DANGER. When I walk into your sight you see a 5foot 1inch girl. What do you think? She’s small. When you first encounter me, what do you hear? She’s quiet. Truth is when you first meet me, I’m sensing who you are; waiting to see if you are ready to handle my Danger. My personality is bold. Like a firecracker I am compact, but explode into beautiful light. I’m vocal, confident, and quick. My movements expel power and express my passion. When dancing I feel in my element. When on stage, I do the unpredictable. No one can touch me. I am unique, crazy, and fierce. I may look small and innocent, but really I am an unstoppable force. I’m not afraid to try new things even though my physique may appear tiny. I am fearless and extreme. Size does not define my strength. It’s my enthusiasm and unexpected capabilities that make me dangerous. My range is bigger than you think. The word in me is Danger.
BLOOM. Isolation was a dedication; neglect, several times a day, isolate to focus. A family can be so distant but live in the same place; barely speaking without uproar or rage. Trust becomes irrelevant, happiness goes astray. Always the problem, becoming self-centered to get away. Blooming my own way without him, them or they. Building a wall blossoming for me, myself yes her. The petals grow at a rhythm, tuned only to me. Following different dreams, budding from different seams; I am a garden unlike any other. Taking phrases, uses of language, figures of speech and words I grow and inspire the most beautiful creations that burst into flowers full of meaning. A rock beneath the sand, a zebra in the jungle, an elephant on an island, a rose sprouting in the middle of a dirt road. I am the unexpected. Blossoming before I bloom, blooming after I blossom.
BEAT. A central role in both music and the body, it sets tempo and life, a rhythm, a heartbeat. I am in motion, even when I am calm my mind runs. I love soccer, goalkeeping, communicating, being part of a whole in particular. Being on a field in the sun, moving, running, getting my heartbeat to race connects me to myself. It’s an art form of its own to me. Music also plays a very important role to me in art. The performing arts are what until this point I’ve been comfortable with. I have played the flute for almost seven years, solo, in small ensembles, and in larger concert bands, letting the beat of my instrument connect me to the rhythm of others. I have performed with community theaters in operas and musical theater. I have had trouble sitting still exploring visual and written art forms. Beats and rhythms keep me on task, moving me towards the larger piece, the overall project. A beat is at center, it’s the big picture. This is what I work for. I am a loud person, I share and I contribute, but also I see the goal. This summer I’m working to contribute to the beat of our project with energy and movement. I want to try new forms of art, changing the beat I know and expanding what I am capable of.
OUT. I’ve always been very outgoing when it came to trying something new, from trying new foods to being a social butterfly. When it comes to group meetings I am empathetic as well as outspoken. I am not afraid to be the source of energy when my peers are dying out. I always have an idea to put out on the table if there is ever a block amongst my colleagues. I am known for having displaying different personas, while I am working on our group project; busting out into dance moves to keep energy flowing. There are also times during the day I will break out into Krump moves because I am doing something called “Labbing” which is coming out with a new move, style, or element. My ability to be so passionate about my work is outstanding to others however in my reality I am simply out.
DREAM. My dreams influence everything I do. My mother had a stroke when I was just 6 years old. She was in the hospital and I dreamed. I dreamed that my mother and I were playing in a beautiful garden; gates with vines twirling on them, flowers blossoming where we walked, faeries dancing and singing, all types of colors, and a pond where mermaids swam close to say hello…my mother was there with me through it all. My dreams are a support but they also feed my ideas. I dream to create. Sitting down I let my mind wander over every idea possible, exploring details that go with them. When I begin to write my short stories turn to novels and my words turn to poetry. At night, I sleep, my eyes close, and colors pop into contrasting pictures both faded and real. When I wake, whatever the project or assignment is it is those dream images that inspire my work.
COLLECTED. I am a collection of people, places and past experiences that impact my life and art. The feeling of my art is from the cool, collected, put together nature of Cambridge, but also from my collected personality. When I’m in the water I am a part of a team, a collection of people. Swimming has taught me that being an individual is also the same as being a part of a whole group. The collective group feeling is something that everyone can benefit from in our work this summer. Each person in our group is like a raindrop. Our collection of raindrops forms a pool. We all add our skills to make the pool wider. I can bring my analytical and drama skills to add to the whole. When I’m on stage I can keep collected and fight the nervousness, but also bring a unique character to my work. My visual art is collected; clean cut with texture and color in my brush strokes. I will bring this understanding of what is visually pleasing to the group. Everyone has something unique about themselves that makes us a rare collection.
IMPULSE. “This isn’t drum line.” That’s what my teacher told me when I would take two pencils and make beats that came off the top of my head. Besides talking, Beats are the other way I express myself, I’m tapping all the time. It’s an impulse I can’t control, I just do it. I don’t want to be the same as everybody else, I just want to be me. In our group, people can look at me and not be scared to be who they are. I act crazy, my emotions run the extremes. But my crazy is really happy. I can make people laugh when they’re down or having a bad day. Right now, I can follow my impulses because I’m only going to be a kid once. When I was little I made so many careless mistakes, I didn’t think through anything. I did what came to mind. Sometimes that’s bad, but I feel like that’s life: if I do something that bad then I must learn from it and life is about learning from your mistakes. But as I get older, I need to change this. I can’t always be the kid who just jokes around, plays around, has no respect for adults: people will think I never grew up. My life is going to reflect on high school. Now, I’m learning control. There’s a difference between friends and adults. It’s hard to believe, but I feel more quiet when I’m alone. I’m controlling when to act how I act, and in front of adults how not to act. I can use my impulse creatively, letting my beats out with control. I want to take a drumming class next year and put my motion to use. When I turn my impulses positive, in the future I’m going to be a well-respected man.
CONCEALED. I’m concealed. To some I may seem shy or withdrawn but really I am keeping my thoughts and passions concealed. I hold my shine within. I consider my mind and heart to be precious. I protect them, holding back their power until I feel like unraveling. The brilliance within me glows. It is powerful like an electric flow through my body. Only those I connect with and feel comfortable with can experience that profound deepness in me. Through my concealment my presence is like two open arms, approachable to those who are looking to see what’s really in me. I reflect back on my life experiences, re-living the emotions and the moments, the hurt, the love, the joy, the memories. All that I have been through has caused me to stay hidden behind the crowd, rather than putting my heart on the table. When I am on stage I feel comfortable letting my emotions free, through the movements in my body, I am no longer concealed. I am safe in my expression and aware of my power. I am concealed because I choose to protect the force within me.
SPECTRUM. I visualize to understand. Speaking too fast as a child I often found myself drawing to be understood; a snowman crying in the rain to express my sadness. Using colors, a spectrum, to see and express my world. I listen. I pay attention. I want to hear the invisible echoes, the ones I missed when I used to have trouble paying attention. Now I tune into a spectrum of sound. I think. When I was young I could not speak or make noise. I could not express outwards, so I had to turn in, take what I observed and keep it to myself – learn to comprehend it on my own – absorbing a range of information and constructing knowledge. All of these things are a part of my spectrum and I project them in all that I do.
LENS. You’re walking down the street trying to make it to your destination, wherever that is, you don’t see what is present around you. Your mind is caught up about what’s going on in your own life and what comes next - I take the concept of life into my own hands. I consume my time with technology; I go around taking photos of life. Everything has a meaning and scenery means a whole lot more than a photo of a person. If people only see other people and not everything else, they are not seeing the big picture. Some people can’t see so they know what’s going on by listening to their surroundings. They don’t just here peoples words when they walk down the street; they can hear the sound of birds, wind, car engines and more because they have to be conscious of their setting. Using your senses for more than focusing on yourself is what I am about - tuning into the beauty of life placed right in front of me for me to observe. I capture with my lens.
MOTIVATION. I’m walking motivation. Born and raised in Haiti, along the way, life’s mishaps occurred and repeated. I am a motivated man, never defeated. I came to America when I was near ten years old. I left my mom in Haiti with two little brothers. I moved to Medford, MA with my Dad along with my older brother Danny. I found it hard to adapt to this new style of living – electricity, paved roads, perhaps I would not have to push so hard. I started thinking differently. I left the struggle, but it came back. I was not always treated right by one of the most important figures in my life: fridge is empty, no food to cook. That’s life. I had to adapt. Had to stay motivated. He left, went to New York, scrambling for change, tears trembling. Thinking… that’s what I was going through in Haiti, why not go back...hard days: I seemed odd to most, but my thoughts were caged. No friends, nobody to talk to; this isn’t the right place. But I got older, I flipped to a new page: I’m walking motivation in all ways.
MYSTERY. Since I like to tell jokes and I’m funny people think that I don’t take school work seriously. People also think I’m a mystery because I’m usually shy around new people but I don’t look like I’d be shy. I don’t say much. When I get to know them better I start talking to them more. I’m a mystery to myself sometimes because I don’t know all that I like to do or what I’m good at, but as I get older I figure it out. For example, I didn’t know that art would be so interesting and that I’d like it. The MY CITY MY VOICE project is helping me become a better artist, helping me discover an art side of me and helping me understand art better. Some of my mystery is still there, but some things like my art are becoming clearer.
CORE. The (C) in CORE is for confidence; I believe in myself and trust myself down to the core. I am emotionally, physically, and mentally strong; I can overcome any task that comes my way: big, medium, or small I am the core. The (O) in CORE in is for obscured; underneath it all I’m what keeps our community whole - loyalty and well grounded – I am centered as an individual but know that every voice counts and in unison we are complete. Mind-strong and faithful - here for my peers - they all can depend on me I am their back bone: I am the core. The (R) in CORE is for respect; I give respect so I earn respect from others - open minded and straight-forward – I speak my mind because I am the core. The (E) in CORE is for energetic; inside of a plain room I pop - you feel my presence - my energy stands out. Breathtaking, helpful and caring - I am delicate but not fragile; strong as the core; center of soul, that special little spark: I am the core.
MEASURED. In everything that I do; whether it be school related, social or art; I go at it with varying levels. Before high school I was full of art. I took classes at the Boston MFA in fine arts and comic-booking. As I entered high school my artist identity started get diluted by other interests, and I stopped creating. That was short lived. By my junior year my need to create pushed me into studio art classes, where my teacher permeated me with art and creation. In my senior year I completed my high school’s Advanced Placement art program; where I created a vast portfolio of work. I believe that life needs moderation. Throughout my art and my life, I measure everything to the amount I see fit. I tend to think things out and form my opinion from there. And I will not reveal too much of myself before the time comes. In art I apply a varying, but deliberate, amount of precision and clarity depending on the message I want to relay. As a participant in My City, My Voice my time is measured. I am only working with the group for two weeks; though short lived I have learned some of what it takes to make art in the community. I hope to take what I have learned and add it to my future work.
LAYERED. There are many sides to me. I chose to show a few. They see an athlete, but that’s what I want them to think. I don’t open up completely – I stay stacked – they stay one layer deep. Check deeper – I’m academic: school is a priority. I make people laugh and they stop there; one layer deep. They’ve never seen my rhythm or my hands on the piano or my loyalty to my friends: keep peeling. Layer upon layer. My family commitment – a profound dedication. Even I don’t know how many layers there are. In my art, all of these layers play a role, show themselves in different ways, but there no matter. In my art my layers come out and new layers are discovered.
DIAMOND. On stage I am a small diamond, with a shine like the sun’s rays. When people walk by me I sparkle. I have taken the black coal of the world, processed it using my style and grace, to become radiant beauty to their eyes. Deep within the cavern of my heart I nurture my unyielding strength. My art is my anger, my rage, my love, my soul; facets that trickle out of my lips in song. My voice is rare, hidden, and hard to find. When I sing, notes glisten from deep inside; illuminating the world around me. My story is long. It’s evolving from the pressures of the earth, transforming into something precious and desired; extraordinary.
BRING. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I bring something to the table. Living in a flat in Bangkok, Thailand and studying in monasteries in Tibet I brought the curiosity to learn that my grandmother and mother instilled in me since birth. Finishing my degree in Mexico I brought a passion for justice in all my work, pushing for equity through my writing and speaking. Teaching in Boston I brought heart to youth that had been in and out of lock-up offering them opportunities that were often denied. Teaching in New Mexico I brought the unique perspective of one who fostered the entire student, impelling youth to question how their actions touch the world. Now, in My City, My Voice I bring everything that Cambridge has taught me and I return with everything I have learned in an effort to unite and bring together multiple perspectives to shape this community through art and communication.