Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fandamonium! Michael Jackson tribute outside NYC's Apollo theater

Suddenly and shockingly, the King of Pop Michael Jackson died yesterday, and today, about a hundered fans packed together under the hot sun, outside the world famous Apollo Theater, to celebrate the life and legacy of the great pop icon. Selections from MJ's extensive song catalogue blared from a boom box and fans danced, sang and pretty much went crazy. I must admit, when my favorite MJ song "BEAT IT" boomed from the box, I had to put my camera down and join the crowd in singing the words (albeit off key), at the top of my lungs. Emotions were raw, but mostly upbeat and the energy was palpable. There were fans of all ages and colors which was testimony to MJ's reach as a musical artist. This was truly an event not to be missed, and I must say, helps in the grieving process.

I'm still in shock about the loss of MJ. It's the sort of surreality that will take weeks to sink in and fathom. I remember dancing and singing like MJ at local talent shows. I never won, but Michael was an impressionable star on young boys everywhere, especially Haitian ones. I didn't have a jherri curl, but I could do a mean Moonwalk! Man, what a loss! The most I could do to commemorate and make sense out of the loss was to photo-document, as I normally do, how the African American community comes together at a time of great tragedy or loss.

Enjoy the photos below, share them with friends, click any to enlarge. Check back next week for more images from this celebration of Michael jackson's memory.

Street commerce: MJ buttons for $1 apiece.

MJ's fan-base spanned generations. This grandmother was nestled in the dense crowd while sitting in a wheel chair!

Man in the mirror: Self-portrait in the thick of the crowd.

Check back next week for the second part of this series: Fandamonium! Michael Jackson fans gather at the Apollo II.

Street Photography, Harlem, NYC

Street Commerce: Farm Fresh Produce?

Church of God


Chillin' on the motorcycle

Sunday, June 14, 2009

20th Annual Tribute to the Ancestors of the Middle Passage, 2009

Here are some images from the annual Tribute to the Ancestors of the Middle Passage, an annual event that takes place on the second Saturday in June in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Similar ceremonies take place around the globe from Africa to Brazil to South Carolina. The annual tribute is in remembrance of the tens of millions of Africans who, after being kidnapped from their homeland, died during the voyage across the Atlantic – the Middle Passage – and their bodies were plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, which was to become the largest African burial ground in the world.

The ceremonies involve singing, dancing, prayer, worship, and drumming all day long. At sunset, a procession moves to the ocean where offerings of flowers, rhum, honey, and fruit are made.

It was a rainy, densely overcast day this year which made photographing a challenge, but that did not stop worshipers including myself from gathering to pay tribute to the ancestors of the Middle Passage. It tuns out the rain was not rain at all, but an anointing and blessing from the heavens---or so the faithful believe.

Click on any image to enlarge and feel free to post comments or reflections! Enjoy!

Where ocean meets sky.

Dedicated to memory of Bill Harmon, Larry Knight and Neal Collins...all whom are now ancestors and watch over me.