REFLECTIONS | WINTER ’21
I FEEL SO
WORDS and IMAGES by LAQUANN DAWSON
unnecessary. in a fit of joy (?) and nerves, a sparkling, smiling, stunning Little Richard chuckles to an audience of many. he is sent to the stage to induct Otis Redding into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. he laughs and he serenades the audience with music, history, and so many stories. he says, “see, y’all should be recording me. I don’t know why you’re not. and i’m still here? and i look decent? shut up! ooo-wee! shut up! make my picture. let the Black man make it too, go on. oh, he can’t find his button! mash the button Black man! actin’ like his light can’t come on. that’s the problem, we’re waiting too long now. mash it baby, mash it! you better mash that button quick! ooooo! i feel so real. i feel so unnecessary!” he laughs again.
finding joy and spreading love when you’re in pain and when you feel unappreciated can be a daunting task, i’ve found. i am also wondering what it means to feel necessary these days. what are we supposed to fill our days and nights with? outside of survival, i mean, if we can ever get beyond surviving.
i do think images and words are necessary. i do think proof of our living and of our wellness are important. i do think we need to keep sharing even when we’d like to be invisible, or when we’d like to look away. a friend told me we are here because we want to be. i suppose all want doesn’t need to be explained or defended, but i’ve still got questions.
i am wondering lately if what i feel is exhaustion, boredom, and burn-out, or existential dread. joy and community remind me of the truth. a body and a voice are not disposable.
LAQUANN DAWSON (he/him) (Brooklyn, NY, 1994) is a filmmaker, creative director, and photographer out of Elyria, Ohio now living in Brooklyn, New York. His interest in photography grew out of a desire to document himself and the world around him. At 13, he began making self-portraits and over the past decade has created a prolific body of work that has evolved, exploring themes of Blackness, isolation, community, desire, joy, and Disappointment.
LaQuann is the visual director for MOBInyc and director of MOBItalks: A Digital Series, Risk Magazine’s content director, and one-fourth of HIM Podcast. He is the creative director and curator for Impulse Group NYC’s Our Light Through Darkness coffee table book. LaQuann’s recent work has focused on the visibility, the wellness, and the sexual liberation of queer people of color.
ARC OF ANDRE is a contemporary ready-to-wear and accessories brand founded by Andre Moses in 2018. Coming from a lower-middle-class family that resided in Detroit, Andre obtained a degree in apparel and textiles in 2013, and ultimately moved to New York to launch his brand in 2016. Andre uses his own journey and development, or arc, as inspiration for the brand, exemplifying the thought that our upbringing and past socioeconomic status have a profound effect on our daily dress choices that we make in the present.