Eyewitness News on 19 January 2015

I remember the morning that Solange’s wedding images flooded social media clearly. Most importantly, I remember their effect on black women and girls. Seeing images of Solange, untraditionally dressed in a cape, jumpsuit and Afro, or riding bicycles through the street with her husband, felt like reimagining of the sacred union. It felt, like a tiny earthquake. My world shifted a little.

A year later, as the dust has settled, one photograph still fixes itself in my memory. In it, Solange and ten other black female family members and friends stand, dressed in white, staring at the camera.

Black women across the world would go on to recreate the image with their friends at parties or events. The image was constantly circulated on social media. A simple portrait came to stand for more than itself, it morphed into an affirmation and representation of the black female self outside of the white gaze, caricatures and stereotypes in the collective consciousness of black women. It embodied the words of Marianne Williamson when she stated: “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same”. For many black women, it gave them permission to be.

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