Song of the day: And The Beat Goes On by The Whispers
I believe that when you do, present, or create something that isn’t quite fully yours, you give credit where it’s due. In Alpha, the Jewels acknowledged one another’s contributions and explicitly gave one another credit as a way respecting each other’s work towards the future of the fraternity. A writer’s biggest fear is being called a plagiarizer and being denied of their “truth”, whatever it may be. Honor and gratitude to the people that invested in you, no matter what stage in life you are at, is essential to any field. Most people know me as a poet first so once I started doing photography, I began to understand why so many photographers were mad when people wouldn’t tag them in their photos. I didn’t make an instagram for a while because I felt like it was the go-to way to promote my work. When I finally gave in and made a creative/photography page on May 2nd, it was good at first. I had two clients-- one of my brothers and a friend of a friend. They were very pleased with my work and tagged me in every post (to my knowledge). Now, I don’t post everything I shoot because there’s some work that just isn’t for the gram. But there was one shoot that I altered (package wise) and though it went well, it was a prime example of allowing my kindness diminish my value. I didn’t get tagged in any photos I took and it hit me differently. The internet is an electronic sea that loses and manipulates information in the blink of an eye so all I could think about was the possibility that someone could steal the photos I shot and edited. I didn’t say anything because I had already sent the photos to the client and they posted them for the world to see. I say that to say, whether its a photo, quote from a poem, or anything that isn’t yours-- give credit where it’s due. Originality, authenticity, difference is what makes us a mosaic of people and not giving someone the recognition they deserve (no matter the size of the deed or manner) is actually an insult to the person or people that put in the work to create that thing(s). With that, share and comment on the posts that you like, your thoughts help not only photographers but anyone that’s putting themselves on the front lines. Also, I want to shout out to Renelle S.T. Williams, Auntie Dory, Corey Wheeler, Charles PDF, Tre Crews, Artman Pat, Sky, and Yanté for supporting me as a photographer. I wouldn’t be here if you all didn’t believe and invest in me throughout my journey. I am because you are.
Beyond The Lights,
Song of the Day: 2nd Childhood by Nas
My father died when I was five years old. When father’s day comes, I don’t post him to talk about how much I miss him nor do I write I about him. Sometimes, I just cry. I try to blame him for the difficulties I encounter and get placed in but it’s hard to blame someone I didn’t get to know. My father is the piece of my identity that keeps changing because everyone has a different story about him. He was a great man that was always on the go. He couldn’t sit still. You act just like him. You look just like him. You and your brother look like twins. I can’t see what other people are looking at so it can be hard to differentiate between the tales I’m told about my father. He’s like a myth to me. I can sense him around me depending on where I go as if he’s walked wherever I’m going. I have deja vu more often than I expect. I look through my gallery and find that I take pictures of the same things but at different points in time. I can remember when I took a picture at FSU for the first time near the integration statue not knowing that I’d take a million more till this day. There are also times where I find myself in the shadow of some of my friends when we hang out. I don’t have a lot of father figures but the few that I do have, I do my best to remind them that I appreciate them as much as often. Some include:
Pastor Lewis and Dr. B, my spiritual elders that keep my morals in check as I move up in life. No matter where I go, I keep my bible with me because of them. I wouldn’t have crazy faith if they didn’t help me believe that I had any.
Dr. Bowden (Pops) and Dr. Danford (Doc), my super educated dads. They both have PhD’s and I like the sound of Dr. James. They’ve been around the world and live life because they made it that way (not saying my spiritual elders haven’t. They live comfortably lavish too.). Their drive to innovate and be open to new things encourages me to be boundless in my endeavors but also focus on what I’m good at. They keep it real with me through their actions and not just a speech of what I should and shouldn’t do.
Then there’s my step dad, Will. He’s been around since middle school and though we’ve had our fall outs, he’s shown me what grit and focus can get you if you put in the time. I didn’t like his method at first because I could tell there was some things he had to work through internally. He taught that my past doesn’t define me since I can define the future. He’s stubborn but he has a big heart if he opens up to you. He taught me how to protect myself-- my heart, money, relationship(s) (romantic and platonic), art, and name. He knows that some days my name is all I have so we joke about the irony of my last name being his middle name. I guess he’s the “filler” my dad sent (LOL). But in all seriousness, I wouldn’t be where I am had he not been persistent. What’s even crazier is that both of our dad’s were murdered and it took our stepfather’s to fill in the cracks that can’t quite be filled. It’s not the sunshine that keeps a car clean-- it’s the rain as he’d say. He’s the epitome of a screw up turned household protector. I’m happy that he stayed not just for my mom but to help my siblings and I in anyway he could-- if we asked. Will is a special case and life really wouldn’t be the same without him. At least he understands me when I feel like no one does some days.
I’m thinking about the last time I visited my father’s grave and it’s been a while since I’ve cleaned it. I’ll dust it off once I get back home. Save me a seat in heaven Dad.
Beyond the Lights,