The above quote is where it all started for me. As Executive Director of Artists for Advocacy International I realized that I can be the change the world needs. I remember it like it was yesterday, eight years old watching the flashing images of poverty and famine in the Michael Jackson "Man in the Mirror" video. Perplexed by what I didn't understand, something within me made me care and every day through AFAINT is how I keep that fire burning.
As a culinarian, poet, and photographer I searched for a way to give my artwork purpose. Could I turn paint into bread or a photo into water for someone less fortunate? Through the median of AFAINT, our Team and I are striving to make that happen. Who knew that 18 years after watching that video I'd be on a plane to Kenya responding to the man in the mirror?
As a graduate of Johnson and Wales University I am constantly striving to find new, healthy, and creative ways to grow, prepare, deliver healthy eating alternatives locally and nationally.
Photojournalism is a great way to capture the vibrance of life even when there is lack. Feel free to look through my work to and contribute to upcoming AFAINT projects by purchasing them.
Spoken Word poetry is how I started AFAINT. The poem "Reflections" raised thousands of dollars that went to the start-up funds to create AFAINT as well as the majority of all AFAINT projects thus far. Below you may read and listen to how my advocacy is helping others.
I guess the best way to start this is off is to tell you what photojournalism is to me. Photojournalism is using the art of photography to capture a moment without having to explain through words the energy that is present when the photo is taken. I have combined these into what I call Advocacy Portraiture. Advocacy means "active support" and I pledged many years ago that any picture I take for display would be of individuals in which we are actively supporting. I feel blessed to have had some hand in being a part of these individuals lives and hope that with your support I can continue to bring awareness to their condition and be a beacon of hope for them.
It was through poetry that AFAINT came to be. One Spring in 2006 I was asked to perform a spoken word piece on the campus of Old Dominion University for the Tidewater AIDS Community Taskforce and that poem is the now infamous "Reflections". I was approached after the event to perform again at other engagements and before I knew it I was being asked to perform throughout the country. I used the money I was making from performing to start what is known today as AFAINT. Below you will find files of some of the advocacy poetry I have written. I sincerely hope it brings life and inspiration to you like it has to others in the past. Stay tuned for upcoming AFAINT events and performing engagements in the Houston, Texas area.
As a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and the Pruden Center Vocational School, culinary arts has always been integral to my being. When I was young I wanted to be a part of the "Feed The Children" movement. It is partially why I chose to major in culinary arts. Right now I am finding exciting and creative ways to incorporate these skills into AFAINT. I will be holding culinary events with other local chefs in which we will throw private parties featuring our culinary abilities. We are also currently working on eradicating food deserts in Houston and creating sustainable garden in Uganda where we are currently invested. There is more info on this in the "Future" section of the website. We are also looking to starting a food truck to support our causes as well, so stay tuned!