ABOUT THE PROJECT
“Being Black is not a matter of pigmentation – being Black is a reflection of a mental attitude.”
- Steve Bantu Biko, I Write What I Like, 1978
People of African descent reflect a multiplicity of skin tones and phenotypic characteristics. Often times, however, when met by people who self-identify as ‘Black,’ but do not fit into a prototypical model of ‘Blackness,’ many of us not only question their identity, but challenge their Blackness, and thus our potential relationship to them. A multi-platform project, inclusive of a (forthcoming) full-color portrait essay book, online exhibit, and traveling exhibition & lecture, (1)ne Drop literally explores the “other” faces of Blackness – those who may not immediately be recognized, accepted, or embraced as ‘Black’ in this visually racialized society.
(1)ne Drop seeks to challenge narrow, yet popular perceptions of what Blackness is and what Blackness looks like. On the whole, the project seeks to raise social awareness and spark community dialogue about the complexities of Blackness as both an identity and a lived reality. If we can recalibrate our lenses to see Blackness as a broader category of identity and experience, perhaps we will be able to see ourselves as part of a larger global community.
The inspiration behind CNN Black in America 5 - “Who is Black in America?” (2012), (1)ne Drop continues to spark much-needed dialogue about the intricacies and nuances of racial identity, and the influence of skin color politics on questions of racial determinacy and authenticity.