A New York City-based nail artist is celebrating Black History Month by paying tribute to inspiring Black women through her art.
Gracie J, a celebrity nail artist and founder of The Editorial Nail account on Instagram, is using her creative talents to honor Black women who inspire her throughout the month, bringing back her "Nails At First Sight" series.
"I started the Nails At First Sight series as a way to showcase my work on different mediums, and to creatively direct photographic visuals that show how my artistic abilities expand beyond just nail art," she said. "Often overlooked, I wanted to create a way to bring nails to the forefront as a conversation piece."
After successfully launching "Nails At First Sight" in 2018, Gracie J kicked off this year's series by painting a red nail that includes an illustration of Paola Mathé, the founder of popular headwrap company Fanm Djanm.
"As a Haitian woman and entrepreneur, I am constantly inspired by Paola’s journey and strong sense of community," Gracie J wrote in her caption on Instagram. She ended the post with, "Nou la avèk ou! [English translation: We are with you!] You inspire me."
On average, it takes Gracie J between one and three hours to create new nail art depending on how complex the details are. This year, her main inspiration was Black women, and she also gets a lot of input from her clients, friends, and family.
"This series is important because it’s a fun and approachable way to start conversations about the vital contributions Black people have made and continue to make today," Gracie J told "GMA." "It’s an educational experience, not only for myself but for my audience as well."
So far, Gracie J's nail portraiture has included everything from Michelle Obama and Oprah to Serena Williams and Solange-themed nails.
When discussing what she wants people to gain from her nail art series, Gracie J passionately explained, "I want my community to be reminded of how amazing and magical we are. I want us to continue to do the work, continue to heal ourselves, each other and secure seats at the tables we build for each other when industries shut us out. I want our friends, communities, and neighbors outside of the Black community to make an effort to learn about us."
She continued, "Everyone has the opportunity to learn something different they didn’t know the day before. Oftentimes, we think that those conversations surrounding underserved people, especially those around Black culture should be difficult and uncomfortable, but they don’t have to be. We all possess the ability to be empathetic, listen and ask respectful questions. I believe that this is important if we ever want to see change."
Gracie J is pretty excited about all the positive feedback her Black History Month-themed nail art series has already received. Before the end of February, Gracie J plans to have 20 new nail looks released, and she will also highlight last year's creations on Instagram stories on the weekends.
In the meantime, sit back with the rest of us, and feast your eyes on some of the extraordinary creations she's already nailed on Instagram.