Quisqueyanas: Ferminas Salón, Puerto Rico 2015
This was my first photo-essay that I did in college for my Photojournalism class in 2015.
I never released it do to the negative and racist feedback I got from my professor at the time.
Now looking back its probably one of my best work.
I wanted to show how Dominican women uplift and economically sustain themselves through opening Beauty Salons in Puerto Rico.
Growing up mostly Dominican in Puerto Rico I always found myself being joked about my Dominican culture and heritage.
From people making fun of my accent and making Sanky Panky jokes as if thats all that there is to being Dominican.
To then this particular Professor calling the women in my photo-essay
"Ugly black women that have no point in going to a Salon Because they're still going to be black and with burnt hair.".
I was one of only two black women in the class room.
This experience actually made me doubt if photography was something I wanted to do and I felt destroyed as an artist.
Here I was showing how a entire community of Dominican Immigrant women in Puerto Rico (which also involved family members) has each other’s back and promotes self-love.
Being completely dragged by a white male photographer.
I felt like I put the people I was showing love for in the position to be the butt of the joke again.
It took me time to realize how much that moment affected me in my work space.
It wasn’t until I got back into documenting rally’s against the government that I actually found the love to photography again.
Now I know that this experience I went through was not a test of my actual ability in photography,
but just how tolerant I had to be as a Black Dominican and Puerto Rican woman to racist bullshit.
Now that I know all of this I’m glad I can share this with such an amazing community that supports my work.
Im also grateful to come from a beautiful lineage of Resilient women from Quisqueya and to be blessed to have them uplift me from that situation.
Black is beautiful and it won’t be silenced.
I will continue to show the beauty and strength that Black Women from all parts of the world are.