Harlem based artist creates ‘Black Queer Tarot’ card project promoting inclusivity

'This project for me was a labor of love to my community'

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For one full year, people nationwide have been locked inside their homes, surrounded in some cases by close friends and family, while many others are forced to spend the time alone. The idea of being stuck in one place for an entire year is something I’m not sure anyone could have predicted – unless you are one of the millions of people worldwide who believe proclamations from Tarot cards.

Meet Kendrick Daye, a Harlem-based artist who has developed a deck of tarot cards appropriately geared toward the LGBTQ+ community. “I felt the need was there for representation, so I decided to do it,” Daye says.

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In its long history, Tarot card decks have been centered around heterosexual, cisgender, and white communities. Because of this, anyone who isn’t lumped into those groups find themselves without a place or option to see themselves. Thus, the Black Queer Tarot was born.

According to the Indiegogo campaign, the 78-card Tarot deck features images of a world where Black queer and LGBTQ+ people are not only living but thriving. 

Photo: THE BLACK QUEER TAROT

Daye’s card collection features Black queer muses from his work of art representing all forms of queer identities. The project is a combination of months of creative planning and photo shoots.

“Initially, I was looking to purchase a Tarot deck for myself, but I noticed a major lack of any inclusive decks or decks that featured any Black queer people,” said Daye.

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History hasn’t been kind to Black queer people, and Daye plans to amplify the queer existence through his work. “Over the past few years, I would say that I have been very intentional in my work, and of course, I could have done just a queer deck, but I believe that’s for someone else to do,” says Daye.

He added, ”This project for me was a labor of love to my community.”

In the world of Tarot cards, proclamations and destiny are part of the allure, and for some people, it is an alternative to traditional realms of religion and spirituality.

In the queer community, Tarot readings are practiced among those who don’t subscribe to religion and spirituality’s societal norms. However, the Tarot community itself hasn’t been at the forefront of embracing the community in return.

“I always used to equate anything remotely ‘spiritual’ with religion, and religion never felt like a home to me as a Black queer man. More recently, I have begun to see myself as spiritual and my art as a spiritual practice in itself,” shares Daye.

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Daye’s quest to invoke the Black queer existence into Tarot spaces isn’t without need. In November 2020, Today.com reported on a boom in the number of people seeking spiritual guidance through Tarot card readings, citing the pandemic as the number one reason.

In his experience, Daye says readings have centered him and helped him to see things differently. His deck is meant to be inclusive, and through this work, he is bringing queerness and color to a world that often ignores it. 

“People who pick up this deck will see muses that look like them because I have intentionally included different kinds of body types, gender expressions, and sexual orientations under the umbrella of Black queer people,” says Daye.

 To support Kendrick Daye and the official launch of the Black Queen Tarot card project, click here.

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