Being black in America is a unique experience marked by combatting lack of visibility, acceptance, barred entry to social mobility, economic status, and so on. I wanted to challenge our society’s agenda of withholding substantial success from the black community by having black bodies occupy historically white-exclusive spaces. For this series, I channeled the Victorian era and its imagery of white generational wealth to showcase white-exclusivity. It’s important to posit black people within this imagery because it is also a means of breaking entry and defying expectation. These associations claim access to similar achievements of wealth and status.
In order to reclaim positive visibility and status, I believe blacks have to redefine how we are seen and the social images with which we are associated. Victorian Black Love is a personal response to being black in America during a politically-unstable era. Meanwhile, I am becoming an adult and coming to terms with what it means to foster a powerful relationship with myself despite external turbulence. This series aided in my personal declaration to do what I want and exude powerful energy, despite my identity and its political consequences.
Photos by Jordan Tiberio
Creative direction by Danielle Mareka
Styling by Ashlee Valle
Make-up by Shideh Kafei
Hair by Shay Carey
Talent by Orrin Campbell