/ Classic / Conscious / Contemporary
I am Somebody seeks to assist in the removing of the national [United States of America] media’s stigma of the black man as a predator, terrorist and violator. By using photographs of the every day, highlighting black men, it is my goal to counter balance this national stigma and contribute to providing documents necessary to advance our nation forward.
In 2017, with the end of the historic presidency of Barack Obama, systematic racial injustice still persists in the US with police killing more than 100 unarmed black people in 2015, five times the rate of unarmed whites, and 289 black people in 2016. www.mappingpoliceviolence.org
The Black Lives Matter movement is protest in support for racial justice and fairness of unarmed blacks, specifically men, killed at the hands of those trusted in the United States to protect them, the police. The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Feddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott and many others bear witness to the unperceivable consequences the constant disregard of proper police procedures has produced.
At the core of I am Somebody is Africanism. “Africanism is the vehicle by which the African [-American] self knows itself as not enslaved, but free; not repulsive but, desirable; not helpless but licensed and powerful; not history-less, but historical; not damned, but innocent; not a blind accident of evolution, but a progressive fulfillment of destiny.” Toni Morrison, “Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination,” Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1992, p52.
The I am Somebody chant was popularized by Jesse Jackson and adapted from a poem written in the 1950s by William Holmes Borders, an African American senior pastor at Wheat Street Baptist Church and civil rights leader in Atlanta, GA.
Jackson says that refrain "has resonated across the world in this last 40 years, but it grew out of the context of trying to give people a sense of somebody-ness who had nothing, but still had their person and their souls." NPR, Morning edition, Poor People’s Campaign: A Dream Unfilled, June 19,2008
The photographs reflect a compositional minimalist style with a narrative nuance incorporating space. “I am Somebody” is a call to action to engage conversations and to assist in charting new pathways to counter the overwhelmingly negative narrative of being black in America.
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