Being Black, there’s a heavy lack of prioritization regarding mental and emotional
wellbeing, up until recently. As a result of systemic aggression, exploitation and oppression via
enslavement (physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, etc.) we, for an extensive period of time,
viewed ones well being from a place of monetary security. From a place of job security, and a
place of educational security. While all of these factors have been proven of their importance, it
is because of this ongoing group trauma that the scope on tangible stability rarely if ever
broadens the net to focus on ones emotional stability.
And in a time as tumultuous as COVID, this proved to be no different.
Many of us have lost work, lost money. And additionally, many of us lost lives. Whether it be
their own or the lives of those closet to them, the spread of this disease was becoming very
successful at eradicating any form of stability and replacing it with trauma. Many people were
forced to suffer from this sickness in silence or in solitude, or in many cases both.
In my efforts of combating mild depression, I’d created the photo series entitled, “Masked” in
which I’d taken on multiple physical changes or identities to play on an ever changing and ever
restless emotional state. COVID-19 was, at the time at its height, and I’d lost a family member
to it. My mother had tested positive for it as well and additionally, my own financial stability
was becoming scarce due to lack of work, and delay of unemployment. So creating this series,
had provided me with the ability to check in with myself and really look inward, while on an
occasion documenting loved ones around me.
I created “Legacy I” and the rest of my series entitled, “527 Tune In” around the time that
recent protesting and rioting around the United States really started to take off. While the
events taking place around the country are far from unfamiliar to Black people, it was during
this time that I had become fueled to create with an intent to change.
Everyone was and is in such uproar, in such a place of hurt and frustration, and confusion and
rage, and there were many times where I was physically drained, and emotionally drained and
There was this regular influx of Black death. A constant publicized cycle of police placing
Black men in chokeholds or shot to death. Of Black women being attacked or going missing.
Of protesters being beaten or run over by cop cars, and this was something recycled through
every media outlet, from CNN to Twitter. For the first time for many people, the concept of
black mortality was inescapable. For some time, I struggled with understanding my place in
everything that was happening. One on end, I’m saying to myself, “you’re a photographer, you
should be out there in the front lines, documenting this”, while on the other hand I’m telling
myself, “there are many ways to fight this, to protest this, and that may not be the right way for
So I painted Legacy I. A fist in the center of a fractured shape, almost like a puzzle,
surrounded by smaller fractured shapes. Different in their own right, yet still fitting perfectly
with one another and the general image. I created it as a reminder that in order to get absolute
justice we all need to remind ourselves of the ways in which we can play our part. While all
parts may not be the same, they are all integral to the betterment of a situation that has only
just now come to a boiling point. My second piece in the series, Colossus, was my own
rendition of the makings of a world apart from this one. What would it all look like when this
was all over? How would we, how would Black people be affected by a world post racism, post COVID, how does
that look? What is the future like for us ?