Ericka Hart was inducted in Episode 21: Bras & Boobs Take 2 (7:30 mins)
This week we have an incredibly bad ass woman to welcome into our League of Extraordinary Women. Ericka Hart is a sex educator, performer, and queer activist. At only 28 years old, Hart was diagnosed with two types of cancer in each breast and she went on to have a double mastectomy. When Hart was going through the process of reconstructive surgery to reconstruct her breasts, she and her surgeon struggled to find reference images of Black women’s reconstruction. This lack of visibility really struck a cord with Hart and she made headlines when she appeared topless for the first time at the Afropunk Music Festival in 2016 with her reconstructed breasts and mastectomy scars on beautiful display. Of the decision to go topless to this event, Hart says, “I wore my chest out because I wanted to raise awareness, but I also...still feel really sexy with my body this way, and I want to be received as sexy, not just as a survivor.”
Since then, Hart’s image has become one of the most recognizable among cancer survivors and definitely the most prevalent image of black women with mastectomy scars. Hart participated in a gorgeous viral photoshoot with photographer Joey "Islandboi" Rosado and make-up artist Moshoodat, in which she poses topless with highly feminine, very joyful imagery like flowers, pink backgrounds, and yellow body paint. Her Instagram often displays her naked chest proudly, whether in stylized photoshoots or simple photos taken at home by her wife.
Recently, Hart went topless again to the Women’s March in New York and gave a passionate speech for inclusivity in feminism, calling out feminism’s long history of ignoring or excluding the stories of cis and trans women of colour, non-binary people, sex workers, women with disabilities, and indigenous women.
Hart uses her body to advocate for visibility and awareness of black women with cancer and her sharp mind and empathetic heart to advocate for all marginalized groups. Welcome to the League, Ericka Hart. We are so proud to honour you today.