Verneda Lights

Fury (2018)
digital photography, digital painting
15 x 11.25 in. | $675

Everyday, I say this simple word: “No!” At times, I say it loudly. Sometimes, I say it softly. But I always mean it. Black women suffer under multiple jettes in the tidal wave of oppression. As chattel, we were chained to whatever location we were assigned to. Our wombs were the engine that built Euro-American wealth, so we had no reproductive rights. Black women were denied the right to feel or call ourselves beautiful. We were denied equality of education and were among the last to obtain the right to vote. Even as slaves, we raised our voices in support of equality for all women. Our support was rarely appreciated or reciprocated. For these reasons, I am often furious.

So, I say “No” when our profit-driven healthcare system denies me respect. I say “No” when a poll worker tries to gaslight me about my right to vote. I say “No” to any attempts to bully me into not asserting my right to equal pay and equal protection under the law. To those who try to touch me when I don’t want to be touched, I scream: “Get your hands off of me!!” I speak it out loud, and I say it in my art. That way, it’s impossible to forget.

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