Growing up, I never saw a reflection of myself in the media. Everyone looked like my mother, a blonde-haired blue-eyed beauty. Looking around, seeing the attention she received, my internal voice surmised, “I am ugly and undesirable.” When you have images of yourself, not only of your skin color or hair texture, but yourself in heroic, loving, and fantastical settings, it programs your brain to believe it is possible. In other words, if you see it, you can achieve it.

When my son was a small boy, I noticed that there were no children’s stories about young black boy heroes. As a struggling single mother, I lacked the resources to scour the globe in search of a book, so I made one out of a pizza box and art supplies I had at home. I read that book to him every night. 

Black artists are vitally important to our historical narrative. Support black art.

1. Nikkolas Smith

2. Amy Sherald

3. Kehinde Wiley

4. Nina Chanel Abney

5. Amoako Boafo

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14. Kara Walker

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