​© 2016 Amber Johnson, Assistant Professor, Communication Department, Saint Louis University. 

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Black girls, women, and femmes carry many intersections of the world’s oppression in our bodies. Our mere existence is an act of invisible labor. We struggle to love ourselves, care for ourselves, and care for the world that does not care for us. If loving ourselves is a constant struggle, then imaging the body into a future free from oppression is an even larger one. This project was birthed out of a need to talk about the invisible labor involved in just being myself—a black, queer, gender non-conforming, sometimes femme, sometimes not, human—and the invisible labor I witness my trans and gender non-conforming friends struggling through in their everyday lives of explaining, exploring, and owning their identities. I began to paint images that spoke to the invisible labor I experienced. The images focused on my hair, using my body as a form of protest, and what it means to be a femme super hero trying to teach other black girls how to love themselves and free themselves from the negative images social media attaches to their bodies. I began realizing that loving ourselves is an act of invisible labor. I also realized that we need to do a better job of uplifting Black girls and teaching them they are valuable and worthy of self-love so we can reduce the labor for future generations. 

The Black Girl Magic Truck can be viewed as an intervention. Black Girl Magic is a term used to illustrate the universal awesomeness of black women, girls, and femmes. It’s about celebrating anything we deem particularly dope, inspiring, or mind-blowing about ourselves. It is about learning how to love our whole selves. The Black Girl Magic Truck will take toys, art supplies, art, videos, and amazing Black femme volunteers into communities to play and engage in dialogue about the beauty, strength, and universal wonder of Black girls, women, and femmes. The goals of this truck are to inspire Black girls to love their bodies, their hair, their smiles, their loud voices, their healing, their growth, and their labor as they learn to see themselves beautifully different. We will engage in dialogue about what it means to be a beautiful and brilliant black girl in this country while celebrating who we are in play.

COMING SOON...