What is black culture? What does it mean to you?
“To me what is so important about your project is diminishing the stereotype that there is a right way to be black. It’s hugely damaging to the union of our community as a whole. We need to celebrate each other and our different interests and expressions of self. We need to stop letting class and education divide us and recycle information and resources so we can all thrive.”
What is your favorite part of being black?
“Our ingenuity, our adaptability. A shine that can’t be dulled no matter the turbulence of our history and the devastating injustices that have been committed against us. Kidnapped from our home and enslaved, we still managed to cultivate an entirely new culture that has been wildly appropriated from because we got it going on.”
Have you always identified as black?
“Its taken the last 5 years of growth before I identified black as being a beautiful aspect of myself. Oakland has been a huge influence. I’ve been given a phenomenal education on black history, black power leaders, black culture, black art, black love and the politics of being a black person by living here.”
What would you say to someone struggling with their identity?
“Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people who genuinely make you feel loved and respected. Read books about your culture. Seek friendships with people in your culture. Connect with nature. Practice saying kind things to yourself. Find constructive ways you can contribute to your community. ”
Photography and Interviewer: @shavonne.bryant | Model: @may.daniels