Immigrant

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Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer / New Orleans / Our Closet

Photos by Phrozen Photographyunspecified-9
Post Soundtrack: Immigrant (Sade)

The Treme (St. Augustine Church): The community of Treme can be described as colorful, vibrant, creative, strong, & diverse. Formally known by the French as Faubourg Treme this community is named after Claude Treme the Frenchmen who sold the land to the city of New Orleans so they could build sub divisions and sale plots for housing behind the much crowded French Quarters.  Treme was special from the start. From its inception Treme residents attracted a diverse group of residents such as Africans, Europeans, Haitian Creoles and Free people of color. Treme is the oldest African American neighborhood in the nation. The homes in Treme are truly unique ranging in style, size and color. From the creative womb of Treme and the Free Women of Color who resided and owned property there the Treme neighborhood  created and influenced many art forms in music, fashion, literature,  food, arts, dance and many more. Where else would I bring these two creative forces to capture their essence? While in Treme among the homes & culture built by Africans we were our natural and beautiful selves. I believe their energy connected with the space and place to create Noirlinian magic…

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Control

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Photos by Dawn Jefferson (Dawnie Marie)

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Post Soundtrack: Control (Janet Jackson)

Bunny Bread Factory, New Orleans East: So I’m from the East. Yes, New Orleans East. Literally born & raised in the East. So I’m a legit East Beast. I know its strange, but I am proud of that. I mean I can’t lie and say I’m from Uptown, I’d be found out so quick. I call the East many things: “the land that care forgot” “hood suburbia” “the city’s step child” “the after thought”. Because to me that’s what it is. Let’s back track. When I was younger I felt ashamed to be from the East, because people think it’s lame. It’s not as hard as uptown or as fancy as the garden district. It’s just there. So I would say it and cringe with anticipation.All that changed when I was in college. I started to notice more and more that the New Orleans I love was rapidly changing. So of course the pride I had in my city transferred to where I am from in the city. I see it like this: the place i live in is uncared for. So who else can better care for it than me? Why do I not have pride in it? Maybe if I do, maybe others will begin to care. I’m from here. I can’t change it. I should care about it, especially if other people see it as a wasteland. So now I go hard for the East, like I go hard for the city.Maybe I shouldn’t care what other people think. Especially the new people coming in, who don’t appreciate all parts of New Orleans. You know that no matter what map I see of the city, the East is NEVER on it? Gentilly barely makes it. I even confronted someone about it. She was an artist, who made New Orleans themed goods. She gave me some weak excuse about using some other map as a reference. I wanted to yell I didn’t care, she clearly had space to add the rest of the ninth ward. I digress. I shouldn’t care, but I refuse to be erased.This kind of relates to how I live as a black woman. I have pride in my black womanness I have to love my black womanness. I have to refuse to be erased as hard as they try. I also have to work over time to be sure I am heard and seen. Which is what I need to start doing for the East and the city in general. The black community is fighting to be heard and seen. We need to have pride in the places where we are from, because if we don’t who else will.

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10 Black Women in New Orleans to follow in 2017

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New Orleans / Uncategorized

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Often, when hearing about New Orleans outside of the city, it’s historic and vibrant music scene is a focal point for folks. Inside of the city though, it’s clear that New Orleans isn’t a city that is just musically talented…its a city that is talented. Period.

From visual art, to music, to poetry, to…well…anything that requires creative talent, New Orleans attracts, but more notably, produces undeniable talent that is helping shape the creative history of this generation.

Check out this list of New Orleans artists, entertainers and all around dope creatives to follow in 2017 and beyond. All women listed are  either native to or currently based in New Orleans.

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We Are Family

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Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer / Our Closet

Photos by Malik Bartholomew (Phrozen Photography)

dsc_0880-2Post Soundtrack: We Are Family

The Treme: I selected several sites in Treme and one of the site locations I selected was the underpass of the Claiborne Avenue Bride better known to native New Orleanians as “Under Da Bridge” or “Tha Bridge.” This site is extremely important historically and culturally to Black New Orleanians. Before the construction of the Claiborne Avenue interstate bridge the street Claiborne Avenue was home to the downtown black business district. Claiborne was also the home of a beautiful green lawn with handsome mature oak trees which lined the street for miles. This area became the most significant gathering spot for black Carnival (black activities during Mardi Gras Day) allowing for the culture of the Zulus, Black Mardi Gras Indians, Baby Dolls, Second Lines and street jazz to grow and thrive until 1966 when it was decided to place an interstate in the middle of this grand avenue. This action displaced a community, destroyed independent black owned businesses, eliminated green space from the urban landscape, and assaulted the culture & traditions of black New Orleans. After the interstate went up it was noted that the traditions of black carnival and the Treme community were never the same. However, as new generations of New Orleanians were born such as myself who never physically saw or experienced the grand oaks and green lawns of Claiborne Avenue but were still informed of the history of this special site and the importance of the continuation of our traditions. Black New Orleanians today maintained the cultural heritage of this space as it is still a very important gathering spot for black people on Mardi Gras, black marching bands, Black Mardi Gras Indians, Baby Dolls, Second Line Parades, festivals and much more. Additionally various artist have painted the various pillars of the bridge with images of our ancestors, the fallen oak trees and the history & culture of black New Orleans.  I could think of no better location to “phreeze” Noirlinians.

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Human

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Photos by Taylor DeClue

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Post Soundtrack: Human (Tank and the Bangas)

Rooftop, Downtown New Orleans: Passion has been the word of the year for me . Tensions have risen high this year whether it be from the excess of murders i’ve had to witness to black men and women at the hands of police, the emotions of hate from these coming elections that have made racial tensions even higher  and most of all  taking a personal break from photography myself it has been one emotional roller coaster.  I was so happy to have heard from Denisio and Mwende again. They are two inspiring women who i enjoy shooting.  I chose the rooftop downtown because it has been a thinking spot for me in the past few months. I’ve felt like i had  been losing my passion for photography through all these mental barriers that I’ve carried. But in the past few weeks i realized passion is what makes us who we are .And if not expressed enough it can be detrimental.  As an artist to suppress our emotions would be to suppress ourselves. Though i hadn’t shot anything in months it was so freeing to have a morning talk on the rooftop and exchanging ideas and thoughts on the world. That passion for life and love and our people is what connects us best and what will keep this crazy world flowing in my opinion. Most importantly the talk that morning helped me to realize life is not worth living if you’re not putting your heart into what you do every single day.

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#NoirliniansStreetStyle: Black Feminisms Forum (AWID 2016)

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IMG_1210.jpgCoumba Toure, Senegal/ Mali

#NoirliniansStreetStyle from the 2016 Black Feminisms Forum
in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil

This September, Black feminists from across the world met at the first ever Black Feminisms Forum (BFF) in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil. The BFF “‘was a global movement-building process co-created by Black feminist artists, activists, agitators and creators” that was created in order to provide a space for cross movement exchange and strategizing amongst, and deepens solidarity between, Black feminists around the world”‘.

In addition to that, it was also a display of Diasporic fashion and connectivity through clothing. Despite being from all corners of the globe, attendees at the BFF displayed how undeniably linked fashion and culture is in the Diaspora across age, size and gender representation. Check them out in this #NoirliniansStreetStyle post and read a little bit about Bahia, known as the “African Capital of Brasil” where the convening was held…

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Live and Die in Afrika

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Photos by Kobby Waiyaki | The Skate Park: The skate park is one of the very rare things to find in Kenya .Most people don’t even know if Kenya owns a skate park since it is at an unexpected location. I chose this as my location since I have seen it grow from the very first day when skate aid-a skateboarding organisation based in Germany came to launch that they will be constructing a skate park in Nairobi . The design and all is what that really amazes me with the graffiti and all. 

DSC_0350Post Soundtrack: Live and Die in Afrika (Sauti Sol)

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Daddy Lessons

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Photos by Taylor DeClue | Jackson Square/ French Quarter: The French Quarter is one of Louisianas most popular attractions . It is what some would say the heart and soul of New Orleans . There you will find everything from artists to lovers. I chose this particular location because it is close to my heart . Around every corner you will find Spanish architecture similar to that of Latin American countries and musicians filling the background with a cinema- type vibe. Denisio and Mwende both have the artistic qualities which link perfectly with this enviroment . For me being an Afro Latina, this place brings me joy because the slaves imported from Africa to places such as this is what created the true dynamics of this area. Combining Latin and African culture speaks to me and shines down every path you meet in the Quarters Everything from the brightly colored walls to the pavement on the streets to the humidity in the air. You cannot walk into this place without truly feeling abroad while at home.

IMG_0003Post Soundtrack: Daddy Lessons (Beyonce)

#FEATUREDFASHIONS – Polished Brand (@designing_polishedbrand): My clothing was inspired by the woman on the go. She has to be comfortable in fit, but styled and chic. She doesn’t blend in, she stands out effortlessly. My personal journey with afrocentric clothing has been an evolutionary one, discovering  self thru style and vice versa. The people of New Orleans are an embodiment of this lifestyle. We embrace our culture and heritage in daily. It is a part of who we are without even realizing it. That deserves to be celebrated in every way, especially in clothing.africa-transparent

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Home Again

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Photos by Aline Maia

Ashé Cultural Arts Center: The Ashé Cultural Arts Center emphasizes the art contributions of people of African descent in New Orleans. Its focus is support programs, activities, and creative works. Because of these and others motives, it has become the stage for this photo shoot. After all, Mwende and Denisio are artists: they have been using body, clothes and thoughts to talk about themselves, and to explore fashion and identity in the diaspora. Their pictures are like words in a poetry slam and they inspire others. Ashé – located in Central City – has a motivating vibe in this context: The colors on the walls around the building stand out between the cars in the street. The building is an invite for cultural discovery. This mix has helped to capture the soul and feelings beyond what we can see. In this session, subtle details reveal a piece of Africa in the U.S.A.

100_7208Post Soundtrack: Home Again (Michael Kiwanuka)

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FEATURED FASHIONS – The Bombchel Factory: The Bombchel Factory is an African fashion wonderland that produces ethically made, high quality garments for sale in Monrovia, Liberia that was started by Archel Bernard, a Liberian-American whose parents fled civil unrest in the West African country. Our team of expert tailors and excited trainees can produce much more than we can sell locally, so we have set our sights on the rest of the world. This is not an NGO that is here today and gone tomorrow. We know Liberians don’t want handouts.  Our trainees will develop a trade and a way to support themselves and their families, and we will create gorgeous, contemporary African fashions for a global market. 

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Fight the Power!

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Denisio and Mwende / Featured Fashions / Guest Photographer / Uncategorized

Photos by Aline Maia

ALINE MAIA -photographer: I came to New Orleans in August 2015 to do part of my doctorate research in Communication. I am Brazilian, woman, black, journalist and researcher. During my fieldwork, I was surprised by this city of many colors, rhythms and flavors. In addition to stories and History. Not only Jazz living Nola. “The most Latin of the United States” – as many people say – showed me amazing folks and places. It was how I met Mwende and Denisio. It was how I discovered the historical marker Homer Plessy. In this photo shoot, Past and Present meet at the corner of resistance. The site where Civil Rights activist Homer Plessy was arrested in 1890 is today the scenery where body and fashion debate identity, representation, preservation, and memory. At the crossroad of the Press Street and Royal Street, the arrest of Homer Plessy led to a major US Supreme Court ruling (Plessy v. Ferguson) which led to the sanctioning of racial formal segregation in the United States from 1896 to 1954. For me, exploring New Orleans has become also a way of recognizing voices that build fighting trajectories for equality, whether individual or collective. Thank you Mwende and Denisio for having my gaze.


Post Soundtrack: Fight the Power (Public Enemy)

FEATURED FASHIONS – The Bombchel Factory: The Bombchel Factory is an African fashion wonderland that produces ethically made, high quality garments for sale in Monrovia, Liberia that was started by Archel Bernard, a Liberian-American whose parents fled civil unrest in the West African country. Our team of expert tailors and excited trainees can produce much more than we can sell locally, so we have set our sights on the rest of the world. This is not an NGO that is here today and gone tomorrow. We know Liberians don’t want handouts.  Our trainees will develop a trade and a way to support themselves and their families, and we will create gorgeous, contemporary African fashions for a global market. 

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I Am Not My Hair

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Photos by Lou Dorsey (Sci Academy) & Burnell Palmer (KIPP Renaissance)

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Post Soundtrack: I Am Not My Hair (India Arie)

Armstrong Park/Congo Square: Congo square hadn’t even crossed my mind when I was thinking of a place to do this shoot. It was originally going to happen in Armstrong park, but as I was doing research on the park itself, I stumbled upon Congo square. The background and scenery of it amazed me. To live in a city of such unique culture is super cool, but to live in a city that holds the birthplace of America’s oldest music genre, the genre that paved the way for modern music, “Jazz” is a blessing. Congo square was a space of freedom for our ancestors to let their culture shine; our ancestors were the soul of the square. It was all because of “Code Noir.” It gave our ancestors the right to congregate on Sundays in order to market their goods, dance to their music, tell their rituals, and overall gave them a chance to celebrate their African roots. The women would sell their latest clothing in the markets on Sundays, handmade from different fabrics. I can vividly imagine my ancestors strutting through Congo square flaunting their newest styles with the highest confidence. Mwende and Denisio just fit perfectly in the square and we had a good time, thanks for the opportunity.

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Back In the Day

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Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer / Uncategorized
Photos by Lou Dorsey (Sci Academy) & Burnell Palmer (KIPP Renaissance)
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 Post Soundtrack: Back in the Day (Ahmad)
Exhibit BE: De Gaulle Manor raised a part of our community and Hurricane Katrina killed this place, left it to rot. But Brandon ‘BMike’ Odums and his team were saviors, never in a million years would I have thought that particular apartment complex would rebirth in such a ingenious way. To see all those painters, photographers, poets, graffiti artists, etc. come together on this big project was mind-blowing. ExhibitBe was the biggest piece of artwork New Orleans has ever had. All my life living in New Orleans I’ve never seen anything like ExhibitBe before, none of us have. The energy of that place on January 19th, 2015 was astonishing and I’ll never forget that day; it brought a lost community together through art. The fact that tearing ExhibitBe down was a topic of discussion was heartbreaking, it was like art gone to waste, but memory is the best God-given gift we have. The walls of that apartment complex have witnessed and endured a lot and have many negative and positive stories to tell that are now apart of our history, but the stories will continue to live on throughout the community.
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Noirlinians #PhotoNOLA exhibit opening

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Visit the PhotoNOLA Noirlinians page for more info

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In conjunction with PhotoNOLA 2015, the McKenna Museum of African American art presents a photography exhibition in partnership with Noirlinians, an AfroFashion and culture blog run by Kenyan writer Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa and Liberian designer Denisio Truitt of Dopeciety. The exhibition features four photographers from the Noirlinians blog, Danielle Miles, Asia Vinae Palmer, LaToya ‘Blaze Like Fyre’ Edwards and Patrick Melon, of New Orleans based fashion blog Noirlinians, exploring a variety of styles and themes in street photography.

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The exhibit is open from December 12th, 2015-January 30th, 2016

Photographs by Kim Coleman
(Program and Community Outreach Coordinator at the McKenna Museum)
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Mama Africa

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Guest Photographer / Uncategorized

Photos by Gus Bennett

Makeup by Phoenix of Karmen Cosmetics

Post Soundtrack: Mama Africa by Peter Tosh

Gus: My studio is my sanctuary. It’s where I am most comfortable creating. Before opening my space, I had everything removed from the building. The space was blessed and I played classical and ambient music for about one month before actively photographing anyone or anything. I wanted the vibe to be that of peace and solitude. I wanted my subject to forget the outside world and relax to the experience of having their image taken. I encourage everyone who enters my space to take his or her shoes off and relax. It is from this premise that I am able to capture the magic that is hidden in everyone. Once you enter the threshold of my front door, you are no longer considered a stranger.

This session was created from that peace and solitude. Nothing forced. Nothing contrived… just a beautiful session. Thank you Denisio and Mwende for the opportunity to collaborate with the both of you.

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No Church in the Wild

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Featured Fashions / Guest Photographer / Uncategorized

Photos by Blaze Like Fyre

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Post Soundtrack – No Church in the Wild (Jay Z+Kanye West+Frank Ocean)

City Park (Botanical Gardens)When picking the location for this shoot, I thought about how to make the indigo pop.  I knew that anywhere that we shot would have to have  a colorful backdrop.  Though this wall is not hyper-colorful, the muted orange hue accomplished the splash of color necessary to complement the indigo fabric. City Park was the location because if it’s magic.  When I step foot on the grounds I never have a specific intention, however I always leave feeling accomplished and with a sense of peace. This site is especially relative to the African experience, because this is ancestral land, a former plantation site, where many died from inhaling the fumes and harvesting of Indigo.  Indigo grows in Africa as well, the enslaved Natives used to harvest it here, but they got sick quickly, so the enslavers brought Africans to this part because apparently we have magical lungs.. idk.. I guess, being black means to other races that we are strong, and big, and immune to illness. In West Africa,  many of the designs still feature the use of indigo. The Tauregs or “blue men” are known for their indigo garments and rub blue pigment into their skin.  I understand how our knowledge of Indigo made us perfect for the job, as it was used for centuries in Africa as a symbol of wealth and fertility, however the climate of the process her in the states was almost certain death, if you ran away, your sentenced was the fields of indigo—the other “fabric of our lives.”

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Creator

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Denisio and Mwende / Featured Fashions / Guest Photographer

   Photos by Blaze Like Fyre

untitled (2 of 47)Post Soundtrack – Creator (Santigold)

City Park (Botanical Gardens)City Park is a magical place, multilayered, vast, mysterious, enchanting. It was (is) Native land, the Chapitoulas and Houmas once lived here, before the French came.  It was because of those tribes, and their knowledge of alternate, safer routes to the (Misssissippi) River that the land that would later be called New Orleans was even discovered. The spirit of the park resonates with me at a deep level.  I typically go to City Park when I need to escape and clear my head.  Beneath the moss covered oak trees I nestle my bottom in their roots.  I watch the ducks scrample and scuffle for scraps of bread, crakers, or leftover Morning Call beignets.  I run, I ride, I attend festivals, view christmas lights, pick herbs with my partner, this place serves as a foundation for many things that bring me joy! I can literally lose myself taking it all in, which was why the city parks were introduced —as a refuge from the squalor of the cities. New Orleans City park, like most of the parks here, wasn’t integrated until the late 1950s.  The land that this park is built on was worked by our enslaved Ancestors, after the French Colonization of this area, back when it was Allard Plantation. The ladies wore fabrics dyed with Indigo*, definitely befitting for this location. Sugarcane seems to be the crop that everyone associates with Louisiana,  rightfully so, but what most do not realize is that it was Indigo that was the  first crops in Louisiana…and it was harvested right here, right on this land. This space is constantly evolving, and there is so much I have yet to discover/uncover here.  I am so grateful that this space exists.

*next week’s shoot

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Say It Loud…

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Denisio and Mwende / Our Closet / Patrick Melon / Uncategorized

Photos by Patrick Melon

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Post Soundtrack – Say It Loud (James Brown)

Lot by Dbl Blk CafeThis location is a place central to downtown New Orleans. It made sense to get some of the urban grit that makes any industrialized city recognizable as such. With the golden beams of the sun creating amazing highlight I was able to create a lot of contrast between my subjects and their environment.

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You Must Learn

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Denisio and Mwende / Our Closet / Patrick Melon / Uncategorized

Photos by Patrick Melon

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Post Soundtrack – You Must Learn (KRS1)

Crescent Park: Crescent Park has a beautiful cityscape in the background showing the layout of the central business district. Its simple and clean cut design in stone is appealing to me in and of itself. My subjects wore their more easily identifiable ‘ethnic’ clothing in this area which I feel is fitting considering the existence of the park. Although the area is beautiful and I certainly appreciate it, it would seem no one thought it necessary to create some vast improvements to the neighborhood until the extreme wave of gentrification that is sweeping over the ‘Bywater’ began taking place. The insinuation to me is almost as if the original residents weren’t worth the effort.

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