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On Hull Street in Manchester, the ‘Brown Girl Narratives’ mural is an ode to black women

Black Women in Arts

On Hull Street in Manchester, the ‘Brown Girl Narratives’ mural is an ode to black women

By SABRINA MORENO Richmond Times-Dispatch via

If the walls of Hull Street could talk, they’d speak of loss. As years passed, its booming black businesses became a desolate stretch of graffitied windows and brick walls, added to a collection of buildings transformed into rooftop bars and yoga studios that have branded Manchester as “up and coming.”

But on the right side of Max Market convenience store — sandwiched between Croaker’s Spot, dubbed “the soul of seafood,” and the Butterbean Market & Cafe, a kombucha and craft beer destination — sits “Brown Girl Narratives,” a 20-by-60-foot-tall mural infusing color onto a dulled gray street, a reminder of the Hull Street that once was.

Seven black women of different shades, shapes, hair and sizes are embraced by a sky-blue hand weaving across and around them, linking the women together.

Within each woman’s body are quotes and phrases from the research that inspired this…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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What Does It Mean To Be “Black Butterfly Beautiful”

The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

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