Keisha - "#BlackPower"
Age: None of your business - 45+
Roots: Brooklyn NY
Pin Drop: White Plains, NY
New Yorker Status: Forever
Occupation: Executive Director @ Financial Services firm
Uniqueness: African American
What was your hometown like growing up? Was it predominantly white, black, a mix of both? Do or Die Bed Stuy. The Bed-Stuy of Biggie Smalls and em. Predominately black. White flight in action.
Who in the black community (dead or alive) do you admire the most and why? Right now, Michelle Obama. This brilliant Harvard educated lawyer had to endure so much blatant and subtle racism in the past 8 years it’s mind boggling. She never compromised who she was, and maintained a sense of authenticity as a black woman that I found refreshing. She didn’t change! The dignity and grace she showed in the face of complete disregard, and disrespect is beyond admirable. She was an exemplary First Lady, Wife and Mother. I want to give her the slow movie clap from now until she leaves the White House. She DID THAT!
Beyonce has somewhat deemed herself to be the un-appointed 21st century civil rights and feminist leader for black women - how do you feel about this? I love her music, I love her voice on certain issues. I tend to like my civil rights and feminist leaders more forthright, more in your face than Beyonce. Maybe my example for her to emulate would be Nina Simone. Beyonce has the privilege of being able to deliver her feminist and/or civil rights message from a place of “pop personification”. She’s a pop star. She cultivated her audience with a mild mannered pop persona, lulled her audience into submission with little ditties like “Put a Ring on It” and so forth, and then hit them with “Formation”. Nina didn’t take her sweet time emerging as a civil rights activist and did not have the privilege of a pop following with either her look, or her music. Beyonce is a velvet glove feminist/activist, i prefer the sledge hammer of Nina. Just my opinion.
Break down your ethnic background. Black-African American - just found out 100% Nigerian Fulani on my Mom’s side. So yes, African!
Have you ever personally experienced racism? If so, when and by who? Yes. Pick a day of the week, pick a month, pick a year. Most blatant: on a job interview, while attending college, at the ripe young age of 19, and the first question from the interviewer was “how many kids do you have?” Everyday Racism: When my partner and I meet new white people at a cocktail party, or anywhere, and we’re introduced, they ALWAYS acknowledge and reach for her hand first. It’s gotten to the point where she won’t extend a hand initially because she wants to force the acknowledgement of her partner, a black woman.
Photographs by: Frank Chiodo