I have an unquenchable desire for fashion! In the material world my number one passion is fashion. I never dreamed of being rich, having a big house or fancy cars. All I ever dreamed of was having five children, making beautiful clothes for them and myself and having a big black man take care of us. As a child growing up I had only one example of what I wanted to be like.
The generation I grew up in was two steps from slavery. My mother and grandmother and the women I saw everyday dipped snuff or chewed tobacco, wore old clothing, hair braided, a rag or old sunhat on their heads. I found no fault with their appearance because on Saturday and Sunday they did their hair, greased themselves down put on their dress up clothes and did their thing. I would have not known any different if I had not seen Mrs. A. who lived in town and didn’t have to go into the cotton and corn fields to work.
Mrs. A. was married to a big (as I saw him) black man who worked in town at the John Deer store. I heard the other women saying that she only got him because she was “high yellow” (light skin) and because he was “black and ugly”. I am a literal person, therefore, I came to the conclusion that if I was going to get a man to take care of me and not allow me to work in the fields I had better get me a big “black ugly” man and dress like Mrs. A.!
I don’t know if Mrs. A. was beautiful or not but I do know that she did not dress like the women that I was around everyday. She had her hair done at the beauty shop every two weeks and her clothing were store bought rather than homemade. Oh I do remember her bright red lips, red fingernails and “heaven to bessie” the woman had red nail polish on her toes! And she was the first human being I saw wearing animal fur around their shoulders (mink stole)
My grandfather raised me and he was a big black beautiful man. He died when I was fifteen and for the very first time when harvest time came around I had to go to the cotton field. Thank goodness I only had to go into the cotton field but one season. My grandmother and I came to live with her sister and her husband in the big city where my love for fashion became ravenous! My desire to create has never been satisfied. My soul craves to create fashion, art and to write down what is in the depth of my very soul. I do not just create. What comes forth from me is part of me, my very soul, all that I generate is indeed autobiographical, I live and breath what I create. I create to become human, to be alive, I am made animated by the things I create.