Picture this: an unapologetically bold space, bursting with raw emotion and power, illustrating the journey of Black sexual liberation. The exhibition “I, too, am kink” isn't just an art showcase—it’s a revolutionary statement, a visual manifesto that seeks to catalyze the ongoing evolution of Black sexual freedom. The canvases and installations don't just speak, they shout, echoing voices from the past and heralding a future of true body autonomy for Black individuals.
Nathan Hare's seminal work, "REVOLUTION WITHOUT A REVOLUTION: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SEX AND RACE," shines a light on the intricate dance between racial and sexual identities, especially within the Black community. Written during the throes of the sexual revolution, Hare’s piece provides a unique lens, examining how racial dynamics shape our understanding and expression of sexual identity. The challenges Hare outlines—navigating a society marred by white supremacy while understanding one’s sexual landscape—are still profoundly relevant. “I, too, am kink” takes these insights and weaves them into a visual tapestry, challenging viewers to confront, internalize, and, ultimately, evolve their perspectives.
Next, delve into the realm of pleasure activism, a term coined by the brilliant Adrienne Marie Brown. This movement, rooted deeply in historical context, urges Black women, historically disenfranchised, to demand “radical love” and pleasure. bell hooks and Paulo Freire, among other theorists and activists, have emphasized the power dynamics at play, especially when it comes to language. Words, after all, are the threads that weave the fabric of society. Within the pleasure activism movement, especially as seen in Atlanta, Georgia, there's a distinct emphasis on the internal power dynamics among Black women. By understanding how denial of sexual pleasure contributes to longstanding issues like hypersexualization and sexual objectification, the exhibition further intensifies the call to action. It reminds us that body autonomy isn’t just about rights—it’s about reclaiming pleasure, power, and agency.
And let’s not forget the tumultuous relationship between Black Americans and the feminist movement, a relationship mired in contention and disparity. From the racial prejudices of early feminist activists like Susan B. Anthony to more recent debates surrounding intraracial harm, Black feminism has been shaped by both internal and external challenges. Despite these tensions, data from Pew Research Center suggests that the majority of Black adults view feminism as empowering. The "I, too, am kink" exhibition serves as a testament to this resilience, blending the ethos of feminism with the principles of Black sexual liberation.
In a world that tries to strip us of our identity, our rights, and our agency, achieving Black body autonomy becomes our final frontier. The “I, too, am kink” exhibition isn’t just art—it’s a movement. So, join the revolution. Let’s redefine, reclaim, and celebrate what it means to be unapologetically Black and sexually free. Because body autonomy isn’t just a right—it’s a revolution. And it starts with us.
-Jeremy A. Teel