Ep. 3 Don't Touch My Hair
Ft. De Nichols
De Nichols and Karen (Jia Lian) Yang studied Social Work together at the Brown School of Social Work of Washington University in St. Louis. Since then, De did the "big chop" and has embraced her hair as her crown. Treasure and De have roots in Memphis, so join us for a kitchen table chat about appearance and "professionalism," the Memphis hair scene and black power movement, and the importance of being unapologetically yourself.
Through a multi-disciplinary design practice, De Nichols activates changemakers nationwide to address civic, racial, and gender equity challenges within their communities.
Artist-activist, De Nichols, is a cultural producer whose experiences, tools, and artworks highlight and confront pressing social injustices of our time. She serves as the Director & Principal Designer of Civic Creatives, an impact design organization that helps communities champion and innovate ideas addressing racial inequity, food insecurity, youth development, civic involvement, and social conflict.
As an artist, Nichols creates works that foster empathetic activism in support of historically marginalized groups. She is the visioning artist of the Mirror Casket, a sculpture created as protest art during the 2014 Ferguson uprising and collected by the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum for African-American History and Culture in 2016. Her projects such as Sticky Note to Self and Not Just Anybody integrate art and digital media to help women reflect and respond to issues of digital bullying, street harassment, and cultural microagressions. Through her leadership with these works, the Artivists STL collective, Citizen Artists STL, and FoodSpark, Nichols has been deemed a national Ideas that Matter recipient as well as a St. Louis Visionary for her community impact via the arts. Most recently, she was selected as a 2017 Citizen Artist Fellow for the John F. Kennedy Center with mentorship by esteemed cellist and educator, Yo Yo Ma.
In her service to communities, Nichols is a national keynote speaker and lecturer, and she leads as the youngest member of the Board of Directors for Forward through Ferguson, the non-profit developed to hold the St. Louis region accountable to racial equity following the 2014 murder of Michael Brown. She additionally chairs the Board of Directors for Creative Reaction Lab, which educates and equips Black and Latinx youth to foster design-based approaches to racial issues within schools and neighborhoods across the United States.
Nichols is an alum of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where she specialized in communication design, social entrepreneurship, and socio-economic development. She is a John B. Ervin Scholar, Brown Scholar, and Enterprise-Rent-a-Car Scholar. Her efforts have been supported by the Clinton Global Initiative, Women’s Caucus for Art, Gephardt Institute for Public Service, Ideas that Matters, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, StartingBloc Fellowship for Social Innovation, Points of Light Civic Accelerator, Microsoft YouthSpark, and AshokaU Changemakers.