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.

Liberate Your Mind: Unleashing the Power of Freedom

Free Your Mind transcends the traditional boundaries of art, becoming a dynamic force for social change.

It not only creates a space for dialogue but actively works towards dismantling the structures that perpetuate microaggressions.

By giving a voice to the marginalized and fostering empathy and awareness, this public textile art endeavor stands as a testament to the transformative power of art in the pursuit of genuine social change.

Share a story about a microaggression you have experienced.

How did it make you feel? 


2024 Free Your Mind will be on display at:

  • Touchstone Center for Arts, Farmington PA from May 17 – September 20
  • Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington, DE from June 7 – August 30

Im looking for more venues, galleries, universities, libraries, community centers to host Free Your Mind. If you have any leads, please direct message me. Tnx

World of Threads Festival

Ive applied to World of Threads Festival a few times in the past and was not accepted. This year is different, I finally was accepted.

I am please to share that part of my microagressions installation, Blackity Black Blanket Ladders will be on display along with hundreds of other international fiber artists.

Bottom line… try and if you don’t succeed, try again. Eventually, you will hit your mark.

Ive already booked my flight to attend the opening reception in Oakville Canada.

World of Threads Festival

Exhibition Dates: October 10 – December 17, 2023

Opening Reception: October 14, 2023, 1:00-3:00pm

Location: Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre; 2302 Bridge Rd, Oakville, ON L6L 3L5, Canada

Blackity Black Blanket, ladders and emotional baggage cart installation

Blackity Black Blanket Installation in Print

I’m tickled pink!

My installation work Blackty Black Blanket will be included in 2023, Surface Design Journal’s Eighth Annual International Exhibition in Print: Lasting Impression selected by Guest Juror Lorna Hamilton-Brown.

Thank you, April Tracy for taking these photos, guest Juror Lorna Hamilton-Brown and Surface Design for the opportunity to share this work.

Blackity Black Blanket, ladders and emotional baggage cart installation

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. 

Making Of: You Are So Articulate

My weaving, You Are So Articulate, is currently displayed at the 2021 New Jersey Arts Annual: ReVision and Respond at The Newark Museum of Art. 

Each piece of yarn used to in this weaving is representative of a particular conversation where I was acknowledged for being able to express my thoughts and ideas. As you can see this conversation comes up quite a bit.

You Are So Articulate comes in many forms, including…

you speak so well… you are well read… you speak white… and even “that went better than I was expecting”, comment after I nail the presentation.

Telling someone they are well-spoken is a back handed compliment. It carries the connotation that, it is unusual for someone Black to be intelligent. 

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