(1)ne Drop

 

I’m honestly still processing my reaction to the discovery of Yaba Blay and her absolutely amazing photographic project entitled (1)ne Drop.

She writes, “Often times, we live by stereotypical notions of “Blackness” and believe that “Blackness” is (or should be) a homogeneous identity – one that should be visually identifiable. In this way, we think we know what “Black” looks like. Consequently, when confronted with people who self-identify as “Black,” but do not fit into our stereotypical model of Blackness, many of us not only question their identity, but also our potential relationship to them. Whether it is their skin color alone, or the combination of their skin color with any number of physical characteristics, something about their particular physical appearance compels us to call their Blackness into question.”

This project, her book, it challenges these perceptions.

How refreshing it is to see yourself in others, in a community of those going through the same aches and pains that comes with the question, “What are you?”

This inspires me to develop a project of my own, to take a photographic and oral history of my surviving family who, in the 1800s were considered white in Louisiana but black the moment they stepped foot in red dirt Oklahoma. And while my mother is a very proud and fair-skinned black woman, my father sees his blackness with an evolving sense of identity. After all, it was kind of confusing growing up with the constant messages of “You’re Black!” when in the mirror I only saw a light skinned girl with copper freckles sprinkled about.

But I digress. Take a moment to look at the (1)ne Drop project and if you’re cool like that, you can buy the coffee table book on Amazon. Perhaps now my adorable little brother who is perhaps at least five shades darker than me can finally stop asking if our grandma was white!

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