I’m Gracie Berry, a Black-Afrikan, queer, cis-woman, community root-healer/educator, multi-dimensional creative, womanist and owner of GirlrillaVintage. As a griot, its important to the integrity of my work that I share my life’s experiences and messages in a ways that honors my ancestors and comes from an Afro-diasporic centered view point before any of the margins. Showcasing my art, activism, autochthonous Afrikan-spirit, my story, vintage, words. Community roothealer. Here to love and liberate my people.
I founded GirlrillaVintage in 2010, an Afrikan Roots & Empowerment Organization that shares Afrikan cultural diaspora content, events, and perspectives through the offerings of education, expressive arts, spirituality, vintage aesthetic, and workshops. A creative platform that uplifts Black and Brown communities, lineages, narratives, and stories, and uses compassion and creative problem solving to empower and reawaken possibility in and around my community.
Visit my website at www.girlrillavintage.com
The moves I make in this life are as intentional as the day I was born. Glow of a young gifted and Black, spirit shining bigger than my body. What a beautiful birthday gift entering my birthday month. ♥️
Repost from @veryblackbooks @dennismaurice
#BlackWashedBook is on sale March 5, 2021 @ veryBlackbooks.com. You want to read this collection of essays, poems, dreams, and letters addressed to Black folk, especially the confidently curated forewords like this one from @girlrillavintage.
I was commissioned by Music for Everyone to create original artwork that will be paired inside the sleeve of a record that will feature a speech by Frederick Douglass titled, The Hypocrisy of American Slavery, for their Songs for Justice project.
Thoughts on the speech: I interpret Frederick Douglass’ speech, The Hypocrisy of American Slavery, as a battle roar that ironically mirrors too many experiences faced on a global level by Black communities today. However, the biggest lie taught in our worlds history that must be unlearned is the delusion of white superiority and being afraid of the dark. These times may be many things, but certainly not dark.
About the piece: I named the piece, Ancestor Tones because I want to pay homage to melanin. All shades of Black skin are vibrant, biological reflections of nature and the universe. In fact, the very cosmology of enslaved Afrikan people and their descendants is a form of universal wealth. It’s an unspoken truth and inherent birth right, no matter how one was born into it. Ancestor Tones explores themes of Afro-futurism connecting past, present and future. I think of Frederick Douglass as an Afro-futurist because he paved the way as a community educator and revolutionary for the Black people of his time. Not to mention he was the most photographed human-being of the era. He embodied what reimagining a Black future looked like by the way he controlled the narrative of his Afro-diasporic experience of the day. And continues to inspire generations in modern times. Take Amanda Gorman for instance, the youngest Black inaugural poet in American history. She credits Frederick Douglass with teaching her how to use technology for social justice. She reminds us of how intentional he was about capturing a counter-image to the Black American stereotypes at the time and how important that message is in her own work. You’ll notice hints of red and gold, a symbol for Amanda Gorman on Inauguration Day. The glow of her young, gifted and Black spirit, shining so much bigger than her body. Center to deep, Black, shadowy cowrie shells, wool and cotton, symbols of the million and one ancestral spirits surrounding her, journeying with her as she reclaims her humanity.
I always treated money like trash. And I miss when my friend Bilal was alive #RIP friend! And when he would call money “bonez”. Like, he would say, Dude! Let me hold $20 bonez lol! Whole other meaning to working your fingers to the bone. Here I am. Here we are.
I wasted enough time. Time trying to be better. Time trying to be better than myself. As if being better could stop my heart where it beat. As if the weight wasn’t imposing. As if sanctimony didn’t collapse me to my knees shattering the bones, every time. So long I struggled to stand on my own. Shrunk in my truth. I used to crawl to only where I fit. Fit. Fit. Fit. Fit. Only to start bursting at the seems. I liberated so many skirts that way. Truth is truth had grown too big, too fast. Truth needed permission to spread like love, but better played tricks like fear does.
Disenfranchised my privilege to think. Had me convinced I would die there until the hour I rescued my love. She was all petrified in a fetal position tucked way at the base of my spine. I coaxed the brittle fragments, the ones that were sharp from fusing together, the ones that protected, the ones that would cut long, deep and wide.
My love sought refuge, snuggled up against my collarbones. My love rebuilt herself from the lies. My love welcomed that wich was not fully recovered, nor healed, scarred, injured, cold, shamed. My love knew the truth of our oneness. My love learned to BE all in the gratitude of our darkness. Cause our glow is the dark.
A poem I wrote this day in 2015. 👂🏾to the love in my voice. 🥰
Spent time in the woods again today. Enjoying this app paring sounds and movement. 🙏🏾 for your time.
Black folks! We can’t allow fear and comfort to keep us from our freedom. We have and always will be on the front lines of struggle. We have to STOP juxtaposing white people in our struggles. Change the narrative. We have to take our freedom. We have to know that there will be Black even if there is no white. White people can’t exist there anymore. Protect your peace and take your power back, even when you feel powerless. You are the power. All power to the people! ✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾
Liberation is in the movement cause movement affects everything. Played outside today! Berry fruit in the Roots. Through achy body moved to give thanks with my whole body, my whole spirit. Moved to protect my peace. Moved because it is a privilege.
To all our ancestors that came before to liberate their own experiences, the ones that sacrificed to liberate mine. Berry fruit playing outside in the Roots. Through achy body I moved to give thanks with my whole body and spirit to those ancestors I know by name and those I don’t. Thank you. From the depths. Ase—O
🎶 Yu Nd I by M.I.Blue & How Glad Iam by Melanie Charles
Despite what’s ailing, if we aren’t intentional about finding what illustrates happiness, we are in danger of believing that only hardship exists. Me and my dear friend @tyshanalakre ouchea thriving up against this brick wall. Keep thriving in a world of brick walls my people. It’s your birth right.
Always managed to write my life, but never imagined I could illustrate it too lol! If 2020 taught us anything, it is resilience in it’s most unbridled form. Romanticized the idea of writing several styles of books for the last 20-yrs, but never did. Collaborating as illustrator on Zetta’s newest novella, showed me that I can do it too. I’m no longer willing to put my dreams on hold just because I don’t know how or where to start. This project taught me to start somewhere. Thank you so much for this opportunity @zettaelliott! Trusting it will reach all those that need it’s fruit.
I love myself when I’m laughing. . . and then again when I’m looking mean and impressive. —Zora Neale Hurston
Find your laughter again. Drink water. Play. Rejuvenate love and laughter that’s been dormant or dried up. You have no control over the happenings in the world, but you can control how you respond to all the happenings. One love! 🥸