Exhibited at "Soft Scrub", a group exhibition curated by Katherine Simóne Reynolds at The Luminary, St. Louis, MO. September 13 - October 26, 2019. The exhibition considered the complicated layers, stereotypes, and foundational lessons of the Black household from the Black male perspective.
When thinking of the household, I can’t but help imagine a swinging door, fake flowers, and the smell of greens on the stove for dinner. The Black household is a space of learning your own Blackness or discovering the lack compared to others. The Black household’s key is teaching survival.
“A Black family is almost like a living readymade. They are readymade. A lot of times people don’t quite realize what a resource this can be. Anything you throw at your family, they’ll definitely throw it back, and it’ll be more complicated when they throw it back at you. It won’t be what it’s supposed to be. It may not even be true. It may be corrupted. But in terms of how it’s corrupted, it can seem even truer.” - Arthur Jafa
You learn to “speak” when you enter someone’s home, how to protect your hair, and the importance of knowing how to play the dozens. Even though I have deemed some of these practices problematic, I still understand the vital points made by them. This way of life is, and has been, complex. Growing up it seemed, the only discourse in white media regarding the Black household was the Good Times household, The Cosby Show household, and the BéBé’s Kids household. Even though I couldn’t relate solely to one type of fictitious “lived” experience, I still interpreted these to be the blueprints of everyday Black life.