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It's Tuesday win day! Last week we asked you to comment on all articles on the site for a chance to win a Miles Regis Collection painted t-shirt and you were engagement rockstars! Thanks to everyone who entered, we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, and now we have 3 lucky winners!

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Miles Regis Collection






Please email [email protected] with your full name, address & size using Miles Regis Collection Winner in the subject line. Enjoy yout t-shirt, and stay tuned for the next giveaway! 

Miles Regis Collection 
Hey Ladies, 
We'd love you to be a part of the discussions going on at CN! Where you from? What do you think? What questions do you have? Let's get to know each other! Comment on all articles this week and the most engaged will win 1 of 3 Miles Regis Collection painted tees! And if you don't know artist Miles Regis, oooooooh, you're in for a treat!


Miles Regis Collection
With eye-catching iconography and a color palette designed to turn heads, Miles Regis’ timeless wearable art series showcases a natural simplicity with a bold commitment to style.

Hand painted by Regis, each fabric highlights a delicately detailed working of the artist that is typically created alongside many of his larger canvas works. His creations are an authentic and ever evolving documentation of the artist’s personal experiences, with each piece telling a story on it’s own.
If you haven’t heard of Los Angeles-based, Trinidad-born artist Miles Regis yet, you will. He learned to paint at age five, by watching his uncle Alexander King, one of Trinidad’s most renowned artists. The Huffington Post compared Regis to Basquiat and Jackson Pollack, and he was a standout at Miami’s Art Basel. -Ebony.com 
Learn more about Miles at MILESREGIS.COM & MilesRegisCollection.com, or follow him on INSTAGRAM  TWITTER  FACEBOOK
Comment on all articles this week and the most engaged will win a Miles Regis Collection tee. 3 Winners will be announced next week so good luck!

The Awakenings Project by Marissa Southards
By Sharee Silerio

When Marissa Southards picked up a camera three years ago, she was simply trying something new. One day, her husband Brian, a pencil artist, brought a professional-level camera home so he could work in a different medium.

Active in St. Louis protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, she took the camera into the streets to capture what was going on.

“You see an image, and it angers you, or it makes you mad. Or it inspires you. We are now equipped with the ability to tell our own story, because we have cameras now. One of the best quotes that I have ever heard was ‘The revolution will not be televised.’ And it won't be. We're telling our own story and we're doing it through pictures.”

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After reviewing her protest photos, Southards’ husband noticed that she captured some unforgettable moments. Though her work was beautiful, she rejected the part of her that was an artist.

“I felt like, I'm a mom. I'm a career professional. I'm a wife. I'm an activist. These are the most important things,” she said. “Yes, I have this creativity, but I'm not going to do anything about it.”

After flipping through Instagram, she came upon a photo of her friend Ashley, covered but topless, fully without shame.

“Her attitude was, ‘If you don't like it, look away, but I love who I am.’ There was something about this woman owning everything about who she is that sparked something in me. I call it Revelation X because it was that true moment that I realized I am really stuck in my own way."

With her husband’s help, she took a photo of the word “empowered” on her bare back, put it in black and white, and then posted it on social media. She received a lot of positive feedback, and her friend Julie proposed using her space, the botanical beauty store Blissoma, for a shoot. After planning and promoting, they expected 10, maybe 12 women to show up.

Marissa Southards 
“There was a line. I ended up getting 52 women, girls and Trans women who were ready to reclaim themselves. Every woman chose a word that best reflected them, and it was not the label that society gave them,” says Southhards.

Thus, on October 29, 2016, The Awakenings Project was born in St. Louis, Missouri. The series was so powerful that Southards did it again. This past summer, she shot Awakenings II in Mattoon, IL, St. Louis, and Chicago, which included 101 participants. Awakenings III, which kicked off in Chicago this past weekend, has a wait list and will span multiple cities such as Louisville, Kentucky; Mobile, AL; St. Louis; Mattoon; and more.

Testimony

Oracle
Kujichagulia (Self-determination)
Using the body as a form of empowerment, protest, healing and reclamation has become a passion for Southards. This January, she planned an action during the St. Louis Women’s March when its leaders decided to silence women of color by disregarding their point of view, feelings and experiences.

“For generations, white women's bodies have been put on a pedestal. They have been used to shame women of color. Specifically, if you don't fit this idea, if you don't look like me, we're going to shame you. We decided to take back the messaging of our own bodies,” Southhards explains.

During the march, seven women walked down Market Street with little to no clothing on, and messages written on them such as: 53% of white women voted for Trump; Black Women Matter; Black Trans Women Matter; Resist; and No Justice, No Peace. By the end of the march, the group had grown to about 42 women.

Women's March 2017
Kelly Morrison, one of the models for Awakenings II, also participated in Southards’ Women’s March action says,

“There is something really beautiful and empowering about stripping away the context of everyone's opinion of you and focusing on how you see yourself, and putting that word on your body for all to see."
When using the female body as a form of protest, Southards feels that it's important to focus on issues that impact all women.

“Body as canvas is not a form of protest utilized very often. There's a very human element to it, and it’s very risky," says Marissa. "You have to be very cautious about it. But because it is so visual, the impact is bold. There is no way to ignore it."

To keep up with activist and photographer Marissa Southards, follow her on Facebook  & Instagram

Do you think bodies used as canvas is a viable form of protest?
 Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts forSincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Artist Miles Regis
By Nikki Igbo
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” French impressionist artist Edgar Degas once made this statement and it could not be truer when considering the contributions of visual artists throughout history. Visual artists, through their work, clarify, expose, underscore and inform in ways that transcend age, ethnicity, language and time. Think Jean Michel Basquiat, Kara Walker, Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett—all African-American artists whose work still speaks volumes and has great influence. The following 7 African-American artists are taking the baton from these artistic giants and running us all into a new age of beautiful and much-needed expression.

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Artist Dianne Smith 







 Domestic Violence Month
 “He pushed me on the bed, pinned me down, and started punching me in the face,” recalls Harlem-based artist Dianne Smith, the night her 6’6, 270 lb. boyfriend assaulted her. It was the first time anything like that had ever happened, and when she asked him to go, he refused. She considered calling the police, however, she couldn’t risk them coming to her apartment and potentially killing this ‘big Black man,’ which would only make the situation worse. Besides, she had an important meeting in the morning regarding an art piece she was creating for the 40-year anniversary of the play, ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf.’
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Instead, she called her best friend from across the street, and his best friend who lived nearby. Together they convinced him to pack his bags. When he was gone, Dianne began tending to her face, which now looked like a cartoon character. She also notified her neighbors about what happened in case he decided to come back. Sure enough, the next morning he was there, waiting on her doorstep. But so were her neighbors, who wouldn’t let him any where near her. Using them as a shield, she pressed forward and continued on to her meeting.

But as she walked down the street of her neighborhood, she noticed that something in her had changed. “I had my hat pulled down with my face covered, and I had to ask myself, who am I protecting? Am I worried about what people think? But I’d done nothing wrong. There was no reason for me to be ashamed.” In that moment, Dianne decided that if anyone asked her what happened to her face, she’d tell them the truth. It was in stark contrast to her Belizean upbringing where appearances are everything and you don’t go putting your business in the street.

As time moved on, her now ex-boyfriend continued his effort to get her back, leaving voice messages, some apologetic, some verbally violent. Her friends started pressuring Dianne to press charges, but she refused.

“I felt a lot of judgment, and people telling me what they would do. You don’t know what you will do until you are in that situation.” It was around that same time that Ray Rice was in the news for assaulting his then-girlfriend. Dianne found people judging her too. 
“People were quick to ask, ‘Why is she staying with him?’ when they should have been asking, ‘What’s wrong with him to hit a woman like that?'”

Fortunately, Dianne was able to get out of the relationship, but that’s not always the case. According to statistics, an estimated 50 women a month are killed by former or current partners. About 75 percent of the victims were killed as they attempted to leave or after they ended the relationship. And while Dianne didn’t want to have her ex arrested, she did take precaution. His recorded messages along with photos that she began taking of her face since the night of the assault, were sent to her brother. That way if anything ever happened it was documented. Ironically, it was these same photos that Dianne began to show her friends when domestic violence conversations came up, and the same photos that she would eventually use for her For Colored Girls art installation.

"One day, I re-read the poem 'Somebody Almost Walked Off Wid Alla My Stuff,' and a light-bulb went off. This poem is about a woman taking agency over herself. If I was going to do justice to the work, I had to be authentic and talk about what happened.”

Dianne had already sketched out the visual element of her piece, now it was time to create a video component. She chose three. For the first, she shows photographs of all the stuff in her apartment, while reciting the poem ‘somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff.’ In the second, she shares actual images of her bruised face, while reciting domestic violence statistics. In a third, she interviews a diverse group of girlfriends from throughout the Diaspora who share powerful stories of stuff they’ve given away, lost or gotten stolen.

Dianne’s installation premiered at the Schomburg Museum in New York, and showed at both the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Houston Museum Of African American Art.
Ultimately, she hopes that her work will continue to open minds, and show that domestic violence is not just a woman's issue. 

For more Dianne Smith, visit DianneSmithArt.com

Have you or someone you know been a victim of domestic violence? 


Erickka Sy Savané is the managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or