Fresh Talk: Accessory to Action—Adorning Wakanda | Part 2: Presentations

(dramatic music) – I’m really delighted
to be here to think about the power of adornment and
how we might frame that in the past and in the present and then looking into our futures. (speaking foreign language) I greet you in the te reo or
the language of part of my ancestry on my mother
and grandmother’s side. And what I’ve done is just say my pepeha, so I’ve just announced my
mountain, my river and my tipuna or my female ancestors, Whose image is actually
inscribed into a gable figure or wooden carving at the
top of our meeting house on the east coast of New
Zealand, Aotearoa New Zealand and what that does is really
ground me in the landscape conceptual and literal of one part of my personhood. And I’m now gonna continue in English to honor and respect the
legacy of my father’s side and he’s a scouse or a
Liverpudlian from England and London is where I was born and raised. And I thought I’d just
begin our discussion by thinking about, as I’ve said, the kind of broader sense of
what it is that jewelry does or adornment in it’s fuller sense and as you’ve just so
beautifully opened up for us, jewelry was really the first art form and it enters the archaeological record tens of thousands of years
before the cave paintings and sculpted figurines that
we pull out of the earth and indeed, adorning oneself
competes with language and the creation of tools,
as a marker of humanity. And that’s to say that
humans across every culture and time period have defined
themselves by engaging in this deeply profound
and meaningful act. Adorning the body. But it’s easy to claim the
universality of adornment but thinking about the wearing of jewelry and the modification of the
body and how we adorn it, it’s slightly more difficult to define precisely in terms of what it’s doing and it’s harder still to understand how it works perhaps and why we do it and I’m interested in the kind
of active agency of adornment and its implications. And I did think I would
just allude to this exhibition that the Metropolitan put on. It closed actually in February this year and I had a small part to play in pulling out some Oceanic artworks that were part of a cluster of works in a, what was a huge exhibition and
it involved a whole team of you know, six curators who led other teams throughout the museum. And the idea was really to
figure out how adornment works to extend and amplify different parts of the human physique. And that very foundation
of the body, permits an exploration of how jewelry
acts upon and transforms us. Activates even, the body that it adorns. So encompassing the grand
traditions of adornment found throughout the world, these themes and ideas were organized
into five main categories and I’ve flashed them up on
the screen there for you now. And I think they’re
useful categories just to bear in mind as we have our
discussion this afternoon. The alluring body, the transcendent body, the resplendent body, the regal body and the divine body. And I’ll play just quickly
the sizzle reel for the show. Which maps out rationale
for the exhibition. (upbeat music) – Because jewelry is often small scale, you might overlook it. This is an exhibition that is made to kind of pull out those small treasures. Drawn almost entirely
from the Met’s collection, taking this global approach
alongside sculptures, paintings, photographs to
enrich the kinds of stories we’re trying to tell about jewelry. What distinguishes jewelry
from any other art form? It’s worn on the human body. In fact, the very center
of the whole exhibition will take you from toe to head. We’re actually trying to insert the body and the practices around jewelry
back into the discussion. It’s as much about aesthetics
as it is about meaning. Adornment is one of the most meaningful activities that we engage in. Jewelry is often linked to the gods and is often linked to royalty. Specifically looking at Oceanic material, we learned of the importance of jewelry in invoking ancestors but this is something we also see in the West. When we have jewelry that includes the hair of your
grandmother, family memories. The meaning the jewelry carries across cultures throughout the show. We’ll look at how
jewelry engenders desire. Making us bodies to be looked at. The show certainly includes
some of the great names in jewelry-Tiffany,
Lalique, Cartier, Boucheron- alongside contemporary
jewelers-Calder, Schiaparelli or Shaun Leane-who are manipulating
the body to the extreme. This is a show that really speaks to those magical qualities of jewelry. To remind that jewelry
has a kind of agency that both carries meaning and that does something to us when we wear it. – Great so, let’s think about those burial ornaments
that were in the show accompanying one of the
wives of Thutmoses III and unfortunately her individual
name’s not been unearthed so, at this stage, archaeologists
simply refer to her as you know, in the context
of her royal husband. Who gifted her this
suite of golden objects which were used to cover
her prepared body in burial. So in the ancient world
jewelry was a highly effective way for individuals
to link themselves to the divine with the
past and with ancestors and this range of works combines potent materials and iconography in order to protect the
woman and transport her safely from this world to the next. So a set of gold foil amulets were created for her eternal protection
and these wonderful sandals and what are called
toe stalls that you see on the bottom of the screen to the right and a set of finger stalls
signify her elite status since they were only found in
the highest ranking burials. Providing extravagant protection to the most vulnerable extremities
of an individual. So while the metal had a
potency in it’s own right, significant efficacy was added
by transforming the plain gold into specific items embedded
with iconographic meaning. So the broad collar of falcon terminals, defended her vulnerable neck and the winged vulture that
spread it’s protective wings across the Queen’s chest was
also identified as female. And most important of all was this large scarab that you see suspended from that collar at the top of the screen. And that’s inscribed with the Queen’s name and a kind of incantational
spell designed to protect her heart and ensure safe
passage to the afterlife. So these symbols gave her body
and, ultimately, her spirit the best possible chance at
a successful resurrection. And it’s this sense that jewelry is far from being a mere ornament
that I’m trying to get at. It’s an active participant
in the formation of identity and, in other words,
these bejeweled objects which might at first be
considered inanimate, were not limited to a passive, decorative or symbolic function, they could do things and they could make things happen. So I’m gonna switch now
because I’ve only got a really brief time, to
think about this idea of active agency in the realm
that I deal with in the museum and that I am thinking about a lot in terms of the curator work that I do. And it’s this idea of active agency and the invoking of ancestors. And it’s very relevant to the art and practice of adornment in Oceania. And I wanted to focus specifically on Ta moko which is the modification of the body through tattooing. And the art of tattooing
is a really distinctive art practice that’s
really having a resurgence in Aotorea New Zealand today and throughout the Pacific and it’s deeply embedded
with cultural significance. So if adornment always exists
in conversation with the body, then this form really
derives power or mana, that’s a kind of personal
prestige or sanctity and mana is the name we give, to that concept in Polynesia. It derives that from its
particular intimacy with the body and this case it forms
a permanent inscription of incised lines on the skin. So for women, the customary lines applied to the chin and lips are called moko kauae and this was a practice that
was prohibited by missionaries and early colonial
authorities in New Zealand and it really almost died out in the 1920s and there were a handful of
kaumatua where these kuia elders who carried the moko kauae and they became the
inspiration for a whole new generation of young women,
wahine Maori in New Zealand who wanted to adopt this
practice and revive it. So facial tattooing in particular give observers or people
who encounter someone, you know, particular clues as to your social status and your affiliation. And it’s a means by which one can read ancestral lines and trace genealogy. The intricate designs are a visible index of just that, your genealogy. And that is a term known as whakapapa. And whakapapa is
literally, to make layers. Papa being a foundation, like the earth and creating this kind of
layering of ancestral lines. So the uhi, which is a bird bone chisel, is the customary way to kind of layer those delicate grooves into the skin and then the ink goes into that landscape and then sinks into that. And so, for women who take the moko kauae, the sense is that those lines
are actually already present on the inside and that the
tohunga is actually just pulling those out when he’s
designing the, well the act of actually inscribing those
lines on the lips and chin. So that line between it’s
interior and exterior in kind of self and
adornment is really blurred. And the two were interwoven and constantly in dialogue with each other. So that those ancestral lines be one’s forbears can really be
kind of drawn up from the past and be active and relevant in the present. And these photographs
are part of an archive that actually sits in
the Alexander Turnbull library in Wellington, New Zealand. And they were just simply named you know, portrait of Maori woman, name unknown and there was a huge repatriation project where
these photographs were brought out and put on exhibition and then the local iwi, or tribal groups came in and actually identified their relations and their aunties and their
great great grandmothers and so now we have like a much clearer idea of who these women are. And so that’s Beti Karaitiana on the left and Mary Mahau on the left. So women talk about the
transformative aspects of moko kauae rather like childbirth,
it’s a declaration of status that carries with it
specific responsibilities and it requires one to
behave in a certain way in order to rise up and honor the kauae, the ancestors that are inferred in the lines that you’re wearing yourself. So ultimately I think that’s the most intriguing and perhaps
enticing part of adornment. By engaging in these transformative
and deeply profound acts that comment on the major
transitions and thresholds and rites of passage in life, we kind of do turn
ourselves into works of art. So the body is that vehicle
for ancestral agency and action and I’m gonna end there
and pass on to Ayana, and then Douriean so
we’re going to be able to kind of show some of
the more specific ways that women and artists
have been and are engaging in this vein of action
across the centuries. Thanks very much. (applause) – Good afternoon. – [Crowd] Good afternoon. – I’m so grateful to be
sharing a preview of my work alongside such esteemed scholars in adornment, fashion, and museum studies. Thank you Melani for this
amazing introduction. I wanna add that before
I was Dr. Flewellen I was and remain the
daughter of Dr. Rona Carter who was the daughter
of the recently passed Sally May Wellborn, who was the
daughter of Dovey Lee Tyler, who was the daughter
of Suki Ella Armstead, who was the daughter or Lydia Lily Russell and who was the daughter of Susan Shaw. I am the daughter of six generations of African American women
who were born in Texas. Five who labored in the cotton fields and in the homes of white employers as domestic servants
in Falls County, Texas. The work I’m gonna speak on today is an ode to the lived experiences
of my maternal mothers. This work is an exploration
into how these women adorned their bodies while
fashioning themselves lives worth living in the post
emancipation era in Texas. So I’m gonna briefly spend some time discussing my first book project
currently in preparation, called “A Black Feminist
Archeology of Adornment” and then I’m gonna dive into
a bit of my current research in the Isle of Saint Croix. So I wanna start with my roots. I’m gonna start in Texas. In the midst of social reform
and the rise of mass produced goods that defined the late
19th and early 20th centuries, black women were pinning
up their hair with combs, lacing glass beads round their necks, dying coarse cotton with
sumac berries and walnuts and fastening buttons
to adorn their bodies and dress their social lives. Within my book project, I ask how did race, gender and class operations of power and oppression shape
African American women’s identity formation during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Texas? Within the book, I address this question using archaeological
and documentary evidence by investigating why and
how African American women engaged in particular sartorial practices in Texas from 1865 to 1910. And within the interpretations, I focus specifically on the way
sartorial practices were shaped by the matrix of domination
within spheres of labor as well as due to the threat
of racial, sexual violence, desires for self expression
and, just as importantly, processes of social reproduction. Material culture data used were clothing and adornment artifacts and
clothing maintenance artifacts recovered from the Levi Jordan Plantation, a plantation site about 60
miles south of Houston, Texas. Where African American families labored and lived as tenant, wage
laborers, and share croppers. It’s the buttons, buckles, hook and eyes, along with hair combs and
jewelry which are a testament to the ways tenant farmers, share croppers and wage laborers who
lived and worked and lived at the Levi Jordan Plantation
during the postbellum era, engaged in sartorial practices. Within historical archeology,
scholarship on adornment, there are multi variant meanings
behind artifacts recovered and the archaeological record
that relate to dress practices are tools for the formations of identity. Identity analysis within
the field of archeology provides the foundation
for adornments studies, paving an avenue for
historical archaeologists to interpret past formations of identity by critically examining small things. I’d put this alongside documentary evidence including works,
progress, administration, ex slaves narratives, Sears and Roebuck catalog advertisements,
as well as stereo views like the one you see on the
screen from African Americans that date to the mid 19th
and early 20th centuries. Within the book, I explore
everyday sartorial practices. How people dressed their
bodies for their everyday lives as practices of self making that, through their repetitive daily engagement, constitute the body and form identities. Building off the work of
Mary Ellen Roach-Higgins and Joan B. Eichner who are
two cultural anthropologists, I define sartorial practices
as socio-cultural practices shaped by the many intersecting
operations of power and oppression, including
racism, sexism, and classism that involve modifications
to the corporeal forms. So thinking about scarification, body piercings, and hair alteration. As well as all 3D supplements
added to the body. So thinking about clothing, hair combs, and jewelry. The emphasis on intersecting operations of power and oppression
including racism, sexism, and classism, but then
my definition really draw on articulations of
“Black Feminist Thought” by Kimberle Crenshaw and
Patricia Hill Collins. So I’m gonna pull one
of my favorite examples of sartorial practices from the text by drawing your attention to
Esther Holmes on the screen. This is a late 19th century
image of Esther Holmes who, as an enslaved woman, labored
at the Levi Jordan Plantation in the main house and remained as a house servant after emancipation. She’s wearing a short gown, fastened with hook and eyes around her waist. Her hair is pulled back and
covered in a head scarf, her hands are interlaced
as she stares back at us. Her attire rests as a representation of how she maintained the
Jordan home, clean and modest. This would’ve been the
clothing that Miss Holmes wore as she completed her daily
task as a domestic servant cooking, cleaning, laundering
and mending clothing for the Jordans to then
return to her own cabin and do her own home keeping work. While perhaps even maintaining her own garden for subsistence needs. I look at Esther Holmes and
I wonder what negotiations black women were having with
processes of racializations, sexual exploitation, and
economic disenfranchisement and how that impacted her dress. I argue that constructions
of black womanhood were embedded in relations and ideologies
of race, gender and class. Further I argue that black
women as historical agents, negotiated these operations of power and oppression through dress
within the context of labor, violence, social reproduction and, just as significantly, desire and creativity. Given the relationship between fashion and hegemonic notions of
femininity, my interpretation suggests that women’s clothing
and adornment practices were representations of
the complex entanglement of resistance in conformity
to these notions. The clothing that African
American women wore while doing agricultural
labor, is tied to negotiations of femininity and the realities of racial, gender and class objection and
the necessity for functional clothing needed for rural,
Southern agricultural labor. Although African American
women tended to land, cooked over hearths, sewed and
mended and washed clothing, gender ideology about
women’s appropriate dress was so influential that black
women often adhered to it even though the clothes
that they wore were often impractical for the kinds of
labor that they had to do. The clothing African American women wore was very restrictive in many means, in terms of what you had to
do in the agricultural fields. Within this project, I really attempt to move away from notions of
resistance versus conformity by acknowledging that African
American women in their constructions of identity,
occupy a space of contradiction. Because black women are outsiders within, they dress themselves and
live their lives in ways that illustrate the
simultaneity of being woman yet still outside the normalized ideas of femininity and womanhood. In the palimpsest or layers
of histories of oppression written onto the flesh of these women position them outside of
what is deemed acceptable. As a result, African American women in their dress practices were neither fully liberating nor
completely oppressive, rather their inexperiences were a complex negotiation of power and
how to maintain dignity and defining oneself as African American woman, mother, laborer
as a form of empowerment. So I’m gonna quickly
shift to the Caribbean so take a journey with me
from Texas to St. Croix. And speak a bit about my current project that’s extended my work to
the U.S. Virgin Islands. So since 2016, under the umbrella of the Slave Right’s Project
which is a joint program between the National Museum
of African American History and Culture as well as
George Washington University and through my engagement with the Society of Black Archaeologists,
I’ve been excavating at the Estate Little Princess which is an 18th century Danish sugar plantation exploring Afro Croixian life ways from enslavement through freedom. This work at the estate really expands the time frame in which I’m examining from 1749, when the estate
was established by the English planters to 1910,
well to 1917 my apologies, when the St. Croix along
with St. Thomas and St. John were sold by Denmark to the United States. What this ultimately means is that, I’m taking a look at the wide diversity both ethnically and culturally
of people who occupied the islands during the
near 300 hundred year span. The Slave Voyages Database
has made it possible to gauge the number of enslaved Africans purchased and brought to the islands. Documenting the ports
along the African coast from every ship that crossed the Atlantic. What this demonstrates
is the wide diversity of people from the continent of Africa being forcibly brought to the island. This, along with the
former Danish West Indies having open ports, meaning
that ships from a wide variety of European nations could easily come and go from the islands meant
that the number of people, goods and ideologies
about race and gender from European and African context,
played out on people’s bodies. So I’m gonna conclude this presentation with an image of house servants, two house servants who labored at the Estate Little Princess circa 1890. The man is wearing a top hat, trousers and a button frock. The woman has her hair pulled
back and covered with a scarf. She’s wearing a gown and a long petticoat that falls to her ankles with an apron. Their hands are intertwined as they stare back at the camera. The back of the photograph reads, Nena Hettie, about 1890. Less than 50 years after
the abolition of slavery in the Danish West Indies, I wonder how Nena Hettie, her ancestors and her descendants who labored and lived at the Estate Little Princess
constituted their existence through every day continuing
practices of self making. I wonder about market accessibility, what goods, what textiles,
what fasteners were available. I wonder about craft production that took place to create their clothing. What plants were used for hand made dyes, what labor went into flattening
bone to carve buttons. What knowledge was passed
down about how to cut, stitch, and thread together cloth for
undergarments and petticoats. I wonder about the colonial sumptuary laws in the Danish West Indies that legislated what people of African
descent, those enslaved and “legally free”
could and could not wear and how these lives
impacted the livelihoods and played out on people’s bodies. My curiosity is ever expanding and this work is ongoing. I actually flew here from St. Croix and will be returning tomorrow to complete our third field season along
with five of my colleagues, Doctors Justin Dunnavant, Alicia Odewale, Alexander Jones and William White. As well as seven amazing and bright young African American women from Spelman, Morgan, and Howard University. So really pulling in a lot of strong black
feminine energy into a rather predominantly white male field. But thank you for listening and engaging. I look forward to– (applause) – Hi everyone. – [Crowd] Hello. – Can you hear me? A little closer? All right here we go. Thank you Melani for having me. And I hope he’s in the audience
but thank you to Jabari who also worked on the film,
for connecting me with Melani. He definitely supported me physically, making sure my body was aligned while working 10 to 16
hour days on the film. So thank you, if you’re here. My name is Douriean Fletcher. I am an artist and a jewelry designer. The intention behind
my jewelry is I create to adorn pretty much
the spirit of the woman. Her feminine energy. My work is to appreciate the human form, the female form and to tell the story using
the initial communication tool of adornments to tell the story of the woman who’s wearing it. And so that has been, up to this point, the intention of my work. To tell the world who that woman is. I mean most of the woman
who have worn my work are amazing, strong, beautiful
women who dare to take chances whether it’s in their personal
life or in their public life. So I’m here to talk
about adorning Wakanda. (applause) So before this, in, I believe it was 2015. I went to be an extra for “Roots.” (laughing) And I was working in the
struggling artist story and at the time I needed the money. And so I was an extra and
went in for the fitting and I had met this woman named Ruth Carter at one of my jewelry parties. That my mentor C.C.H.
Pounder had hosted for me during the time I was
trying to find my clientele. And Ruth was interested
in my work but I knew she was really busy, I didn’t
know what she did at the time. So I went to this fitting for “Roots” and they put me in this costume and they said, “Let’s take
you to the costume designer.” So Ruth saw me, she said, “What are you doing? “Take that off, come back
here and work with us.” (laughing) So that’s what I did. I came in the following
day and she wasn’t there, she gave me a call and she
said, “I need you to create “pieces for the enslaved people’s “first Christmas in the States. “And you have to do it today.” (laughing) And that’s how she works. So I said okay. I had my phone, brought up Google. There was no information of course, about what adornments looked like pre-slavery. So at that moment I had
an emotional reaction as a person who adorns people. It’s accessories but I don’t consider it a fashion, statement for me, it’s really about creating something for
the soul of that person. And so, I looked it up and
I had an emotional reaction because I could not
understand how it felt to be an artisan at that time,
having those things stripped from you, your
identity stripped from you and then put into a place
where you have to be a slave. So I created some pieces, I didn’t really have time
to create, so I created what I thought I was supposed to create. I created some masks, some headdresses, some necklaces out of, what did she get? It was twine, hats, flowers from Michaels. Just different things. And she loved it. It was a moment for her
to see my work ethic and to se how I could just create, pull from something within my spirit and bring it to the table. So, we’re gonna place
that story on the table and I’ll come back to that. After that, I started having these
dreams and these visions of pieces made out of cowry shells
and feathers and crystals. I sketched them down, put them to the side and I started creating this collection that was
calling out to my tribe. It was quite difficult
as someone who adorns, who doesn’t fit into that box of the typical jewelry designer, how do I get my work out there? So I created this collection that really was calling out to those people. Where is my tribe? Who can understand this process
of adorning for the spirit? I text Ruth and I said
I’m having these dreams. I don’t know what they’re for
but I’m having these dreams of these pieces, can you help me? Has there ever been a
jeweler who has created for a movie before,
specifically hired for a movie? And she said, “Yes.” At the time, not really.
(laughing) But she told me “yes” so I said okay. So I showed her the pieces and she said, “This is fantastic do you “think you can actually make these?” I said yes. They looked like Dinka corsets, Masai necklaces but stretched out. So where they are flared out as a huge disc on a woman’s
neck and I told her yes. I had never made them
but I said yes I can. (laughing) She said, “Well I’m
being considered for this “Afro futuristic gig; if I get
it, please move back to L.A. “And you can make the
jewelry for this gig. “If I get it.” That ended up being “Black Panther.” (applause and cheering) So one day they invited me. So initially, we had a discussion. We talked about my interest
in Masai worked tori, Zulu beading, I had spent
some time in South Africa learning about the
functionality of jewelry within the Zulu culture. And she was interested in working with me. I had interest in Art Smith, I had interest in Alexander Calder. So she understood I had the scope of adorning and what that could look like. She told me what Wakanda was. Who the people were. How they walked through
their everyday life. Based on the first script. So Wakandans, they’re
proud to be Wakandan, they don’t need to boast to the world because they know who they are. So, she was like, “All right, come in and
let’s start working.” So she brought me in
to a meeting and said, “You need to make armor. “You need to make buckles. “We need to make everything on this list.” And they gave me an illustration. I said, “Okay.” Never made it before. But I said sure. And this is what came out of that, as far as the metalwork, the necklaces, even the simple details of the foot pieces on the Dora Milaje’s footwear. So, that’s what happened. That Angela Bassett’s piece. This was my absolute
favorite piece to create. I had never really melded
metal and fabric together. The intention behind the
piece was it’s Queen Ramonda, she is the Queen Mother, she is the one to guide Wakanda with the King, to make sure that their the way that the country
is guided is in alignment with their rules and the
spiritual aspects and spiritual, yeah the aspects of the country. So this piece. This was created and
crafted after creating the Dora Milaje pieces
and so, at that time, it was quite challenging to get out of creating those pieces into something more creative. But she trusted me and my creativity so, the initial one I made was not like this, it was very normal, just basic shapes and
she looked at it, she said, “This is not Douriean enough, you need “to add more of your aesthetic to it.” So I said okay. I took a lot of the stuff off and added the amethyst. They’re gold plated amethyst,
titanium plated amethyst and then there is my own wire work at the bottom of the piece
and then, I wish they had the back of it on the image because it was definitely quite fascinating. How to create different
shapes and triangles in the back which I
assumed that she wanted it to look like a spiritual piece. So this is behind the scenes. They told me initially, “Douriean, we need “two sets of armor for the Dora.” So I said okay, I knocked those out. I finished, they said,
“Actually we forgot we need 12.” (laughing) So I spent a few weeks and thankfully the costume department supported me, but this is what it looked like before it became those fascinating silver plated and gold plated pieces. It was a great experience. It was definitely taxing,
as I said, working 10 to 14 or 16 hours a day, making
sure that these were created before they started shooting. So that was a lot of the
work, behind the scenes. I know I get a lot of interview questions where people are asking, “How
did it feel adorning Wakanda? “How did it feel to work with the cast?” But on a day to day basis,
this is what it looked like. (laughing) Really cutting out, cutting things out, hammering them, soldering them, making sure they fit the cast well, making sure they reticulated properly so when they were doing
their scenes they worked. We just needed it to work. So that’s me crafting. The beginning of the film
when they are Warrior Falls. When they are approaching Warrior Falls. There’s a scene where all of the Dora Milaje are wearing these bangles. And they had to wear stacks of bangles. And they had to make
noise while they danced and they celebrated this process of T’Challa fighting for king, to be the Black Panther. And so again, behind the scenes, what that looked like
was cutting out by hand and crafting out of aluminum, 100, no, I’m sorry, 1050 pieces, pieces to thread them,
create these bangles, color them, and make sure that in water they made noise. So it was definitely a challenge, which is a lot of the work. A lot of the work is a challenge. A lot of my clients want
things that are not… That are unique. And figuring out how to make that work on the human body is such a… It’s a challenge and it’s
such a rewarding thing to do because they can set out and
look absolutely stunning. They look like goddesses. So. This is the little one that was… Oh he’s right there. Hi. So as I said before, up until this point my work has been very external, making sure that when women
walk out into the world they are communicating
to others who they are. They’re communicating to
others how strong they are, their status in their society. But since having a child
that has definitely shifted. I’ll say it’s added a
different perspective to why I create. For myself, I always go
out with tons of things on. Tons of adornments on. I’m pretty simple today. I had to strip myself of that, and pretty much become fully
transformed to be a mother. You can’t wear those things,
he’ll tear it off my body. (audience laughing) And so, because of that,
it’s made me look internally to why do I adorn others
and why do I adorn myself? What does it mean? And I realized that with the
stresses of being a new mom, and dealing with, especially
in our society right now, there’s so many things
coming at us, whether it’s… Whatever it is. Everyone has their own set of
things that they deal with. I realize that before I
stepped out into the world I needed to make sure that I was okay, that I was confident within myself and that I was communicating
to myself who I was and remembering that before
I stepped out into the world. So because of that, my intention
with the crystals I use, the shapes I use, is different,
it’s totally different. And so now, when I create for my clients, I start with that. Who are you? What do you need to
remember about yourself? Before I start creating. Before it was what are you
trying to say to other people? But it’s definitely
become an internal thing, so it’s more of a spiritual tool, to be able to communicate to one’s self. So, the first story I put on the table and I wanna bring that back in regards to the collection that I made
before starting “Black Panther.” It was a call out to my tribe. I created this collection
called Messengers, and it was my call to my tribe, and I wanted to, the intention
was to create these beings that were reminding us of
our innate spiritual mandates and birthright to live a life of beauty, share our gifts with others,
and do it unapologetically. So I’m going to share some
of these pieces with you. This is me, I’m the
model, creative director, and then the jeweler. (audience applause)

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