of this movement, all black women are welcome here. We will tell our own stories. Our characters will have various hues, shapes, sizes, ways of being and life experiences. Yet we are all versions of the very first woman who created the world, a commonality that unites us all.

There are moments when I access the god within myself. Whether it was when I carried my twins to full term and their life force orbited my body, or any time I fight to love my husband deeper, put a pen to a paper, or step foot into a classroom or onto a stage.

It is in those moments I realize that I am something more.

The TBWIG project resonates with me for those reasons, and as a woman I always wanted to be feminine, loving and beautiful, but I also wanted to be bold, brilliant and strong. This project gives us permission to balance. To be both. There is power in a blue-eyed blonde-haired male Christ. An image used to oppress the world. When we take back our images, we evoke: Maat, Nut, Yemaya, Oshun, Kali. We reprogram ourselves. We become more.

When we reimagine the gender of the “God Code” we reimagine ourselves.

Black woman…

Be the author of your own story.

Be who you wanna be.

Be God.

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