MAHOGANY, 2019 - 2020
"This piece is a strong message to Black Women and an homage to our strength, our presence, our existence. Us. This poem literally speaks on our bodies, our influence, our power. And this is what I want to remind young Black Women of everyday. That we are the blueprint and we forever will be the blueprint.
VERONICA ELIZABETH THOMAS in conversation with CAESAR B.
THOMAS: Is there a moment, or series of moments, you can recall from childhood, that has shaped the ways in which you engage with your hair?
CAESAR: There are hundreds of moments with my hair that led me to where I am now. As a child and a young woman, I couldn’t stand my hair. I didn’t understand it. It’s function, form, informality and undomesticated nature. So, I disliked it as many people dislike things they don’t understand. I was bred by predominantly white spaces and that thought process, versus my natural reaction to rebel, pushed me to unlearn my colourism. I am a weirdo, I am Black and on top of being both of those things, queer. I owned myself and I took pride in that, but not nearly enough pride was taken in my Blackness. So, as a challenge to myself and an homage to my truth, in 2016 I decided, out of the blue, to go natural. Here I am, four year later, still practicing. My lack of understanding then, challenged me and radicalized me, to get me here. A knowing, willful, BLACK magic woman.
THOMAS: PEASY is an homage to Black womxnhood. What does honoring your Blackness and womxn-ness in your everyday rituals look like?
CAESAR: Honouring my Blackness is easy. Everyday rituals look like taking the time to hydrate my skin with oils I made with my own hands. Touching my hair, taking off my scarf and oiling my scalp. Honouring my Blackness in ritual looks like staring at myself directly in the mirror and reinforcing the knowledge that I am the most beautiful being out there and that my blessing, my Blackness, is the blueprint. But, the most gratifying way I honour my Blackness in ritual, is reminding other young Black women everyday of their beauty and imprint on the world. Seeing them smile, seeing my heart through theirs, is my most treasured ritual.
THOMAS: In what ways does your practice elevate your intention?
CAESAR: My practice elevates my intention and purpose by backing it, strengthening it, reinforcing it; By doing for myself, then for others, I do for myself all over again and it’s a never ending circle of joy. I am happy to be a Black, queer, creative woman. I celebrate and uplift Black, queer, creative women. Their joy uplifts me. It's the sun in rotation around me. That shine elevates my intention.
THOMAS: PEASY asks its audience to look beyond the imagery and into the soul of what it means to be a Black womxn - what does being a Black womxn mean / feel like to you?
CAESAR: I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. Being a Black woman, to me, feels like Sun. Like the hottest, brightest, most magnificent star in the galaxy. Being a Black woman to me means healing, perpetual healing. Solace. Love. Chance. Grace. Beauty. Being a Black woman to me feels like brown sugar tastes. Being a Black woman is the greatest gift from spirit imaginable.
THOMAS: Is there any message, feeling or intention you wish to communicate about your experience of Black womxnhood?
CAESAR: Black womanhood above all else is about forgiveness. About forgiving yourself when you haven’t had the strongest connection to your truth, to your skin and identity. Black womanhood is about tenderness and extending that to yourself every moment of everyday because you deserve it. To all the Black girls and women reading this, each day walk as if you are the most powerful person in the room, because you are. Approach other Black women and open up your heart space to them. Find homes in other Black women and know that they are going to hold, uplift and teach you. Speak, live and create with intention and love with warm, forgiving tenderness.