First off all… who am I kidding with this blog title? Every shoot I do is a punk photoshoot? Especially if Ray is the one behind the camera. He challenges me to put the unnnnn in punk! It’s worth noting that this is also not my shoot. I mean, it is.. but it was actually a break from shooting this Atlanta photographer Captain Wolficorn. He’s revamping his ClusterPunk brand and he came all the way up to Chicago to be shot by little old me. Believe me, I’m honored.

There are more dope pictures of me shooting all over the ground which I imagine I’ll probably end up posting somewhere some time soon. I get asked everyday if this is ‘seriously the way I dress’. The answer is clearly yes. I remember cutting the sleeves off a cheap leather jacket I got at a store on clearance the night before these pictures were taken saying to myself: “I have to look 80s moshpit hot.” Turns out.. I was right but I was also wrong. I was 80 degrees moshpit hot. You know the one I’m talking about?

Punk Photoshoot // Jasemine-Denise

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Told ya it wasn’t really a shoot. Just a couple pictures of me standing there looking “punk”. It was extremely hot and to be honest, I just wanted to get back to shooting but I was glad we took a moment to get these shots.

I of course included a looks collection for all the people who are curious to how they can get this look. As a half-broke photographer, I know the struggle of searching for clothes so I took the liberty of digitally capturing the look in ways that will help you get your own!

Stay tuned and stay dope!

In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog. 

Also. Follow Jasemine Denise Photography on everything!

Get a Look Like This One!

Inevitably, when you’re a woman coming up in the boss babe world, everyone tells you that you have to read the book by Sophia Amoruso. You know the one I’m talking about. Girl Boss? I read it and there’s no denying that I vibe with it extremely heavy. It’s a motivational read but for me, it just wasn’t enough. See.. I come from a world of gritty, cruel and unfortunate proportions. My career has brought me to some places that most would be ashamed of. I’ve got some pretty cringe worthy stories. Of course table top books like Girl Boss do touch on these sort of things but I’m not a “put your high heel shoes on and keep your head up” type of gal. I’m a ‘Lace those combat boots up and trudge through the bullshit” type. I honestly thought I’d never find a book out there that was written for me. I was wrong. Along came Duff McKagan and Its so Easy. Guys, my prayers were answered. This Fan Friday is all about Duff McKagan’s novel “It’s So Easy and Other Lies.

 

Duff McKagan from…?

You’ve probably heard of Duff Beer. Yes, this is a Simpsons reference but it’s also the bassist of Guns N Roses. (Rumor has it, the brand on the Simpsons was actually inspired by the King of Beers himself!) If you haven’t noticed, I’m sort of obsessed with the band. Duff McKagan is the punk of the group, and has carried a great deal of his teenage “youth in revolt” standards into later life. Being an alternative lifestyle chick, very heavily influenced by punk ideals, you can only imagine excited I was to read about it!

What Does that have to do with Success?

Duff McKagan It's Not So easy- book review by Jasemine-DeniseThis book outlines Duff’s journey from an aspiring young Seattle punk to become one of the most successful bands in the industry. He touches on his childhood, his battles with his inner demons and his legendary journey from Seattle to LA. He talks about his influences generously and gives us an inside scoop on how drug usage affected him and everyone else around him.

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s an honest and well written interpretation of what it means to earn your fame. I felt like it should’ve been called Duff McKagan, the struggle of a lifetime. I read this whole book on the flight to Canada to shoot a wedding. A lot of things had came to pass before this trip departed and honestly my spirits weren’t that high. I bought Its So Easy on a whim knowing that I had a long flight ahead of me and if I hadn’t had to keep reminding myself that this was a real life persons account, I wouldn’t believe a word of it. It was that deep.
The main notion of this tale is that success ain’t easy. It’s actually a terrifying hike and much like true punk, not everyone’s down to ride or so Duff demonstrates when he recounts the transition between two former members and the arrival of Slash and Steven.

What did I learn?

Spoiler alert: Duff becomes a rock n roll hall of fame artist after many years of lessons but he can recall every hardship by date… Well unless he was heavily intoxicated but that’s not the point. He left behind some killer lessons.
So what Duff teach me that has me asking myself “What would Duff McKagan do in times of struggle?”
  • Keep your friends close and your connections closer. Duff played in a bunch of bands as he was growing up before he found Guns. It’s like having a lot of small jobs. He kept in communication with a lot of his past band members both over the phone and even having some of them visit his various places. He later utilized a lot of these people to help the band start its first small tour and had a huge welcome home party thrown for him.
  • Being broke doesn’t exactly mean you have nothing. His story of working as a cook in Black Angus is powerful. He tells us briefly that he often couldn’t afford food and was only given one employee meal a day. Oddly enough, he made that shit work and gives us two recipes I have bookmarked to try.
  • Cockroaches don’t bite. Though he meant it literally, this stood out as a metaphor for me. He was just satisfied to have his own place, and the cockroaches that surrounded his apartment won the war. Eventually, he focused his energies elsewhere. To me it means, sure you’re gonna have some ugly moments but that shouldn’t take your mind off the prize.
  • Not everyone is down to ride but those who do are ones worth keeping. When Guns went on their first small tour, they had to hitchhike from Los Angeles all the way to Seattle. Duff who was used to traveling in those conditions was psyched! It was the moment he realized that his bandmates were as devoted to the art has he was. That’s how he knew that was the company he wanted to keep. At one point, the band was sitting on the road waiting for a truck driver that they had hitched a ride from. They seemed silent and out of hope but Duff was proud nonetheless.. Those were his brothers.
  • Finally, life is precious. Duff talks about everything from fighting because that’s how he learned to cope to drinking ten bottles of wine a day until he was begging the nurse to kill him. He thought he was gonna die. He lived on a block that was more dangerous than half the south side of Chicago, but he’s still here. In the turning point of the novel, Duff begins to rediscover the man he lost when he started drinking heavily. He talks about how invigorating it was having his life on track. It’s motivating. He’s still here.

How does this all relate to business today?

He’s still here. Being part of a band heavily influenced even just partially by the punk community is a lot like being a business owner in your early years. You have no business plan, no rubric, and most of all no clients. You have to DIY your marketing materials, finagle your way into social media, and most of all build your brand with hope, faith and the ambition of where it all started. A lot of Duff’s “coworkers” aka old band members died of a heroine overdose. Mine simply backed out when times got rough! This book put a halt to my whining and really motivated me to remember where I started.

There is no glory without a story.

 I aspire to have a colorful story of how my determination brought my dreams to life. Duff taught me that no matter how rocky your past present and even your future can be, you can do it. You can build an empire out of dirt and inevitably have everything you ever wanted. All of that, with all the nitty gritty no one wants to really point out.
I urge anyone who wants a raw recollection of a success story, I urge you to read Its So Easy and Other Lies because the biggest truth Duff McKagan left me with is that it may not be easy, but it damn sure is worth it.

Get The Boss Books

What’s cooler than being cool? Audience answers: Ice cold! Me: Well, I mean that too.. but.. sigh The real answer was abandoned places in Illinois! This is the summer of exploration, and I’m taking you guys with me to every place we go. If you’re a young Chicago photographer, you’re probably on the same search I am…  Look no more. Subscribe to the blog because all summer, we’re gonna be giving you an inside look in a lot of the scenes.. not even just in Chicago.

Note: Some of the views expressed and shown in this adventure are not any indication of my beliefs or practice as a person. Don’t assume that just because I wear black and you see a pentagram on a random floor of a building I was in for an hour that I am a satanist. I’m not.

Abandoned Places In Illinois

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Old Joliet Prison

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Holy Ameritech! I think this really embodies why you’d be interested in abandoned buildings. You know all of those “she’s too young for you” memes? This falls under that one for sure. Trivia Question: What company did Ameritech merge with?

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My camera died simply because I was shooting and shooting the model at the same time. Of course abandoned places in Illinois don’t just have a spot where you can charge your batteries! Not a problem. Although I’m old fashion, I definitely whipped out my phone to capture the spiraling adventure up the stairs. It gets even crazier up there.

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Same time Thursday?

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Okay so maybe I’m not as into abandoned buildings as I’m leading you to believe. Maybe I was in this building because I was doing this really AWESOME photoshoot that I’ll be releasing to you guys Thursday. That doesn’t make a fraud does it? I hope not because if you come right back here Thursday afternoon, you’ll see the shoot that made this exploration so worth it!

In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog. 

Also. Follow Jasemine Denise Photography on everything!

You know the feels are real when you don’t just wear a band tee but you make yourself a Guns N Roses bodysuit. Welcome to the JUNGLE BABY, you’re gonna DIY!  Okay that was a little corny but I can promise you that this photoshoot featuring a DIY Guns N Roses bodysuit I made myself is not. In celebration of the AXL/DC phenomenon, I couldn’t resist showing off my fan girl in style! If  you have no idea what AXL/DC is and you’re a GNR fan, check this Youtube link out and get with it! (and yes that is the full version. You’re welcome.)

Alright, you guys ready?

ClaustroDIY is a special edition of ClaustroClothic featuring an item I may have created myself. Keep in mind, I’m no professional. My DIYs are hand sewn and this one’s no exception.

ClaustroDiy: Guns N Roses Bodysuit

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How did I make it?

I bought the Guns and Roses from Target for about $14. I didn’t really shop around for bad ass GNR shirt because I didn’t want any pressure my first time. I wanted it to perfectly, and to be honest… It wasn’t easy. The leather trim is devised from an old pair of pants and I bought the studs from Michael’s. I had no set plan in stone for this. I just knew. Shirt. Bodysuit. Let’s do it. I remember like getting some paper from a sticky note and just started drawing it out, ideas, measurements, etc.

That’s something I’ve never really had to do in the past with making vests so this was a trial and error for me. Nonetheless, I drove like a bat out of hell to Target and picked up the first GNR shirt I could find promising myself that if it went well.. I would be back.

What was the hardest part?

The bottom of it. The only thing I regret is not trying to measure the most important part of the bodysuit. It’s a tussle with trying to make sure that the snaps are all aligned in a way that you can click it in comfortably. It also is note-worthy that if you’re body shy like me, it’s a real struggle to try to figure out how much butt is too much butt. I watched a lot of tutorials before just deciding to wing it, so I know that next time I do yet another Guns N’ Roses Bodysuit, I’m gonna eye my measurements.

I also sewed myself into the suit and had to cut myself out of it. Don’t ask.DIY Guns and Roses Body Suit - Jasemine Denise - Afropunk-4DIY Guns and Roses Body Suit - Jasemine Denise - Afropunk-5

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Where / How would I wear this?

Uh.. where wouldn’t you?! Okay, let’s not not get too cheeky. A bodysuit can attract the wrong types of crowds although I’d wear it to a concert of a festival. The summer’s coming up and it’s getting to a point where it is perfectly okay to wear something comfortable. Unfortunately, not all spots allow such delicacies so it can be paired with a dope pair of shorts and a leather jacket. (Jacket is optional but the shorts make this look)

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AND, if you’re a fly girl… Get your nails did. Mine were done up all fancy that way by Saint Mortis, who is now working on very creative nails here in Chicago. So if you live here and you ask her nicely enough, she might hook you up!

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Which is my favorite Guns member?

I’m a sucker for the original band. Like the original before Steven wasn’t the drummer anymore. Admittedly, Duff is swoon worthy but Slash is what I really came into the band-dom (Like fandom but more fancier) for. I stayed for Axl. I know everyone has their differences with him but I just can’t get over the way he can make his voice sound like the missing link you’ve been searching your whole life for.

Where can I get one of these?

I swear that eventually I’m going to open a store of original designs but right now.. I can tell you that you are going to need two sew on snaps,  your own band tee, at least 50 studs (I used about 50 nailhead studs) and whatever else you want to make it fancy. If you specifically want a Guns N Roses bodysuit, feel free to click the ish below and GET YOU SOME!

This photoshoot has been published in the “Left At The Altar” issue of Gothesque Magazine.  Don’t forget to check out other published photoshoots that Jasemine Denise Photography has been so lucky to be a part of. This is Nina’s first published shoot but it is far from her first photoshoot with JDP. In fact, there’s a bit of an ironic twist to this set. She first had her anniversary shoot with her husband and she was wearing her wedding dress during it. At the end of the shoot, she wasn’t too keen on taking the dress back home so she left it with us. As myself and the creative director for this set held her dress in our arms, I wondered to myself: “Is she ever going to come back for this?”

Plot Twist: She did and she jumped into it one more time before she hung it up.

Gothesque called for a Left At The Altar concept and we couldn’t resist poking fun at the fact that Nina was already married. Nonetheless, it was she who had the idea that she would cry being left at the altar. So it begins.

Left At The Altar // Nina

Published in Gothesque Magazine

Our tale starts with a solemn Nina waiting.. Bouquet in hands, wedding shoes on her feet… She stands waiting patiently for her lover to show for her special day. Face hopeful, flowers clutched tight, there’s not a shadow of doubt in her mind that this is her biggest day. The best day of her life..Nina Riggins - Left At The Altar - Jasemine Denise PhotographyNina Riggins - -eft At The Altar-10Nina Riggins - -eft At The Altar-8

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There she waited until the yellow had died and the wind turned cold.. Her hope died with the sunlight, and the realization dawned on her… He wasn’t coming. Her dream wedding had become her worst nightmare. When she looked back at me, her makeup had run and sadness was evident in her eyes. “Nina!” I called out but in one swift motion, she had fallen to the floor.. crying… wailing even. Hopeless of words, I had no idea what to say.

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Pain flowed through me when I realized that this would be a moment that changed the poor girl’s life forever. She was left standing on her special day by the man she thought she’d loved… I closed my eyes to bury tears… “You’re still beautiful.” Her voice uttered almost too soft for me to hear. “You’re still beautiful and you are a queen.” When I opened my eyes, she was gone.

I ask myself everyday.. What ever happened to the Queen who was left at the altar?

Fin.

This photoshoot can be seen in Gothesque’s Anniversary Issue Volume 2 which you can buy right here. Start yourself a collection of published Jasemine Denise Photography photoshoots that you can sit right next to my novels. Oh and what happened to the Queen who was left at the altar? Her boyfriend finally came back from the car to help reapply some of her makeup. He couldn’t have been more proud hearing that she got her first publication!

Proof that Nina was indeed not left at the altar. Her husband just had to take a break from his MUA duties.
Proof that Nina was indeed not left at the altar. Her husband just had to take a break from his MUA duties.

Nina is one of the models we work with pretty frequently. As a matter of fact, believe or not.. She was just in a photoshoot I shared with you guys a few weeks ago. If you can’t get enough of her.. you can most definitely follow her on Instagram or on her brand new Facebook! 

Thanks again to Gothesque for sharing something so special with us, (don’t forget to get your copy) we’re honored!

Also. Follow Jasemine Denise Photography on everything!

I love love. I really don’t think I tell you guys enough how much love makes me giggle inside. You can only imagine how excited I am that I get to be a part of things that involve love. So when my good friend Raymond came to me about surprising Gabbie, his now fiance with her ring, I got way excited. Like… Over 9,000 watts of “OMG YASSS!” You guys ready for the cutest first secret engagement I’ve shot of 2016?

Secret Engagement: Gabbie and Raymond

It was the morning of Anime Central, the very first day. Raymond had agreed to get Gabbie up early in the morning for her to prepare herself for a photoshoot. What made this cute is that Raymond is never the one to initiate a photoshoot. He’s always giggling and being silly because that’s who he is naturally. Today, he was all smiling and cooperating because he knew that this was the day that there was something more. 

On the flipside, someone was a little more on the silly side.

In seconds, Ray had disappeared to “give Gabbie a couple shots by herself.”

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If you guys didn’t know already.. Gabbie is a master makeup artist. I did a Fan Girl Friday on her a while back. Her pinup looks are too DIE for. You can check the rest of her looks out on Facebook and Instagram.  So anyway, Raymond comes back out.. tells Gabbie to close her eyes and when she does, he slowly gets down on one knee. I’m telling you guys, this secret engagement gets so much more precious so quickly.

 

You know what else, guys? I had to spoil the ending but… She said yes!!

Gabbie and Raymond Paige- Secret Engagement

 

Isn’t that beautiful! Crossing my fingers for her to change her mind on me not being her photographer just because I’m also a bridesmaid in her wedding! I couldn’t be more proud of Raymond for tying the knot.

 

Want Your Own Secret Engagement?

Time to share this post on your significant other’s Facebook wall and nudge them violently as you give them the hint hint face! Like I said, I love love and I’ve been hanging on to some GORGEOUS photos that I’ll be releasing all summer to really get you in the mood to love love as well. If you’re reading this and you actually want to book your own secret engagement, slide on over to my website and place an inquiry. I want… no, I NEED to be your photographer for something so great!

In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog. 

Also. Follow Jasemine Denise Photography on everything!

Nina has been waiting for her time to shine. Diligently shooting behind the scenes with Jasemine Denise Photography for a little over two months now, she’s been bearing the cold, the wind and the rain. Finally.. her time has come. I still can’t believe it’s finally spring in Chicago. I honestly felt like this day was never going to come. Fun fact about Nina, she thrives in the sunlight. She’s got such a vivid and bright personality! She’s got the absolute personality of a flower child. It’s a beautiful thing!

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They say that a truly free spirit cannot be tamed.

The essence of Nina is that she can go from a stone cold model face to a carefree black girl in a heartbeat. That is simply because that’s who she is. She’s got a beautiful smile and a creative spirit. The essence is deeply rooted within her. While she can be emotional and very serious, she can also be the kicked back girl you can catch an episode of Dragon Ball Z with.

Hidden depths are a gift.

It’s not long in any session before it simply blossoms out of Nina. It starts as a simple stare, which later transforms into a smile.. Eventually her inner essence consumes her and seemingly brightens everything else around her. Nina Riggins - Jasemine Denise Photography - Spring 2016-26Nina Riggins - Jasemine Denise Photography - Spring 2016-85

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The Wayward Winds of A flower child always blow away..

… but Nina will be back! Not shying away from the lens, Nina already has an extended archive of photoshoots with JDP all coming soon for your eyes only. As always, if you can’t get enough.. Make sure you pop on over to the photo blog to get your behind the scenes look from this session and others like it. You can follow Nina, the gorgeous model featured in this session on Instagram.

Keep your eyes peeled for another photo session with Jasemine Denise Photography and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve done a bit of touring, went to Cleveland, got two new tattoos and got to shoot some amazing things. Truth be told, I didn’t think I’d be writing this blog post right now. I thought I’d be writing it Friday when it’s the regular day of fan girling but I couldn’t wait. I just had to show you guys Kinky Girly. Wait. It’s not how it sounds. Kinky Girly makes these amazing harnesses and leg garters of an awesome price with even awesomer craftsmanship. (Can you believe awesomer isn’t a word?) 

So, I called up one of my favorite models Saint Mortis and said, “Hey. Let’s do something kinky girly!” Five minutes into shooting, I knew I picked the right one. You guys ready?

Let’s stop right here and set a disclaimer: Neither the model nor I were paid or told to endorse Shop Kinky Girly in anyway. We just saw it, I loved it and I said “Hey, we should shoot in this dope stuff and of course Saint said: OKAY!”

Saint Mortis x Kinky Girly

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Want Your Own Pair of Kinky Girly Garters?

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I first found Kinky Girly on Etsy, and I couldn’t believe their prices honestly. There are so many different harness companies out there who are literally charging triple what Kinky Girly is for half of the quality. You can get a pair of these exact leg garters directly through this link. Tell them Saint and Jasemine sent you just because it sounds really cool!

Until next time which will be sooner than later, don’t forget to follow:

Saint Mortis on:
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

Shop Kinky Girly on:
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

and to subscribe to the blog for more awesome fashion and photoshoots!

Ever since I posted this teaser to Instagram, I’ve been asked a hundred times where the lovely Kali Neko got her Axent Wear cat ear headphones from. You’re welcome.  As soon as Kali whipped these colorful little babies out, I knew exactly what type of shoot this was going to be. Pretty lights, pretty woman, pretty sweet. Note: We are in no way affiliated  or representing Axent Wear… yet. 

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Kali Neko //
Axent Wear

In case you didn’t know, Kali is a magical girl. She has the ability to transform from her normal self, to any character in the world, and essentially always comes back to one… Her inner kitten. While you can watch all the transformations live on her Instagram page, the one that stands out the most is the magical kitten. I was always saying that all she needed was her ears.

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You can find Kali Neko in all her full glory on both Facebook, DeviantArt and Instagram. To contact her for collaborations and modeling inquiries, email tiggerwitch1@gmail.com. This year she’s transitioning into a geek niche fashion as well as spreading her wings as a cosplay model.

Happy Twisted Tuesday. Although I spend a lot of Tuesdays promoting my new Twisted Series, I realized that writing is something passionate and worthy of giving more than one message. Today I share with you an important one that hits home to me. FYI: I grew up on the south side of Chicago if that provides any perspective on the tales you’re about to hear. 

The Evolution of Articulation

Black Excellence

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High School:

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The way his eyes watched me as I spoke. Naturally, my stare skated away from his questing eyes as my hands moved rhythmically. I had captured the room’s attention and I wasn’t turning back now. When I was finally done, I sat back and looked at him once more as if challenging him to speak his mind.

“You know. You is so articulate.” He said with a warm smile and I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself. I had only been at the high school in this neighborhood for two years but hearing from a neighborhood native that my articulation was a good thing meant a lot. Finally, I wasn’t talking “white” or “proper” anymore. I was respected.

Six Months Later… 

We were kissing on the front porch of an abandoned building around the corner from class. He had convinced me to ditch my fifth period: Economics. I pulled out of the kiss and simply wanted him to hear it again… I opened my mouth to speak but he put his fingers to my lips giving me a lustful stare before saying: “Sh. Don’t talk.”

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My First Big Girl Job:

“You know.” My boss stood beside me and smiled at me. “You’re not like other girls from your neighborhood.” She looked at me then and although I imagine that the word to describe it was an appreciative glare, it felt anything but.

I played coy and asked “What do you mean?”

“You know because black people speak really ghetto most of the time. We always have to hire people who can’t say library. Lie-berry.” She giggled at it. I didn’t want to tell her that that’s the way I pronounced it until I was in kindergarten and went to a suburban school where my teacher gave me a failing mark each time I mispronounced a word the way I’d heard my grandma say it. I didn’t tell her about how every time my damn tongue didn’t touch the tip of the back of my teeth, I’d cringe because “Ask” always came back out as “axe.”

It’s not as easy to shut off living in a neighborhood where people have trained you to believe that it’s okay when it’s not. No one was telling my neighbors that they were pronouncing “library” incorrectly. They were too busy trying to survive and the concept of correcting someone who probably had a gun hidden on him somewhere wasn’t inviting. This was my reality she was giggling at.

I’ll never forget the day I put my two week notice in. Good riddance to the world of privilege that didn’t understand that if you weren’t taught, you didn’t know why “everyone knows that” when you weren’t ever given a school system that provided you with a chance to learn that.

Present Day: 

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“Move over guys!” I called out as a group of black men and women stood in the rain in their Sunday’s best.

“Girl! Hurry up and take this picture!” One of them called out but I paused and smiled. These were a group of black excellent adults just like me who had grown away from the system. In it were college graduates, full time job working people, and most of all an articulate group of male and female leaders. Each and everyone of them face the same thing I face everyday. Standing out.

Later that day, I had a consultation with a new client. She was from a different neighborhood than I was but I wasn’t uneasy. The events of that morning had made me confident that my articulation would surpass my address because one outweighed the other.

“Why should I choose you over other photographers?” She asked as she crossed one leg over the other. It felt like a challenge but I didn’t care. For once in my life, I had the strength to identify the one quality that had given me mixed emotions my whole life..

“I can articulate your vision. I can give people a shock factor you wouldn’t believe. If there’s one thing I’ve been told my entire life, it’s that I’m articulative and that’s a common misconception among young people in our demographic.” I stated sternly before crossing my own arms in an effort to mimic the gesture of challenge. She smiled and said:

“It’s impressive that you can identify that quality in yourself.”

Well. It wasn’t always like that as you can see. Society, interactions, and previous work relationships created this strange feeling of inadequacy so when I finally was complimented, I was almost stunned into silence and submission because I had to learn what a positive thing articulation was.

Articulation isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t make you anymore attractive in a relationship or anymore desirable in a work place. It makes you project a form of excellence everywhere. It is a quality that no one should be talking down to you.

Don’t allow anyone to take your excellence away.