Thank you to all the stunning women pictured above. It was an absolute pleasure to undertake this series for the Black Women's Project at the University of Warwick. Now that I think about it, I don't think this collection was even my idea! Here I am, thinking myself a visual mastermind for capturing all this black girl beauty when really, it was Jessica Agboola, the founder of BWP, who asked me to do this (I think. My memory is fuzzy with revision notes).
I have taken these photographs over a six-month period (wow!!! time flies) spanning winter to summer in the midlands. I wanted to depict the everyday joy, talents and beauty of black women at Warwick. I believe I read in The Boar that the black population of Warwick is about 6%. Therefore I assume that black women make up roughly 3% of the total student population. However marginal that number is, there is an organisation which caters specifically to this small group's needs. The BWP is a sisterhood. There is no invitation necessary - by virtue of simply being a black woman at Warwick, you belong to the BWP. What a beautiful thing. What an act of care and love and selflessness. As a black woman, I can hardly say how much I have benefited from belonging to and participating in that sisterhood. I know so many wonderful people now! People who are both so different and so similar to me. We can bond and debate on topics which may jar on the ears of other people. I can walk parallel to another black woman and smile and she will smile back at me and I don't know her but we share that feeling of being a little out of place but comforted by the sight of another who looks like us. That is one of my favourite feelings.
I love the Black Women's Project and am so proud of myself to have been this year's Creative Director. Tracy Mumbi and I have made some beautiful creative waves. I am ready to take a backseat again - this is my last act as an exec member. I hope you appreciate and feel the happiness and warmth and diversity in these photographs (because not all black girls are the same! Notice the political activists, the radio presenters and the future supermodels!) I hope you glimpse the real friendships depicted and understand how intricate and necessary this support network of black women is at Warwick, where the environment is weird and the curricula of the most ''diverse" departments are frustratingly restrictive (History department - I am looking at you). Very happy to belong to this special space at Warwick for black women. We have a lot to say.
All photos taken on a Canon 550D.