21: he really pulled it off

21: he really pulled it off

do you hear that loud ringing
in your ear?

the sound of the locusts applauding your new leader        
swarm to devour everything growing
make way for new world order        the new american dream
all hail your 45th president              Mr.     donald     trump

do you hear the white noise
marching down the streets of 5th Avenue
chanting “USA USA USA” with picket signs that look like torches
with grins that look like the 1800s    a celebration of renewed greatness

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19: Representation

19: Representation

Something I talk about daily and have been aching to write about is representation. What it is, what it means, where it is, where it is not. I'd like my experience to be taken for my personal reaction towards it and then the reason behind my reaction to be considered. 

I walked into work a few days ago and grabbed the newest issue of WWD, a fashion magazine my job is subscribed to, and noticed yet another cover, in the stack of 20 magazines, where no one looks like me. And to keep it transparent, I mean Black. I go through the stack of magazines to be sure I am mistaken and there is at least one Black person on the cover. To no avail. I flip through the magazine anyway and the entire inside is White as (h)well, with the exception of a photo of the Obama's with a "goodbye" caption. Oh, and Kanye West's show coverage on the same spread. So I should be happy, right? Sure, this magazine has had Black and Hispanic people on their covers before, I just have never seen them in person so this is not actually about the magazine itself. More so my frustration comes from wondering why I am so passionately thirsty to find myself in this magazine and in the world. It seems as though when I do find the representation I need I am excited and never fail to speak on it. I think had this been normal, seeing myself that is, I might become a little numb to it by now. Alas, I am not. I did not grow up seeing Black men all over magazines, at fashion week, in my favorite TV shows, in movies, in politics, on book shelves, in textbooks, at school, in ad campaigns, on billboards, or anywhere else but in my house and across the street.

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18: "welcome to hell," he said. "you'll love it," he said.

18: "welcome to hell," he said. "you'll love it," he said.

The academic "summer" has fizzled to it's end and classes have begun. I sit in bed this afternoon and reflect back on my summer. My summer...the frizzy hair, the laughter, the lost wallet, the dusty boots, the disappointment, my humble queen, the all nighters, the open mics, the credit card swipes, the late rent, the struggle and the outcome. I start a new chapter of my life in a city to call my own. So for now I say in as bittersweet and accent to my home state that holds my heart and nothing else...

Au revoir Ohio, my love, until next time.

New York's initiation grated my patience / bruised my skin / emptied my pockets and had me question my intent / New York's initiation swallowed my soul / gnawed it to death and spit it out into a waterless ocean / baptized me and brought me back / a reincarnation of the self I used to be / A work of art / a walking poem /         immortal. Lava under each step / I am heavy / I am tall / brown / hungry / relentless / breathless / A God / A King / Unapologetic in nature and far removed from it / I am an impala lily removed from Africa, ready to grow between the cracks of broken sidewalk in the jungle with no trees.

 

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17: The Protest

17: The Protest

As I rise this morning, ass and feet both equally sore, I sit and wonder what a protest actually does. Can we truly achieve effective political change by walking through streets holding signs and wasting our breath with heartfelt chants? Is that even the goal of a protest? Or is there some greater purpose other than making noise?

 

Last night in New York City I walked in the first protest I'd ever been apart of with so many people, with cops involved and that lasted so long. I am trying to take away a few things from this experience, as we all should. Aside a sore ass from walking 85 blocks, what do I have as result? There is a clear divide among people fighting for the same cause, those for protesting and those who believe they accomplish little to nothing. I think I can sympathize a bit with both parties seeing protesters who want to do something, anything to express their hurt, rage and desire for change (excuse the rhyme). Protesting gets the attention of the all mighty media and in turn brings some focus to the issues being faced. We can wake the city, stop traffic and chant "Black Lives Matter" for hours and hours, go home and watch all the damage we caused. More aggressive cops, some protestors  who got a little to caught up in the moment and acted out, protesters peacefully speaking their piece and still being handled and arrested. So other than making noise and getting attention, what are we doing?

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16: Dad

16: Dad

As a kid, the quickest way to my heart was a promise of McDonalds and a trip to the mall. As I grow older things get difficult, more challenging and a lot less simple. As an adult, intangible things like emotions, bonds, memories, chemistry and love take over our lives and lead a path to our hearts.

I am not an easy person to reach but I’d like to send this to a man who has never stopped fighting for me, my happiness and my safety.

My number one, my hustler, my best friend, my biggest fan, my hero, my pops. Since I can remember you’ve been the strongest man and the strongest person I have ever and could ever encounter. I know that we are very different people but if only you knew how much I’ve adopted from you, how much you have taught me. 

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15: Invisible Life

15: Invisible Life

Originally this post was supposed to be an update on how I was doing in New York...but now I feel like there are more significant and current things to talk about. 

So, Florida...I wake up this morning hearing about some shooting in Orlando. 50 killed, 53 injured? So 103 people physically harmed from this massacre. According to articles I read this is the worst in US history. A lot of articles I am seeing are brushing over the fact that it was indeed a gay club and so automatically this incident is associated with hate crimes. After speaking to the parents of the alleged shooter, his parents say he "would become angry when saw two men kissing," giving him a bit of irrational motive. 

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14: An Update

14: An Update

Today marks my official first Day of summer break. Somehow all of my finals ended up being on the same day and now I am done until the end of August. You guys, it has been such a long semester you have no idea how relieved I am right now. I have learned so much, met some great professors and now for the summer...I am headed to New York.

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13: Cultural Appropriation

13: Cultural Appropriation

So the topic has been coming up a lot lately and I've been seeing confused faces left and right about it. What is cultural appropriation? It's just hair, right? Just clothes with fancy patterns, its just jewelry. So I am going to do my best at explaining what cultural appropriation is and give my opinion on why and how my people get offended by it.

 

So first off, cultural appropriation at its most basic definition is when one culture adopts elements from another. America is a melting pot of diverse cultures and people and a lot of time the cultures rub off on one another. Which in a lot of ways can be a good thing. Cultural appropriation, however, is an issue, a very complicated issue, but an issue nonetheless. I think that part of it depends on the context, and keep in mind that this is a subjective issue, a lot of us might not agree. Even still, people are being offended so it needs to be addressed and understood.

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12: Primaries

12: Primaries

This is a series of images I took on whim one night with my friend Michelle (who you've seen before). Having some fun with color and practicing with studio light, background consistency and composition. We're getting there y'all. Baby steps!

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10: The Beautiful Ones

10: The Beautiful Ones

Apparently we "lost" Prince today. I'm having a Long Island on my lunch break with my coworkers when I get a text from my dad saying "Wow Prince is dead." The restaurant got a little cold at that point.

I wasn't yet born when he was at his prime, but I grew up with his music and stories of this legend nonetheless. I've been affected by his influence. My dad would tell me stories about his childhood and how he was influenced by Prince and how he looked up to him. He'd tell me how he'd do his hair like him and wear these leather boots to school. I used to watch my dad watching The Purple Rain with a smile on his face like he'd never seen it before, waiting to go out until it was over.

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9: Self-Love

9: Self-Love

Lately I've been coming across different people who have different ideas of what self-love is or what it means to love oneself so I thought I might share mine.

 

For me, as a person who certainly loves himself, self-love is about forgiving and being comfortable with who I am. I think its easier to talk about loving yourself as if you are someone else. So humor me for a second...say you have a friend...Your friend has all these great qualities, they are kind, they are open to growth, they have nice hair, a unique sense of humor and a whole lot of ambition. This friend has flaws and makes mistakes too. They've cheated on a lover, shops too much, forgets to call grandma back, they don't visit home enough, they don't work out everyday, they break out every now and then, falls asleep at work and loves to argue. Is this friend less worthy of your love because of these qualities? Be honest, are these things that will make you stop loving your friend?

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7: Perks of Being Surrounded by Creatives

7: Perks of Being Surrounded by Creatives

I've been thinking a lot lately about the things I like about being a college student. Part of this may have to do with the fact that I just found out I won't graduate until 2019, but that's another story. Another day. Another three years...Anyway, one of my favorite things about being in college is the amount of creative people I get to be surrounded by. Since I started school I have become friends, partners and acquaintances with so many creative people who have without a doubt changed my life.

I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity (even though I am paying for it) to be surrounded by so many inspiring people with their own minds and creative visions. I've come across designers, musicians, dancers, painters, glass blowers, writers, activists, stylists, models and so much more. Oh, and photographers, some awesome...awesome photographers. A few short weeks ago I worked with a friend Nico Ciani (nicociani.com | @nic_doug) who I'd met last spring in class. He slays.

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6: Spring Visited for the Weekend

6: Spring Visited for the Weekend

This weekend it got pretty warm in Ohio! Yay for us! Next weekend it's going to snow again though so I tried to take advantage of this lovely weather before that happened. I've been talking a lot of shit lately so I figure I'll give you guys a break and just post a few outfits—no politics.

Oh, by the way, I have a new redirect url, just a little easier. lackwhen.com! I'm getting there y'all!

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5: Who Cares and Why?

5: Who Cares and Why?

Ever since I can remember, masculinity has been questioned and challenged. Both mine and the men around me. For some reason, unknown to me, when someone challenges or goes against the typical idea of what a man is supposed to be, or of how a man is supposed to act, the world starts to crumble just a little bit. Or so it seems. While I like to believe that I live in a progressive society that is open to change, I cannot help but remember and acknowledge all of the criticism I have been exposed to directed toward men who don't fit a certain mold. As with women, men are born and immediately assigned a role. Immediately wrapped in a blue blanket because that is a "boy" color. We are raised to believe that playing sports makes us more of a man and that liking something artistic like dance or painting makes you feminine or even gay.

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