Representation today has become somewhat of a buzzword, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's still very much needed and necessary to continue to grow as a progressive society. Take, for instance, the LGBTQ+ community – despite how much progress we've made towards acceptance and normalizing the beauty of this community, it still lacks proper representation in places and practices it holds dear to its heart.
Tarot reading has become a widely-used alternative spiritual practice, but members of the LGBTQ+ community specifically have leaned on it as a means for having spiritual guidance. Yet, many decks today are not inclusive of the LGBTQ community, nor do the cards properly represent their identities. This is why Harlem-based artist Kendrick Daye decided to challenge the outdated, non-inclusive decks of the past to create his version of what tarot cards should look like for Black queer individuals.
"The Black Queer Tarot" project is a direct response to Daye's observations of white, cis-gendered faces that did not speak to him. Daye described the 78-card Tarot deck reimagining a world where Black queer people – both liberated and creative – are not just living but thriving as well. His collection – created for and by queer people – "The Black Queer Tarot" transforms the traditional deck of cards and introduces a new diverse cast of figures and faces that encompass the Black queer experience.
In honor of Women's History Month that just passed, "The Black Queer Tarot" project also ensured it paid homage to the queens of the Black queer community. Both past and present, including influential women like Audre Lorde, Marsha P. Johnson, and up-and-coming trans-supermodel, Gia Love.
"The Black Queer Tarot" project was more than a passion project for Daye. It was a culmination of his life's work that in turn helped honor his community. In speaking with Daye, we asked why he chose now to create a collection specific to the Black queer community, and his response was, "It has the name in it because I want it to be representative of the community. I was very deliberate about including as much of the beauty and diversity in the Black queer community [as possible]. It was just about celebrating us and all the facets that we come in."
Not only did Daye come up with the initial idea for the project. He also played a major role in bringing the cards to life. He spent the last few months "photographing muses, meticulously creating artwork for the cards, consulting with readers on the symbolism in the deck, all while documenting the process via film," he explained in the caption of his YouTube video. To generate even more buzz around his project, Daye launched an INDIEGOGO campaign to generate funds and support to power "The Black Queer Tarot" project – which has raised over $28,500 to date.
In terms of the impact Daye aims to have, he expressed the symbolism on each card with the deck runs deep down to the types of images that were used. "To me, I feel like it'd be so much stronger to use cards that have faces that look like [ours]," he said. "Even the response I've been getting from the project is why I'm doing this because I already see people saying this is great now that this exists. Now I hope they're used, and they inspire people to do even more projects."