Mike

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I met Mike at the library as a high school student. But back then, I was more cautious than anything, especially in the library.  I was always in my ‘New York Mode’. So, if he or anyone (didn’t matter the age) spoke to me, I really didn’t speak back.

Forward years later, we are in  the same writing class at the library. Come to find out, he is an incredible writer. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.

He is also full of creativity and ideas. He encourages everyone who attend the class to write, write, write and while he is not the one who teaches the class, everyone respects him as one of the teachers.

He is genuine and I am glad for the opportunity to learn from him as an adult.

E. Massey’s Barbershop

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I walked into E. Massey’s Barber shop because I needed change for the bus and met some of the finest brothers with the cutest accents. Todd, Mike, Holiday and the customer, Lonney.

It was inspiring to see that they were all African American men because in New York where I am from, the barber shops are usually owned by latino brothers.

I never have a reason to walk into barber shops and tend to think it’s more of a man’s world, so I really did try to avoid going into Massey’s but the Trophy shop next door did not have change.

When I entered, I felt kind of self-conscience because I was the only female in there but they made me feel like I was welcomed.  I can see why some New Yorkers glorify this southern mentality.

Hi, do you have change for 5 dollars?

Yes, I do.

And after that, change for a dollar? I need change for the bus.

Oh, I don’t have change for a dollar but if you use the vending machine, you can get change.

Okay, thanks!

You a photographer?

Yes. Can I take your photo?

Sure, I don’t care.

Do y’all care?

No.

I didn’t talk much because listening to them was a joy. The way all their words kind of slurred into each other, yet was separate,  was fascinating.  As they kept talking one of them asked:

You need a car?

No, I just want to take the bus.

You don’t drive?

No.

Where you from?

New York.

Oh, that’s where I’m from!…

 

I started taking photos of them. Then one of them took out their phone and begin to photograph me. In all my years of taking photos of people, this never happened, so it caught me off guard. It made me smile.

When I was leaving one of them, Mike, walked me out the door and made sure I was going in the right direction.