Baby Hair + Hot Sauce | My TEDx Experience


All Photographs by: Andrea Morales

It’s been an amazing journey to be me unapologetically. I’ve always taken the road less traveled but while doing so, I have often cared way too much about how others perceived me. I still wanted to be worthy in their eyes even though I was doing my own thing. Well, I don’t need that kind of validation anymore. I’m good with who I am, whose I am, and the road I’m traveling. I am a black woman from the South whose mission is to honor and amplify black voices from the South.

This year, I earned the opportunity to share my talk on the TEDx stage at the University of Mississippi at Oxford. Currently, I’m a graduate student studying to receive my MFA in Documentary Expression at the university. My work centers the black experience in the South. My talk “Baby Hair + Hot Sauce = Embrace What They Ain’t” was and continues to be very special to me. I want my culture to know that we don’t need validation from anyone. Our intellect, our language, our energy, our movement, our art, our food, our labor, and all of us has and always will be revolutionary.

#BlackGirlMagic has been the poppin’ hashtag for a few years now. It celebrates the accomplishments and existence of black women around the world. However, black girl magic has existed since the beginning of time especially in the Southern region of the United States where our female ancestors were the plantation doctors, doulas, cooks, seamstresses, and abolitionists to name a few. However, the black Southern woman is often overlooked and dismissed. In my talk, I wanted to make sure that I did it for my southern black ancestors that paved the way and for my current and future southern black women who will continue to carry the torch.

I’ve been on this quest to establish honor, respect, and amplification to the stories, narratives, and lives of black folk in the South, particularly black women. I wanted to show how black women in the South have been pioneering, innovating, resisting, and embodying black girl magic before it was a hashtag. I also wanted to make it digestible. So, I figured Beyonce and Fannie Lou Hamer would be the perfect combination of relevance, activism, and representation. These women embraced the intersectionality of their race, class, gender, and region, which society deemed as lesser,  and became global icons. Southern black women been unapologetic while breaking barriers. I wanted to share their stories to inspire others to Embrace What They Ain’t Suppose To in order to be what the world needs but most importantly, what they need.