Every Friday we utilize our blog/social media (@the.mahogany.room) to promote a black artist. This week we have chosen Deja Pocahontas Mays, a Tate County, MS artist.
Deja (22) recognized her gift of art at an early age, when she was tested for “Gifted Art” in middle school. From there, she won first place in Mississippi’s “Promote the Vote” in high school and was honored at the state capital. Her talent continued to shine throughout her years at the University of Mississippi, where she was recognized out of almost 800 entries in the Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition for both painting and drawing.
When asked about these particle pieces, Deja said, “The drawing (first picture) is significant ,because this is probably the first time I really just pushed myself to create something different. It is suppose to be a piece that depicts black beauty in a different way. The painting (second picture) is about relationship struggles and how you can be hurt and blind at the same time.
Being black definitely influences her work. She strives to change the views society has on black people through depicting us in a more positive way. Black women have a reputation of being overly sexualized and promoted as “welfare queens.” She hopes to change people’s views on black women, by highlighting our strengths and struggles versus these negative depictions. There is a special type of beauty in a black woman, beauty that surpasses our sexualization, and Deja recognizes and emphasizes that. When painting and drawing, she makes a conscious effort to make her work FOR the uplifting of black people.
When asked about her future, she said, “Well I hope to attend portfolio school soon and start learning the skills necessary to being a creative director.” After establishing herself as an artist, Deja hopes to contribute to developing the arts in the public school system.
If you are interested in Deja and her work, follow her on instagram @dejapocahontas.
Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty The folks at Madame Tussauds wax museum in New York City have some explaining to do. Yesterday, a visitor to the museum posted a photo of a figure who I guess was supposed to be Bey, but looks more like a hybrid of 2003-era Britney Spears and Leona Lewis in…
I used to stare at my mother in complete wonder of her golden skin. You know the skin I’m talking about. The skin rappers rap about. That high yellow skin. That perfectly designed skin. So I thought….
I used to avoid the sun during the summer time in fear of becoming too black. Oh how I hated the sun. The sun that turned my skin from milk chocolate to dark chocolate, from brown to black, from walnut to mahogany.
I used to envy my best friend. She had that perfect skin like my mom. That perfect
“house nigga” skin and perfect 3A hair with that perfect percentage of whiteness. That whiteness that lightened her skin and loosened her curls. Oh how I envied her skin.
Then one day… I don’t quite remember the day, but I stared at myself and admired my skin. My beautiful brown melanated skin that dripped like melting chocolate from the sun’s gaze. My “darker the berry the sweeter the juice” skin. That naturally highlighted brown skin that didn’t need a drop of makeup because it dripped with perfection. Now, I dance in the sun, knowing and loving the magical transformation that occurs. Hoping and praying to be soaked by its rays, bathing in its power.
Brown Skin. Rich Skin. Magical Skin. My damn skin.
Every Friday we utilize our blog/social media to promote a black artist. This week we have chosen Amber Singletary, a freelance graphing designer from Baltimore, MD. Amber’s appreciation for drawing began in middle school, but was put on the back-burner temporarily as she pursued her college basketball career.
This particular piece represents her accepting vulnerability and not being afraid to step out into the world with it. She says that black women are constantly the object of affection, praise, and swooning as it pertains to our bodies and physical features. However, the “naked girl” series represents the power of the black woman’s
body, while also observing how our bodies do not touch the vast universe inside of our brains and consciousness.
Initially she drew inspiration from herself and her own insecurities. Then, she began to realize that many black women felt the same way she did about their bodies, their place in the “professional” world, and even their issues with men. This acted as her foundation, being that every bit of her inspiration comes from black women past, present, and future.
Being black is what her work is about. She excels to prove that black women can be better than any stereotype. In fact, she chose pursue her degree in Mississippi, because she believed that there was a void of images of successful black women here. She says, “We never hear about all the good things we are doing for this community. So, I plan to speak so loud and my art be so bold that no one can hush us anymore.”
When asked about the future of her work, she says, “I pray to inspire anyone that comes in contact with my work. Not just my work, but with myself period. I want to be someone that people know will not pass judgment and will help anyway I can in making anyone the best version of themselves they can be. Art can do that, knowledge can do that, and most importantly no better people than black women can do that.”
Follow her on Instagram @ambdotcom for more of her work.