Angel Hugs 4 All
Healing of the African American Woman
Ever since I was a little girl, I loved dolls. Little did I know this incredible craft would take me on a journey to attempt to save a corner of the world. Yes, that is a tall order. Well, I will paraphrase a famous saying, “Dream big or go home!” Daunting, scary, but preparing to finally take my place in this world to make a difference.
Watching my beautiful African American women struggle with everything from the shading of their skin to the texture of their hair is just horrifying. Imagine you have gone through school all the way up to receiving your doctorate, only to be paid and thought less of? Yet, historically we have proven to this very world we can do anything. So to answer the question, are we magic? Yes.
So my goal was to set out, and in the great words of Reverend Jesse Jackson, “I am somebody!” I am a creator of beauty. What inspires me? The beauty of the African American woman, a phenomenal woman. I want Black women to get back to the roots of their creativity. So I set out to create a class that will teach all ages about our beauty in dolls and other mixed media. Painting, sewing, cooking, creating, evolving, and just going forward.
African American dolls and puppets made by African American artists are made out of representing either the artist or those who live in their community. A significant amount of African Americans have grown up without too many positive representations of people who look like them. This, along with discrimination, adds a social sense of being out of place, just not belonging anywhere. Dolls presented by artists are described as having a function of healing both physical and emotional hurts. We need to express a positive African American identity through our art. Through art, we can have the courage to get the pain out. Creating Black dolls by incorporating clay, wood, textiles, found objects, and glass embraces the sad reality of African American experiences and optimism for a boundless future. As artisans, the articulation brings out beauty, strength, style, spirituality, and truth.
Dolls have personality and joy; they can also harbor past stories through the way they are made. Dolls are engaging and conversational, and entertaining. In my community, the beauty of the African American creative woman will swell with pride.