The Do Not Bleach Project origin story.

Image from Do Not Bleach Series by Stephanie Brown
Images from Do Not Bleach Series by Stephanie Brown
(Left) Studio brainstorm wall. (Right) First Critique of Do Not Bleach work at University of Michigan

“I’m rooting for everyone Black!” — Issa Rae

Black, indigenous, people of color have varying levels of discomfort and mistreatment due to something that have absolutely no control over, the color of the skin. We see this play out time and time again in countries across the West, the East, Southeast Asia, you name it. For many people with brown skin of any shade, they have a first-time story that reflects on the first time they were told or noticed their skin was different. That moment is often paired with a derogatory comment that informed the individual that their skin was a problem, inferior, or at worst a weapon. Colorism, dark skin inferiority, and Anti-blackness collectively is a GLOBAL unfortunate occurrence. As an enthusiast colorism scholar, it’s important to note that even though colorism exercises a discriminatory preference of lighter skin over dark skin, skin color discrimination negatively impacts all shades of brown. White passing or racially ambiguous Black people often find themselves in awkward situations where they are presumed to be white, mixed, or coerced to “validate” their blackness because they don’t have the assumed amount of melanin they “should.” We cannot always assume socially constructed race and identity by physical appearance. I had this in mind with the Do Not Bleach project. My husband faced similar issues growing up in New York due to his light skin despite having 2 Black parents and I know my two nephews who are bi-racial will one day face this as well.

Images from Do Not Bleach Series by Stephanie Brown

“Do Not Bleach shirts are my small but mighty gesture toward helping to change the world one art piece at a time.”

My nephews discovering where the pictures their Aunt took of them went on opening night at the Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida.
My parents on opening night of “Do Not Bleach” at Appleton Museum of Art.
(Left) Appleton Museum Store — 2019, (Center) Interaction with first DNB exhibition — 2018, and (Right) CAA Los Angeles Showcase (2018).
In the lab applying heat by hand to each shirt experimenting.
Hand Tag on each Do Not Bleach shirt — Image by Stephanie Brown
Left to Right — Elaine Welteroth (2019), Carrie Mae Weems (2019), Shawn Martinbrough (2018)

I’m an exhibiting artist and learning experience designer. Questioning everything and sharing of myself. AKA Stephanie Brown in those art streets.