Lifestyle blogger Paola Mathé recently imagined a group of incredible. strong and fashionable superheroes. Unlike typical superheroes, this squad would display the strength of black woman in today’s world and fight injustice and crime against women. To execute her vision, Paola enlisted the help of her friends Cacsmy, Kristia, and Nichole, who she describes as "inspiring bad ass dream catchers." The group of women met up at NYC's Hudson Yards subway station dressed in leggings, body suits, fringe gloves, and harnesses, ready to conquer the world.
We fight for those who are told their tears don’t matter. Where the police hurt more than serve, and eating establishments are built just to shorten the lives of the community. We fight for the strong who have been stripped of their powers. We fight for the invisible.
We spoke to Paola Mathé about her vision and inspiration for this amazing project.
For Harriet: What inspired the project?
Paola Mathé: Everything that inspires my latest projects start with the question, "What if...." And this was no different. I was in the shower, daydreaming as usually, and I start imagining things. Real things, fictitious things. Sad and happy things. That day, my "what if" happened to be "what if there was a super hero squad where all of the heroes happened to be bald black women who fought injustice and crimes against women who are invisible in society?" I know long "what if!" But that's exactly what happened.
What's the significance of imagining Black women as super heroes?
It's important to me. Having a unified group means we can make things happen together. We can save the world. Our world. We're not just an afterthought, we are the story. We have story too. And we save lives too. We don't always need to be rescued. I felt powerful just walking around the women who surrounded me that night. However, I had no idea our photos would have such an impact. I did it because I wanted to see it.
I'm struck by how empty your locations are. How did you pull that off?
We chose a new train station at a time where foot traffic is not so high. Also there were people there staring at us and taking photographs, but they kept a distance. They were cheering us on! It turns out everyone was happy to see us. No matter the race or the age. I loved how the older women reacted. It was beautiful.
I thought it was very cool that you included a woman with a disability. Why was it important to to do that?
Oh, Cacsmy? She's often included in all of my projects. I don't see disability when I see her. I see a world of potentials. I see power and strength. She inspires me daily, that's no exaggeration. There's just something about her presence, story, and sense of humor that I feel like the world should know about. She's beautiful, confident, and even with her prosthetic leg, she can't be stopped. She travels the world alone and brings her magic with her wherever she goes. I met her when I hosted a pop up shop downtown in Manhattan. I didn't notice her leg at first, I noticed her beauty. She showed up alone to a popup shop to purchase a headwrap, and I decided to keep in touch with her. She was later featured as "The Face of Fanm Djanm" for Fanm Djanm, a lifestyle brand I created that celebrates strong women everywhere through African inspired headwraps. Cacsmy's role in my super hero should show that her disability does not hold her back, but makes her stronger. She is a super hero in my eyes, and that's why she's there. That's why all of these women are there.
Check out the photos shot by Aaron of NYC_Underground below.
Photos: Underground NYC