There’s an unfair stigma attached to women who choose to show off their bodies. Posing on social media in swimsuits or lingerie seems to be acceptable if you’re a woman like Megan Thee Stallion but for someone like me, it can be seen as attention seeking or desperate. Social media trolls are the reason women like Chloe Bailey have to constantly explain themselves every time they do something risqué that garners attention.
Back in February I decided to do something out of character and do a lingerie shoot. I wasn’t all that comfortable about letting the world see my curves, but I had to step outside of my comfort zone and change the narrative around why women decide to flaunt the skin they’re in. My post welcomed lots of positive commentary from women who identified with feeling shamed for their sexiness. Among them was Chic-a P, author of Naked: a memoir. As we chatted via DM, she expressed her personal mission of helping Black women learn how to love themselves through their bodies. “Getting “naked” symbolizes removing all of those things, mental or physical, that keep you from embracing yourself and your insecurities,” Chic-a explained.
At 35-years-old, Chic-a took a walk on the daring side when she was approached to shoot a nude series for a gallery exhibition. “I had never shot nude before but after viewing his portfolio, I wanted to shoot with him and be a part of the project. We met for lunch to establish a rapport, go over the details, and to discuss my parameters,” she said.
Chic-a’s shoot experience was like none other. While she was expecting to simply perch her body in the perfect angle to capture the right image, her photographer had something else in mind. “After setting up the camera and lighting, the photographer put on some Adele and told me to…dance. ‘Huh?’ I thought. ‘You mean I’m not going to just pose?'” she asked. He explained that there’s an art to showing the curves of a woman’s body. Organic movement would capture the body better than any posed position would.
Although they decided not to use use the images for the exhibit, Now at 45, Chic-a allowed the photos to inspire her in a different way. “Enter Naked: a memoir,” she said. “Those beautiful nudes shot years ago have been the perfect catalyst for me to tap into my creativity and empower others in the process. Naked: a memoir is a coffee table book collection of fine art nudes. However, not your typical collection in that it tells the story of Beauty as she journeys from being captive to her insecurities to finding freedom by being vulnerable and embracing herself. Beauty’s journey is chronicled through her captivity, awakening, and ascension with the photos in each chapter depicting the essence of Beauty in each state.”
Chic-a hopes her book will help change the narrative of how both Black bodies and Black beauty are seen. “Sadly, we live in a society where Eurocentric features are still lauded as THE standard of beauty for women and the right for a woman to have complete ownership of her body is still up for debate. With this book I hope challenge both of those ideas and empower women to embrace themselves, nakedly, and say YES to life by taking risks to reach their goals,” she explained.
“Not only is it important to embrace our bodies, but is very important to embrace ENTIRE selves. Despite growing up poor, Black, female, in a single-parent household in the South, I have achieved every personal and professional goal I set for myself and have defied a lot of odds because I embraced myself and never internalized the “no’s”. The secret to success in life can be embodied in one word “Yes” and it starts with you. You have to love, accept, and believe in yourself first.”
It’s about not letting others weaponize your insecurities against you.
Naked: a memoir launches today, and can be purchased exclusively on www.nakedmemoir.com for $95. New subscribers can receive 15% off their first purchase. You can keep up with Chic-a by following her Instagram page, @nakedmemoir.