Last year during Black history month I set out to take those 28 days to widen my representation of black heroes and icons, mostly because a good number of my fans or customers are incredible, gorgeous, fantastic black women. Also, often times my own heroes, role models, and inspirations that I set out to honor and paint just happen to be black. (I can’t believe I still haven’t painted my first love Jody Watley yet)
This year I decided to up the ante and create a new pair of earrings every single day. I also decided to give a portion of sales to an HBCU, Bennett College. Along the way I learned more about a few figures I only had a vague awareness of and I got to paint some people I have adored for years for the very first time.
With a little jubilation at achieving my pair a day goal and a little sadness that this challenge has come to an end – I present my final week of black heroes and icons on earrings. Simply click on the highlighted name to purchase.
Feb 22nd Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston was perhaps the most successful and most significant black female writer of the first half of the 20th century. Over a career that spanned more than 30 years, she published four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, and several essays, articles and plays.
Feb 23rd “You better shoot straight!” MAXINE WATERS! The oldest black woman in Congress is currently serving her 15th term! And she’s spicier than ever. I adore this woman.
Feb 24th Astronaut Mae Jameson was the first woman of color in space as well as the first real astronaut to appear on Star Trek.
Feb 25th Whoppi Goldberg as Celie and Oprah Winfrey as Sofia from the Color Purple, adapted from the classic Alice Walker novel.
Feb 26th – the Love of the Obamas.
Feb 27th – original art featuring Okoye, an amalgamation of her likeness in comics AND the film Black Panther.
Feb 28th and finally the Evan’s fam from Good Times!
And here they are, the whole month in a single image… which is your favorite?
Thanks for joining me on the ride. Remember, I take special requests!
I’m back again for another week’s worth of earrings for the celebration of heroes and icons for Black History Month! With each entry you can click on the highlighted text to purchase them.
I am donating a portion of the proceeds at the end of the month to Bennett College, an all women’s HBCU in South Carolina. I am also going to try to set aside a little for The University of the Virgin Islands as they recently announced they would the first HBCU to offer free tuition!
Feb 15th – The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. They were trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, hence the name. Their impressive performance in World War II earned them more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and helped encourage the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces. They were called Red Tails or Red Tail Angels because of the red tails the P-51 Mustangs they flew in had.
Feb 16th – Booker T. and W.E.B.
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois
By Dudley Randall
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.,
“It shows a mighty lot of cheek
To study chemistry and Greek
When Mister Charlie needs a hand
To hoe the cotton on his land,
And when Miss Ann looks for a cook,
Why stick your nose inside a book?”
“I don’t agree,” said W.E.B.
“If I should have the drive to seek
Knowledge of chemistry or Greek,
I’ll do it. Charles and Miss can look
Another place for hand or cook,
Some men rejoice in skill of hand,
And some in cultivating land,
But there are others who maintain
The right to cultivate the brain.”
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.,
“That all you folks have missed the boat
Who shout about the right to vote,
And spend vain days and sleepless nights
In uproar over civil rights.
Just keep your mouths shut, do not grouse,
But work, and save, and buy a house.”
“I don’t agree,” said W.E.B.
“For what can property avail
If dignity and justice fail?
Unless you help to make the laws,
They’ll steal your house with trumped-up clause.
A rope’s as tight, a fire as hot,
No matter how much cash you’ve got.
Speak soft, and try your little plan,
But as for me, I’ll be a man.”
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.–
“I don’t agree,”
Feb 17th – While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, George Washington Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, as a source of their own food and to improve their quality of life. Apart from his work to improve the lives of farmers, Carver was also a leader in environmentalism. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a “Black Leonardo”.
Feb 18th – I made these on President’s Day as perhaps a little bit of wishful thinking for the future. KAMALA HARRIS
Feb 19th – US Women’s Olympic Track & Field athletes – Alice Coachman was a high jump specializing athlete who, in 1948 at the London games became the first black woman to win an Olympic medal). Flo Jo or Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner was considered the fastest woman of all time and has 3 Gold and 2 Silver Olympic medals. Wilma Rudolph was a sprinter and was considered the fastest woman in the world in the 60s. She was the first woman to win 3 gold medals in a single Olympics games. Lastly, the 2016 USA Women’s relay team of Felix, Garder, Bowie, and Bartoletta took gold in Brazil. They all appear on these double sided earrings.
Feb 20th – the LegendaryJimi Hendrix! I really really love the textured blue violet color on these babies.
Feb 21st – Beyoncé and JayZ in The Louvre based on their now iconic Apes**t video.
See you next week for the final 7 entries and a surprise!
My month of honoring heroes and icons for Black History Month continues with some more notable black men and women. I am donating a portion of the proceeds at the end of the month to Bennett College, an all women’s HBCU in South Carolina. I am also going to try to set aside a little for The University of the Virgin Islands as they recently announced they would the first HBCU to offer free tuition! And if you see this post from today (Friday the 15th to Sunday the 17th) everything in the shop is 30% off!
FEB 8TH – Of all the chanteuses I paint I have to say that Nina Simone is my most beloved.
FEB 9TH – I have always liked Serena Williams, but last year my admiration went to fever pitch. She recovered from giving birth and returned to the game right at the top, had her catsuit banned at the French Open which I found ridiculous and then showed up in a black tutu. Genius. And she looked amazing the whole time, so I honored that time period here in these.
FEB 10TH – Inspired by Into the Spiderverse here we have Miles Morales!
FEB 11TH – Soulful and tender Marvin Gaye
FEB 12TH – This gorgeous, talented woman endured years of hell to become the Icon so many adore and look up to. The glorious, natural wonder – Etta James!
FEB 13TH – Ruby & Louisa – These beauties were brewing around in my head for some time and I’m happy to share them in honor of black history month. One earring features Ruby Bridges escorted from school after desegregation in New Orleans in 1960 and the other is a little more controversial. One source credits the woman as Louisa Jenkins – 1967, but that is not confirmed. I loved the image since it went viral on Twitter and I like to imagine her as a grown up version of Ruby, not bothered by police harassment, standing strong because of everything she has seen and lived through.
FEB 14TH US Representative and Civil Rights Icon John Lewis