"I'm not Black.
Am I allowed to wear this?"
Hi! I'm Naomi. I'm a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, activist, aspiring herbalist and one who envisions a better world for all of us. I believe in the sacredness and divinity of art and artistic expression... our creativity is what makes us human. Our humanity will heal us.
I created Melanin Rising for people of the African diaspora AND people who love us.
LOVE is not just a feeling or a sentiment, it's an ACTION.
Alliance is not about "niceness", it's about ACTIVELY challenging, disrupting and dismantling systems that benefit you at the expense of Black people. It's about being willing to do the internal work so you can show up in service of our collective freedom, which is inextricably bound to yours. Platitudes and performative gestures aren't enough. Being defensive and claiming colour-blindness or proximity to Blackness ("I don't see colour, just people... I'm not racist, I have a Black friend") is neither helpful nor loving.
If you are a non-Black person, and ESPECIALLY if you are a white person, please do some reflection as to whether you are actively taking part in our liberation. If you're not, then maybe these aren't the shirts for you.
There are a lot of amazing Black folks, especially those with intersectional identities, who have shared their experience, knowledge and wisdom as to how to address anti-Black racism. You can find these resources online, at your local library, at community gatherings, and in the words of the poets, troubadours and philosophers....
Educate yourself. Do the hard work. Acknowledge your privilege and use it to empower folks who don't have the same access. Take care of the freedom fighters on the front lines. Lean into the discomfort. Attend to your healing. This is your call to action.