Call Me Kelly explores the performative nature of black female identity through the use of wigs to embody different characters or versions of the self within physical and digital spaces.
The work was inspired by a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar titled We Wear the Mask (1892). The poem was written about slavery in America in the late 1800s. However its words have since been reimagined as a depiction of the lived experience of black people living in predominantly white societies.
We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes
The video plays homage to Nina Simone’s Four Women, which was used as the framework for the piece. Each act in this video’s title is taken from the The Roots’ album Things Fall Apart in which there are four acts that serve as interludes between the songs on the album.