The angry black woman trope is a longstanding widely spread pernicious stereotype of black women that has found its way into mainstream popular culture, the media, working environments, schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions as well as rearing its ugly head in everyday interactions and the personal lives of black women.
More often than not, black women are portrayed as aggressive, angry, hysterical, unreasonable, emasculating, strong, tough, uncontrollable as well as ratchet, ghetto, and unfeminine. White womanhood is often the default for what it means to be a woman, with anything deviating from that norm being considered the ‘other’. White womanhood is protected at all costs. Black womanhood is criticised, subjected to ridicule, viewed suspiciously and is often up for debate. The way black women express their anger, pain and vulnerability is an ongoing focus, particularly in our current times of racial tension and socio-political unrest. The angry black woman trope, as with the mammy archetype and the Jezebel, exist to place black women firmly in boxes, stripping them of nuance, humanity, and individuality.
Despite the angry black woman trope being popularised in the 1900s, there have been very few explorations of the subject and even fewer led by black women themselves. In October 2016, writer, blogger, poet and freelance journalist, Siana Bangura debuted her first exhibition: ‘I, The Angry Black Woman’ & Other Stories at Buster Mantis, in Deptford.
The exhibition returns in November 2017 for its second run, this time in Birmingham at Centrala Gallery. Curated by Siana Bangura and inspired by her poem, ‘I, The Angry Black Woman’, this exhibition will showcase the work of three Black female artists living, working, and creating in Britain: Ruth Aquino, Paris Walker, and Ejatu Shaw. Through their photography, paintings, and digital art, the artists will explore black womanhood and its multifacetedness within the context of assumed anger and enforced homogenising of black women’s experiences. Most importantly, our ‘Other’ stories will be looked to, celebrated, and centralised. Stories of being ‘The Other’, stories that are contrary to negative mainstream narratives about our bodies, our sexuality, our cultures, how we parent, our hair, how we express joy, and so much more. The pieces will be threaded together by the poetry of Siana Bangura, from her debut collection ‘Elephant’.
‘I, The Angry Black Woman’ & Other Stories exhibition will take place at Centrala Gallery, Birmingham, from Wednesday 15th November to Saturday 18th October.
Wednesday 15th November: Open to the public (10.00am to 6.00pm); Private view from 7.00pm *Invite Only*
Thursday 16th November: Open to the public (10.00am to 6.00pm)
Friday 17th November: Open to the public (10.00am to 6.00pm)
Saturday 18th November: Open to the public (10.00am to 5.00pm); Artists In Conversation panel *By ticket only* (10.00am to 6.00pm)
‘In Conversation with the Artists’: 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm.
On the last day of the exhibition, Siana Bangura will be in conversation with the artists, discussing their work, inspiration, and the key themes of the exhibition. There will be an opportunity for audience Q&A.