Teaching 6th grade math in Starrett City changed my life. And tonight, I got to see some of my former students in NYC. They’re all men now, not the 11 year old selves that I last knew them as. ⠀ It’s really powerful to see the men they’ve become, to see the choices they’ve made, and it almost made me cry to still see the same joy and wonder in their eyes that I remember all those years ago. ⠀ People often ask me what made me go to Ferguson in August 2014. And one of the main reasons is, and has always been, them. I went because I knew that the students I taught deserved a better world than they lived in. And I was willing to fight for that world.
It was an honor to be a part of this photo series by @_aligiance . ⠀ I am proud of who I am, the work I do, and the work I’ve committed to ahead. And I know that I’m growing every day. ⠀ Thank you to everyone who I’ve been fortunate enough to work with on this journey. Let’s do it.
I met @mrapinoe via Twitter a few years ago. She reached out during the protests, we texted, stayed in touch. And it was always powerful to see her use her platform to tell the truth in public. ⠀ I’ve learned so much from seeing the way she moves in the world and was proud to finally meet and have a conversation in person. We have so much work to do. [ 📸 @ashleyskywalker] #ResetTheTable
. @bbreaux made this chain. it’s my favorite. hit him up to buy. ⠀ It’s a reminder of the reality that sometimes it’s the simplest thing that holds everything together. And that often, things are simple but not small (in impact). ⠀ And it’s easy to overlook the simple solution and when you do, you spend so much more energy trying to figure it out. ⠀ So, here’s to the bread clip. We’re all trying to hold it together in some way or another. The best answer(s) might be right in front of your eyes. ⠀ PS. (Now, you know you’ve lost this clip before and had to do all types of things to keep the bread fresh.) [📸 @globaliza]
I’m just going to leave this here for all. There’s work to do.
They’ll try to steal your joy every time. Don’t let em.
It’s been 5 years since the movement was born in Ferguson, Missouri. I met @nettaaaaaaaa in the streets in the earliest days and we spent nearly every waking moment together for the 400 days of protest. ⠀ We’ve been the good, the bad, and the ugly and have grown so much. ⠀ We were together today on a panel at #ComplexCon & it’s good to be back. We have so much work left to do. And I’m proud that @nettaaaaaaaa and I did so much of it together. ⠀
I love Baltimore. I love black people. I love my family. I love being a part of change that has an impact. I love teaching. I love learning. I love friendships. I love being challenged. I love reaching the edge of my abilities and still doing the work. ⠀ And despite all of these things, it took me a while to love me. ⠀ I love me, now. too. ⠀ [📸 @bydvnlln]
It was my birthday on Tuesday, July 9th and I spent it with @thekalenallen at the premiere of The Lion King. This is the before shot of me getting ready. I’m in my birthday suit. :) ⠀ I loved The Lion King — truly an update on a classic. ⠀ And it was good to just step out and have a good time. I feel like the last 5 years have just been so heavy. I need a little light as I go into the next year of life. ⠀ I’m not often around a good full-body selfie mirror but shout-out to @simonkinberg & @cleowade for this magic. And thanks @francfernandez for helping make this @gucci look happen.
#EssenceFest has only just begun and it’s already so much joy. I must say, I love black people. And we had such a good time last night in New Orleans. I’m here thru Sunday, let me know if you’ll be around!
I must’ve read this passage by Omar Etman a million times by now. And it speaks to me every time. It helped me let go of my desire for perfection. ⠀ I hope that it might help you too.
I’m proud to be a #BonobosPartner during #Pride 2019 as they’ve made a donation to the Callen Lorde Community Health Center and I have donated all of my personal proceeds from this shoot to LGBT-affirming & black/brown orgs. ⠀ Pride is rooted in resistance and in living our lives as fully and as publicly as we’d like. I’m proud to have done this shoot with Devin & Christopher, both committed to making this world a better place. ⠀ And the Bonobos Pride socks are particularly dope, too.
I went to the Guggenheim today to see Basquiat’s Defacement in an exhibit in response to the police killing of his friend, Michael Stewart. I had no clue that so many of his pieces focused on police violence. ⠀ Remember, 1/3 of all people killed by strangers is killed by a police officer. ⠀ We have so much work to do. We will win. [📸 @frankchi] PS This entire exhibit was beautifully curated. Everyone should see it.
It was an honor to speak at an event with CityBridge and TFA in DC yesterday with @sekou_biddle and @mayapapaya2002. I was reminded of the power of parents, of organizing, and the power we have to serve kids well. ⠀ I had never met Maya before and I learned so much from her and am excited to continue learning. She is the ED of an organization called PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education) and it’s so important that we learn from, include, and continue to build the capacity of parents if we are ever going to follow-through on the commitment we have made to our children.
See Us Now? @kerbito is the man and it was an honor to wear this outfit even though it’s a bit out of my style set. ha. I love my blackness. And yours.
It was powerful to hear the #CentralPark5 speak about their experiences & to see a glimpse of the #WhenTheySeeUs. I can’t wait to see the film when it comes out. It is also a reminder of how much work still has to be done if we are ever to experience justice in this country.
I was with @cleowade at the “are you okay?” booth in LA today and climbed this tree. And I was hesitant at first for a lot of reasons (not the right shoes or pants, lots going on today, didn’t want to hurt myself, etc) but did it anyway. And it reminded me of the importance of walking into the risk. And it reminded me of all of the ways we talk ourselves out of doing things that actually make us a little afraid. And how we can normally see the fear, hold it, and not let it be the only thing we feel. Climb more trees. [📸 @simondavidkinberg]
🐝. Raven. Blair. Tiki. & lots of joy on the dancefloor.
I couldn’t have asked for a better sister in a million years. And yes, her name is TeRay. And no, we’re not twins — just got rhyming names.
Adele & I visited @riversidenyc a few nights ago, learning about their role in the civil rights movement and their work today. @victoryboyd sang in the sanctuary and her voice is a gift. The team at Riverside is always incredible to work with. And Adele’s belief in and commitment to justice makes her a strong ally & friend. [📸 @joshuakissi]
I thought about this scene again, today. It’s one of the most memorable scenes from childhood. Do you remember this?
I was at opening night of the new temptations show on broadway and it was amazing. I can’t wait for my father to see it because he will love it. And @adutakech and @rion_mckeithen were the best people to be there with.
Tonight in LA we are joined by the one and only Maxine Waters!
We are excited to speak with @speakerpelosi in San Francisco! We hope to see you there. You can get tickets at Crooked.com/events
We will be bringing @podsavethepeople to Portland tomorrow and there are a handful of tickets left! We have a great set of guests and can’t wait to meet you! Go to Crooked.com/events to get your ticket today!
I recently participated in a conversation about masculinity in blackness centered around Baldwin and it was beautiful to see and hear how so many other black folks process the work that has been done and the work ahead. We have so much work yet to do. [📸 @mochapoca]
@demetriusharmon is 21! He’s an incredible storyteller and creator and it was fun to celebrate his bday with so many others. It’s dope to see people live in their gifts.
This is one of the first pieces of art that I ever bought and I love seeing it everyday. I love his hands, his expression, his innocence, his halo, and the hope of all that is to come. Seeing this every morning is a gift and I’m thankful to @nelsonmakamo, the artist, for sharing his gifts with the world. [sidenote: getting things framed is expensive!]
We are here to support @kaepernick7 as Nike releases a new jersey in his name. And the auto-lacing shoes are a bit intense, but cool. It’s always good to be with such good people. We will win.
we good. beyonce.com, black history month. 2019.
Storytellers change the world. I’m always inspired being around friends who tell stories in ways that can push us all. Squad.
It’s always good to be around good people. We had such a good dinner and it was a reminder to go where the love is.
I love this man. Jussie is such a kind person and incredible friend. And I just saw him in Chicago. I don’t have a lot of words right now but #FuckMAGA and #FuckHomophobia.
Kerby Jean-Raymond is the man. Pyer Moss is the brand. It was an honor to be a part of this shot and in this crew. Friends. Family. Vogue. 2019. [📸@stephen.shore]
@iam.mek is the man — it’s always good to meet and connect with people who have good energy, see the world as a place of opportunity, and know that power is in the build, not the break. 2019, the year of good connections.
We’re excited to be on tour again! Hopefully we will see you in one of these cities in the coming months. When we’re on the toad, we like to bring honest conversation that invites everyone to be a part of something. And we love to explore all the ways that issues of justice show up, especially in today’s climate. Go to Crooked.com/events to get a ticket today!
I spent the last three days in rural Haiti with Anseye Pou Ayiti, an organization that understands the classroom as the key to community transformation. I learned so many things about Haiti and was reminded of the link between education and liberation. Here are some of the things I learned/saw: 1. 20% of classroom teachers are trained. 1% of kids make it to college. & 80% of schools are private, requiring tuition. 2. Anseye Pou Ayiti is focused equipping new and existing teachers with the tools, resources, and mindsets to push students academically *and* to be change agents in community. 3. When we met with 5th/6th grade students, someone asked them their favorite subject. And they all responded with an understanding of the Haitian Revolution and its importance historically and today. It was awe-inspiring to hear them talk about the details of the Revolution, it’s leaders, and its strategies. 4. Importantly, Anseye Pou Ayiti makes its resources available to school leaders and other teachers in schools where their fellows are. They truly embody the idea that the school and classroom is the unit of community transformation. 5. I can’t wait to go back to rural Haiti. And I’m a wholehearted supporter of Anseye Pou Ayiti. In discussions with teachers, parents, students and seeing classrooms, I left with a renewed sense of purpose and solidarity. We have so much work to do.
The Spanish Steps. Rome. It was breathtaking to visit Rome and to see so much of the old world still standing, with the new world wrapped around it. I needed this vacation. I’m back. I’m ready. [📸 @Travon]
Being in Paris to bring in 2019 was one of the best experiences of the past decade. And that’s because it was with @jt.flowers, @hazimhardeman, @travon, & @bbreaux. I’ve learned so much from each person & am proud to call each one of these guys a friend. I’ll also never forget the Basquiat exhibit & being with these friends as we processed, appreciated, and deconstructed his art will stay with me forever. JT is one of the most curious & constructive people I’ve ever met. Travon’s ability to craft narrative across genres is a gift. Brandon is able to see beyond the canvass. And Hazim’s ability to analyze and deliver an offering may help free us all. 2019. Paris.
Ready for 2019. Being in Paris allowed me to clear my mind. I needed this reset about two years ago and I’m thankful I’ve done it now. I’m being kinder to myself in 2019. these are my commitments: 1. Remain solution-oriented. 2. Continue to take the truth into every space. 3. Remember that I had a purpose before anyone had an opinion. 4. Imagination is a skill. And all skills require practice. 5. Never let the system off the hook. [📸 @travon]
It’s 5am in Rome. And I’m a little loopy because I’m tired. But it’s been great to travel for pleasure, to be around people I love, and to see the world. I’m thankful for 2018. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about friendship, about love, and about leadership, this year. And I’m still learning. Traveling for Xmas and New Years has been a reminder that I’ve got to be more intentional about experiencing joy along the way, too. We have so much work to do and that’s a big part of my life. But it can’t be the only part of my life. I get it now. I’m ready for it all. [📸 @travon]