A strand of hair to some might be trivial but to black people, this is something we have to form with intent daily to assimilate. There are 47 states in which natural hair can still be discriminated against and in turn fired from jobs and pushed out of schools, this brought forth my anger. I was angry at the fact that my hair was not accepted, so I felt that I was not accepted. “The Crown Act” is a law that was created to make it illegal to discriminate against people wearing their natural hair and natural protective styles. It has only been passed in three states which is why I decided to create this work.
I created variants of 18 to 20-inch large embroidery hoops with skin-toned mesh merged in between, then took this form and ventilated (knotted) each synthetic hair strand to give an ode to the process of weave making. This work originally began as a billboard to send a message to non-black individuals that racism and prejudice have to stop. I switched my thought process and that’s when it changed from a project about resistance to embracement. With this new change of tone, I then wanted to be authentic to black culture, after the hoops were fully ventilated I added beads, barrettes, jewels, and other hair accessories. Illegal 47 then became less about the negatives of the outside community but more about the beauty in the community itself. The black community will always have trials and tribulations, but they will not let their greatness dull for others. I want this project to shine just like the people it is a reflection of.