Oftentimes, it takes vulnerability to start an important conversation, and musician and activist TiKA is proof of that. In an effort to uplift women regardless of size, age, race, or orientation, TiKA, alongside her friends and in collaboration with photographer Anthony Gebrehiwot, created a striking, vulnerable, and empowering photo series that has inspired a massively positive response on social media.
"That's the power of representation; we need to see ourselves to know our own capabilities."
TiKA told POPSUGAR that she wanted to create something she'd never seen before, with the goal of "representation" — and the result was absolutely angelic. "The photo shoot was actually a part of a music video for my upcoming single, 'Debt,'" TiKA told POPSUGAR. "I had a vision of black women around me singing alongside me, but I wanted them to look like me, as I've never seen fat black bodies together dressed in all white showing tenderness to one another."
She noted the idea of representation was of the utmost importance and that her vision was "so angelic and beautiful . . . so I asked my beautiful fat femme sisters to join me."
We are everything the world hates. Fat. Black. Woman. And yet, we exist. Unapologetically and without shame. Fuck you. We love on ourselves. • ✨BASK PHOTO SERIES✨ • From left to right: @jelissairis @flawsofcouture @tikathecreator @judy25saywhat @lavender_honeycombs • 📸: @xvxyphoto MUA: @kenwetalkface • #body #bodypositive #fat #bbw #blackgirlmagic #melanin #melaninpoppin #afropunk #Queens
TiKA shared images from the set on social media, and as mentioned, the response has been overwhelmingly positive — but in a way that she didn't expect. "I was surprised," she told POPSUGAR. "Oftentimes we don't realize how something as simple as tenderness shown to each other can be powerful."
"I really just wanted to provide space for my beautiful friends to be seen in a positive light. I have so much gratitude."
The idea of being vulnerable and exposed is frightening (and often unfamiliar) to many of us, including TiKA. "In my family, it was abnormal to be vulnerable or even show physical tenderness. To be surrounded by other black women — who are also fat — loving on each other is an important, powerful statement."
This shoot didn't just give her a boost in followers or some social media fame — it impacted her close personal relationships, too. "On a personal level, my mother reached out to me and was vulnerable for the first time in years. That's the power of representation; we need to see ourselves to know our own capabilities."
"I honestly wasn't expecting this [positive reaction]. I really just wanted to provide space for my beautiful friends to be seen in a positive light. I have so much gratitude."