all fotos: Ellen Von Unwerth for Paper Magazine
I love it because I too have a fetish for myself. I too fantasize about how dope it must be for others to see me loving myself, pleasing myself, feeling myself, and noticing them seeing me and being able to consume their desire for wanting more of me while I'm taking all of me for myself! Choosing yourself is never the wrong decision! Ever in this life on this planet.
And for the (white) feminists (because the white is always silent with ya'll) who want to argue objectification, exotification, etc. Recognize she is in control of the gaze. She is in control of her image. She is in a powerful position where she is in service to herself, honoring herself, topping herself, caring and tending to herself. That's got nothing to do about you unless it's a reminder you not doing a good job doing either of those things for yourself. We live in a capitalist society where Black women's labor, even as performers and entertainers, is not well paid. Are you mad that Nicki is getting paid or are you mad that she's figured out a way to get paid and care for herself and show her power at the same time and you haven't yet? Join the club! You not the only one, you also don't have to be so salty about it all the time, that's a choice. Ya'll for choice right?
Oh but I get it, ya'll are mad because you got to now talk to youth and children and girls about bodies, objectification, power, and you don't feel prepared. Again, you are not alone and there are plenty of Black women who can help you, who are trained and have dedicated their career to such forms of education and support. You're reading the work of one of them right now! So, if you are anxious about that and not able to be ready to talk to the young women in your life, and the young men you are excluding, well, maybe you got to realize they will def not come to talk to you if you cant talk to them. Reciprocity impacts youth too. So does body autonomy. Youth have body autonomy as well. I know some of ya'll may not enjoy hearing that because you have latched onto an idea of power and control over the bodies of brown and Black girls. You're wrong. How about refocusing that power onto what you are doing with your body. How does it feel when you try to control another young woman's body? How does your body feel? Is it tense? Is it rigid? Is it wide open? Check in with yourself because we all got to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.