Week 6: BHM Black Inventors Submission!
In light of Black History Month, FE Diploma students have been asked to submit a postcard sized visual, in reaction to "Black Inventors."
Having done various projects on black doctors, engineers and pioneers for previous school projects every BHM, I was talking to friends about who to subject my submission on when something came to our attention. Isn't it sad that most of the names talked about this month, all the people who have created life changing tools, machines, medicines, theories that effect our lives everyday only ever get brought up once a month? It's true, the only time I have EVER heard Madam C.J Walker, Elijah Mccoy and Granville T Woods names brought up by people my age (especially here in the uk) is when they are specifcally referring to them in regards to Black History Month, you don't bring them up in casual conversation in the same way a lot of famous white historical figures are household names.
Bare in mind, I'm referring to a general public headset here -i'm lucky enough to be raised into a very black n proud family who have always taught me values in remembering my roots. But obviously, clearly this is the point of Black History Month, otherwise they don't get taught at any other point in the general syllabus. And I think a massive issue around this is that even though black people have equally contributed in designing the factors of your everyday activities - your traffic lights, your refrigerators - nobody really puts two and two together, not enough people opens a jar of Peanut Butter, spreads it over their PB&J sandwich and says to themselves "God bless George Washington Carver for creating Peanut Butter." They may know George Washington Carver (who was a Botanist, Chemist and Scientist born into slavery) also came up with peanut butter but I feel like, unless you're already really into history and learning about these things, not enough people care to bring it up in everyday conversation and talk about how extraordinary it is ESPECIALLY young people...its just not relevant enough in their high-speed iPhone wielding, snapchat taking, Kardashian obsessed lives. So what is? And then I had the idea of doing something a little less conventional...cause it isn't just your appliances, foods, medicines, mathematic methods and theories many people of colour have come up with, but the current youth's day to day culture, internet fads and slang that all derives from a very overlooked minority, the Black LGBT & Drag culture.
My main source of reference was a DVD I recently watched called "Paris Is Burning" which is a Documentary that follows New York Drag "Ball" culture through the 80s, brining light to a lot of (what we think is) modern terminology that has completely been invented from such specific situations in their culture. An article in Dazed, explains this well.
For my final, I took an extract from a "vogueing" scene at a Drag ball and manipulated the image, layering it over some LGBT representative graphics and finally stating my point using a very bold Cooper Black font.