The You Are A Light (2017-) series will be a series of Neon pieces in purple highlighting Black women I see as beacons in this stressful post-trump moment but who were also in many cases beacons well before this moment, some are dead, some are living, all are Black women who I am thinking about, inspired by and remembering (based on a womanist intersectional feminist and Black optimist perspective...thinking about fugitivity and refusal as well). The first one, fabricated last winter, is for Representative Maxine Waters. The neons consist of their first names drawn by me. The first one was fabricated by LiteBrite Neon Studio.
The title Still holding on references the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers can fire people for having dreadlocks and that they are not protected as a part of cultural heritage. I cut my dreads shortly after I found this out in 2016, though I really loved them and felt like they were a symbol of my resistance. The title argues that I'm still holding on to them, even though they aren't on my head. The hair is wrapped in raffia, a fiber made from raffia leaves. Raffia is a palm tree native to Africa. The raffia is purple, a color I think about a lot as I explore womanism and Black feminine aesthetics. I think many Black women take up purple as a symbolic color.