This is a “being seen in twenty-sixteen” post.
Reminder: I’ve invited my sista-friends to answer the following question: How do you make yourself visible as a Womon/Black? Introducing guest bloomer: Johannil Napoleón. She is not only my sista-friend, she’s also my comrade in art therapy. Keep reading/seeing to experience how she makes herself visible.
Sistas, no hiding in twenty-sixty, let’s see you!
To be black, womon and visible. I stand in my authenticity. I stand in my freedom, unapologetically. I refuse to compromise Me for your approval.
I decide how to use the many sounds of my voice and the direction of my golden lips, whether it be talk or silence. I push comfort zones, step over boundaries and I carefully pick which role to play when I enter a space ’cause I don’t want to be minimized, I don’t want to be forgotten.
I remember to give myself permission to express my mind, my heart to the world; I am worthy of feeling the sweetness of freedom and comfort of safety. I clearly speak my needs and desires despite the consequences of approval or disapproval.
I breathe through, pray through and speak against oppressive systems. I pour my creative juices onto drawings, paintings and photography and exhibit them with truth, for eyes to see and hearts to feel that this black kinda womon breathes and exist. My life relentlessly strives and yearns for the world to create room for me, to hold space for me. This is what it takes for me to be black. This is what it takes for me to be a Black Womon. This is what it takes for me to be visible.
photographs and writing by Johannil Napoleón