Special note from the creative director:
As a cultural journalist, sometimes I hear silent chants coming from my ancestors saying “Do it for the culture" Well here goes nothing.
I want you to take these headphones, place them over your ears, and listen to the sweet sounds of Afrocentric Keyy who has chosen to explore the essence of a Black woman through her art.
Our rich hues of blues and purples, the deep undertones of reds and oranges. Each portrait capturing the radiance of Black women; reflecting the richness of our souls.
One of the most ‘tell-em-like it is sista’ albums, ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ 1998 narrated the oral history of the Black woman; the unspoken chronicles of love, lust, self-esteem, and self-doubt that we as Black women experience in a world filled with misconceptions of our being.
Hill said it best, the mis-education of the Black woman.
This album gave Hip-hop classics like ‘Lost Ones’, ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’, and ‘Ex-Factor,’ the soundtrack to Black culture and Black love as we knew it.
As Lauryn Hill’s Neo-soul flow took over the airwaves, there lived a little girl running around the house with freshly sharpened crayons in one hand and coloring books in another. With beautiful big curls that stood atop her hair and pearly whites that brightened every room she stood.
Lauryn Hill, Lost One
Her body swaying from side to side, jamming to the famous lines ‘It's funny how money change a situation, miscommunication leads to complications.’
BlkArthouse's interview with Afrocentric Keyy was pre-recorded early this summer. She dug deep into her story as a Black woman and what it means to take up space in the art community.
This prose poetry is a dedication from one Black woman to another.
The Sweetest Thing, dedicated to Afrocentric Keyy
An artist for Dope Black Women
You know the sweetest thing…
About a Black woman and her art? Is her ability to take a blank canvas and create a masterpiece. To find purpose in the work she puts into herself and out to the world.
“That’s my foundation.”
You know the sweetest thing...
About her why? Kiarra’s story mirrors the untold stories of little Black girls whom let their imagination ignite a spark birthing their wildest dreams. Those of whom took a leap of faith. Whom believed their wings were almighty!
I Am Woman
Oil on Wood, 36” x 48”
“It was the crayons!” Kiarra shared as she brought herself to laughter, reminiscing her childhood as a budding artist. Spending hours in the corners of her room, looking into the world through thermal colored glasses.
“I thought I was elite” detailing the 64 count box of crayons
with the built-in sharpener!
A mother's eyes pierced, eyebrows raised, smiling at the thought of her little Kiarra creating her own cosmos. FULL OF COLOR!
You know the sweetest thing…
Having parents who believe in you; who have selflessly created a safe environment for their little Black girl to create without censorship.
Her parents too had a love for art; dad enjoyed sketching comic books and her mother, a lover of art, possessed her own artistic skills.
Kiarra recalls her mother being influential in her audition for the Orange County School of the Arts, a visual arts conservatory school in Santa Ana. California. She got the call y’all!
The Budding of Afrocentric Keyy
“I learned different types of art. Watercolors, photography...candid moments, moments you were not expecting to capture”
Do you still have those headphones? I hope so because you know what I’ve learned,
S*** Ain’t Always Sweet for a Black Woman.
A Black Revolutionary.
You know what's not so sweet…
The traditional classroom. Not every child finds their muse sitting behind a desk.
Afrocentric Keyy discovered her studio time to be a place of growth, both personally and artistically. It became her safe place.
She found herself posing questions like ‘What do you plan to leave behind?’
“I am not perfect. I feel everything”
Kiarra recounts as she shares the connection of her personal stories and connections to other Black women and their effects on her work.