Over the course of this week I’ll be sharing my interviews from my latest project, DIDACT. Here’s the intro to issue No. 1:
At 11 years old I was listening to Public Enemy and shoplifting NWA tapes for my growing Gangsta-Rap collection. I lived in what most people would refer to as ‘The Inner City.’ It was the early 90’s; Michael Jordan was on every highlight reel and Michael Jackson was at the top of the charts. It seemed like being a black man was the coolest thing you could be. I’ve always had an affinity with what I’ve come to know as the ‘Intuitive Black Male.’ There’s something discordant about wanting to be seen, and wanting to feel powerful while being brown in this country. How do you become a man when the world tells you there’s a limit to what kind of man you can be? The message isn’t overt, of course, but obvious just the same. There’s anger, sure, but then there’s a discovery of something innately human in that struggle—something that transcends race, gender, or nationality. That desire for acceptance turned itself inward, and in that journey I discovered a strength I never before imagined.
What started out as an excuse to take portraits of my friends has become a short project mapping my social sphere and the commonalities among the people I’m attracted to. DIDACT is a mirror to view my own self-construction and what it is that I find so interesting about that process. But it’s also a glimpse into other people’s lives—into their own drama of creation, recognizably unique and universal all at once.