“Hip-Hop is the most profiled musical genre…“

 

Profiling Hip-Hop is a series that documents hip-hop artists' physical profiles prior to hitting the stage for a performance. 
Hip-Hop is the most profiled musical genre to date, so much so that there is a sector of police dedicated to monitoring the moves of artists and affiliates. The genre has become so profiled, that it is often associated with only negative connotations, by outsiders. I turned my camera to profile artists in a positive way.

 
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“God knows where we’re heading“

 

I was raised in an all crip neighborhood and saw both the beauty and pain from the effects of gang culture. I chose to document crips photographically to show the art, humanity and authenticity amongst the blues. While moving away from the stoicism that popular culture has placed upon the group. The title is a nod to Marvin Gaye’s hit single.

 
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SILK

 

Most Black women use silk or satin in some capacity in their beauty routine. Usually in the form of a bonnet, scarf or pillow case. To prevent the issues with my bonnet slipping off at night, I started buying only silk/satin sheet sets. This inspired me to shoot Black women on different color silks and show variable forms of their femininity.

 
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The Art of Grillz

 

I am of West Indian descent and grew up seeing friends and family members with gold teeth and caps. Over time I've developed an appreciation for oral jewelry. I began photographically documenting grillz at hip-hop festivals and in my community.

While speaking with those I was photographing, I started to learn the differences in oral jewelry practices among regions. For example, in New Orleans, most people remove their teeth and install permanent gold or diamond teeth in their place (see bottom picture). In New York, many people wear gold caps; this comes from West Indian and Central American culture (see first photo). In Texas, most people get two-toned grillz (gold and silver, or gold and platinum). While in Atlanta, most people get a full mouth of 22 karat gold grillz (see second photo).

I took my photo documentation a step further by dissecting the correlation between the wearing of grillz, gold caps and tooth replacements to the ratio of dental insurance coverage and hygiene in the Black community. Most Black people do not have dental insurance and when dental hygiene is not properly maintained, teeth rot rapidly, which then has immense effects on overall health. Many people wear oral jewelry as a means of protecting damaged,unhealthy, or lost teeth.

The “Art of Grillz“ was my master thesis for Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is installed in Columbia University’s medical library, and is a traveling exhibit.

 
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Need a studio to create your art?

 

@JAHArtHouse is a creative multi-use space founded and operated by documentary photographer @jazzshoots & visual architect @hvckavelii. (Jazz and Hack = JAH).
The space is open to the community as a place of expression, dream building and self-discovery. @JAHArtHouse hosts an: apothecary, photo/video studio, audio recording room, photo gallery space and more.

We make the space available for rent to any creators in, or visiting, the New York City area. Upstairs has a gallery setting which rotates Jazz's photographic series. While downstairs hosts the photo/video studio and audio recording studio. In total, the space is a 1,000 square foot duplex, conveniently located in Bedstuy (bordering Bushwick).

If you’re interested in renting the space, learn more here: http://www.ivyleagueinthehood.com/jaharthouse/

 
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