The MisEducation of a Black Woman, the Artist Edition



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!


gif

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.



Strength

Oil on Wood, 24” x 36”



“My grandmother would say ‘this too shall past’

As she takes a deep breathe. Understanding apart of her growth's orbit where making space for it and then spending time in it. Reflection.


You know what’s not so sweet…

Sometimes we Black women question our very existence. The energy we give out to the world must be turned inward into ourselves. Only then will our strength restore. But why do we really question this s***?


“Why canvas?


This question took center stage in her studies. It kept her up at night as she adapted to the varied mediums of art.


Kiarra found there was something missing from the creative process that inspired her ability to truly reproduce the stories of her ancestors and Black culture.



One of her professors took notice to Kiarra's raw talent and suggested changing her materials.


Recycled Wood! Raw…Exposed…


Turning “trash into treasure.
 

‘And out comes the beast’ - Lil Kim, The JumpOff, 2003

Another Black woman who found the sexual freedom of Black women to be liberating.


Side note from the creative director

Every Black woman has the Beast!

You just have to tap into it.

You know what’s not so sweet…

Unveiling the roots of a Black woman. To expose the origins of her very existence neglecting to water the source of her being. The Black Woman Unprotected.


Historically our bodies, our minds, and spirits have been broken...


Breathe

Oil on Wood, 24” x 36”


Time to recycle and create new spaces to celebrate the Black woman.


If no one is going to give the space, you create your own.



So about the Beast!

98% of my work is a sort of animal form.”

Afrocentric Keyy finds humans and animals to be of parallel lives. The stories are interconnected.



Ambition

Oil on Wood, 36” X 48”




And you know the sweetest thing…

When we as Black women are able to use our imagination to create a world of our own; a world full of our most authentic selves.



I want them to sit it in. Be present. It is not aggressive to ask questions.


Come on Black Woman!

gif
Sorry another aside from another Black woman.

Oftentimes we, Black women that is,

are told we are too aggressive


However, you know the sweetest thing…

To watch another Black woman walk in her destiny!


As Afrocentric Keyy spoke, I could only imagine her African print scarf, wrapped atop of her crown full of curls, with a tribe guarding her kingdom!


The kingdom solely created for the lovers of life's journey; equipped to immerse themselves in the Black beauty that make up the intersectionality of the Black body and its animal form.


“How does that image live with you?"

Afrocentric Keyy Gallery



My Sisters do you know the sweetest thing…

Confidently Humble.

Celebrate your wins and know that you deserve those wins!

Afrocentric Keyy shared moments along her artistic journey when she began to nurture her work and its effects on the Black culture!

One of her art pieces was sold to Whoopi Goldberg. Read that again!

The Whoopi Goldberg. Go head Afrocentric Keyy!

I am the person they are talking about! 

As she recalls the soundlessness that escaped her body, the excitement, the reverence Goldberg provided her artistry.

 

Having not forgotten where she came from, Kiarra, although found her love for art under the sun rays of Southern California, knew Brooklyn was home.