10 December 2016, Motorhouse


a mile in these shoes
“I work with a lot of places around the country that nothing really exists yet, so the psychic mile that’s the longest one is to tell someone something is going to happen that has no evidence of its presence or even possibility”



love me, love my dog
“Dogs are so loving…they’re so attached, like, and loyal.  My roommates and I take care of him because I’m gone a lot.  I work, I’m a full time student, yada yada yada…they love him.  BUT, as soon as I come home, even if he’s in my roommate's room and the door is closed, he will cry until he can get to me, because that’s my baby.”




my hometown
“What I would like to see is an investment in the people, the people that were there...that they don’t get just...pushed out and get pushed away"



love me, love my dog
“The biggest thing that I like about my dog, that I love about my dog, is that he’s very much himself, and that really helps me to try to be myself in every facet of the word.  Biscuit, my dog... he doesn’t care about being himself.  If you’re sitting on the couch and he wants that chair, he doesn’t mind just jumping up on the couch right next to you, and kind of butting you out of the way, which when I came to college was a big thing that I had to think about.  A lot of people try to morph themselves to those surroundings, but in the end you're just morphing yourself into something you’re not.  And I think it’s very important, regardless of your surroundings, to try to be yourself.”


“It’s easier to be yourself, but you are constantly judged in this society.  Bathrooms: I’m terrified to use public bathrooms. I don’t know which one to use because it’s a big fuckin’ deal, and it shouldn’t be.”




love me, love my dog
“Every time I would come out, I would see Sammy Joe, and I would ask if I could come play with her in my neighbor's yard, and sometimes Sammy Joe, she would jump when I’m petting her–when she’s like out of the house–when I’m petting her she would jump and lick me on my face.”



what's in your wallet
“First night, celebrating...with my family...We’re gonna give back. We’re gonna, like, take a whole bunch of produce and food and give it to a community or a food desert or someone who needs it. We’ll spend the blessing of the business coming together for us giving it back to someone else”




my hometown
Jesus: "I think a hometown should be somewhere where people of all nationalities, people from anywhere in the world can be welcome; can live, can contribute, and just feel a sense of…being able to say, you know, I live here.  And I don’t have to worry about…safety, or I don’t have to worry about somebody coming after me.  So I think a hometown is a place where we can all come together...I feel it’s like becoming a big family."
Glenda: “I do feel that with my friends…They’re trying to make Baltimore my hometown.”



made by hand
“You know that the love that you’re going to be putting in it is going to be that result you get, and that’s something’s almost indescribable.”




a mile in my shoes
“…I have been abused in many ways; verbally, physically... emotionally, with ‘you’re never gonna be nothing, you’re never gonna do this, you’re never gonna do that’…but I never let that get to me.”


a mile in my shoes
“When my grandmother was a little girl, she was growing up in the the middle of World War II, so it was a tough time.  So her mother passed away when she was very young, and all that was left were the things in her closet.  And my grandmother found this pair of little black shoes with a wood black heel and...a crocheted rose on the front, and she’s carried those shoes with her her whole life.”



my hometown
“It used to be just a neighborhood of...elderly people living on a fixed income.  We used to go every Sunday.  My mother would put her vacuum cleaner in the car, and my mother and father and my two sisters and I would go my bubbe's house.  My mother would vacuum her little, tiny efficiency, which didn't take very long.  And then we'd go to the beach. ”



love me, love my dog
“I’m not a typical person with dogs, cats, anything like that. I’ve always been into birds since I was 8 years old, starting with basically what you would call “flying mice” up until now, parrots.”



the shirt off my back
“One thing I’ve gotta say is that to make it from point A to B, you never can give up on what you believe in.  You gotta keep fighting for what you believe in.  If you give up, then everyone around you is going to want to give up.  You have to shoot for what you believe in and what you trust.”





“It’s one of my biggest inspirations, actually. From that moment [my mother] realized, ‘this isn’t the move for me…  I don’t want this anymore’. Understanding that and seeing her tell the story and relive it as she was telling it, [I] really began to make sense of the sacrifices she had to make for me. It helps me artistically to know really where I’m from and why I was raised the way I was.”



singing in the shower
“I go by the saying, I think therefore I am.  So if you think you sound good, then you sound amazing.  Forget what other people say, if you know you sound good, because look at all the other people who have made careers out of not being able to sing. Literally there are people who are famous for not being able to sing.  So if you think you sound good that’s all that matters, my opinion doesn’t matter.  Nobody counts.”







“That’s why it’s interesting to me.  Because of whatever religious reasons, whatever kinds of traditions or rituals…that’s where I think public health gets really complex, because I’m always coming in as an outsider and I need to understand a lot more than just what makes for a good meal.”



my hometown
"The place where you are in your pivotal years leaves a permanent imprint on you...I certainly grew up in an area and around people who were struggling, and some of that was really taxing.  But I think some of that really deepens and emboldens you, and makes you appreciate what you have and what you can accomplish and who you can accomplish those things with.  So Baltimore taught me a lot about struggle, but also hope."



a mile in these shoes
“The sand was really white more than yellow and the sand was really soft as I said so you know when you walked...the sand kind of covered over your footprints and the sand kind of washed over your feet and it felt really good, it kind of felt like a little massage”


What’s your favorite thing about your dogs and cats?
“Sometimes, they snuggle me.”



what's in your wallet
“The most important thing in your wallet is your identification, your ID...because that’s what identifies’s who you are.  I lost my wallet, and that’s the incident that happens in my life once in awhile, but it happens in a stage where I’m lost and I’m trying to find myself.  And when I lose my wallet I happen to lose myself.  And a few months ago, I lost myself, and I’m in a stage where I have to find myself again.”


Do you ever feel like the musician side of you is battling with the visual arts side?
And how do you decide at the end of the day or when you wake up, ‘today I’m going to sing’ or ‘today I’m going to paint'?
"I usually go with the music side."



the shirt on my back
“My everyday life is an adventure, like, I’m always running into new things or figuring out new things or meeting new people, so I would say my everyday life is an adventure.”





“I think it’s tough, especially for a first generation immigrant. Because there was so much momentum that came into you–that came into me being here.”



“First: love yourself. Two: listen to others. And then three: by listening to others and loving yourself, you’re able to extend that love out to others.”



Photography, Video, and Audio Courtesy of Rafael Alvarez, Aiko Alvarez-Gibson, Les Gray, Kamari James, Tyjay Jenkins, Jim Mahjoubian, Terrence Nelson, Joe O'Hagan, Jessica Pettiford, Vonnya Pettigrew, Annette Porter, Gwen Richards, Vanessa Richards, Rae Ross, Marc Unger, Colette Veasey-Cullors, and Daniela Zapata