"I really love your website, we need more of this in the world. Like, why limit your knowledge to stereotypes when you can discover so much more about a person..."
"You want to know how to gain respect? Love yourself. Love yourself and treat yourself and others the same way you do yourself.
Let me tell you, it don't cost nothing to be about something!! But it sure do cost a lot of something to get out of nothing... Think about that..."- Welmon
"Peace to me looks like being in a place where you're surrounded by harmony and genuine Love. It's a place where I feel secure and comfortable with my surroundings, ya know?
I'm 30 years old right now and looking back in my earlier years, I would definitely tell myself: 'slow down bro, you will eventually get there'. I say this because back then I would react with more of rebellious response rather than thinking about the situation first. Like, I was thinking but I was just thinking too fast. Now that I'm more in tune with myself, I'm able to think properly and identify more things than I were able to when I was 20 years old.
I really want to get back into modeling because I absolutely Love fashion. Like, seriously, I would die for it... that's how much I Love it. Fashion is the biggest way to express yourself, ya know?
And you know the crazy thing about people? They will respect your appearance(shoes, hair, jewelry, clothes, etc.) before they actually respect YOU! Like, I'm walking around out here now and people are greeting me as if they actually know me. This one girl looks at me and says: 'He's a prince!'. And I'm like 'oh my gosh'. A prince? Where? I'm just an ordinary guy! (laughs)."- Tikki
"This is the most optimistic that I've ever been. I get to stay with my friends and do things I like, such as travel and learning piano. I will graduate end of year and can find a job. I am excited about starting a new my career.
On the other side, I don't like to say goodbye to people who I love. I honestly fear separation."- Yi Ding
"My name is Sedef Gali. I'm an artist/interior designer. Originally from Istanbul and I'm currently a Brooklyner (NYC). My life is never based anywhere. I don't want to commit anywhere to live forever. Our life and planet is full of opportunities given to us and I want to explore and see as much as I can. I lived in Istanbul, Antakya, New York and Texas. I get inspired from the colors of the streets, chaos of the cities and silence of the trees. But mostly music and people. Vibes, basically are the most common of all. The feeling when you make eye contact, when you hold a hand, when you hear a note. Our memories are shaped by our senses and we want to fulfill them all to the most. That's what I want to achieve with my art. My mediums should represent each sense, so I can create an unforgettable memory. I want to live my life like this.
It was a pleasure to meet you on these streets of New Orleans, where colors clash with music and people. The pursuit of meeting people with hearts full of love and music.
'After all the pain they have been through, after all the things they lost, music saved them and brought back to life' My mom was right about New Orleans.(smiles)"- Sedef
"I'm in school to get my masters of divinity to be a pastor at a church. I'm currently a pastor in training.
My aspirations to be a pastor go way back. My dad is actually a pastor in Jamaica Queens, New York. So I grew up in the church. I've always been active in the church. But one day I decided to take a break from it. I just felt like they were doing too much.
But then I later discovered this church in Atlanta that i thought was really dope. It was a church that focused more on African spirituality and black liberation. It really spoke to me on all different levels. So that's when I started getting involved in the church again. Eventually I left and ended up starting a church with a few other folks called "Rise Community Church". It was a church all about the arts and focused more on the young adult demographic. Basically, just a cool place where people can be authentically themselves and still worship.
So, from being a part of the leadership at "Rise", I think my mind shifted into what would a formal education look like in terms of what it means to lead people spiritually. So a couple summers ago, I applied and got a scholarship for the school I'm currently attending.
It's been a rough transition being that I'm like 3000 miles away from the ones I love. And now I'm realizing there's some systemic and institutionalized racism going on at the school that I've been having to address. It's been really draining because at the same time I still have to make good grades, I still have to do my ministry and I teach as well. So yea it's been a little rough these past couple of months. I'm just ready to be done with it all so I can go ahead and do something else with my life. I'm still pushing though."- Yani
"... I'm in stuff, on stuff, and I like to think I am stuff! They call me all kind of things from "The Dance Lady", "The Dance Queen", "The Mardi Gras Lady", etc. But nonetheless I've become a fixture of the city of New Orleans and it definitely wasn't an overnight success. I'm just proud of my heritage and standing on the shoulders of greats, geniuses and giants. My best friend in the whole wild world was Allen Toussaint. He passed away 4 months ago. He was a great writer. And the greats in that time, from writers and R&B stars, they were all very close to me. It's too many to mention.
But after my dad passed, all of these people became great mentors of mine and pushed me along to keep going even when times got tough and people don't get what you're doing. You know, kind of like what they did to Jesus. (laughs) But when you experience all of that, it only makes you tougher, stronger and it makes you pray even more!
At the end of the day, you just have to do them like Peter and tell them "get behind me!". I'm on a mission and I'm trying to complete it. Then again I am going to complete it rather you like me or not!- Jennifer
"I've been swallowing swords for about 24 years now. You want to know what my secret is? Practice! That's the best answer I can give you! I took baby steps of course. I started off with coat hangers and then worked my way up to swords. And no I have not gotten hurt yet! (smiles)"- Eric
"I would most likely say: 'Follow your heart and do what you love'. I used to wanna be a fashion designer, but for some reason I choose to be an engineer. Although i am doing fine now, but I know this is not where my passions are. So If I could travel back to the past, I would tell myself to stick it out on your dream."- Madna
"If I could speak to myself 10 years ago... I would say 'do the total opposite of your second thought... Follow your first mind..."Journey
"The call me Silverman because I use to be one of the silver men out here in French Quarter. I did it for about 59 years.
Let me tell you something though brotha. Sometimes I be sitting here and people offer me some food and whatnot. I be looking at that food like 'I ain't about to eat this! I don't know what it is!' Now I've been living here all my life so you know if I look at some food and I don't know what it is... that's a problem! Whatever it is... it ain't from New Orleans! (laughs)"
"So this is my struggle I'm a felon, a father, husband, son, brother, and believer. My residents places me in New Orleans Louisiana where mostly anything happens. This all started because of a financial instability. Looking in the eyes of my innocent son and seeing the hunger on his face left me with the choice of unruly forms of income. Long story short I eventually was robbed by two well known killers from my area I played it cool even tho I had a firearm too. I made it safe but worried about the blow back of it all so I prayed and the answer was to be meek and humble thru oppression. So I figure if I made peace with my enemies my family could leave safe so that's what I did and all was well present day one is in jail for 20 to life the other stays literally right behind my house."- BME
"... I was always like the weird kid growing up and I was the youngest by far. So I was pretty much like an only child. And my mother wouldn't let me go play that much so I was very introverted BUT very creative at the same time.
My artist name is Marie H. Willingham. It's my great grandmother's maiden name. Over 100 years ago, she was a baby in a basket left at a door step. Later she got married to my great grandfather on a river boat in New Iberia, LA which is where I'm originally from. She ended up leaving him because she got tired of the riverboat lifestyle and moved to New Orleans. I met her when I was 7 years old and she told me to promise her that I never get married. She told me not to let anyone own me. I'm 28 now and so far I've kept that promise."- Marie
"Back in my college days I had a math class that was a pre req. Now I'm pretty good at math..not to bad. But this particular class you needed a C or better to pass. Well my girlfriend was very book smart.!! We kind of competed for grades. Well I got a D in my class. I had to take the class over again. I felt kind of dumb nonetheless.. I asked my girlfriend if she could help me study. Ultimately, I did pass the class with a passing grade B! Which meant that I was able to advance to the next semester!! And that was the only class that I had to take over towards my bachelor's degree."
Charlie- "That's a cool question, because we've now known each other for about 7 years, we dated for 5 or so and have been married almost a year. We are fortunate to travel together for work and pleasure a number of times a year, we also live in New Orleans where 'favorite memories' are easy to rack up. We have 3 cool dogs, a tiki room, a great, vintage house - how do I choose one favorite memory!? But the first episode that jumps out at me is the first beach we visited in St Thomas after a string of only ok beach trips along the gulf south. After an hour or two of pulling her arm to go snorkelling, not just wade and Sun bathe, plus a few *handful* rum punches, Mia finally goes out with the snorkelling gear and BAM is right on top of a stingray. She was so excited, the water was perfect, the rum was top notch and 151, the sun was high, an almost empty beach. That's definitely a favorite"
"I always wanted to be a model ever since I was 5 years old watching the Tyra Banks show. What inspired me about the Tyra Show was the beauty of it and how she taught girls to come out of their comfort zone. See I was the shy girl and to see women speak out and make moves the way Tyra did; it inspired me to do the same..."
"I was born in the 90s and I really loved the way people dressed in the 80s so I gathered up a group of people and told them to research the style and they loved it so we made a group called bad supers so we are known for our throwback 80s look and dancing we also do.
I would want the world to know that I am a very cool guy. I just like turning up, having fun and always thinking positive. That's what makes me feel good about life and I always keep God 1st and things always go right for me."
"Motherhood is the most challenging journey I've been on. The carousel never stops. I've learned so much about myself - how I give and receive love, how my own childhood impacts how I parent my girls. I grew up without my mother, so I'm essentially operating without a manual. I'm always worried about fucking up, even though fucking up is inevitable. And I'm constantly aware that I'm raising two very different, but both compassionate, confident, complex magical Black girls. In this country. That adds to the apprehension, but also makes me feel very powerful. I was chosen and trusted to guide these girls into young women who are going to change this world. And I've never been the mother whose whole identity is in being a mother, but they really are my greatest achievement. It's humbling.
I'm curious to see where the generation behind me, and my daughter's generation, take this country, and how the global community adjusts to climate change. Also, traveling is my passion and I've been doing more of it these last couple years, so I'm excited to continue that, and show my girls the world."- Nitra
"I am most optimistic about all the opportunities that I have had, and that I keep having. I have been really lucky to have a great childhood with wonderful parents, siblings, friends and the opportunity to travel. All this has given me a great perspective on life, and the world. I am sure that my future lies within helping people around the world with getting an education. I am convinced that with all these great opportunities I’ve had, I have to put them into good use, and the good use is to give other people opportunities to help other people. It’s sort of a ‘pay it forward’ kind of thing I have going on.
Besides losing everyone I love, one of my biggest fears is to lose my humbleness, empathy, optimism and my hunger for learning and exploring new things. I believe that life is not fully completed if you haven’t pushed yourself to be the best version of yourself, that you can be."- Patricia
" I'm hopeful to make a difference in the world by travelling and meeting new people and other cultures. I think it's really important as a human being to experience a lot of things and because I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to do so, I like to make the most of it.
Next to losing people I love,I fear sitting as an old lady and regretting a lot of things in my life - that's scary!" - Pearl