According to Kydee and Nikki: The Big Chop

I helped my friend Nikki big chop and it was epic. The key to the whole process was the mood. She invited me over one Saturday, with the simple text “I am ready.”

I sped over to her apartment in fear that she would back out once again. I am natural myself which is why she depended on my support. Once I arrived, she washed her hair and let it dry some. The mood was totally off. This was becoming more awkward then it was supposed to be. Big chopping is supposed to be fun! Where’s the tunes?

So we turned on the likes of Erykah Badu, India Arie and D’Angelo, all Neo-soul artists whose music made us proud to be natural-conscious sistas.

I allowed Nikki to take the first snip, snip, snip…this girl was getting too scissor happy and missing the mark of demarcation. I abruptly grabbed the scissors from her so I could finish the back. Once it was done she looked in the mirror with such confidence on her face. I will never forget that moment of freedom she had. Her hair was gone; she felt great and looked amazing.

Her first words were “I haven’t seen my natural hair in over 15 years” then she began taking selfies-Nikki was totally feeling herself and I couldn’t blame her. Becoming a natural is one of the most liberating feelings ever. She actually motivated me to trim my hair once I got home. We went out to a local bar to celebrate after.

It was an epic day.

Thank You Kara Walker

July 6, 2014 marked the last day that the Kara Walker “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant” exhibit would be shown to the world. The sugar and molasses structures would be destroyed along with the huge factory that it was displayed in and I am so honored to have received the opportunity to be in the presence of such greatness before it’s demise.

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I gain inspiration from art. It’s sort of a creative outlet for me and for a moment in time I can try and figure out the depth and thought process that might’ve gone into a certain piece of artwork and/or sculpture. Simultaneously, I love African American history. I love to learn about the resilience of my people. Pride fills my soul as I take in all the sacrifices that my ancestors had to go through so I could live a better life. How could I ever repay them? I often ask myself this very question. All I can honestly do is promise them excellence; Excellence in myself, my work, my commitments, my education and my life. I am committed to making my ancestors proud and never letting their legacy die.

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I get a sense that Kara might feel the same way. Her installation revitalized the issue of race, slavery, rape, industrialization, westernization and femininity (along with many other things). She reopened the conversation and exposed the harsh realities of slavery and the free labor of African Americans which built the very foundation of this country; The Mammy Sphinx was a powerful sight to witness. Standing tall, with it’s afrocentric features and profound physical assets, I was filled with so much pride in it’s presence. One of the best moments of this exhibit was listening to the casual conversations among visitors as they discussed the various meanings and purpose behind Subtlety. Some bystanders stood silent, enamored by the sphinx while others just wanted to be pictured with it.

All in all…Thank You Kara. You’ve made history.

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