The inside first page of the cover story in Ms. January of 1979. The double excerpt from BLACK MACHO AND THE MYTH OF THE SUPERWOMAN (The Dial Press 1979).
The picture by the celebrated and brilliant black photographer Anthony Barboza. I have always wondered why he never exhibits this picture. I guess he is ashamed of it. But it is one of my prized possessions. I got the people at Ms. to give me the print they used and one day I gotta get Tony to sign it or whatever photographers do in a case like that. The only stupid thing is that it was 11 x 14 which seemed to me awkward. So what did homey do? She cut maybe an inch or two off the bottom. Stupidly, I think they call it these days.
This is a polaroid from a story that a black hair magazine did on my hair, which was at the time pretty unique (I think it was just me in Bo Derek--I am kidding, no e-mails!). My mother designed this hairstyle for me and the fixtures that made it possible. These were my braids wrapped in that waxy black cord that African women use to make their twists with a bead knotted at each end. I taught my favorite hairdresser who came to my house to do it. I felt safest when my hair was like this but none of the publicity people of either camp like it. Take it out! Take it out! The other thing I liked to do, which they hated was to wear a scarf over it. Hate it! I wore a scarf on the Today Show. Okay so I was also chewing gum. So shoot me. I was interviewed by Tom Brokaw. I bought my first tv so that I could watch it and my other television appearances. It was my first book promo and it was crazy but I am getting ahead of myself.
Anyhow I've kept these pictures all these years. I love these polaroids. Photographers always made them on shoots so I started asking for them because they usually threw them away.
This polaroid is from the Essence shoot. There was a major story in Essence written by Marcia Gillespie who was then editor-in-chief. Little did I suspect that she was going to tear me a new one. She's somebody I had lunch with all summer before the book came out too. (At least she didn't drop me after it was over like some. Dropped me like a hot rock, like my sister likes to say). But the pictures were great. For some reason they shot me both in black and white and color and in two different dresses. I forgot to say, Essence liked the braids. In fact, the black folk liked the braids. Thank god. Of course, I had my own make-up person who was also then doing Natalie Cole's make-up. That was the most fun shoot I ever did. We balled (as Aunt Barbara would say), at that shoot. Was the photographer black or white? Gotta check that. Essence always used the best unlike our friends at Ms, who could be uneven.
This is one of a series of pictures of me taken by the photographer for Emerge in January of 1979 in connection with a piece on the book written by Paula Giddings. She tore me a new one too and then went on and wrote the definitive book on black feminism, WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER. Still the classic I think. Don't remember the name of the photographer but he was black and he said let's just go over the park (Washington Square Park--I lived in the village then) and shoot some stuff for the fun of it. It was cold as you know what and my hair was blowing. I am thinking, this guy has got issues but let's just get through this. It took about 15 minutes for him to shoot about a 10o pictures, the prints of which he gave me and which I still have. Fun and this is me with normal make-up then, which was no make-up, or just mascara, eyeliner and lipstick.
Mom and Dad at Mom's surprise birthday party at 345 in Harlem. October 8th, 1979, in the thick of it.