My work celebrates the beauty of Black people and explores the complexity of conceptual photography while integrating meaningful social commentary.
I’m currently working on ways to humanize Black men, and through that thought process, I arrived at this question: How come I rarely see images of Black men sleeping in the media? What I see are dehumanizing and inaccurate stereotypes; images of tough and strong Black men with a limited emotional range -- or images of Black teens and young Black men as criminals. However, sleeping is such a vital and universal part of the human experience.
So I started a photo-series titled Sleeping Beauty: The healing process, which is an invitation to a healing journey for Black men. This photo series is more than a Black male model with high cheekbones posing with flowers. “Sleeping Beauty” is about Black men being present in our own bodies, and taking the first step towards self-love. My goal is to shoot 100 Black men sleeping (not literally, it's staged). I visit each man's home, and before we shoot, we sit together and discuss why this imagery that I am creating is vital. We discuss the systematic dehumanization of Black men, one that creates a justification for their regular destruction. But as I asked Black men to participate, I started noticing push-back. When I approached my third subject, he declined after expressing that he didn’t want to look soft and he felt that his participation in the project would look like him questioning his sexuality. At this moment I was reminded how Black men are struggling to let their guard down, even when it comes to something as natural as sleeping.
If you would like to participate please reach out, if you have a friend to recommend, please send them my way.