Everybody street Everybody is street Every body is a street body It’s a documentary About street photography In New York City A dozen, maybe 15, photographers Talking about what they do They are all white But they street? Jamel Shabazz is there Only Black man He street For real But everybody street? Nah A dozen white photographers talk Take pictures Show body of work Only white people can get away with Taking random ass photos Of people And not have the shit kicked out of them They street So they take a lot of photos Of people of color Of course They take photos of every body Especially everybody street Which means, everybody Brown/Black/Poor/ Homeless/Junkie/Criminal/Bloodied They street and stay taking photos Of us, we can’t take photos of them They take our photo because We street We fresh We exotic We fierce We colorful We wild We raw We street But everybody street They take our photos and say “You gonna die from that life, But look, someday someone gonna be in a bookstore And see my book with your photo, and You live on.” Everybody street You know I know there are Black and Brown street photographers Because everybody street Like me I don’t take photos of people though I can’t stand to exploit people for a shot And no explaining why I should make money From a photo they never consented to And get nothing for Just cuz they street Maybe other POC don’t get in these documentaries Because they too street But they ask permission Respect privacy Is that street? White people take my photo on the street Art Prize bring out the gawkers in droves Everyone got cell phone camera too White people with big lenses and gear Snap photo from across street Like I don’t see them standing there, waiting And I can’t get away all the time But I try to shift and give less interesting view White people stand close to me and think I won’t hear The shutter click Look at me like I just said I eat babies When I glare at them for that photo They was close enough to ask me for But I guess that ain’t street And everybody street Maybe except me I be too scared to even say anything sometimes Not street I be wanting to break cameras and yell But only white men get to do that shit Sean Penn more street Than me Every body street My body street Worthy of a photo I don’t know what gallery or book or magazine or blog I might see it in or on someday Maybe I set fire to that gallery or book or magazine publisher Cuz even I street I can be street If a white woman photographing cops to humanize them Photographing beaten, being choked “malefactor” As they are arrested Talking about how important the police are Is street Maybe I still more street Cuz everybody street Like everybody White bodies street White eyes street White lens street Can’t I be street Take photos of these liberal progressive artistic types Showing they ain’t nothing street Every body street Bodies Black bodies Brown bodies Crip bodies Queer bodies Poor bodies Sick bodies Shot bodies Street bodies So everybody can call themselves Street Talking about the risk they took To get a shot The risk might be I punch you in the face You ain’t street You just a thief
Poet’s Statement: I realize this may seem like a stretch for our April theme of “Resurrection: Coming Back Stronger Than Before”. I ask you to stretch your conceptions and imaginations. This poem is about how I, myself, as an artist come back stronger, with new work, in response to all the ways I am marginalized from the world of art and photography, as a Queer, Crip/Chronically Ill, Indigenous/Black artist, photographer, and poet. For further context, this is a reaction to a profoundly racist documentary about street photographers in NYC, Everybody Street, that is currently available on Netflix.