Winter Breeanne: "To merely exist in this world requires immense labour"

The youth organiser says it's time to reimagine liberation.

by Winter Breeanne
22 September 2020, 11:58am

This story originally appeared in Up + Rising, a celebration of extraordinary Black voices, and is the first chapter of i-D's 40th anniversary issue (1980-2020).

i-D chronicled over 100 activists and artists, musicians and writers, photographers and creatives, in Atlanta, Baltimore, Minneapolis, LA, London, New York, Paris and Toronto.

“Recently, I was asked when was the last time I felt safe. And the truth is, I don't know safety. From having to vacate my mother’s womb prematurely due to the realities of Black maternal health in this country, to having to navigate a world that was built upon the commodification of Black bodies and still has yet to remedy the repercussions, to even being last on the agenda in white liberal spaces, my existence is one that requires me to be superhuman. To be Black, woman, queer, from a working class family, a student, a community member, etc., means that to merely exist in this world requires immense labor.

It’s time to reimagine liberation. To find the mecca outside of what we know. It will require a decolonising of our minds, a stillness to dream, and radical faith to believe in a world we have yet to see. It will require studying radical tradition and theory. It will require a divorcing of what we know to be finite.

I want to see a world in which Black people are able to find safety within our bodies. I dream of a world where Black children are able to hold on to their innocence. I envision a world where communities are grounded in love and abundance. I believe there will be a world where Black people have autonomy over our creations, art, and breath. A place where no one knows the word ‘lynching.’

We all have a role to play. Non-Black folk, it’s time to put your selves on the line. As BLM becomes commodified by mainstream and corporate interests, Black activists and organisers are still being hazed by a police state. As the world sticks Black Lives Matter, on its bumper, I’m going to need y’all to show up and assist in our liberation. Don’t continue to be complicit. Pull up.”

Winter wears T-shirt Ampwata. Earrings model’s own.


Photography Douglas Segars
Styling Milton Dixon

Hair Latisha Chong and LaMesha Mosely using Bumble and bumble.
Make-up T. Cooper at crowdMGMT using FACE Atelier.
Photography assistance William Takahashi, Fallou Seck, Shen Williams-Cohen and Laerke Rose Moellegaard.
Styling assistance Devante Rollins and Theresa Miriam.
Hair assistance Safiya Wiltshire. 
Production Yohan Yoon.
Special thanks Please Space BK.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Alexandra Antonova.

Black Lives Matter