This piece was originally published in our #BeautyMeans zine, an editorial project that explores beauty standards and encourages self-love. Click here to read the rest of the issue for free, right now.
When Shydeia Caldwell started Black Girl Magik, an online and IRL space for women of colour to bond and recharge, she also started a movement. Speaking to Couturesque about the importance of community, self-love, and having a voice, Shydeia shares her vision for the future of Black Girl Magik.
Can you quickly walk us through where you started to where you are now - how did you begin your work with Black Girl Magik, and how has that evolved into some of the projects that you are working on right now?
I started as a 21-year-old NYC based fashion intern eager to create something of my own and to impact the community in a positive way. I was so inspired while working for Aurora James of Brother Vellies to turn my ideas into physical reality. So I created spaces for black women to embrace every emotion and release their most intimate thoughts, all while feeling comfortable to do so. The power of black women coming together in space holds an immediate source of healing and when we do so with love, the feeling is ethereal. This power I've witnessed just within New York City and Boston is one I want black women to feel across the globe. So BGM is currently working on planning a tour to continue the important work of creating space for us and by us. Currently, I'm preparing for my first art residency show in collaboration with Olivia Park titled "HERE": We are here right now in this space to uncover, recollect, and honor" and it will be a moment to come and witness our African and Korean cultures.
How would you like to represent women of colour with your work?
I would like to represent women of color in my work by giving our emotions the visibility and honor it deserves. All my work is rooted in emotion and the need to express it. The emotions and opinions of women have been denied in so many ways and I want to take back that ability to voice through performance art, film, voice recording, and photography.
You have expertly used social media to carve out space for your work and for the BGM movement - why are spaces for women of colour to connect and create on the Internet so crucial and what kind of progress or response have you seen come out of this burgeoning movement?
Spaces for women of color to connect and create on the internet are pivotal because this Internet era is history in the making. BGM wants there to be space for women in every way and this digital way of documenting is setting the example for future generations eager to learn their history. The progress I've seen is us having a digital voice that cannot be erased.
And finally, #BeautyMeans….
Being you and exploring the possibilities in that.
Image c/o Shydeia Caldwell / blackgirlmagik.com