First, I would like to thank the altruistic volunteerism of my dear friends. Without their enthusiastic encouragement, I would have probably photographed sticks, dilapidated buildings, or garbage. Thank you Natashia Hines, Chantae Sullivan, Stephanie Brown, Cyndy Jean, Janice Djabatey, Mekka Smith, Brandi Flournoy, Chaka Laguerre, Tenique Bernard, Gabrielle Archer, and Kita Lantman for being the amazing beautiful gung-ho black women that you are. God knows we have to possess an infinite resilient strength to get through a place like Amherst. Thank you so much for taking time off from your commitments to help fulfill mine. There would not have been any work without you.
I would like to thank my best friends for being my substitute family these past four years. Our friendship is made of steel. The solidarity amongst us cannot be touched. Ladies and Gentlemen, you know who you are – it has been a rough four years. Thank you for ensuring I had enough sleep, enough iron, enough laughter, and enough LOVE so I could keep on trooping.
Thank you to my family! Thank you Mom and Dad for buying me black Barbies, prioritizing education, exposing us to a variety of experiences, supporting black business, filling our house with books by the right people, and teaching Courtney and I about ourselves. When I stop paralyzed with anxiety and worry: Thank you for keeping me grounded and providing perspective during those times I would veer off center. Thank you for being first Mom and Dad. Courtney, my fellow artist and sister in the struggle, you and I go way back. No one knows me like you. Thank you for your freakishly funny stories, inspiration, and constructive criticism.
I would also like to thank all the members of the Department of Fine Arts, particularly my advising team: Professors Kimball, Garand, and Abiodun. You guys have been great. Thank you for rooting for me. Thank you for lending an ear Betsey! I would like to especially thank Professors Courtright and Staller for their revitalizing words when I was not theirs to advise. Last, but far from least, I would also like to thank Louise Beckett and Richard Scorpio for their experience, insight, supportive words and logistical minds. Without you I would have been in the dark without information and putting together sloppy work.
Again, thank you to everyone mentioned above and countless others who have touched my life this past year in a positive way that are known and still yet to be understood . . .
“You must remember that
You were born with blood of kings and queens
And can’t be stopped
Stay strong my sister you can’t be stopped
No, you can’t be stopped . . .
Don’t ever let nobody tell you ain’t strong enough.”