Stacey Abrams & Jasmine Nicole Williams: Black Women Boldly Going Where They Haven’t Gone Before
Stacey Abrams grew up in a family that strongly encouraged service to others, eventually leading her to intern in the office of Atlanta’s most significant mayor as an undergrad. She matriculated through Spelman College only to begin a career as a young, groundbreaking politician, among other favorable ventures. As House Minority Leader, she rallied for legislation that would keep education and taxes affordable for the state’s residents. Abram’s political service has always been for the betterment of all people in the state, particularly unsupported and overlooked groups.
Now, Abrams is making history with her run to become the first black woman governor of Georgia. If elected, she would become the first black woman with that position in the nation.
Like others who have stepped up before her, she is challenging the notion of who can have a seat at the table and opening doors for the black women behind her.
There is no better time than now to see a black woman fearlessly on this trail. As several groups of people are demanding for their voices to be heard, namely Black Women but also Millennials and Generation Z.
TILA member Jasmine Nicole Williams has created a piece to commemorate Abrams. Using her printmaking skills, she has captured Abrams in her essence, smiling proudly at the future.
What inspired you to create this piece?
Normally in the work that I make, I highlight women that inspire me. And that I feel, add to how I think of myself as a black woman. I feel like she’s a wonderful example of what black women are in Georgia. My current body of work, that she’s in some of the images that I put into that piece, is about disruption and black women being disruptors and being catalysts for change in this country. When I think of disruption I don’t think about it as a negative thing. It’s just a break from the norm or a break from the status quo. And I feel like that’s what she is for Georgia.
Why do you think your lens as an artist is important to the art world?
My goal is to take from people that I look up to, like artistically. I take what they’ve done so far and take it one step further. It’s in reverence of what’s come before it but also putting my unique spin on it.
Black women in this career field, there’s usually only room for, like, one or three. I want to be a part of the conversation. I feel like my ideas are really valid. I feel like other stories need to be heard. I want black female experiences to be more robust. It’s not one thing. I just want my story to be added. Because I feel like maybe somebody needs to hear my story. And I’ve heard other stories that I identify with.
Do any of your personal experiences roll into your art?
Oh, all the time. It’s weird because whenever I’m developing a body of work, I always start really broad; so I want to, like, talk about the system, talk about how it affects black women and black men and children as a whole.
But as I refine the idea, it always comes back to me. So I feel like my life experiences are integral to my work. There is no way for me to create if I’m not at the center of it. And
speaking on issues from me, rather than necessarily trying to speak for the whole. I feel like me speaking for myself, there will be overlap for everyone. And then there’s room for more to be added to the conversation.
Abram’s run has inspired people, particularly black women, to be limitless. Both Abrams and Williams’ work encourages black women to brazenly enter spaces previously unoccupied or where we are far and few in between. Our voices, our stories deserve to be heard. And evidently, there is no better time than now.