Our Story

MISSION

Our mission is to cultivate spaces, via the arts, where black women, girls, and femmes can connect and build toolkits for personal and communal survivability and sustainability. We utilize the arts as pathways to full self-expression, personal and communal leadership, and emotional emancipation.

We believe, value, love and trust Black women and girls.

We respect the internal work that we must do in order to do the internal work.

Through the arts, we seek to transform individual lives and whole communities by reclaiming, rewriting and remixing individual and group narratives surrounding emotional emancipation, who we are, and how we be.

We are grounded in emergent strategy that centers, values, and respects the voices, bodies, and beings of Black women, girls, and femmes.

We believe that Black women and girls are whole, perfect, and complete as they are; that they only need to unlearn what society, culture, and family has indoctrinated them to believe.

We understand that there are multiple paths to and catalysts for freedom, and we engage many of the possibilities in a holistic manner.

Our work uses the arts to disrupt and interrupt the dominant narratives surrounding Black women and girls.

WE VALUE

Truth: Your truth, your voice, your reality matters. When we are engaging one another from a space of truthfulness, only then can transformation begin.

Integrity: Adhering to your word and understanding how what you say affects others; understanding that when you cannot adhere to your word, you make it known immediately which keeps you aligned in truth.

Vulnerability: Bringing your full self, warts and all, to the table.

Acceptance: Recognizing and understanding your and your community’s current conditions with an eye for positive transformation.

Leadership Development: Intentionally creating the space for the development of critical and analytical skills that lead to increased personal and communal leadership capacity.

Undoing Racism: Based on the definition set by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, racism has been consciously and systematically erected, and it can be undone only if people understand what it is, where it comes from, how it functions, and why it is perpetuated.

Emancipation: “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” The Combahee River Collective Statement

HISTORY

The Black Girl Project began in August 2010 as a documentary film. Our founder, Aiesha Turman, worked to create a diverse visual representation of young Black women, providing them with a platform to tell their stories in their own words with the goal to begin helping to transform individuals and communities through inter- and intra-generational dialogue.

From that initial film, we began having screenings with talkbacks across the northeast and mid-Atlantic region. From SUNY Plattsburgh to Baltimore’s Reginald F. Lewis Museum, we were able to have complex inter-generational conversations with diverse groups of Black women and girls. This lead to spending several years piloting multiple types of programs and we ultimately decided to be open to do what feels best to us and our communities.

Today, we are a grassroots organization that leverages horizontal learning, both traditional, and new educational formats and media platforms to assist young women and girls in attaining personal freedom, liberation, and emancipation–emancipation from the pervasive lie of Black inferiority. We do this via a multi-pronged approach, utilizing interdisciplinary artistic modalities, primarily Media and Literary Arts, to engage our core audience in creating, remixing, and narrating their own lives.

Through on-site workshops and labs, community education, as well as our annual Sisterhood Summit that serves 100+ young women from the Metro NY, and Mid-Atlantic regions annually, we use the arts to empower, transform, and mitigate inter-generational trauma and cultural/historical grief in order to lay the groundwork for a free future.