Faith in the Ghetto (An East Oakland Photostory)

So I recently hit the avenues and backstreets of Oakland, CA to take some pictures for The Oakland influence: Three Women from Oakland, CA share their thoughts wisdom and hope for the future (a creative project that I’ve been working on for the better part of 2012. Hopefully it’s coming soon) and as I searched tirelessly for beautiful black women to photograph I realized how faith-based my Deep East Oakland community is. As a matter of fact even the door to my home has a cross with the words “He Is Risen” inscribed on it. Which I never noticed until my Jewish friend pointed it out a few years ago. At any rate while I put the finishing touches on The Oakland Influence I thought I’d share a few depictions of faith in the ghetto.

The landlord of this apartment complex is apparently very outwardly Christian.

This apartment complex is part of the infamous Macarthur strip, however, one may think it was in the Holy Land based on this very outward display of Christian faith.

A little religious humor.

I found this clever poster on a home in the backstreets of East Oakland. I really wish that I had come across it in junior high school though. It would have made me feel good to know that even though the young ladies never looked twice at my nerdy self, Jesus still loved me.

Angelique represents!

Here we have a young woman who was literally raised in the church. So I decided to take a picture of her in front of her 2nd home.

Though shalt not kill.

I really liked how this mural flips the biblical passage Though Shalt Not Kill. Obviously it’s very important and unfortunately the message is extremely relevant in East Oakland.

 

When people discuss the identity of East Oakland they often speak of sideshows, drugs, police brutality, and crime but if they really knew the area they would be more inclined to incorporate faith into the conversation. The flatlands of Oakland is a very spiritual place that I was only able to show a small piece of in this blog; but maybe one Sunday morning you can come see it for yourself. There  are more places of worship than there are liquor stores, hair salons, and barber shops in this area that has been given the dubious title “Baby Iraq.” Even though my community is neglected economically we never neglect our Lord and Savior.

Amen

PS Be on the lookout for The Oakland Influence featuring journalist Niema Jordan, founder of Outdoor Afro Rue Mapp, and Emergency Medical Physician Evelyn Porter.

Peace and thanks for reading.

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Strong Enough to be Vulnerable

 

 

There are few things in this world that I find to be more endearing than a vulnerable woman. Perhaps this is because I have been socialized to ignore all of my weaknesses; therefore I have grown to be easily enticed by a creature that is conditioned to embrace such feelings. I hear a lot of men speak of wanting a strong black woman and I know a lot of women who go out of their way to be viewed as such but I think that’s a problem.

 

Why can’t a black woman be a lady first? I have been through enough to be strong for both of us. I am drawn to women who are unafraid to be beautiful and who dare to be feminine in a culture where everyone wants to be a man. I suppose there should be some amount of shame associated with my wanting a woman who will cry the tears that I have unlearned how to let go. However, if my views are a little outdated then so be it. I’m a man who knows what he wants and I love a woman who knows what she is.

 

-YB