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What is one word that describes your experience as a black man in America?

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The

Project

The expressive space for Black men to connect to one's self through the connections of experiences, and to validate and empathize with the journey of manhood. 

Black Men - You deserve to Breathe.

There is recognition to the complexity in surviving and living as a black man within America. Due to numerous external social and environmental factors that has pressed upon black men, it creates disparities in health and wellness, lifespan, and holistic quality of living. Specifically, there are numerous barriers that prohibit black men from experiencing life to its fullest extent both internally and within their respected communities. This has been personified in mass incarceration, crippled physical health, police killings and profiling, impacted family structure, challenges with emotional intelligence, trauma and abuse, relationships, and self-identity. Because of the circling themes that black men are forced to juggle, it may lead to a life-long journey that lacks necessary healing, that lacks joy and alignment, lacks expression, or lacks such a simple action—breathing.

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Breathe provides an expressive narrative of the dichotomous ways that not only society views black men, but sometimes how black men view themselves. This will depict the internalization of narratives from the following factors: societal norms, media, intergenerational trauma, systemic structures, cultural practices, religion, women, and more.  This will also depict the beauty of black men that is possessed but may be overlooked or suppressed, both internally and externally. Breathe allows the opportunity to express the critical innocence within black men and the need for security, acceptance, and healing—humanizing their entire being. This gives clarity to their decisions and behaviors, and recognition to their valid experiences.

 

Breathe seeks to connect black men to one’s self both individually and vicariously, as well as provide validation of the journey towards the development of manhood. In hopes, this will ignite realization of such a journey to actualize the challenges and power of being a black man. An end goal is while expressing such complexity and hardships, black men, and its surrounding community, will see the valor, beauty, luxury, and healing in being a black man, and one day be liberated from negatively internalized narratives to express one’s true self.

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Photography Exhibit

Abstract body positioning, simple coloring, and dichotomous lighting will be used to express the story of enigmatic, powerful, and emotion-filled black men to bring humanization and empathy to one’s experiences.

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Story Column

Black Men from diverse backgrounds have bravely told their story about their experiences in their skin. These stories are shared and amplified to create a space of empathy, connection, and validation in who they are.