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 {*NOTE: We do not recommend working with Patrick Melon based on multiple allegations of sexual assault*. Photos have also been removed.}, 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

*NOTE: We do not recommend working with Patrick Melon based on multiple allegations of sexual assault*. Photos have also been removed.

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

*NOTE: We do not recommend working with Patrick Melon based on multiple allegations of sexual assault*. Photos have also been removed.


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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Ambidextrous

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Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer / Our Closet / Uncategorized

Photos by danielle c miles
Duo1Post Soundtrack – “Ambidextrous” Be Steadwell

The Corner: Corners, neutral grounds, stoops, shade trees and corner stores have long been cornerstones in Black communities across the nnorld. From the exchange of neighborhood gossip to political debates, dominos, chess games on legless tables balanced on the knees of the players, to the trading of goods and services beneath signs that scream “NO LOITERING!”– which is perceived as more of a request than a demand, cornerstores — these locations continue to provide space for gathering and communal expression of Blackness. “The Corner” is an ongoing photo-documentary project takes an intimate look at their confluence in the Black community.

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Brown Skin Lady

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Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer / Our Closet

Photos by danielle c milesDuo2Post Soundtrack – “Brown Skin Lady” BlackStar

7th Ward:  This shoot was done in my neighborhood, the 7th ward of New Orleans. Its right outside of the Treme (well it used to be the Treme before they built the Claiborne overpass which divided the Black neighborhood. The Treme is a historically Black  part of New Orleans (the backatown) and is America’s oldest surviving Black neighborhood.

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Little Girl Blue

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Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer

Photos by danielle c miles
noirlinians-1Post Soundtrack – “Little Girl Blue” – Nina Simone

The Corner: Corners, neutral grounds, stoops, shade trees and corner stores have long been cornerstones in Black communities across the world. From the exchange of neighborhood gossip to political debates, dominos, chess games on legless tables balanced on the knees of the players, to the trading of goods and services beneath signs that scream “NO LOITERING!”– which is perceived as more of a request than a demand, cornerstores — these locations continue to provide space for gathering and communal expression of Blackness. “The Corner” is an ongoing photo-documentary project takes an intimate look at their confluence in the Black community.

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It’s a Man’s World

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Denisio and Mwende / Guest Photographer / Our Closet / Uncategorized

Photos by danielle c miles – The Corner: Corners, neutral grounds, stoops, shade trees and corner stores have long been cornerstones in Black communities across the world. From the exchange of neighborhood gossip to political debates, dominos, chess games on legless tables balanced on the knees of the players, to the trading of goods and services beneath signs that scream “NO LOITERING!”– which is perceived as more of a request than a demand, cornerstores — these locations continue to provide space for gathering and communal expression of Blackness. “The Corner” is an ongoing photo-documentary project takes an intimate look at their confluence in the Black community.

Post Soundtrack – “It’s A Man’s World” James Brown

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Denisio and Mwende / Featured Fashions / Guest Photographer

Photos by Asia-Vinae “Preach” Palmer – The Spirit House: ‘The Spirit House is located at the intersection of St. Bernard Avenue, Gentilly Boulevard, and DeSaix Boulevard, historically known as the DeSaix Circle. John T. Scott, a nationally known artist, and Martin Payton, collaborated on this project. Their goal was to create a work that celebrates the contributions of unnamed African Americans who were instrumental in the cultural and physical development of New Orleans. “The Spirit House faces north, and as the sun rises, a shadow is cast on the west, the part of the world where Africans were forced to relocate via slavery. As the sun sets, the shadow migrates east, which represents returning the spirits back to their homeland.” [text by Avery Brewton]

Noir FiveFEATURED FASHIONS – AYA DESIGNS GLOBAL
Post Soundtrack – “i” Kendrick Lamar

DESIGNERS NOTE – AYA Designs Global – AYA Designs is 2 people, my kindred spirit friend (and so much more) Dana Leon-Lima and myself (Janese Brooks-Galathe). We are professional dancers and teaching artists in the Greater New Orleans area who teach Afro-Carribbean and Afro-Brazilian dance (ages 3+), and are also both Ifa practitioners which is visible in all of our works. We started AYA Designs because our school students needed costumes to perform and we wanted to wear African-inspired clothing to create conversations with our students. We taught ourselves how to design and sew clothing because of our students. When we would wear traditional African clothing, head wraps, dashikis, sokoto and lapas our students would always ask “why are you wearing that?, are you from Africa?, where can I buy clothes like that?”

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Mama Says

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Denisio and Mwende / Our Closet / Uncategorized

For Wanjiru and Putu
Photography by Asia-Vinae “Preach” Palmer

Post Soundtrack – “Mama Says” Ibeyi

Photos by Asia-Vinae “Preach” Palmer : “The Sister Houses” – Abandoned houses in New Orleans have stories. They are more powerful than the rust that coats the iron gates and more alive than the vines coating the sides of the building. This location is in the middle of Treme and Uptown New Orleans, it is in the heart of the city. Two houses are juxtaposed neighbors, one still has a chance to be refurbished and reoccupied, and the other has been overtaken with decay and overgrown foliage. They remain beautiful in their own ways.

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Launch Party Recap!

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All Photos by Blaze Like Fyre of Creative Itch Media Group

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A Note From Denisio & Mwende – Noirlinians Founders: Before we say anything in this post about the launch party, we’d like to say a massive ASANTE (Mwende) & NAH BISSIEH MU (Denisio) to everyone who helped make the event possible! From our sponsors (#AwayTeam, Blavity and DOPEciety) to our performers (Tank [of Tank and the Bangas], Michaela Harrison & Joy Clark, DJs RQ Away and ReRun) to our vendors (Aya Designs, Gypsi Jars, Wildseeds, Douriean, Mixed Company and Jeri Hilt), and our makeup guru Phoenix Rose, this night was a success only because of y’alls belief that this project was worth supporting.
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Down By The River – Who Are the Noirlinians?

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Denisio and Mwende / Our Closet

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Noirlinians is an AfroFashion blog exploring the complex relationship between culture, clothing & identity in the diaspora. Featuring Liberian artist and designer Denisio Truitt of DOPEciety and poet and organizer Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa, the idea for the blog emerged after a fast friendship developed between the two based on their African heritage and artistic interests.

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Blog Launch Party July 2nd!

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Noirlinians is launching on July 2nd, 2015 with a special collaborative event with Blavity, the voice of Black millennials. Hosted at the Gravier Street Social Club (just blocks from Canal Street), doors will be open from 5pm-8pm for the evenings events.

5-6pm: Listen to the smooth sounds of RQ Away
6-6:30pm: Performances by acclaimed singers Michaela A. Harrison  and Tarriona “Tank” Ball
6:30-7pm: Noirlinians launch + Artist Meet and Greet
7-8pm: Close out jams by dj rerun

Bring some extra change and visit the local vendors including photographer Jeri Hilt and Brandan Bmike Odums who will be selling prints by Exhibit Be artists as well as doing a live arts demonstration.

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