Like many little girls, photographer Debbie-Jean Lemonte was given a, tall, skinny, white barbie doll as a kid.
This coupled with the media's insistence on beauty only being accessible for thin white people sent a powerful message: You will never be beautiful. You will never be worthy. Debbie writes, "As we are growing up, we see in the media the same exact ideal constantly and persistently pushed into the faces and brains of not only our children, but also the women who are elected to build our communities and nurture our future generations."
These messages are powerful and have a strong impact on the mental health of our children, particularly children of color. Lemonte generously shares her personal journey to self love after surviving a near-attempt at suicide. She met an 11-year-old-girl for birthday photos, and this girl reminded her of herself: "She was beautiful (inside + out), and she didn't feel that way. She was bullied in school; she was teased about her natural hair and for being the tallest person in the room."
Inspired by the thought of helping this little girl and others like her, Lemonte set out to create images that portray Black women and female of center individuals as true queens, adorned in gorgeous prints and jewelry from the motherland. As part of our Black History Month celebration, we are pleased to feature these jaw dropping photographs from this project.
To see the rest of the photos from this project, visit dagimagesnyc.com.
As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.