Thick Skin

If you know me, you know I love and respect black men. This project is dedicated to all of them. Those who are currently in my life and those who will enter in the future. For this project I simply asked; “What feelings or negative ideas has society placed on you as a black man? Also, what do you crave and need that would counter these negative emotions? These things are not hidden. These derogatory terms are blatant and common.

The incarceration rates disproportionately impact men of color: 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men. 2. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Why is this? Because the American law enforcement system has targeted them like no other race. Black men represent and unproportionate number of prisoners in our country.

This project was inspired by the storytelling and photography campaign called dear world. This program helps to tell inspiring stories of everyday people. They capture the essence of each individual with words on their body. I wanted to take the power of this format and simplify the subject wearing the words so that they stood out and told the story of a collective people.

There is no hiding the stereotypes. It is written all over their bodies and infused into the skin they cannot hide. But, that’s just it. It is only skin deep. The experience of a black man in America is incredibly unique. As a black woman, I understand how crucial my role is to provide what is needed. Trust, joy, beauty, a family and a sense of home. I feel responsible and even eager to do so. Whether it be as a mother, a sister, a lover, or just a friend, I help to create resilience and thick skin.

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