MLK Day: Championing Black Beauty

“London-based photography and film duo The Masons create images that spell out new perspectives on representation and beauty; their work reveals the multidimensionality of black existence and the power of vulnerability. Their images are intimate and timeless, and their style is bold and dramatic. Partners in life and business, Maruska and Donna-Marie Mason are known for their exquisite photography and for their unapologetic engagement with dark skin. The duo’s imagery is defined by a relaxed sensitivity, and stands out for its exploration of diversity, equality, and creativity. Through their advertising, editorial, fashion, and portraiture photography, The Masons tell compelling tales of black existence, capturing not only the physical beauty of their subjects, but also their aura, the personalities of the models, and their stories.”  Don’t miss more photos and their website here: The Masons’ or @ ignant.com here: The Masons’ Photographs Champion Black Beauty.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that

The image, taken in 1965, shows the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leading a prayer after a group of protesters were arrested during a march to the Dallas County Alabama courthouse. Around 250 people were arrested during the demonstration, which was part of a push to get African Americans in Selma registered to vote.  (Time Magazine, Sept, 25, 2017)

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

As 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache stood at attention during the commencement ceremony at West Point, N.Y., he was overcome with emotion. Tears rolled down both cheeks, but his gloved left hand held firm on his white, gold and black “cover,” the dress headgear that Army cadets wear.

He worked his way through one of the nation’s most prestigious military schools after immigrating to the United States from Haiti, earning his citizenship and serving for two years as an enlisted soldier.

“I am humbled and shocked at the same time. Thank you for giving me a shot at the American Dream and may God bless America, the greatest country on earth.”

“I am from Haiti and never did I imagine that such honor would be one day bestowed on me.

“Knowing that one day I will be a pilot is humbling beyond words,” Idrache wrote. “I could not help but be flooded with emotions knowing that I will be leading these men and women who are willing to give their all to preserve what we value as the American way of life. To me, that is the greatest honor. Once again, thank you.”

Idrache was a leader in his class of 950 cadets. He was named a regimental commander last summer. He became West Point’s top graduate in physics.

Idrache’s father, Dieujuste, immigrated to America and was able to bring the rest of his family with him in 2009, one year before an earthquake leveled much of Port-au-Prince. The family didn’t have much, Idrache said.

~ Dan Lamothe, excerpts from The story behind the ‘American Dream’ photo at West Point that went viral


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: Today is Martin Luther King Day: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.”
  • Post Title: “The New Colossus” is a sonnet that American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) wrote in 1883 to raise money for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. In 1903, the poem was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level. (Source: wiki)

MLK

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…Almost 50 years after his death, we remember MLK as the transcendent figure who helped lift the South out of Jim Crow. We also remember him as almost preternaturally calm in the face of great pressure and danger. […] He was a young man, still in his 30s—foisted onto the national stage with actors many years or decades his senior, suspect in the eyes of both younger and older civil rights leaders—and the burdens of leadership took their toll on him. […]

Since the age of 26, King had lived a mercilessly public life. He spent as much time, if not more, in airports and hotel rooms as he did at home with his wife and children. He faced relentless pressure to raise money, mediate internecine disagreements within the movement, speak before local civil rights groups and act as the national spokesman and government liaison for the black freedom movement. It was not the life that he chose. Rather, it was the life that chose him.

On his birthday, Americans celebrate King’s accomplishments and commemorate his martyrdom. It bears remembering, too, that he struggled with the role he played. And that he willingly surrendered life’s comforts—small and large—to give himself wholly to a country that didn’t, in his brief time here, fully appreciate him.

~ Joshua Zeitz, excerpts from The MLK History Forgot


Cover Source: The New Yorker by Kadir Nelson, a Los Angeles-based artist who painted this week’s The New Yorker cover, a tribute to the civil-rights leader. “My image is a celebration of Dr. King and his vision. What happened to his dream of racial and economic equality, and what is the impact of non-violent resistance over half a century later? It’s a conversation between the past, the present, and the future.”

Life’s most persistent and urgent question

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Source: Apple.com landing page (Jan 18, 2016)

He did

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Source: precious things

MLK

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Image Source

Stepping Up: 100/0

“It is true that if we step up there is no guarantee that things will change…but here is the truth: There is 100% guarantee that nothing will change if you don’t step up.  What’s more, we are much more likely to regret having staying on the sidelines than we are to regret our failures…People rarely regret failures but often regret not trying.”

It seems fitting that I finished this book today, on Martin Luther King Day – – a day held in memory and in honor of the man who stepped up, took responsibility for what many believed was impossible change and led the way forward.  This book’s premise centers around 2 concepts: the need to take responsibility and the results of what happens when we step up and take action.  Izzo states that when we focus on what we can change rather than getting others to change, we move into a place of power.   [Read more…]

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