Someone who has impacted my own life and personally inspires me.
He’s a photographer.
And OBSESSED Storyteller.
Let’s get to know Dee.
Explain your background where you grew up
“I was born on Saint Thomas but went to school on Saint John’s; two separate islands from 7th-12th grade.”
How has growing up in the Caribbean shaped you into who you are today?
“The Island’s culture, food, music shaped who I am today; I realized that even more as I’ve gotten older how my foundation has impacted and served as to what I do.”
“It takes a village to raise a child a lot of aunts uncles cousins not blood related but protected me or others doing something I would regret”
At what age did you notice your creative side?
“My step father put a camera in my hand at age 10 when he was in the navy ashore. He would take photographs he was in stationed in Brooklyn, NYC and Hawaii. My love of photography came about from that; I struggled with sketching and drawing never was my thing.”
What does photography mean to you?
“Looking at the word through a viewfinder to capture a moment in time while looking at movies is very different. The director or photographer has to visualize special effects etc.. and the scene: I love the inquisitiveness.”
Favorite piece you’ve done?
“The film “UnCommonWealth: Permit To Build”, explores gentrification, in Worcester, through the eyes of TyShawn Dion (real name: Tyrae Sims) , a rapper from Worcester, MA.”
Check out the link here.
“My other favorite piece is Obsessive Sneaker Disorder (OSD) produced “BDA”, which will give you a glimpse of Tunav’s battle with cancer, how it affected him, his family and made him more present.”
Check out the link here.
What are you currently working on now?
“Usually I would be gearing up for the summer program I lead. But now I’m figuring out how to do a virtual film wear program// footwear industry why aren’t there more women and black and brown people in adidas, nike etc.. because the same companies have benefited by selling to black culture have some big conversations, racism, classism, sexism on the national level…. As a big black men i have been stopped in my car for being black and walking while black and struggling with this right now i’m very emotional it’s sad this has been going on for so long and glad that were actually having these conversations now feel it its heavy weight where do we begin what work do we have to do.”
Do you bring specific values to your work?
“I always respect the person and the brand history. If it doesn’t feel good I’ll say no; I’m proud to be able to pick and choose with brands like Nike, Jordan, and Adidas. It’s important for the work to be real or authentic.”
How has hip hop impacted your life?
“I am the product of hip hop. I grew up with the foundation of hip hop and how it has morphed and changed. Everything I do I can relate it to a song: positive, struggling, etc.. queen latifah their songs speak to who I am”
What is your daily source of inspiration?
“Everything I see, hear, read, and feel; I get inspiration from so many things. Human beings all want the same three things: take care of family and friends, to be loved , and to give love. I want the best for people. I want people to win.”
If you could create a video for round21 what would it be?
“I would start with Jasmine and her telling her story. Leading into the formation of round21 and what her outlandish big long term goals are to show that really you have to take the limits off of yourself.”