High School Freshman Creates Lapel Pin to Spark Dialogue on Black Hair
- July 2, 2021
- Posted by: Black and Belonging
- Category: Youth Voice Initiatives
A young Black girl in Durham decided to channel her belonging concerns into a form of artistic activism. Ariel, a budding entrepreneur who recently completed her freshman year at Early College High School, teamed up with DeLeon Gray to design a lapel pin about Black Hair. The design features alphanumeric codes that correspond to different hair types, and a simple, yet profound message: My Hair is Professional. This wearable art speaks volumes, and can be seen on the lapels of Black women in engineering labs, university classrooms, beauty salons, and a host of other professional settings where they showcase her pin to resist disconfirming messages about Black hair. Ariel is celebrated for her creativity, persistence, and willingness to share a message that addresses issues of belonging vulnerability, particularly among Black women.
About the Black and Belonging Lapel Pin Initiative: Last year, DeLeon Gray launched the Black and Belonging Lapel Pin Initiative to support youth voice, agency, and creativity. Youth realize this vision by engaging in a rigorous, research-based design process to develop beautiful, wearable art that calls attention to societal injustices facing people of the African diaspora. They then share their designs to create social awareness while raising money for causes they believe in. The experience of creating with various youth groups can be life-giving and fulfilling. Working with youth who are fighting for a better tomorrow keeps us optimistic about the future.