A self-described ‘queer, kinky, cancer warrior’ says she wishes someone would’ve told her more that black is beautiful – so now, she wants to be that someone to others like herself.
Ericka Hart, 31, was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer at 28 in 2014, and said she realized then that doctors had no idea how to deal with queer, black, cancer patients; they assumed she was straight and that she didn’t have enough money to cover certain treatments.
So, after having a double mastectomy, the New York City-based sex educator and ‘topless activist’ began bearing her scars proudly on social media and festivals to include herself in a narrative that she felt queer, black women are usually excluded from, and show the world that she’s more than just a cancer survivor.
Ericka told Cosmopolitan she poses topless to ‘push up against these social constructed normatives about gender that people with bodies like [hers] are supposed to be clothed and covered and modest’. Growing up in a mostly white neighborhood in Maryland, she said she was used to standing out both because of the color of her skin for her sexuality, which she identified as queer by the time she got to college. ‘A lot of the kids would say, “Why does your hair not move?”‘ she recalled. ‘I wish someone on my journey would have told me more is that black is beautiful.’ In honor of breast cancer awareness month (October), we would like to remind you all of the epic heroism of Ericka Hart. Her episode is a part of our Dispelling Beauty Myths series with Allure Magazine. The video is a big “F YOU” to patriarchal beauty standards and a big hello to the ultimate gorgeousness of Ericka, who owns her scars and has made the loss of her nipples the source of her greatest liberation.