[Presented at "Black Portraitures III" in Johannesburg, South Africa 11.17.16]
The African American church, our go-to-meeting place, served not only as a place of worship, but for many, it also became the catalyst for our Construction of Self; not only amongst our community but later in the world. Imagined futures were realized as domestics became rhinestone-encrusted heads of the Women’s Auxiliary, and rail workers became tailored chairmen of the Deacon’s board. Over time, church aisles evolved into sidewalks and pulpits became concert stages; the protection offered by four white-washed church walls were replaced by stone-washed designer denim and monogrammed totes, but the premise remains the same: the constructed self. The NEED for the constructed self.
Drawing on theoretical knowledge and empirical research, this presentation draws the line between religion, self-representation, and the Black imagination.