A BLACK WOMAN'S TEARS (series), 2020
"As a young Black woman living in the United States, experiencing how the various systems and infrastructures of oppression, everything from education to employment, to interactions with individuals and personal relationships have contributed to the emotional blockage of Black women. Where we often keep a lot of our experiences and feelings of pain, anger, sadness, and frustrations within, where it continues to build up. Since Black women, are often described as strong and always holding it together, I wanted to explore what would happen if we unleash the emotional flood gates and release all that we are holding: happiness, fear, sadness, pain, frustration, regret, remorse, guilt, pint up aggression, softness, and joy? What would the effect be on ourselves and our environment? The circles are used to create texture and represent the different emotions, feelings and experiences that make up the Black woman."
A Black Woman's Tears (3), 2020
A Black Woman's Tears (4), 2020
VERONICA ELIZABETH THOMAS in conversation with JAKIA FULLER
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?
FULLER: Yes! Throughout my childhood, so much of my worth and appearance was linked to my hair; the softness and length. I received compliments about my hair before anything else, which is still the case today. My hair was damaged from swimming in chlorine as a child, and not knowing the importance of washing my hair after each swim. To this day, my mother blames me for my hair loss and still brings it up. Short hair was never celebrated in my home, or something to aspire to. It has been a process of learning how to let go of my past glory and embrace and love my hair today. My hair texture is 4c, and although I love wearing my hair in a shrunken afro, that isn't the best choice for my hair. At this moment, I'm trying to find a balance between my afro, yarn braids, twists, and other natural styles and living in a dry desert climate in New Mexico.
THOMAS: PEASY is an homage to Black womxnhood. What does honoring your Blackness and womxn-ness in your everyday rituals look like?
FULLER: Honoring my Blackness and womxn-ness looks like me showing up for myself authentically, in all spaces and places I occupy; to not live fragmented or fractured, but to embrace and acknowledge all of me. Right now, that has manifested as doing things that keep me in alignment, such as meditation, prayer, gratitude to my ancestors, reading, drawing, exercising, learning a new language, skincare, oral hygiene, napping and playing video games. Additionally, each morning and night, I look at my full reflection in the mirror, and tell myself that I choose me and that I see myself. It took a while to come up with this list and to put it into practice consistently. I really had to sit with myself and figure out why I felt off, and what was contributing to me being out of alignment? It also shows up in how I want to express myself each day, month, year... For example, the majority of this year my yarn braids have been completely light grey with an accent color. This choice was reflective of life to me at the moment, how I'm experiencing and living, is light grey with highlights popping up every now and then.
THOMAS: In what ways does your practice elevate your intention?
FULLER: My practice elevates my intention because it is embedded in my purpose. My purpose is to live a life full of adventure. It has helped me realize how much say and control I do have in my day to day, which also exposed where I was giving it away. This practice has strengthened my muscle of doing what I am called to do and has allowed me to uncover what success means to me.
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?
FULLER: It's surreal, complex, and layered. It is a mixture of things, like a wonderfully made and captivating walking contradiction. This is also how I describe myself. I couldn't imagine not being a Black womxn. The journey has been and continues to be rewarding, painful, exhausting, fun, full of laughter, joyful, stillness, happiness, growth, expansion, tears, frustration, adventure, authenticity, and self-acceptance.
THOMAS: Is there any message, feeling or intention you wish to communicate about your experience of Black womxnhood?
FULLER: That it's ongoing, and I'm excited to continue moving forward on this adventure. There are no limitations or boundaries, except for the ones I put on myself and allow to be imposed on me. Lastly, Black womxnhood is a beautiful experience that I am grateful to have been blessed with. I wouldn't have it any other way.