Last week I completed my body of work called “5 Stages of Grief: The Life of Emmett Till” I’m not all the way sure why, but I feel deeply connected to Emmett Till. He has meant so much to me. Sometimes when I think of him I see him as a mentor or an uncle. Other times I see him as my son or a little boy from my neighborhood. He had so much to offer, so much life to live, so much experiences to learn from and it was all snatched away due to the evil of white supremacy.
I researched many paintings of Emmett Till and he looked so dead. There was no life, no experience, no complexity, no hope, just death. It’s not fair to him. I put my whole self in this painting. I laughed, cried, experienced righteous anger, doubted, experienced depression,chose hope and ultimately found myself at acceptance.
The wounds of my ancestors are still very fresh for me. I hear their cries, joys, hopes, hurts, prayers and in a deep way, I feel their pain. I see them as whole people, with whole experiences and for every life that is on my heart, I pray that God gives me the strength to lift them up to the light, where they belong.
Emmett Till had a dreadful, awful, disorienting death AND he is still LIGHT. He is still PRECIOUS. He is still SOMEBODY. There’s no darkness to strong that can take away the light of his SOMEBODY-NESS. I love Emmett Till. I love him so much that I still cry. He means so much to me. Thank you, you beautiful black boy. I will never forget you. #EMMETTTILL #BLACKLIVESMATTER #BLACKARTMATTERS #WOMANIST #THEIRBLOODSTILLCRIES #IAMSOMEBODY #BYANYMEANSNECESSARY