Aesthetics and #Brooklynprotest

I’ve had recent discussions with friends about unified and politicized expression and fashion.


Despite the fact that I do think a more uniform aesthetic could help social movements in the US right now, it’s important to note that people protesting are never viewed as civilized. MLK proved that you could wear a three-piece suite and practice non-violence and still be the number one enemy of the state.


After being in Palestine, I have a deeper appreciation for when angry seemingly unorganized youth gather to challenge suppressive and discriminatory police/military.

Commercial media have not begun to cover the protests happing in Brooklyn right now, but they will at some point- inevitably, and I won’t be surprised when they portray the protesters as out of control and dangerous- somehow warranting the arrests and police brutality.  Audiences will buy this after constant messages of how violent inner city Black youth are, just as they see young Palestinian youth as terrorists deserving of Israeli military violence.

Teens and adults in Brooklyn are responding non-violently to the unjust killing of unarmed New York teenager Kimani ‘Kiki’ Gray, the 16 year old who was shot 11 times and killed by NYPD police on March 9. The current protests express outrage over his death as well as widespread police suppression, discrimination and corruption in NY (which reflects national behaviors and procedures), recently encouraged by Stop and Frisk policies.

Photo of vigil at Brooklyn Protest by: Jenna Pope @BatmanWI


In the midst of civil disobedience and mass protests in the US, where are the cultural leaders of our time? Is it because there is no individualized stage, no spotlight- just red, white, and blue twirling and streetlights? Many popular artists and entertainers could bring people into the political fold but choose not too. Oppression and revolution are continuous forces.

As Howard Zinn said “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”


When people join for a common purpose, they create a powerful unity, you are not an individual but one of the crowd. This might not be a glamorous or appealing role to people- especially artists and entertainers- in America where we are taught to chase an individual path to success and synonymous wealth. However, contributing to a massive power that is not achievable or attributed to just one mere individual is ultimately our role as people in a world where our contributions are interconnected and our time is limited.

I encourage everyone to join a movement in their community that peaks their interest- I guarantee you that people are working to create a more just society right now in your community and they could use your help- you voice, your power, your influence.

Democracy now on protest arrests:

Video from Brooklyn

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