Monday, October 11, 2010
My main man Mr. J. B. Simple is on his way to audition for a play uptown. He is taking a peaceful stroll through Central Park trying to clear his mind and memorize his lines for his potential big break into show biz.
An aspiring spoken word artist and playwright as well, he decides to read one of his own original monologues for his audition…He keeps a paper copy of that monologue in his favorite leather briefcase. He also keeps a copy of Langston Hughes’ “A Dream Deferred” in the briefcase as well to remind him to always follow through on completing his goals. Mr. Simple is a big admirer of Langston Hughes & the Harlem Renaissance. He also enjoys the works of renowned playwright August Wilson. He feels that both of these men through their works represented the best of African American Culture and Community with class, dignity and much reverence. He is someday looking forward to joining the ranks of these men in the pantheon of great African American griots.
Mr. Simple keeps it simple as a scholar, artist and community activist. When he is not in pursuit of his staged goals, he teaches Harlem Renaissance Literature 101 at Medgar Evers College and Intro to Harlem Renaissance Art at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Mr. Simple also implemented an all-volunteer literacy program set up as a book club to help fight functional illiteracy among teenagers and adults at Greater Abysinnian Baptist Church. An avid learner (bibliophile) and jazz head, he spends a lot of his free time reading and researching African American history at the Schomburg (which helps him in writing his poetry and plays) and checking out Jazz @ Lincoln Center.
Mr. Simple realizes that “the past is never past” and that we must sometimes look back in order to go forward. He lives this philosophy not only through deed, but also style and dress. Originality he believes comes not through discovering unknown elements but rather rearranging known elements into a relatively new entity. Genius he believes is being true to yourself and expressing that “unique you” to the world by any means necessary. Mr. Simple’s preferred tools of choice in this regard are words and clothes.
Mr. Simple is all about being black, proud and educated with class and distinction. He wants to play his part in the re-invention of the New Negro for the 21st Century by dressing the part. He is not only dressed for success but also for respect of self and the majestic culture and tradition he represents. Mr. Simple feels that his is an idea whose time has come and now it’s time for others join him in the greatest dress rehearsal ever known! In other words allow me to introduce ourselves…Our name is Rojeni…The revolution may not be televised but you should always look the part.
Writer: Ronald Herd II
Photography: Meryl Jefferson
Styling: Nicole R. Brown and Katina Flemming
Model: Craig Sanders
Posted by tha artivist at 7:46 PM