The striking photographs in Adreinne Waheed's book, Black Joy and Resistance, remind us that the fight for justice is only one facet of a multi-dimensional African American life. Along with poet and contributor, Staceyann Chin—Crossfire: A Litany for Survival: Poems 1998–2019 —we discuss moments of joy captured in Waheed’s photographs, read some of Chin’s poetry and talk about why the necessary fight for justice is also an audacious act to live and thrive in joy.
Adreinne Waheed is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY and Berkeley, CA. Her work bears witness to and holds space for the beauty, brilliance and resilience of Black folks across the diaspora. Waheed is an accomplished photo editor who, during her 20 year career, has researched, produced and directed numerous shoots, for publications including Vibe, King and Essence magazines. Her photography has been published by The New York Times, National Geographic, Photo District News and The Fader. Waheed's work also appears in the inaugural issue of Mfon: A Journal of Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. She has exhibited at Rush Arts, Corridor Gallery, the Underground Museum, the Long Gallery and Betti Ono Gallery. In 2010, she created the Waheed Photo Archive, a collection of found photographs of African-Americans from the Civil War to the present. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) acquired the archive in 2015. Her self-published coffee table book, entitled Black Joy and Resistance, was released in December 2018 and is available now on Amazon.
Staceyann Chin is the recipient of the 2007 Power of the Voice Award from The Human Rights Campaign, the 2008 Safe Haven Award from Immigration Equality, the 2008 Honors from the Lesbian AIDS Project, the 2009 New York State Senate Award, the 2013 American Heritage Award from American Immigration Council and the 2016 Planned Parenthood Excellence in Media award. Chin is also a 2017 LGBTQ Humanist Award recipient. She unapologetically identifies as Caribbean and Black, Asian and lesbian, woman and resident of New York City. A proud Jamaican National, Chin's voice was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where she spoke candidly about her experiences of growing up on the island and the dire consequences of her coming-out there. Widely known as co-writer and original performer in the Tony award-winning, Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, her poetry has seen the rousing cheers of the Nuyorican Poets' Café, one-woman shows Off-Broadway, writing-workshops in Sweden, South Africa and Australia. Chin’s three one-woman shows, HANDS AFIRE, UNSPEAKABLE THINGS and BORDER/CLASH all opened to rave reviews at the Culture Project in New York City. Chin is the author of the memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, and is currently touring MotherStruck, her critically acclaimed solo theater piece, directed by Cynthia Nixon, and produced by Rosie O’Donnell, chronicling her incredible experiences about motherhood, which opened in New York, in December, 2015. The most recent publication, Crossfire: A Litany For Survival, is the first full-length collection of Chin’s poetry. She is currently touring and sharing poems from Crossfire. Be it on “60 Minutes,” in the New York Times or The UK guardian, she has a reputation for telling it exactly like it is.
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