Perpetual Anastasia Hayfron is a multiple humxn with a ferocious passion for critical inquiry, mental health and the spiritual liberation of Black people. Her Ghanaian and Liberian ethnicity has informed her doctoral research at the University of Massachusetts Boston, regarding the impact global anti-Blackness has on the mental health of Black millennial women pursuing post-secondary education. In the spirit of healing, advocacy, and radical self-love, Perpetual utilizes her skills as a creative/social worker to aid marginalized individuals and families across the birth continuum in her vocation as full spectrum doula.

Work Samples:

Artist Statement

In spite of anti-Blackness making every attempt to keep us from living liberated lives, Black people claiming, (re)membering, and transforming our own narratives as counternarratives to what we have been told about our short-lived, if not, impossible health, accomplishments and trajectories is what motivates my work, process, ideas, concepts, sources. More specifically, my vision is dedicated to supporting Black Womxn to shift from being involuntary, unconscious and non-consenting martyrs, to examining and celebrating ourselves for choosing to consistently wake up and function in a world that hates us. 

Project Description:

The alchemy of Black Womxn is diluted by anti-Blackness and labeled resiliency. Through my current doctoral research, it has been excruciatingly liberating to identify how I have suppressed my divine, intuitive and ancestral intelligence in order to be deemed human within ongoing patriarchal, misogynist white supremacist structures. Additionally, remembering all I have forgotten about my divinity and limitless creative intelligence, due to colonial conditioning in exchange for survival disguised as freedom, is another factor that draws me to explore the erasure of Black Womxn in education and mental health through the creation of a Black Transnational Feminist Collective inspired by the Combahee River Collective.

In order to examine the involuntary and unconscious embodiment of trauma that Black womxn encounter while in pursuit of education and in their everyday lives, as a result of their racialized and gendered identities (hooks, 1997), the central research question guiding this collective is: In what ways does anti-Blackness impact the mental health of Black Millennial Womxn in the pursuit of post-secondary education?

In addition, we will utilize the following sub-question to guide the data collection and our art making: 1. How does race-gendered generational trauma impact the academic performance of Black Millennial Womxn?

Utilizing critical Black feminism as the specific framework to anchor the collective, the epistemological foundation will be rooted in “endarkened feminism” (Dillard, 2010). Due to the urgency for the narratives of Black Womxn to be acknowledged in education research, “Black Participatory Research” (BPR) will be the integrated research approach and ethic in order to conduct a project rich with oral history (Drame & Irby, 2016). This approach requires the protagonist of the project (me) to be critically reflexive and examine themselves. In other words, for this work to be ethical and honor the humanity of Black people, and Black Millennial Womxn specifically, I must first critically examine and name my own humanity, how I relate to other Black Millennial Womxn and explore my relation to the co-researchers/artists of this study. The deconstruction of my lived experiences as a Black Millennial Womxn is imperative in my current pursuit to obtain first-hand narratives of Black Millennial Womxn at the intersection of mental health and post-secondary education.