© Jerónimo Bernot

DEAR IMAN.

15th February 2021

Words by Mariama Diaby. Photography by Jeronimo Bernot.

Fueled with some 2020 energy, Mariama Diaby is retracing the pivotal civil rights movement which shaped a generation asserting that she, too has a dream.

London, 5th July 2020

 

Dear Iman,

When they see our beautiful complexion, it makes them usually feel uncomfortable. I can see it, I can feel it but you'll be part of a generation greater than the reflection of what they see. You won't undergo discomfort because of the color of your skin. My generation is fighting for it, change is coming!


When they see our kinky hair, they are quick to judge it as "weird", "strange" and want to touch it which pushes me to straighten my hair most of the time. You will be rocking your natural hair wherever you want, whenever you want, without anyone being able to dictate what type of hair is the best and should be the norm. I can guarantee you a day will come when curls will be praised. 


When they see my bold lips moving and speaking their truth, they see nothing but an "angry black woman" expressing herself. Whenever I try to make a point and stand in my position, they stamp me as being aggressive towards them. Ironically, I can't even scream that much as my voice tone is naturally low. You will be able to whisper, speak, or even scream your ideas. You'll be seen as a voice for those who are quiet!


When I see them killing my brothers and sisters because they're black, I'm outraged and what I feel deep inside me goes beyond explanation. My generation is saying enough is enough! We're part of an extraordinary movement that is trying to reshape how we, black people, have been seen for too long: as second-degree human beings, as slaves or as people whose life doesn't really matter. You'll be part of a peaceful generation where "Black Lives Matter" signs won't exist. It will be known by everyone that our lives count as much as other ethnic groups' lives and no one would be able to justify the killing of our people anymore. Especially not by those who are supposed to protect us.


I'm doing my best every day to pave a special path for not only you but for all the beautiful black kids that will shape the future of humanity. Be inspired by my words and never accept being a victim of racism or inequality.


With love,

Your mom xx

Mariama Diaby is a writer based in London.

Jerónimo Bernot is a photographer based in Mexico City.