Antawn

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I met Antawn at Fordham through United Christian Fellowship. He was a very funny and clean person.

One night he invited everyone to his place for a meal he cooked. He spoke about where his family was from and there was a big funny argument about who cooked better- men or women.

When it was time to clean up, he went on and on about how clean his place had to be at all times…which lead to an even funnier argument about what would happen if he had a disorganized wife.

I remember that night because Antwan had a cute roommate who gave me his number. I can’t remember that guy’s name. I don’t even remember how he looks. I do remember laughing later with the girls about taking his number.

For the most part, I remember laughing a lot in Antwan’s presence. We laughed in the Christian meetings and at the cafe and in the Ram Van on the way to Tarry Town for the retreats.

We laughed because we could. We had our troubles but we also had our youth and constant motivation from adults in our lives who helped to keep us grounded. It was the last time in our lives to be this free. It was the time when adults would remind us that high school that was over and we are grown. So, act like it.  

College ended and we all went different ways. Making promises to meet up again.

In January, Josh sent me a message telling me that Antwan passed and I texted Tasha and asked her if she knew and she said Facebook told her. Cause Facebook tells everyone, everything. And that’s why we don’t need to meet… or don’t meet. Because we got facebook. We kinda went silent after that.

Our conversation ended the same way, we should keep in contact more often. But what does keeping in contact even mean these days?

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

I had a very eventful summer.

One event I want to speak about is my trip to Massachusetts.

I took Amtrack to Deerfield, MA for an education conference. After completing my work in Deerfield,- which I must tell you about- I caught a ride to Boston, with my friend, Erin, who kept asking me if I was sure MFA was going to have what I was looking for.

I didn’t know what MFA had but I had high hopes. She described to me a particular painting.

When you enter the museum, one of the first paintings you may see is one of a white man about to be eaten by a shark. That painting is in relation to what we spoke about at the conference. I’m not going to tell you more, just let me know what you think.

She dropped me off at the train station and after we parted, I found a pizza shop took a bite, then took the train. It just so happened that I arrived during rush hour and Boston’s MTA sucks….it’s worse than NY! We stood in the station for over 15 minutes listening to the conductor scream at us.

“Somebody is standing too close to the door! Move in! Push in!”

After that very unpleasant train ride, I was really happy to get out and explore. So, while I waited for my friend, Josh, to meet me, I walked around Savin Hill looking for something to photograph and came across this wall mural, showing how Savin Hill looked 500 years ago.

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After studying the mural, Josh called to say he was near.

Hey Lilly, where did you say you wanted to go?

Boston’s Fine Art Museum. I want to see what African American artist they have up.

Josh chuckled. Lilly, this is Massachusetts.

The way he said this is Massachusetts sounded like it wasn’t America.

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Are you sure you want to visit BMA?

Of course. They should have at least an artist or something that will inspire me.

Okiee.

When we arrived, we stopped at the desk hoping to get in for free. Which really did happen after telling the receptionist who we were and what we did.

Because Josh is located in Boston and basically knew the museum like the back of his hand, I first depended on his knowledge to locate black art and know exactly where to go. But, after going through the first gallery, everything begin to look different to him as they were doing a lot of renovations, so we went to the desk and asked for a map.

Excuse me, can you please tell us where to go to check out any African American artist?

African American artist?

Yes.

Oh, well….I’m not sure…humm, Let me see.

Josh and I spent over 15 minutes stopping at desks. It was daunting, watching each young receptionist study the map and search in the museum’s database for a roster of African American artist . All of them came up with one painting by Kehinde Wiley,  John, 1st Baron Byron

I couldn’t believe that out of the entire museum collection, at that time, there was only one piece of work done by an African- American or black American! One?

Each receptionist apologized and said it was because the museum was in the middle of making renovations.

I am not the best person when it comes down to directions so Josh lead us to the gallery and after going up and down steps and stepping on and off the elevator we were at peace.

When we entered the wing, Josh walked right and I turned left.

There it goes Josh! Kehinde Wiley!

Oh my gosh Lilly! Look at this!

We stood watching it for a while.

We were so happy when we found Wiley’s piece that we took several pictures in front of it. Josh had more to say concerning the art- the strokes, the vibrant colors, the model. I simply was glad to see it and also unsatisfied with the museum.

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Josh, who is an aesthete, was like a child. After Wiley, I was ready to go, but Josh kept stopping to read and ponder. I think he may have enjoyed the museum more than me. He definitely made our visit fun.