In his 1935 essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Walter Benjamin discussed the concept of authenticity, of being in accordance with fact, noting that “even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: Its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be… the aura, the unique aesthetic authority, of an artwork is absent from the mechanically-produced copy.”

Color is something I been blessed with as an epidermal blanket and consciousness, for the duration of this journey. While we were colored, we had to test market black in Spanish first, as Negroes…then enough people cleared their throats and Black came back….all of a sudden, “good Black don’t crack”, “the Blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice,” and we were reconditioned to “say it loud, be Black and proud,” and other idioms became the embrace.

I grew up as a consumer of books and always internally debated on the expression, “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I was always drawn to covers, even typographic treatments…YES, we do judge books by covers, thus….

…at the turn of some cultural clock, pale became stale and everybody without high melanin content wanted to be colored…sun lamps, tanning salons, instant tan creams AND at the same time being Black was either demonized or eroticized.

…but as we know, under the cover is something else…roots, soul, scruples, consciousness and other meaningful fillers. So Mr. Benjamin’s point about the authenticity or aura comes full circle—from art to the consciousness of community members.

…whether your hue is natural, enhanced or made up, it’s the consciousness that determines the power of the soul. Shiny isn’t always fine, unless it has roots…

Black and hue is in my view.

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