PEACE NOIR III
Peace Noir, which translates to Black Peace, draws a parallel between the past and present thus demonstrating how time changes but people do not. As a Black individual navigating the world, I have grown to understand the stigma associated with my Black skin. This stigma isn’t a burden I brought upon myself but one that was imposed onto me at my time of birth. The perception of me due to my skin color is that I am “Public Enemy #1”. According to colonizers, slave masters, racists, and other bigoted individuals over time, this world was not created for people with my skin color. Yet, we Black people are the backbone of this earth and have little to no opportunity to claim our “flours”. Slavery, in all its barbarism, was instrumental in creating both overt and covert marginalization which in turn disproportionately put Black people at the bottom class in society. Unequal treatment based on race is not born within an individual but instilled and learned. Disenfranchisement has had lasting extensive effects - not only on individuals but entire communities as well.
As time passes, we continue to see horrific history-making acts of repeat. The fight for Black peace is a fight that is fought by Black people daily. Peace is all we ask for. What is peace? What is “Black peace”? Black peace is the ability to be at ease as a Black person and receive equitable treatment including but not limited to: being treated fairly when applying for a home loan, receiving fair treatment when applying for a job position, not being discriminated against in the workplace for one's hairstyle, truly receiving fair treatment in the court of law and not being unfairly thrown into a police lineup because one “fits the description”, the ability to be unarmed and not be shot dead, etc. Will we ever achieve “black peace”? The answer to that question is almost unfathomable. The trauma from the atrocities Black people have faced may have diminished our ability to “forgive and forget” but day after day we see, hear, or face microaggressions, prejudice, or racist encounters. One can see across all facets of society that over time, Black people have been marginalized and exploited whether that be via education, housing, employment, and so on.
Our plight seems to be never-ending and 2020 was a testament to that. The world watched as a police officer mercilessly kneeled on George Floyd’s neck as he helplessly cried for his mother; may he Rest in Peace. Witnessing this gruesome murder via video as it made its way to every screen catalyzed a revolution. Amidst a pandemic, thousands of people from all walks of life took to the streets to protest for Black lives and essentially for Black Peace. As I look around, I try to imagine a world where things could have been different - a world where we truly worked with and uplifted one another. Well, a Black man can dream. Despite all of these transgressions, we have been able to rise to the occasion and proclaim our humanity and brilliance.
Peace Noir embodies the necessity and demand for peace. I am grateful to those who came before us that have fought for the freedoms we now enjoy. The horrors they endured are unfathomable and had it not been for their courage and perseverance, I would not have the opportunity to dedicate this capsule collection to them. Peace Noir encompasses the hardships of Black individuals. The design process dives deep into the history of where we came from and what we have become. The designs of these garments are inspired by those of the past who endured the hardships of cotton fields, wrongful incarceration, and unjust deaths. I strive to highlight the history and experiences of Black people and using fashion as the means to do so. Lastly, I want to reiterate that all we ask for is Black peace.
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