This is a dope book by photographer Michael July self published around 2014 I believe.
There are many shots of incredibly beautiful people in this book from all over the world who just happened to be on the planet Brooklyn for awhile.It was a humid and rainy day in Brooklyn. I was painting murals on plywood with my crew “Trust Your Struggle” at Afro Punk Festival. I think it was 2008 because it was before our US Mural tour. Michael came up to me and asked if he could shoot me adding that he was working on a book about “Afro’s”. It’s so great to look back at this time, living in Brooklyn was a beautiful experience. This festival was like none I’d ever experienced.
I encourage you to get the book, check out the photos, read the intro by scholar Li Sumpter, and the quotes about the beauty and pride in our hair.
Yo, excited to get my book into this pop up bookstore “Boogie Down Books“. If you’re in NYC please support them and invite them to your school , organization, or event. Check out this article written about them recently.
Hey! If you are not a regular reader of “Latinxs in Kid Lit” please go check them out. They blog about new books, history, and up and coming writers/artists. This is my second time contributing to the blog. Above is an illustration I did of Pura Belpre for women’s history month this year. Please take a look and read the article. Here is my favorite quote from it: “Storytelling as a means of resisting and challenging oppressive dominant narratives.”
Pura Belpre was NYC’s first Puerto Rican librarian. She was a storyteller, educator, and a pioneer in library programming and learning for children. She was born in 1899 in Puerto Rico and came to the US in 1920. In 1921 she began working in the New York City public library system. She has been called a pioneer because of her outreach to the Latino community offering programming in spanish. She founded a mobile puppet company that went around the neighborhood performing her stories. She looked for and purchased books in spanish for the library when multicultural literature was not a thing. As a storyteller she brought stories from her country like “Perez y Martina” and shared them with the children uptown, while also translating them and publishing them in books for the first time. Because of the amazing work she did as an advocate for literacy and education in the community an award has been named in her honor by the American Library Association. I did not hear a single thing about Ms Belpre until I was in my 30’s. But, her dedication to engaging children and getting them to read inspires me. And I hope that more about her life is uncovered and that we as kids and adults learn about stories like hers. Check out the book “The Storyteller’s candle” and the documentary by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College called “Pura Belpre” https://vimeo.com/30837106
Sources: Wikipedia (website) and “Colorin Colorado” (blog)
Dondi White, born in 1961 hailed from Brooklyn, New York City-the planet as they used to call it. Dondi was one of many early pioneers in the beginnings of Graffiti writing on trains in New York City. He started writing in the early 70’s and had many aliases such as Noc, Slave, or Mickey. He founded the crew CIA-Crazy Insides Artists. It was in the late 70s that his work was being photographed by the likes of Martha Cooper, who shot his iconic “Children of the grave” car in the book Subway Art. Dondi painted complex, simple, wild, so many styles. I guess thats why they named him “Style-Master General”. His work like that of Skeme stood out to me because of the style and colors. He should be counted among the greats in African American and U.S. Art history and he is missed. For further reading, check out Zephyr’s obituary in Art crimes.
Besides a lot of “you know what it is” and other slang words from NY this is pretty #$%^& dope. A rapper putting his name on something “healthy” for you, his community, etc. Too many cats be trying to put their name on liquor or power drinks.And its a real shop off the Castle Hill stop on the 6 train, check out the article in Black Enterprise. Might have to visit the next time I’m in NYC.