Textile, Publication, Video & Web

 moving-on-up.top ︎︎︎

moving on up (?) (2022)

In 1975 the American sitcom The Jeffersons premiered on CBS. The show is credited as one of the first portrayals of a successful Black family, as George and Louise were able to move on up from working class Queens to a coveted Manhattan highrise in the sky. But could this upward ascension economically, professionally and socially had occurred without varying degrees of negotiation? Negotiating the perception of their bodies in spaces, their manners of speech depending on the company, their style of dress in hopes that the pie would be more attainable. But with those negotiations, we as viewers still bared witness to the glimpses of their internal selves — the laughter among friends, moving their bodies unapologetically and all things Florence. Iykyk.

moving on up (?) is a project that aims to explore these themes through a series of interviews with Black Americans asking them these two questions:

What does “moving on up” really mean within your lived experience?


What is your definition of assimilation?

Over the course of a week I had the privilege to chat with eight individuals one-on-one. These conversations were left open ended, the primary goal being to give them the space to interpret and discuss these concepts to a length of their choosing. With the intention to visualize this paradox of the external ways Blackness is required (by some) to be presented versus the internal notions of one’s human experience, select pull quotes were embroidered onto typical work attire — dress shirts, suit jackets and blazers— with use of monochromatic threads to metaphorically represent these internal conversations coming to the surface.  

Melanie Blagburn
Angela Hill
Lynsi Burns
Shawn Carter
Ashleigh Axios
Jess Brown  
Tony Johnson
Kelly Walters

Garment Documentation by Dougal Henken