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Humans of New York.  "He lets me paint his nails and put make-up on his eyes and he plays with me in my Barbie house which is like twenty feet tall.”

Humans of New York. "He lets me paint his nails and put make-up on his eyes and he plays with me in my Barbie house which is like twenty feet tall.”

Humans of New York.  (3/4) The Bernice Johnson Dance Studio made me who I am today. It kept me off the streets. I hung around a group of kids who would go steal a car every Friday, but I could never go with them because I was always in the studio. Learning to drum made me feel proud. It made me feel like I was connecting to my culture, and also helping to pass it along. Our teachers took a trip to Africa every year. And they’d come back and talk to us about the latest dances and beats. I…

Humans of New York. (3/4) The Bernice Johnson Dance Studio made me who I am today. It kept me off the streets. I hung around a group of kids who would go steal a car every Friday, but I could never go with them because I was always in the studio. Learning to drum made me feel proud. It made me feel like I was connecting to my culture, and also helping to pass it along. Our teachers took a trip to Africa every year. And they’d come back and talk to us about the latest dances and beats. I…

Humans of New York.  "I  I’ve been in America since January. But it won’t feel like home until I can get my mom here. For me, home is my mom. It was just the two of us in Panama. We did everything together. The day that I left was a terrible day. We slept together in the same bed that night. We cried in the house, cried in the car, and cried at the airport. I stood at the entrance of airport security for an hour, because we kept waving at each other through the window. My goal is to bring…

Humans of New York. "I I’ve been in America since January. But it won’t feel like home until I can get my mom here. For me, home is my mom. It was just the two of us in Panama. We did everything together. The day that I left was a terrible day. We slept together in the same bed that night. We cried in the house, cried in the car, and cried at the airport. I stood at the entrance of airport security for an hour, because we kept waving at each other through the window. My goal is to bring…

Humans of New York.  "It was hard growing in the South as a biracial kid without a father. But I had some great male role models. My neighbor was an old school Italian guy named Bernard Monti. He let me be part of his family. I could walk right into his house after school without even knocking. One day when I was in 6th grade, I came into his house crying because an 8th grader across the street had called my mom a nigger lover. Mr. Monti told me that I was teaching the kid to disrespect me…

Humans of New York. "It was hard growing in the South as a biracial kid without a father. But I had some great male role models. My neighbor was an old school Italian guy named Bernard Monti. He let me be part of his family. I could walk right into his house after school without even knocking. One day when I was in 6th grade, I came into his house crying because an 8th grader across the street had called my mom a nigger lover. Mr. Monti told me that I was teaching the kid to disrespect me…

Humans of New York.  "I emigrated from Liberia at the age of eighteen, and a lovely Jewish family took me in and helped fund my education. Their names were Anne and William Rothenberg. They had never even met me before. But they allowed me to live with them and introduced me to everyone as their daughter. They would never explain beyond that—it was always just ‘our daughter.’ It was so fun to see the confusion on people’s faces. They’ve both passed away. But a few years ago I started a…

Humans of New York. "I emigrated from Liberia at the age of eighteen, and a lovely Jewish family took me in and helped fund my education. Their names were Anne and William Rothenberg. They had never even met me before. But they allowed me to live with them and introduced me to everyone as their daughter. They would never explain beyond that—it was always just ‘our daughter.’ It was so fun to see the confusion on people’s faces. They’ve both passed away. But a few years ago I started a…

"When I travel, I like to use different accents and pretend that I’m not a Bostonian. Let’s say I go to New York and I use a British accent: ‘Hello, can you tell me where the T is?’ I get a kick out of it. But I can’t do it on the spot. It has to come to me, and then I assume this random personality.” Cambridge, MA.  | Portraits of America, ph. Ivan Velinov

"When I travel, I like to use different accents and pretend that I’m not a Bostonian. Let’s say I go to New York and I use a British accent: ‘Hello, can you tell me where the T is?’ I get a kick out of it. But I can’t do it on the spot. It has to come to me, and then I assume this random personality.” Cambridge, MA. | Portraits of America, ph. Ivan Velinov

“It’s all love, man. White, black, blue, purple, it doesn’t matter. You shit, I shit. If I cut you right now, you’d bleed. If you cut me right now, I’d bleed. Everything you do, I do. Ain’t no difference.” Boston, MA | Portraits of America, ph. Ivan Velinov

“It’s all love, man. White, black, blue, purple, it doesn’t matter. You shit, I shit. If I cut you right now, you’d bleed. If you cut me right now, I’d bleed. Everything you do, I do. Ain’t no difference.” Boston, MA | Portraits of America, ph. Ivan Velinov

“Sometimes people say to me, ‘Oh, your mom raised you well’ and I think that’s so funny. I know what my mom looks like, but she’s never been in my life. I don’t know who my dad is, either. The man who raised me wasn’t my biological father, so I feel that my whole life has been a lie. I don’t trust anybody, and I never get close to anyone. .. Boston, MA | Portraits of America (by Ivan Velinov)

“Sometimes people say to me, ‘Oh, your mom raised you well’ and I think that’s so funny. I know what my mom looks like, but she’s never been in my life. I don’t know who my dad is, either. The man who raised me wasn’t my biological father, so I feel that my whole life has been a lie. I don’t trust anybody, and I never get close to anyone. .. Boston, MA | Portraits of America (by Ivan Velinov)

“I use fashion as a mask of courage and strength. It’s my armor—my way to combat the injustices that I experience. I feel marginalized in a black body. But to put clothing over it, to ornament myself adds a different element, so people no longer see me as just a black person. It gives me the power to create a certain image that changes the narrative of who I am.” Oxford, MS | Portraits of America (by Ivan Velinov)

“I use fashion as a mask of courage and strength. It’s my armor—my way to combat the injustices that I experience. I feel marginalized in a black body. But to put clothing over it, to ornament myself adds a different element, so people no longer see me as just a black person. It gives me the power to create a certain image that changes the narrative of who I am.” Oxford, MS | Portraits of America (by Ivan Velinov)

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