Body Undefined - New Beginnings

A Fresh Start

 Toni Black - Self Portrait

Toni Black - Self Portrait

Hey there. It’s Toni. The creator of this soon to be poppin blog. How’s it going with you? Fantastic I hope, because winter is coming. Fall is here. And while y’all get to enjoy all things pumpkin spice *rolls eyes*, I’ll be enjoying the lovely scents of frankincense, coffee, myrrh and, ginger, cinnamon and other comforting scents that don’t remind me of all things basic. I KID and I digress... for now. *insert evil laugh* So come and relax while I unpack some things right quick, because I’m gonna be transparent for a moment. And as you find out moving forward, if I’m not anything else, I’m transparent and sometimes a little TOO honest.

 Kevin and I at the  Photo Cookout  in ATL

Kevin and I at the Photo Cookout in ATL

Where We’ve Been

Anyway, it’s been a while. 5 months to be exact. I don’t remember when the days started merging into each other. But somewhere along the way they did. And now, here we are. I dropped away because I was frustrated. Body Undefined was supposed to be this great place where people who didn’t find representation of themselves could come and unpack their shit. Instead, I got a bunch of submissions of skinny white women who looked like every other publication on the internet right now. I was mad y’all. I was mad. And don’t get me wrong, The women were beautiful, but they weren’t who I was targeting. So while venting my frustrations one day, my good friend Kevin Lowery of Skin Like Dawn told me to go with my heart. He let me know that It was okay to just focus on black women.

So I tried that. But I didn’t really have a full direction of where I wanted to go with black women. I mean I am a boudoir photographer who’s venturing away from traditional boudoir. I didn’t feel right just hosting boudoir. I wanted to also feature lifestyle portraiture. I decided to not just be a space for nakedness, but also for lifestyle. That means all things relating to black women. That could be hair, body image, sexuality, raising children… practically anything. I want to focus on the heart of the matter. Facing those insecurities in a safe space away from the eye of society and men. We can define ourselves without any of those influences. Or choose not to be defined all together.

 Toni Black - Self Portrait

Toni Black - Self Portrait

Where We’re Going

Body Undefined is a safe place for black women. Period. Here, black women can shed the thick skin they’ve had to grow because of how society views them. Black women can also avoid the sexual male gaze here. As black women, just existing can sometimes be sexual. And just existing can be political. We are defined in so many different ways, and so many of those ways aren’t even who we really are. We are not monolithic. We are so complex and so dynamic in and out of clothes. And we Because of that, I want Body Undefined to focus on the importance of loving ourselves. Black women are beautiful and we don’t have to undress to show that if we don’t want to.

I want this to be a space where black women can unpack, find representation, and be themselves regardless of their size, self orientation, sexuality, physical features, mental health, self identification or anything else between or outside of that. So black women, come in and unpack. Everyone else, come marvel in the beauty, vulnerability and realness of diasporic black women.