“Tell A Black Girl’s (COVID) Story” is a photo essay that seeks to tell a COVID story through the eyes of Black girls. The essay is part of the Lighthouse’s Stories of Resistance Project. The images depict Black girls ranging from the ages of 7 to 22. I have taken over 100 portraits utilizing various approaches including close- ups and candid action shots. The photos sessions were overwhelmingly led by the girls. They got to pick their own clothes, do their own hair, and largely direct the nature of the shots. The images you see here are a small sample of my favorites. Each girl was also asked to share their experiences of COVID. The quotes are short excerpts from their responses.
“I loved being on Sister-to-Sister Studios and I learned how to read.” – Ava, 7
“During coronavirus, I just saw things in a different way and how grateful I should be to be able to hug people and see people the way that I want to and a lot of reflection. With my family, we have been spending so much time together and we got to be closer than we ever were. I feel the difference. We were always a close family and doing a lot of things together, but I felt that we like really felt it and we were having family breakfast lunch and dinner and it was wonderful to spend so much time together.” – Aaliyah, 10
“It’s been really hard because while I am sitting in my house or talking to my cousins, I have friends out there who I can play football with or tag or football fumble… and I miss everybody else. I also miss fake fire drills. What makes me happy is instead of interacting with my friends, I call my family instead.” – Charlize, 8
“Some of the kids, I have known since kindergarten and preschool and I miss playing with them. I am actually on online school and so I see one or two of my friends and that makes me happy. What also makes me happy is when I complete my work on time and get A’s and also when I get told I’m doing a good job…I learned how to cook some and I also learned how to do stuff without relying on internet. Because when COVID didn’t happen we didn’t want to go outside and since COVID is here we don’t want to go on our electronics all that much anymore. So, I learned, and I made some new friends by COVID happening. I am not saying that I am happy that COVID happened but from COVID I did learn some stuff. Also, I learned how to rely on myself instead of other people. I learned how to meet my goals and get better on my goals in life. I also learned new things I wanted to do because of activities in my house.” – Chailyn, 8
“COVID has been hard because I am not able to see my friends and I am isolated, but I am also able to connect with my family more and understand their personalities more and learn more about them. That’s been nice. I have also learned a lot more about self-care and caring for yourself because going to school everyday and then coming home I would be tired. I would have nothing else to do but eat, sleep, and go to bed and wake up for the next day. But during quarantine I have been able to take more care of myself as well as care for others.” – Nia, 11
“I’ve honestly probably learned more about myself during COVID then like, anything else. I don’t go out; I don’t socialize but COVID actually got me to look at things a different way. I found what I like and things that I’m interested in. Like, honestly learning what I want to do and where I want to go from here because school stopped. Everything stopped.” – Geneva, 17
“At first it was like oh I get time off. I get to just chill. I think it is just the uncertainty…I don’t have anything to look forward to. But when I do look forward to things it’s how is that going to look with COVID. Everything revolves around COVID and what it’s going to look like in the future. Right now, it’s trying to find a hobby that keeps me going…trying to find a hobby and trying to stay sane during all of this and something that keeps me happy is the ultimate goal in all of this because life has to keep going but trying to stay happy while I’m going. Looking at other people’s art and seeing that other people are making it has really helped. Also, looking forward to the future and knowing now that life can’t stop it just has to be altered a bit.”