Black Athena is a world traveler, a cool chick riding surging horses in her dreams, she flies over towering cities in rose-colored glasses. (OK it's a sleep mask I made of red satin roses, you get the picture!)
While this white American girl knows Mama Africa is the source, it took a seminal book called Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization to remind scholarly folks that hmmmm...perhaps those Greek myths may have been influenced by the Egyptians of Africa and Asian cultures. Russia's Black Madonnas, Kali, Diana Ross, Michelle Obama, Nina Simone, Serena Williams...Black Goddesses have been here forever and their voices are just revving up. Ha! Like way before all of us were born!!!
So the astonishment behind this illustration is that it began just as the fact that racism was alive and well in the 20th century came into wider focus. When 'of course' all lives matter, the statement 'Black Lives Matter' can seem shocking and odd. Way beyond sad, it was necessary to say these words. Black Athena was sketched while crowds in American cities surged into the streets with 'Black Lives Matter' as a rallying cry calling attention to the devaluation of the lives of black citizens at the hands of police.
Sometimes world events leave us speechless, feeling small, and unable to help. I hope my little drawing of this Big African Goddess can make even one person feel empowered by the magnificence of Black Athena that exists in all of us.