Last Summer while scrolling the gram I came upon an illustration of a little brown girl in a yellow dress who running, mouth open, screaming with the caption “My feet are running to speak the truth in love to everyone I meet.” I had such a connection to the image I googled everything on the artist and later fell in love with her other illustrations many showing the beauty of black women and girls. My favorite, a little girl nestled between her moms legs and she gets her hair done. Her art is a dash of self -love that I needed and wanted to share.
What have you done for you lately? Self-care is super important to me. I hired a personal trainer, regular visits to the spa for massage and facials, but I LOVE doing my own at home facials!
NoireCare Practices: Sometimes we are so caught up with fashion and makeup that we really never get down to the root of what makes us beautiful as women. I personally think you have to dig a little deeper and start with beautifying your spirit, soul, and body. Too many times we glam up the outside, while the inside is a HOT MESS of uncontrolled, unexpressed, emotions, blame, self-hate, low self-esteem and no sense of self or self-confidence. I will be the first one to say that, “I ain’t HARDLY PERFECT,” but I am always working on getting my mind right. Meditation and prayer are key for me. Saying and thinking right thoughts about who I am as a person, my big boobs, and strange hair. Loving myself so that I can be able to love others from a place of healing.
Who or what introduced you to it? My mom and my aunts!
Did you grow up witnessing your mom or other female elders practicing self-care? Oooh yes indeed!! My mom was beautiful. She made her clothes and ours. She made her own makeup and styled her own wigs and hair. The way a woman carries herself says a lot about her, was what we were taught.
Is your art a reflection of your love and care of self? Yes it really, really is!! As a woman of color growing up I didn’t see myself on TV or in fashion magazines. It was the late 60’s and Essence hadn’t hit the stands yet. Dianne Carol was just becoming a star. When you don’t see yourself in the media you begin to believe that you are invisible and this can be very damaging to the human spirit and soul. This “Invisibleness” that I felt started at 4 or 5 and grew with me way into my early 30’s. I was introduced to a book that came out in 1963 called, ” The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. It would be the first of a few children’s books that would have a black child as the star of the book. I remember how it made me feel. I felt like someone saw. Peter was beautiful and brown just like Vanessa and it empowered me so much and I want to do the same for girls and boys of color. There is a great need for illustrators to create characters that reflect not only white children but beautiful gorgeous brown babies. Making them the star or the hero. I get to do this every single day and it’s a part of my purpose here on the earth. I want to draw children that make brown parents and the children that they read to proud.
I know many artists who say their art is therapy, is this a sentiment that
you also share? My art is therapy for me in so many ways. I get to say what I want to say with a picture and it’s true, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Sometimes I can say more with an illustration then I could ever say with mere words.
usI’ve seen your illustrations beautifully reflect a myriad of faces. How important is it for you to be able to illustrate and include faces that resemble yours and those of your family members? I stated this before, but I so want us to get it. It’s so important! Every little black girl who has light or dark skin, who has big, short, long, fluffy, tightly coiled or straight hair needs to see themselves beautifully illustrated in a book! That Blond hair and blue eyes aren’t all that is beautiful. So it’s SUPER important for me to show beautiful brown girls being strong, smart, and funny. Show them being kind, brave and lovable. This is my way of giving them back the power.
What do you want your daughter, nieces, and other girls to learn from you about self-care and self-love? Babygirls, you can’t love anyone until you love yourself. It’s like trying to pour water from an empty bottle into an empty glass. It just can’t be done! First see clearly yourself and the fact that you matter and that you are valuable and precious and that others should view you as such and if they can’t see your value and that you matter than that person is a danger
to you and themselves and you need to get as far away from them as possible.
I believe in our homes having sacred spaces. What do you think our homes need a little bit more of? Owning our own feelings and our broken places. Less blame and shame and more listening and empathy towards each other.
A quote, verse, song or piece of inspiration that is your go to?
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works and
my soul knows it very well. Ps 139:13-14