Adornment includes everything from hair, make-up, jewelry and nails to your fave essential oils. Everything we add to our body in order to physically beautify ourselves is part of the adornment process. Black women and femme folks have adorned their bodies for centuries. We have done this in times of celebration and mourning. When we were forced to “hide our beauty”, our crowning glory, because of the 1786 Tignon laws, we defiantly styled it with beautiful fabrics. Even as our hair continues to be politicized, hair salons remain a place for congregating and building community. Beauty has been part of our spiritual and wellness practices since before colonization and remains fundamental to our sense of self and community. This is the basis of our platform and programming, using the ancient practice of adornment arts as a tool to connect us to our ancestors and inner self. Through adornment we have hard conversations and begin to transform our stories. We heal using the ancient art form of adornment, passed down through generations and left for us to thrive.
Wellness for us is a holistic approach including mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. Wellness is created by lifestyle design that considers the whole person and all their experiences. This means also considering systemic stressors and life style stressors that make wellness a challenge on any given day. “According to the World Health Organization, mental wellness is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.” We focus on mental wellness and the ability to implement lifestyle choices that make physical, spiritual and emotional wellness possible. Our definition of wellness is not based on mental illness diagnoses but the assumption that based on the social determinants of health, those most marginalized in society will need additional support staying inspired and crafting their wellness routines.
Storytelling has always been a tool and method for learning and unlearning in Black Communities. Our communities have used storytelling to communicate important information from one generation to the next. From oral to written form, storytelling helps us to understand who we are. As a new generation we have chosen to incorporate digital storytelling and the ways digital media has helped us take back the narratives about our life. We archive our narratives and document our experiences to remind ourselves and generations after us “we are here”. Through storytelling we process our understanding and transform our realities.