“I keep myself bottled up.” -David
Disclaimer: These are just my thoughts from my own experiences not UNIVERSAL truths.
As I get older, I start to get annoyed, hurt and tired of society’s gender roles. I am tired of being told and/or having conversations with people who tell me “oh, this is for this gender and that is for that gender.” Blah, Blah. So, I chose to merge the two things I love together to create a project: Black men and flowers.
First of all, both are very beautiful, and the mixing of the two creates a dynamic image of natural beauty that shines despite the seasons that they passed through. Men are flowers; shoot, people are like flowers, but we are talking about men, specifically Black men. Black men are to be handled with care despite the seasons they passed through that may have formed a so-called tough guy. We need to start understanding the delicacy of the Black man, and truly understand that they get tired too; they have pain; they cry; they bleed; they die a little on the inside; their hearts break from loss, too. It is not just women. They do it too, and only, only, ONLY because they are HUMAN!
Everyone goes through different seasons in their lives just like flowers and plants do. Every new blossom, every leaf that falls of the tree, every change of color during Autumn plays a specific role in the development of a tree, of a flower, of the Black man. Oh, when I say Black do not look at skin color, but more of as an experience. The outcast, the ignored, the ones that have been ostracized because of their skin color. Nonetheless, society has taught Black men to not express their emotions because “emotions get you killed”, or makes you “look” weak. You know, nonsense like that.
Black men have told taught to “man up”, “don’t cry, “you are the protector” among other things that have stifled them in some cases. It seems that majority of Black men (according to my experience) have not been given a protector, or have not been told that “it is okay to cry because you are a human being and life hits you too hard, more than you can handle. Nah, Black men are not allowed to be free to express emotions, and are not taught how to free up themselves, so they grow up believing it is alright to be an emotionally constipated man that cannot express himself, but wants to receive love, but does not know how to give love because showing love and affection are for the woman. I am seriously over of these constructs, so I decided to do this photo series for Black men and with Black men.
To start off the series, I met up with David from Bronx, NY, and spoke to him about three emotions: happiness, sadness and fear. His answers were short, but spoke to my point. Here are the photos from our shoot:
“Black Boy Blues” expresses David’s biggest fear which is being let down by the government
Black Boy Joy represents his happy moments. David said making his family happy makes him happy.
“Gangsta Grillz & Flowers” represents David’s views on crying and that thing that makes him cry. “Death makes me cry…I keep myself bottled up…It works for me sometimes.”
Follow David on instagram @davidforeignfinessin.