On the Regular

Leave a comment
Uncategorized

Photos by Malcolm JohnsonProcessed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Post Soundtrack: On the Regular (Shamir)

NOIRLINIANS NOTE: We would like this blog to celebrate and be representative of all of the mediums we create with, one of those being poetry. For me (Denisio) my English Literature degree was actually with a concentration in creative writing and poetry. So I’ve been writing poems for as long as I’ve been able to write. But when Dopeciety became more successful I abandoned my writing practices and so I’m hoping that this will help me be more accountable (even though I didn’t come up with a new poem this week lol). For me (Mwende) I spend most of my time as a full time poet. Making art a profession though can sometimes take the joy out of it, so I want to use this as a space to create poetry that speaks to me and not to any specific projects or audiences.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

FRENCH QUARTER: I love to shoot and create amazing visuals but sometimes finding the inspiration to carry out these projects could be exhausting. As I am finishing up my last semester of college my creative drive has been very low, especially with trying not to lose focus on the few assignments I have left till I graduate. Actually, it has been a struggle my whole college career. Deciding how much attention to give my school work over practicing my art has been my main struggle. Thankfully I have amazing friends who always push me to be creative especially when they see I’m slacking. This collaboration with Mwende and Denisio helped get me back in the creative spirit. As we walked the French quarters trying not to look too touristy, I found so much inspiration each step we took. Like I stated in the previous post, The French Quarters is always flowing with vivid colors, funky shapes, and rhythmic melodies all which help influence me as a creator. My advice from one creative to another is to never lose faith in your craft. Sometimes you might not be in the mood or can’t find anymore inspiration in your current project, but don’t give up; It happens to the best of us. Always try to surround yourself with other creatives who will all ways push you to keep creating or just surround yourself with people you love, who won’t give up on you no matter what. Stay true to yourself, and love what you do. 

africa-transparent

Read More

She Works Hard for the Money

Leave a comment
Uncategorized

Photos by Malcolm Johnson | FEATURED FASHIONS #JuaKali #DOPEciety

Jua Kali: Still being founded by artist, pattern enthusiast & patternmaster Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa, Jua Kali is a shapeshifting collection of Kenyan made clothing, jewelry and accessories for people of all genders and gender expressions. It is also one of many entrepreneurial effort to ensure Africans on the continent financially benefit from the recent resurgence of “African & African inspired”, and an effort to train young women in New Orleans in entrepreneurship through gig based employment and mentorship.

Dopeciety: Founded by artist/designer Denisio Truitt in 2013 as a t-shirt and women’s apparel line, DOPEciety now includes items for both men and women, bags, art prints, and occasional collaborations with other artists/designers. We are also an event production and curation team, featuring emerging vocalists, musicians, and visual artists through our flagship show, COUCHES, held intermittently at different locations in New Orleans.  www.dopeciety.com

Noirlinians-36

Post Soundtrack: Donna Summer, She Works Hard for the Money

French Quarters:Growing up in Treme, the French Quarters were always apart of my backyard and as I got older always told, that area was for the tourist, and that I shouldn’t spend too much time down there. I did not understand why people were giving that particular area in the city so much restriction. I went to predominantly black school my whole life, so recognizing my blackness wasn’t an issue until I got to college. I attend a PWI and after a few weeks there, I had to take into account of my blackness in many situations. After my experiences in college, I realized why people told me, as a kid, not be hanging around in the quarters too often. As a creator, It’s hard to stay away from something that drives your creativity And the French Quarters are important to me for that reason. It is one of the few places that I can go to and get a creative energy from. The quarters are flowing with vivid colors, funky shapes, and rhythmic melodies all which influence me as a creator. Lately, I’ve been lacking motivation and creativity but with the push of this shoot and visiting the French Quarters with Mwende and Denisio, I got a lot of inspiration for the shoot and for future projects. Even though being a black male in public can be uncomfortable at times, I feel that as a creator, I can always go to the quarters and be comfortable. 

africa-transparent

Read More

Noirlinians x #EssenceFest: #MyNOLAdiary

Leave a comment
Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer / New Orleans / Our Closet

Photos by Paa Kwesi Yanful (@kwesithethird)

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

This year Noirlinians was invited by #EssenceFest to take over their Instagram account for a weekend to tell (Our) #MyNOLAdiary. We met up for an afternoon with Kwesi, one of our favorite local Ghanian photographers for this shoot with a twist…for once, we got to choose the locations of the shoot*.

| We are Noirlinians, and this is #OurNOLAdiary |

*in typical Noirlinians shoots/blog posts, local or New Orleans based Black photographers choose locations based on spatial narratives of Africaness/Blackness they know/want to tell around the New Orleans, which we consider ‘the most African city in the United States’.

africa-transparent

Read More

Ladies First

comment 1
Uncategorized
Photos by Dawnie Marie

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.

Mwende Shoot 2-6
                               
New Orleans East: So I previously wrote about my ties to the city I love. So I suppose this time I shall tackle my black womanhood. A lot of people say they remember when they first realized they were black. I don’t think I can remember that, but what I do remember is my daddy always complementing me on my beautiful brown skin. He also made me aware that I was different. Ya know the “twice as good speech” all the time since elementary school. It was not until I have gotten older I realized that I am more than just black. I am a black woman. These two things are two parts of me, but cannot be separated. No matter how you slice it: I am a black woman or a woman who is black. We had this conversation on my show of how do you identify. What do you say first? My answer is a Black New Orleanian. I say it that way because, since I cannot separate being black and being a woman, WOMAN is implied. Same thing if I were to say I’m a woman, BLACK is implied. (And duh a proud New Orleanian) I cannot see how the two are different for me. I walk through this world as a black woman. And the older I get, the more I realize is that being a black woman is hard. You are constantly asked to choose between your race and your gender. Who’s side are you on? Personally, I’m on my side. Being a black woman comes with a lot of weight. We must be strong, but meek. In charge, yet subservient. We have to navigate the world tiptoeing and speaking in whispers. That is until you find your voice. You find what you wanna say and how you wanna say it. That’s a benefit of being a black woman, no matter what you are saying TRUST me you will make yourself heard. They will hear us. We are like your conscious. Guiding you so you don’t mess the hell up. Let’s be real, being a black woman isn’t all strife. Black women are amazing. Have you seen them?! (I mean look who’s blog you’re on.) I grow more anymore into who I am as a black woman everyday. I become more comfortable in my skin, my hair, my oddly curvy body and most importantly my voice. Compared to childhood me, who never thought she was girl enough or black enough. I laugh at that now. The black woman is not a monolith, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to be a black woman. I take my black womanhood as a badge of honor. A special one that only a few are able to get. Lucky me.
africa-transparent

Read More

Immigrant

comments 3
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…

africa-transparent

Read More

Control

comments 24
Uncategorized

Photos by Dawn Jefferson (Dawnie Marie)

noirlinians-bunny-bread-9

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.

africa-transparent

Read More

We Are Family

comments 2
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.

africa-transparent

Read More

Human

comments 2
Uncategorized

Photos by Taylor DeClue

Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

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.

africa-transparent

Read More

Live and Die in Afrika

Leave a comment
Uncategorized

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)

africa-transparent

Read More

Daddy Lessons

comments 2
Uncategorized

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

Read More

Home Again

Leave a comment
Uncategorized

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)

africa-transparent

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. 

Read More

Fight the Power!

Leave a comment
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.

africa-transparent

Read More

I Am Not My Hair

Leave a comment
Uncategorized
Photos by Lou Dorsey (Sci Academy) & Burnell Palmer (KIPP Renaissance)

IMG_1427
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.

africa-transparent

Read More

Back In the Day

Leave a comment
Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer / Uncategorized
Photos by Lou Dorsey (Sci Academy) & Burnell Palmer (KIPP Renaissance)
IMG_1419
 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.

africa-transparent

Read More

Noirlinians #PhotoNOLA exhibit opening

Leave a comment
Uncategorized

Visit the PhotoNOLA Noirlinians page for more info

20151212-IMG_4864.jpg

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.

africa-transparent

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

Photographs by Kim Coleman
(Program and Community Outreach Coordinator at the McKenna Museum)
Read More

Mama Africa

comments 3
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.

P20151122GB_01078-2

africa-transparent

Read More

No Church in the Wild

comment 1
Featured Fashions / Guest Photographer / Uncategorized

Photos by Blaze Like Fyre

untitled (41 of 47)
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.”

africa-transparent

Read More