Saddi Khali asks us to embrace the beauty in our bodies

naked african-american woman sitting on a bed, looking out a window

At first glance, I fell in love — with Saddi Khali’s photography. Last week, the former HBO Def Jam Poet friended me on Facebook and I was so taken by his portrait above, “Heaven, Home…” I decided to cast away LSAT tutorials today to do some clicking through. This portrait is in his Facebook album “Pieces of Peace” (may be NSFW) which was updated on Monday, and it is genius at captivating what he calls “culturally competent” images of Black folks.

He totally gets right what Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty did in portraying women of different sizes as beautifully naked as Erykah Badu in the “Window Seat” music video. I am also a sucka for his natural hair shots complete with sprawling locs and afros for days. However, the feminist lens kicked in after I came down from my chocolate high. It is interesting to me that the only completely nude men can’t be counted on one hand compared to the dozens of nude black women. Save for one man, all of the completely nude men appear nude in context: usually in bed flanked by a seemingly aroused female partner. The other male specimens appear shirtless while numerous women behold their entire naked bodies outside of any logical context. However, while Khali has an eye for bodies, his photographs of Black women also capture their faces full with expression, Black pride, complexity, and above all else, self-love.

But his portrayal of romantic love has its limitations. Some of his photographs in the album seek to reveal beauty and love in the erotic in what he calls “Saddirotica.” Yet, same-gender couples are absent from these shots. His work would be truly enhanced by presenting the diversity of African-American sexuality. Alas, I haven’t seen all of his work so it’s possible that he is more inclusive in other albums. In the end, the bulk of “Pieces of Peace” — which totals 90 pictures — are shots of individuals who aren’t nude or coupled. I am certain that these shots are a step in the right direction in allowing us all to be more self-actualized in embracing the beauty of our bodies.

Damn, now India Arie’s “Brown Skin” is going to be in my head all day…

and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

4 Comments

  1. Posted July 29, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    I don’t remember seeing men with multiple women. I saw a lot of couples. If there were multiple women in the shot, there were multiple men with them, in performance shots. I like that he had such a diverse set of models.

  2. Posted July 30, 2010 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    all of these photos are stunning. i love how different all the women’s bodies are.

  3. Posted July 30, 2010 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    I took a look, too, and I wish more of the women had faces. For that matter, faces we could see clearly. After awhile, it got kind of creepy to see the highly charged erotic poses of Black women with no faces, blurred out, or chopped off. Or from behind – which is really voyeuristic, and peeping Tomish.

    And, then I got to thinking is it too much to ask from our own artists to show our faces with our bodies? Too confrontational for some of his viewers? Maybe, it’s too hard/difficult for them to look at a Black woman in her entirety? And those questions say a lot for those who would ask.

    Of course, this goes back to the post on Feministing about nude women most often being the object of worship portrayed by male artists in museums. Moreover, women are rarely the artist looking at other women or nude men. Let alone, same-sex couples.

    I would take a look at carlagirl.net’s blog. Carla Williams has some beautiful photography and a plethora of resources and connections.

    In short, I wasn’t impressed.

  4. Posted July 30, 2010 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    wow, those are some beautiful photos

Feministing In Your Inbox

Sign up for our Newsletter to stay in touch with Feministing
and receive regular updates and exclusive content.

185 queries. 0.403 seconds