We totally didn’t know it would get this big…
Day 1 of our two-day exhibit, “You Can Touch My Hair” happened yesterday and it got quite the reaction. Some have welcomed it as a much needed discussion, while others dub it a human petting zoo. I’ve been holding back my response to the response because the exhibit needn’t be explained or defended. Art is something that should create a response, whether it be an emotional one or a verbal, a good response or bad response. And really good art has the power to create change. Is this really good art? That’s yet to be seen and we may not see it’s impact, if any, for years.
But at the very least a dialogue was started and that was the intent. “Can I touch your hair?” is no longer a question only I and my friends are talking and venting about. So far hundreds (maybe thousands?) have put their two cents into the matter and we want more people to join the conversation. And maybe amongst all the tweets in the Twitter-bate and comments in the articles that were written about the exhibit there is real insight in the larger issue at hand or maybe this is just a moment for us to collectively vent.
We encourage more people to partake in this discussion. Join the #youcantouchmyhair or the #youcanTtouchmyhair debates on Twitter or leave a comment here. The conversation that is happening is not a comfortable one, and as I told Julee from the Huffingtonpost, sometimes we have to get comfortable in being uncomfortable to really break ground.
(On a side note, it would really be great for everyone participating in this convo to read the article that started it all. Also, call me biased, but this article is a good account of what went down yesterday).
In the days following day 2 of the exhibit we will share a more in-depth account of the event and what we learned, but for now here are the highlights from yesterday…
(UPDATE 6/13/13: Many have asked, “What were you thinking?!” We explain here.)
highlights from yesterday… the web was abuzz…
Teaser video from yesterday’s exhibit. More will certainly come after tomorrow’s event…
from huffpost live…
Imani Perry (Professor, Center for African American Studies, Princeton University) and Michaela Angela Davis (Image Activist / Editorial Brand Manager at BET) joined in on the discussion on HuffPost Live watch the full video here.
to the blogosphere…
- The Root, Touch Her Hair, but Stay Away From Mine: …On a more serious note, this exhibit bothers me because it does absolutely nothing to battle the dehumanizing fascination with black hair and black bodies that has persisted in this country since its inception.
- The Frisky & VibeVixen, Debate This: Should Black Women Allow Others To Touch Their Hair?: …But are projects like this helping or hurting black women, whose hair has traditionally been the object of so much fascination by whites? Is it another way for our culture to objectify and fetishize black women, or is it a step in the right direction?
- Beautycism, A Case Of Art Imitating (Black) Life: …“So far, it’s been an equal amount of black and white people touching. The black people come up and say, ‘Oh yes girl, I know!’ or ‘You look fabulous.’ There have been some men coming up, too. But the whole point of this is to get the dialogue going,”
- Color Lines, Real Life Black Hair Exhibit You Can Touch in NYC’s Union Square: …Just imagine, an interactive public art exhibit where everyone can “explore the tactile fascination with black hair by” touching real life black hair on real life black women.
- Clutch Mag Online, New York City Art Exhibit Lets Strangers Touch Varied Textures of Black Hair: From the comments: Asking to touch someone’s hair is entirely different than putting someone on display, that’s stating that someone/or something about them is “abnormal”. I would NEVER place someone on display like an abnormality, this is dehumanizing, just as the “tours” of the “ghetto” to gawk at the poor people of America are, and to try and justify it is wrong, period.
— Ofelia P in NJ (@OfeliaPnj) June 7, 2013
— 🚮 (@KirbyAfua) June 7, 2013
— Kinks & Curls (@kinksandcurls) June 7, 2013
— Purl Bailey (@TallGrrl) June 7, 2013
please DO NOT ATTEMPT this #youcantouchmyhair stuff with your friends/acquaintances
— Keidra (@kdc) June 7, 2013
— power. (@theFCKNempress) June 4, 2013
My personal fav: