Friday, March 08, 2019

Photographer - Ezekixl Akinnewu.

8th March. International women's day. A single day for the appreciation of women.

To think this day has existed for over a century is almost unfathomable knowing how far women have come since then - yet acknowledging how far we have to go. This day was created by the Socialist Party of America, although it's unclear what the purpose of the day ultimately was, allowing for the celebration and acknowledgement of women. Our history as a gender teaches us the lengths to which those before us had to go for things we now take for granted - from the vote to the roles we have been able to take in society. Unfortunately, what's clear is that the equality that we are working towards fails to be acknowledged on a global scale - with many women still struggling to find a voice. This day for many is a time to honour womanhood and everything that it encapsulates yet, some don't even know the day exists - or see it as their only time to be vocal and protest.

Women's day to me goes beyond celebrating and appreciating the women around me but realising the steps that need to be taken for a 'balanced society'. #Balanceforbetter, as a campaign, is exactly what needs to be brought to light for this years Women's day as shown by the IWD organisers. A balanced parliament, a balanced boardroom across the financial districts of London, a balance in our wealth and ultimately a balance of rights. What makes me proud as an ethnic woman, is to know that non Caucasian nations are leading the way in establishing a balance in government - the center of change. Rwanda, a country that has faced atrocities in the past decade, leads with women forming over 60% of their government. Growth is happening and what is ironic is it's Africa paving the way - showing that this is possible. Let's not even get into that...

Although today collectively celebrates all women, black women raised and made me - today I celebrate you. Black women's influence on current pop culture, fashion and ability to shift the routes taken isn't acknowledged. Trend setters in our own right - yet when such 'trends' are seen on us they can be seen as 'ghetto' and ultimately socially unacceptable. From the long acrylic nails auntie from church has been having since the beginning of time to the art of wig wearing - black women have caused a new evolution in the paths of pop culture.

I applaud all black women for their boldness in being carefree - embracing the roots of their heritage wholly and in such a wholesome way. The diversity in our melanin should be celebrated not just for the beauty in it's appearance, but for the stories and history that are embedded in the tones. Dark skin women are only glorified on social media and almost made into a fetish - depleting them of their worth and richness. Patricia Bright puts it simply 'rich in colour, rich in life'.

Uganda // photographer @dazzle_jam 

Learning to embrace what makes me a black woman was shown to me by other black women in my life - so to honour that here's a short piece:

A Letter To My Women.

Black woman, may your crown flourish in length and achieve bounds you couldn't imagine -
your 'fro exceed the power it already holds.
Black woman, may your roots ground you - hold you. Since the world does not.
Black woman, let your skin glow - your shea butter reflect the light you are.
Black woman, be bold and hold no regret in being unapologetically you.
Black woman, without you - where would we be?
Black woman, the bigger the hoop the bigger the goals.
Black woman, continue to overachieve - our army is rising.
Black woman, you are magic. Majestic.
Black is beauty.
Black is change.
Above all, black is you.

If anything, I pray that the daughters that God blesses us with have the ability to be carefree and unapolagetically black women in society. To be able to experiment freely in the journey that is embracing everything that is being a woman.

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