Names. They tell the story of our existence without ever uttering a word. You are given one before you can say or spell it. They give us pride. They are passed down to us. My husband is the third. You may be named for someone close to you, most often your parents. Our names are personal. We wear them around our necks, get tattoos of lovers or lost ones. We are named for our heroes - an aspiration for our children. Your last name shows generations of those who were able to survive and continue their lineage.
Your name is your introduction to the world.
For instance, my name is Shawana Brooks. If we’ve never met you don’t know my name, but before salutations can be exchanged there are two things that also introduce me - my race and my sex. And my name -- if I am not in the room -- could be the impetus of dialogue. I heard a supervisor say that certain names on a resume could be tossed in the trash. Though no offense was made or taken I know this to be correct, but not right. What is it about a name that signifies its identity to a culture? How can someone know a person just by the reading of a name? They cannot.
Kesha is one of those names. Yet if I say Ke$ha (popular singer) that name doesn’t conjure the same bias. This bias exists for a black woman -- a double minority, most often not unable to focus on being black woman first. In a city that not too long ago elected its first Black mayor, it seemed that during the lens of February being Black History Month, and March being Women’s History Month, you could put those two together and put a focus on Black Women, specifically. With movies like Hidden Figures and The Help, it’s necessary to focus on the success of both and the stereotypes of both.
Black women are visible and invisible, across promotions, rank, poverty, and inclusion on a daily basis. Kesha: A Black Female Experience of Identity and Race will allow visual art to marry the influence of writing, poetry, dance, photography, and foremost - reading.
It’s all of what we do here at the library - arts and culture. This is a topic that can be explored for anyone who can relate to their name being a part of their identity. Kesha will not look the same to everyone who meets her, so it makes us contemplate and have to get to know her. Otherwise, who is Kesha?
Discover Kesha, February 1st, through April 23, 2017 in the Jax Makerspace, Main Library. Join us for the opening of the Kesha Reception today, February 1st from 5:30 – 8 p.m. and keep up with the many programs at the Jax Makerspace Facebook.