When Anita Buzzy-Prentiss asked me to be a part of her Porchtraits project during the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic to highlight the homes and hearts of Pittsburgh I knew this was the Universe’s way of letting me know that I’ve arrived. The truth is I never felt at home as I was kicked out of the house at 14 and obligated to live out of black trash bags and suitcases before finding a job and my own apartment. Stability is one thing that I had to fight for and continue to do so as a millennial who got one of the short sticks in socio-economics.
I don’t find poverty romantic. I find the actions and orders during this pandemic to be an attack on humanity. We could do better – then again that’s just my Virgo ascendant rising. The reckless disregard for livelihoods that the working and low-income communities face is deeply offensive and unethical. But what I wanted most going into this project is a reminder to everyone that no stoop is undeserving of being cared for or called home.
Growing up in the projects, going to private school for low-income children, stranded at a WaWa parking lot in Florida are all temporary residences in my life that brought me to where I am now. And to be invited to do this photoshoot with all of my history says a lot. It says so much and the way Anita photographs is intuitive, wild, and saged. No matter your skin color, relationship status, or income bracket, the true colors of our city and our country matter.
BLACK AND GOLD WITH A HINT OF ROSE
Black is often a default for people. For me all color tells a story. Color Insiders know this best. I chose to wear black because it represents solidarity, strength, and contrast needed for transformation. Underdogs are silenced, hidden, and oppressed, but in all that darkness, the seed grows. Sometimes it’s within darkness we can see our light the most.
Trusting in our natural ability to touch high vibration is the lesson of gold. And using a quartz crystal in conjunction with the gold heels marked elevating and rising above the flatness of “flip flop” culture. A kind of consciousness that settles for convenience or heteronormative standards of society. It’s an elegant color and heel slinging energy that I wanted preserved. I’m intentional with my self-expression and deliberate in how I design my life with color.
Rose lips and the pink highlight of my necklace represent the compassion and love I have for humanity. I’m the mother and father I never had and so this color energy is a tribute to the personal transformation of love I learned to carry myself. I’m a spitfire at the mouth, so I tend to lean into shimmery rose lips to kiss life blissfully. Which isn’t always easy to remember I’m worthy of giving and receiving love so I use color to help.
ADD THIS TO YOUR HOME
And I’m sure all the people and families featured in this book have their own stories and reasons to share so I encourage you to learn more about the people of Pittsburgh by getting your own copy of Porchtraits and adding it to your own home to remind yourself that you too are not alone in times of crisis and the shared journey we face here on earth.