Kp Inspires aims to fight negative stereotypes against black women. Many people are unaware of the remaining stereotypes, negative attitudes, and oppression of African-Americans because stereotypes are so often accepted as the truth. I hear very commonly people say “get over it” slavery is the past, but the past affects the present! The racial stereotypes of early American history had a significant role in shaping attitudes toward black bodies today. Although it is not displayed the same, it is still present and one of the reasons I choose to celebrate my culture as a black woman. Although there is so much I could cover, below I briefly speak on some of the negative stereotypes I aim to dismantle.
“Nappy Hair”: The term “nappy” has been used to emphasize the difference between natural hair and European hair. It took on a derogatory meaning evidenced since the 1880s adopted to describe textured hair because of the opposed similarity to tuft cotton. Straight “white” hair was cast as desirable while natural hair was demeaned. Today black people are reclaiming the word into a positive meaning, but still battle to wear their natural hair/protective styles in work and school spaces that deem it unprofessional. In my work I embrace natural hair and will be exploring protective styles soon.
Colorism: is a form of prejudice or discrimination in which people are treated differently based on the social meaning attached to skin color.
An old children’s rhyme captures the definition of Colorism and it’s inner workings.
“If you’re black, stay back; If you’re brown, stick around; If you’re yellow, you’re mellow; If you’re white, you’re all right.”
Colorism disadvantages dark skinned people while privileging those with lighter skin. In result of European discrimination, there is much division between women of color, that our community is fighting to denounce. I use this as motivation to celebrate different shades of black with no intention to uplift one over the other, but instead celebrate us as one.
“Angry Black Woman”: The Sapphire caricature (along with many others), from the 1800s through the mid 1900s popularly portrayed black women as aggressive, loud, and angry.This stereotype continues to work against black women who are vocal and causes some black women fear to speak up to avoid such a stereotype. Through my work I focus on creating black women who are strong along with bright colors to embrace confidence.
In tackling these stereotypes and celebrating my culture my main goal is for black women to see themselves in a positive light and remind them to fill their homes with items that remind them they are dope.