All posts tagged: Can I Touch It?

Endia Beal’s Am I What You’re Looking For?

“At Yale University, I found myself in a place of ‘double consciousness’,” recalls Endia Beal, citing the writer, sociologist and activist WEB Du Bois. Beal was the only black person in the 2013 cohort for the fine arts MA in photography, and also in her workplace – an IT department. “I grew up in one culture and now inhabited another, becoming a mediator between these two worlds,” she says. Upon learning that her hair, a red Afro, fascinated her colleagues, she turned the tables on them, allowing them to feel it but recording their impressions. “It felt like I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing but wanted to do,” admits one of them, while others spoke of the moment being “uncomfortable”, “voyeuristic” or “awkward”, highlighting the inappropriateness of the question, “Can I touch your hair?” Beal’s work since has continued to question and provoke, often challenging the uniformity of corporate culture. In an amusing but no less incisive series, she styled seven white women in their forties with ‘black’ hairdos, then took head …

2017-04-19T16:12:34+00:00

BJP Staff