Black women’s experiences are as dynamic and far-reaching as the communities we come from, customs we maintain and languages we speak. Too often images of black women in popular culture reflect narrow and biased understandings of black women, reducing rich histories to fantasies and caricatures. Nevertheless, women of African descent have consistently challenged limited understandings of blackness, femininity, sexuality and nationality. We believe that the thoughts, imagination and feelings expressed in Live Unchained matter and can impact the way women of African descent view each other and themselves in the world. Live Unchained was born out of the desire to preserve, share and honor the diverse voices and experiences of black women across continents.

The term African Diaspora is becoming more common in everyday language. This concept refers to the spread of people of African descent throughout the world. In other words, the African Diaspora includes people living across Africa and people of African descent in Jamaica, England, Venezuela, Trinidad, Cuba, Brazil, Australia and the United States, as well as many other countries. Live Unchained aims to connect women of African descent throughout the world in bringing together their creative expressions.

We are doing our best to represent the diversity of black women without privileging one culture over another. Even though our native language is English and some cultural references are North American, we want to make this a comprehensive work. Help make this project represent you by submitting.

Live Unchained represents black women’s collective and individual creativity. Art, music and writing have always been mediums that inspire change, provoke thought and foster understanding. Creativity truly allows us to connect with each other and live unchained to conventional ways of thinking and being.

This project reflects black women who went deep within themselves to produce works that are meaningful, inventive and sincere. In reading, viewing and hearing the creative expressions of black women in this collection, you will find that women have given us their best effort.

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The logo for Live Unchained is derived from the West African adinkra symbol of sankofa. The symbol represents a bird inverted, reflecting upon itself. The image demonstrates the importance of bringing lessons from the past into the present and future, moving forward while guided by one’s history. The word sankofa can be interpreted as “return and retrieve it” or “go back, to go forward.”