Aretha Franklin was one of the first singers I listened to on repreat. My mom gave me a Greatest Hits album, where I would listen to it on repeat while I cried myself to sleep. Aretha Franklin's voice gave me strength, like so many other women, to demand respect even when we are told we are not supposed to ask for it.
Her life continued to be a moment of survival, continuing to record music until retiring a year before her death. I will forever be grateful for her message because it kept me going as a kid to survive even the worst in life.
What I found most interesting about this piece was researching the background of Bantu knots after I finished the design. While I am a partial minority being a woman, I try very hard to represent the different kinds of cultural influences I use in my pieces. Recently bantu knots were featured in fashion week but only was featured using an all white modeling cast. As I learned about the background of the historical significance of hair in African culture it is not only understandable but an outrage that cultural iconography was told to be forgotten because of its unique styles. Now people are using it without acknowledging this suffocation at all. African women for centuries were told what to do with their hair by cultures that did not understand how much hair represented community and status in African tribal traditions. I hope that as you follow me we all learn not only to appreciate historical cultural differences, but embrace them. These traditions are what make us unique and beautiful.