Last Sunday, I went to church. My friend Misty and I had been planning to visit The Colored Girls Museum for months. So, on a cold, rainy day in Spring, we finally decided to make the pilgrimage.
Have you ever had a moment that felt so special that you found yourself trying to absorb each and every detail? Every color, every smell, every sound? As I walked toward the door, past the bed of homegrown herbs, I had no idea it would be one of those days. From the outside, the museum is very unassuming. It looks like any other home on the block. Vast and beautiful. Uncertain that I was in the right place, I climbed the stairs and knocked hesitantly on the door. As it opened, a warm breeze rolled past me and a large group of black and brown faces came into sight. That's when I knew I was in the right place.
With its current exhibit, "Urgent Care", TCGM has curated a collection of pieces that FEEL like Black women. Imagine if you took all of the healing power from your mother, your mother's mother, and your aunties and placed it all in one room. The result would be tremendous. Now imagine an entire house dedicated to this alchemy. With great care and consideration, the works of Black women artists have been placed side by side, set in conversation with one another. And as I walked from room to room, with my senses fully immersed (Laura Mvula played in the background), I realized that even the location, a 3-story Victorian Home in Germantown magnified the impact of the work. I tried to imagine these same pieces amongst the white walls of an art gallery and failed to see a version where the potency of the work didn't become inadvertently sanitized.
The Colored Girls Museum is a love note to our foremother's. A thank you note for their tireless work ethic and finesse while doing so. It is a sheer and utter celebration of the work of Black women. Work that often includes domestic labor which is normally devalued and dismissed.
Some of my favorite pieces included Natasha Swift's "Concealer" which showed that "whiteness can never conceal blackness." Then there was "Fainting is not for me" which posited that "for the colored girl, fainting could cost them their life." I fell in love with the permanent exhibit "Tribute to The Washer Womyn" by Monna Morton and Denys Davis. And then I fell in love again when I saw the work of Emily Carris.
The whole space is stunning and deserves your visit on a cold rainy day in the Spring or a long hot day in the Summer. Go again and again and again and pay homage to the Colored Girl. Seeing our work valued. I can't say enough how good that felt.