Izzy Dean

Black queer healing poetics of Vanessa Rochelle Lewis

Black Healing October is now

Vanessa Rochelle Lewis with flowers and eucalyptus strands in her hair

By Isadora Dean with Margaret Rhee

As a dynamic queer Black artist from the Bay Area, Vanessa received national attention in 2017 with her organization Reclaim UGLY, which was featured in ViceWear Your Voice Magazine, and RaceBaitr, and which educates communities about what uglification is and how it works to marginalize people who don’t fit the normative notions of beauty or respectability, rejecting those standards and finding a way to feel beautiful in one’s own skin. Prior to founding Reclaim UGLY, Vanessa was the senior and co-managing editor for feminist magazines Black Girl Dangerous and Everyday Feminism, an instructor at multiple Bay Area Community College and grassroots art organizations, the fundraising and development coordinator for the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project, and the artistic director of the queer Black liberatory theatre project, Congregation of Liberation

By Isadora Dean with Margaret Rhee

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