Pink Lemonade – A Vulnerable Project

By Jessica Gregory

Nadia Naomi didn’t know she’d be making Pink Lemonade.

She is a woman of multiple homes, including East Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. At Barnard, she is an Africana Studies Major with a minor in Dance, which she uses to explore, in a word, ‘blackness’. In addition to using her major and minor to navigate the black political sphere, she uses her art – dance, poetry, and photography – to process the world around her.

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Photography: Michael Millington  Hair: Danyelle Karin   Make up: Annya Serkovic

 

Around the time Beyoncé’s groundbreaking Lemonade came out, Nadia went through a breakup which, similar to the subject matter of the visual album resulted from her partner’s infidelity. Nadia saw the music video and began to think about the concept of processing unfaithfulness through art.

A couple of weeks later, with her braids a brilliant pink, she took a selfie and hashtagged it #pinklemonade. In this way, a beautiful project was born.

The project itself is a set of ten pictures, each coupled with a poem. The pictures are set in sequence to the ten stages of recovering from infidelity, and were a means for Nadia to find a new way to be herself.

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Photography: Sugal Sutter Hair: Danyelle Karin

When asked what her favorite part of the project was, she said “I guess, the organic nature of it.” She never specifically reached out to others to participate (except for the group shoots, which were staged). There were lots of impromptu photography sessions. In fact, some of the photos were taken at a fountain with her friends while they were playing around with a camera.

In terms of challenges, Nadia referenced her vulnerability. She questioned if she really wanted to share this much of herself with the world, and thought carefully about how she’d navigate respectability politics. In addition, real life complications caused an increase in this vulnerability, so her conscious choice to continue with the project seemed to me like an act of bravery and resistance.

What she produced is a beautiful representation of self-love, healing, and forgiveness.

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Watercolor painting: Ornella Friggit – Poem inspired by Morgan Russell’s words in the Barnard Vday 2016 Production “Respect(ability)”

To those who wish to start a similar project, Nadia says, “Start with yourself, don’t worry too much about gathering resources. Talk to others about your ideas and people will gravitate to you.”

Thanks to Nadia for allowing us to share your beautiful work!

If you want to see more of what she’s up to, check out her social media

WebsiteNadianaomi.com

Instagram @all4love247

Jessica Gregory is a senior at Barnard and Editor in Chief for Barnard Bite

 

 

 

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