So who loves the Black Woman: A photo series

15th December 2017 BY Fatmata Kamara

“So who loves the black woman” is a photo series photographed by Binti Kamara, that featured and was creative directed by myself.

The series visualizes and explains with pieces of writing inside the mind of a young African woman and her struggle with mental illness, identity and her younger selves attachment to her.

Here’s what it all means

The title

“Being a Black woman” is an unfinished poem I wrote a couple months ago.

“…Being a Black Woman is having to decide whether being called a stupid b*tch or a n*gger is worst.

Being a Black Woman is minding your business and being told a white woman can do it better…” – Excerpt from “Being a Black Woman”

After writing the poem I was left asking myself “So who loves the Black Woman”

The Clothes

“My mother would give the finest of her clothing to me. For the few minutes we discussed how they looked on me I could see it in her eyes, I could hear it in her laugh. This is what she thought having a daughter would be like. From her perspective, it seemed like watching me in her clothes validated my femininity. I was finally the proud African woman I was supposed to be. I internalised that. Maybe if I keep being as pretty as my mothers gold lace and blue wrapping cloth, then my awkward interactions with others would be forgiven at the sight of my beauty and navigating the world would be made a little bit easier; but as the silhouette shows, who am I outside of trying to be pretty and navigating?”

The Setting

“I’m at home. My birth country. The soil in which my umbilical cord was buried; but I feel lost. Out of place. Incomplete. I often wonder what my life would have been like if we didn’t move into the diaspora. As I sat on the third-floor balcony of our incomplete house I can’t help thinking; why do I feel like a stranger in my own home?”

The Child

“The child has been following me for a while. Quietly hiding in the shadows and gone unnoticed for years. It wasn’t until my therapist recently told me “try being there for her. Be the adult, little Efe always needed.” Then she stopped hiding. Slowly making herself seen; and just as I was when I was younger, she still doesn’t say much. A manifestation of my childhood traumas. Forced to figure out the world on her own, and just as I am now I don’t know what to say to her. Most days we don’t talk to each other until late at night, but she’s there. Always.”

As an African woman with Autism; my interpersonal skills are not the greatest. Being autistic and mentally ill in an African family is difficult when there are no words in your language to explain why you sometimes act the way you do. So that’s why I do it with photos and poetry.