You Talk So Proper…

I know I’m not alone in experiencing this seemingly harmless comment that’s anything but. It’s a phrase that, at first glance, might appear as a compliment, but it carries a hidden weight that many of us have had to unpack.

Growing up, I was always taught to express myself clearly and eloquently. I took pride in my ability to communicate effectively, and that’s something I’ve carried with me into my professional life. However, the seemingly innocent comment, “You talk so proper,” has followed me like a shadow.

At first, I brushed it off, thinking people were just acknowledging my communication skills. But over time, I began to realize that this comment often comes with an undertone of surprise – as if the expectation was different based on preconceived notions about my background or identity.

Let’s be real; language is a powerful tool. It’s a reflection of our unique experiences, cultures, and upbringings. So, when someone tells me I “talk so proper,” it implies that there’s a predetermined standard of speech that I’m either conforming to or deviating from.

The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to communication. We all have our individual styles, and none is inherently superior or inferior. Embracing linguistic diversity is not just about accepting different accents or dialects; it’s about acknowledging that there’s beauty in the richness of how we express ourselves.

So, to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of the “You talk so proper” microaggression, know that your voice is valid, no matter how it’s perceived. Embrace your unique way of expressing thoughts, ideas, and emotions. After all, it’s our diverse voices that make the conversation so interesting and meaningful.

Microaggressions Sound Like

Let me know what you think of this audio that will accompany future installation of Free Your Mind?

Microaggressions are defined as subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — everyday interactions or behaviors that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial messages or assumptions toward historically marginalized groups.
The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination, is that people who commit microaggressions are often unaware they are doing these things – and if you point it out to them, they say, “That wasn’t my intention, you are being too sensitive.” Which is yet another microaggression.
I often have the experience of people touching my hair without asking first, which makes me feel like a merchandise on display and I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been complimented for being “articulate.” Which presumes that black people are not usually capable of competent intellectual conversation.
The weight of these daily interactions underpins very real consequences… stress, anger, frustration, self-doubt and ultimately feelings of powerlessness and invisibility. 

You Are So Articulate

This Summer, my weaving, You Are So Articulate, will be at the 2021 New Jersey Arts Annual: ReVision and Respond hosted on site and virtually at The Newark Museum of Art from June 15th until August 22, 2021. 

In this weaving, each piece of yarn is representative of a conversation in 2020 where I was acknowledged for being able to express my thoughts and ideas. Being told I’m well-spoken is a back handed compliment and carries the connotation that, it is unusual for someone of my race to be intelligent or eloquent. 

The completed weaving is displayed on a DYI loom, as if, it is still a work in progress because some version of this conversation, continues still, till this very day.

Emotional Baggage Carts

We all carry emotional baggage. This manifests differently for each of us. Some of us carry shopping carts of pain and bitterness while some of us sport a tote bag. How we choose to handle our baggage makes a difference. We have the choice, to let it define us or to let it go and move forward.

My Baggage Carts are vessels for unresolved emotional baggage related to racial trauma. Each recovered shopping cart is woven with polyurethane rope, solar rope lights, doggie poop bags, plastic bottle caps and zip ties.


March 2021, Bottle Caps, yellow 550 paracord, hollow braided polyurethane rope, recycled commercial fishing net, zip ties, gold spray paint on recovered shopping cart. 36 x 40 x 24 in, 50LBs

Heights Over Springfield

March 2021, Bottle Caps, green 550 paracord, hollow braided polyurethane rope, recycled commercial fishing net, zip ties, gold spray paint on recovered shopping cart. 36 x 40 x 24 in, 50LBs

I Can’t Breathe -CPAC Baggage Cart

February 2021, CPAC Tubing, solar rope lights, gold 550 paracord, zip ties, gold spray paint on recovered shopping cart. 36 x 40 x 24 in, 50LBs

Virtual Solo Show at MoCADA

This exhibition explores implicit biases facing BIPOC communities and my aesthetic armor for protection.

The show will be on view in MoCADA’s virtual exhibition from May 3, 2021 to July 5, 2021.

Some key dates…

Virtual “Opening/Preview / Tour”: Thursday, April 29, 2021 from 7-9PM

Virtual Artist Talk: Thursday, May 27, 2021 from 7-9PM

Workshop: Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 3-5PM