Ain’t I 

“Black women have not been allowed to be both Black and female. Historically, we have had to choose our race over our gender, and we have not had the space to express the challenges we face as women. We have not talked about our pain in order to protect our Black men’s dignity. We have not been able to be truly feminist, for fear that it disregards, or contradicts, our shared Blackness. We are so worried about the repercussions of discussing our issues with toxic masculinity that we ignore them.”
-Dr. Kristian H.

Subject to Your Approval (Excerpt), 2017
Durational Performance
This durational performance is a study on the power given to society to either validate or invalidate someone else’s experience. The decision that each guest makes to enter the space gives them the power to decide how the artist will exist in that space as a black woman.

An excerpt from the artist:

"Last night, I stood for three hours on a pedestal as strobe lights flickered continuously exposing my bare body to the viewer. It was an experience that I, in some ways, can not describe because it was emotionally overwhelming to say the least. It was about my womanhood, the objectification of my body and the power that others have to dismiss or approve of my existence. After three hours of continuous pain in my legs, I stepped down from the pedestal which had been my source for the creation of a spectacle and went on with my everyday life. Some women dont have that power. They have to live with the emotional strain and toll that comes with being a victim and being demonized for their internal struggle with sexual assault and harassment. I just ask that we treat women, specifically black women, better. We need to value black women’s stories and their experiences. Value their pain and do our best to love and care for them to make up for the lack of support displayed."

What is Your Name, 2017
Single Channel Video

In this monologue, the artist sits in front of a camera to confront a story of sexual harassment that she has kept with her in silence for most of her life. Looking at this work as a way to heal, the artist confronts the trauma brought on by that event through verbal discourse.

White Out, 2018
Single Channel Video

In this 14-minute single channel video, the artist confronts the notion of equal validation on various accounts of sexual harassment as told by black women. She imagines that the repetitive gesture of whiting out her blackness and womanhood, simultaneously, is the only way for her existence to be validated.

An Overwhelming Response, 2018
Single Channel Video
8m 44s

This text based video highlights negative commentary which was observed under numerous accounts of black women recalling acts of sexual assault.

One video of Ayanna Jackson recalling the events that took place in her sexual assault case against famed rapper 2pac in 1993 was of particular interest to LeSeur based on the overwhelming response.

Each bit of text confirms the idea that black women have yet to be validated when they speak out against sexual assault and this issue continues to negate the existence of these stories on social platforms.

In the video, we see a close up of Jackson’s mouth though the viewer is unable to hear the words that she is uttering. As she speaks, the silence and combined harrowing commentary that appears and disappears over her face takes precedence over her actual recollection of the event - something all too common when sexual assault accusations are made by black women.

Spiral Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI
March 2018

3 single channel videos and a three hour durational performance.