Although the photos alone are beautiful, it’s the caption that makes the powerful statement that much stronger. It reads, “We are everything the world hates. Fat. Black. Woman. And yet, we exist. Unapologetically and without shame. F*** you. We love on ourselves.”
In the series of photos, the five women look fierce and are wearing monochromatic white outfits — they stand proud, embracing one another against a natural green background.
Gebrehiwot shares with Yahoo Lifestyle, “TiKa is a friend of mine and we’ve been meaning to collaborate on a project together. She reached out to me and I proposed doing a group photoshoot with women that resembled her shape and figure as a body-positivity shoot.”
The team of creatives decided to execute the photo shoot in Edwards Gardens in Toronto.
TiKa, who is a musician, tells Yahoo Lifestyle the photo shoot’s vision will accompany one of her next music videos. She says, “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. It’s so angelic and beautiful and soft. So I asked my beautiful fat femme sisters to join me.”
One of TiKa’s “fat femme sisters” is Sashagai (Sasha) Ruddock, who joined her for this special shoot. She tells Yahoo Lifestyle she decided to participate in the shoot because she has always believed in TiKa’s effort to uplift women no matter their race, age, size, or orientation.
Ruddock explains, “Being a black woman who is also a fat woman, I relate heavily to the struggles that women of the same community deal with. I wanted to be a part of anything that spoke to those women and encouraged those women. Representation still lacks in the media for fat black women. ”
On what inspired her controversial caption TiKa says, “I’m black. I’m a woman. I also happen to identify as queer and I’m fat. We’re living in a very political time, and I just so happen to be all of the things that the world devalues or hates.” She adds, “This photo shoot was a major ‘f*** you’ to anyone and everyone who has ever tried to invalidate me. I’m a human being and I matter just like everyone else. I was grateful to have friends who were brave enough to stand with me.”
The magic between the models and photographer can definitely be felt and seen in the resulting images, and many are praising the unique shoot on Instagram.
One commenter wrote, “Everything about this oh, wow.” Another commenter added, “this also brought me to tears. this looks like a painting, so beautiful.”
On the successful reception of the photoshoot, Gebrehiwot says, “It took me by surprise but I’m supergrateful to have the work recognized by so many people in such a unique community.”
Ruddock adds, “I’m so grateful and proud to have been able to bring that imagery to the world. Making room for women who aren’t where I am yet is my life goal. I hold room for them until they can hold room for themselves. ”
TiKa, for her part, offers some advice to people who might struggle to find themselves beautiful.
“Take long breaks from social media, as it makes you question yourself, your abilities, and whether or not you’re special — you are. Comparison kills. Affirm yourself in a way you feel comfortable,” she says. “Make it a point to change the language that you use to describe yourself and take back words like ‘fat’ and use them in positive references. Love on yourself because the world won’t do it for you.”
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