So earlier in the week I put out this photo as my profile picture on Facebook without explanation. Yesterday, I gave this explanation that I will also be put here.
Over the controversy with Paper Magazine and the shoot done with Kim Kardashian, it made me start to wonder where I will draw the line of accepting a piece of art. The controversy, for me, doesn't have to do with the nudity (as abrasive as some people felt it was) but where the inspiration was drawn from/nearly carbon copied. It's referring to two things. First, an image that Jean-Paul Goude created in 1973. Second, the Hottentot Venus/Saartje Baartman, a 19th century Khosian woman who was brought to Europe and exhibited/reviled for her body. Both of which are unacceptable and dehumanizing of African women.
As a black man that works in the creative space, there has to be a point where I find the courage to be intolerant. Does art have many forms and many interpretations, of course. However, I believe that as a society we must objectively look at work and question its motives.
The last part of this post is explaining my image. It started as just helping a friend doing some pre-shoot lighting, but as the events with Paper Mag unfolded I started questioning my photo. A conversation as to where we draw that line... whether that matter is an expression of sexuality, poverty, or race. The goal of my profile picture was not to spark a protest of any sort, but to simply start that conversation of stopping and objectively viewing the motives behind some artists.