Howardena Pindell ( b. 1943) Free, White, and 21, 1980 VHS tape TRT 00:12:15 The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum Purchase 2006.7.1
Howardena Pindell begins Free, White, and 21, her first video work, recounting encounters of racism and sexism that she and her mother had faced. Her narration is interrupted by another figure (the artist disguised as a white woman) who acts as an avatar to convey other voices. This avatar invalidates Pindell’s accounts of discrimination, at one point exclaiming, “You really must be paranoid.” The dialogue between the two figures underscores the double discrimination faced by black women, who are oppressed for both their race and their gender. Creating the video encouraged Pindell to continue incorporating the autobiographical into her practice, which includes painting, sculpture, and performance.