Saturday, October 23, 2010

Note to Self...

Community activist and photgrapher, Rico Washington (We the People: The Citizens of NYCHA in Pictures) wrote a note to himself-- "Don't blindly follow pop culture and adorn yourself with extra-cultural signifiers that have meaning beyond your immediate scope of comprehension."

Note to self--I gotta remember to thank Rico to show my profound appreciation for the bookstore hook-up. The Black proprietor of the posh spot had invited a few guest writers to showcase their work and left me out cos she didn't think my book would bring in any money. So Rico did his magic and suddenly I was in, tho I still got the nsvip treatment (not so very important person). That night I ended up selling 20 copies while the favorites sold none. This is to say that although the politics of marketing and selling your book (who you know) is just part of a writer's reality, it's nice when Black people actually act like brothers and sisters....thanks again, superbizzee!!!

About Rico's current project: Informed by the spirit of Jacob Riis, Gordon Parks, and former NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) resident Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, journalist Rico Washington and photographer Shino Yanagawa aim to challenge popular stigmas and stereotypes applied to housing projects and the residents who live there. We The People culls from the very essence of sustainability, ingenuity, hope, perseverence, and transcendence through candid interviews and photo shoots with former and current residents of NYCHA's various housing projects. The culmination of the aforementioned photos and interviews is a prospective gallery exhibition in NYC featuring 50 photos, printed interview excerpts, and insightful essays. A prospective book project is also in the making. We The People features interviews from such noteable former NYCHA residents as author/ filmmaker/ cultural critic Nelson George, lauded photographer Jamel Shabazz, Young Lords co-founder/ original Last Poets member/ Emmy award-winning news reporter Felipe Luciano, venerable jazz musician/ recording artist Olu Dara, author/ Emmy award-winning filmmaker Dennis Watlington, Hip-Hop artist/ music industry CEO Buckshot, and more.

We The People is slated to be exhibited in amended form as part of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Full Spectrum's collaborative city-wide exhibition Curate NYC this October. In addition, We The People has been accepted for exhibition at the Fesman 2010 world festival of Black arts being held in Dakar, Senegal this December.

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