“It’s our culture, every door that I do represents Black culture in some capacity”
For the past two years, art teacher Chanique Davis has been utilizing her talents to decorate classroom doors at Alfred Elementary School in honor of Black History Month. Most of her doors celebrated the natural hair movement and have gone viral, such as her 2019 door featuring the lock look.
Fast forward to 2020, Davis continues the vibe with two more empowering doors #ForTheCulture. The first door she nicknamed the “Graffiti Queen” pays tribute to black protective styles.
“This year, I wanted to show the culture of the black women changing their hair with protective styles, which is putting away the natural hair with the addition of extensions,” she says. “That is apart of our culture.”
Davis started working on the door in January.
View this post on Instagram
DOOR # 1 Share and tag @theellenshow @ellentube @theshaderoom – Mixed media breakdown •I used real hair, paint, construction paper, bulletin board paper, spray paint, a balloon and oil pastels and hot glue. • I am a licensed hair braider (shout out to the Girl bosses who work real jobs and own businesses. I own two hair and art and also teach). Clients always leave hair at my house. I was able to use the hair for this project. • I am most proud of my sponge stamp that I made with cardboard, a paper towel roll, hot glue and sponges for the backdrop 😍 Overall I love this door. I wanted a graffiti look. My other doors have advocated natural hair and locs but for this years door I wanted something that would rock the culture of the protective styles we as black Women wear. It’s ALL Culture. I posted the breakdown for the “Keep Calm and Don’t touch my Hair” project that my fifth art club students made to go along with this door a few posts ago. Anywho It’s #blackhistorymonth and we love it here. #blackhistorymonth #blackhistorymonthdoor #TAKA #TAKACHanique #dope #bhm #bhmart #art #blackart @blackartexpo @balleralert @bet @bethertv @essence @jade_ashley94 @prettyaries16 @iammikkitaylor @kellyclarksonshow @kellyclarkson @mediablackoutusa @becauseofthem @imagesyouwontseeontv @willsmith @jadapinkettsmith @willowsmith
On last year’s display, the hair was made of cotton. But this Davis, who is also a licensed hair braider, wanted to do something different, so she added real hair instead.
“My clients always ended up leaving hair at my house, so I just used the hair that was left at my house.”
She finished the look off with bamboo earrings titled, Queen.
“It’s our culture, every door that I do represents Black culture in some capacity,” she says. “Whether last year it was the dreadlocks, the year before it was with the puffs, this year its the protective style. It’s all having do with a little piece of what Black culture looks like.”
The second door is a tribute to Tyler Perry, specifically Madea. Davis says she did this door because her students are studying Perry’s accomplishments as a black man, particularly his most recent accomplishment of opening his own film studio in Atlanta.
“I really wanted to give honor to him and recognize him this Black History month for that awesome accomplishment,” Davis says. “We [her and her students] love his work, what he does and what he represents because of everything he has overcome as a black man.”
The Madea door includes real pearls for the necklace and fabric for the dress. Davis says one door can take her seven to eight hours to complete. Although she is the primary artist, she always involves her students. The kids helped her mix paint and put the pieces together. She also uses the doors as an interactive teaching method to teach both black and non-black kids about African American history.
“The privilege that I have as an art teacher is that I get to take all the privileges of bringing things like Black History Month into my curriculum through a creative process,” she says. “It’s important for kids to know Black history and culture so they can be tolerant of individual differences; so that they will appreciate the differences in different cultures, not just Black culture, but any culture.”
Davis also decorates doors for Hispanic Heritage Month and looks forward to doing doors for other celebratory months. She believes cultures a beautiful thing that should be recognized so that people can honor and respect it.
“I want to teach my kids kindness. I want to teach them the importance of seeing the beauty in diversity.”
When Davis is not educating and empowering her kids through decorative door art, she is crafting beautiful pieces and acting. She will be starring in an upcoming sitcom titled, “Church Folks“, set to be released on Amazon Prime Video later this year. She also aspires to do missionary art. But her true passion is the arts in all its diverse forms.
View this post on Instagram
😮😬😆 But let's all hope they get it together by the end of the first season. #churchfolkstv #tampafilm #tampa #yborcity #filmlife #gopro #ybor #filmmaker #tampaactors #clearwaterfl #stpetefl #actors #actorlife #hollywood #stpete #clearwater #lionsgate #pureflix #tylerperrystudios #affirmfilms
“When it comes to art, for me, art is not just painting,” she says. “It’s singing, it’s dancing, it’s music, it’s acting; whatever the arts look like. I try to expose myself.
Follow Ms. Chanique Davis here
A working journalist, entrepreneur and founder of RoyalTee Enterprises. Born and raised in Tampa, Fla. The vision of RoyalTee was inspired in 2015 by Alexia’s ambitions to return to her passion for creative writing and publishing and create a platform to showcase the excellence of minority women across the country through professional, personal and social ventures.