We beat our drums and dance to them. Your beat is methodical; My rhythm is fluid; We connect to our cores. Our dances, though different, are proof that our drums lead us to the same place. I am interested in telling ethnically specific stories with universally resonating themes. Whether my subject is Muslim women, an African American lesbian or black men, I am working from the premise that we are not simply what others see: we are all that we can grasp and hold together; and, if we look closely, we will see that we are grasping at the same things. My work explores the process of seeing through superficial cultural barriers in search of the commonality between individuals of disparate cultures. I am presenting evidence proving that we may find ourselves in one another, demonstrating that all of us are beating our drums and doing our dances.
I am participating in The Game Changers Project because it is an opportunity to profile black men in Pittsburgh who have a global perspective. I believe that sharing the stories of men committed to rebuilding, revitalizing and reimagining the black community in Pittsburgh is an invaluable exercise in responsibility. For instance, William Generett Jr., Esq.’s story intrigues me: from Shady Side to Morehouse to Emory Law to Japan to D.C. and back to Pittsburgh with an unwavering commitment to help others reimagine their lives and reach their full potential. To often, young black men in Pittsburgh know everything about the latest rapper who made his fortune after dropping out of high school and narrowly escaping a life of self-destructive violence, but know nothing about the community leaders, educators, executives and business owners who used education as the path to their fortunes. I hope that in telling the stories of men like Bill Generett, I am able to help a few knuckleheads see the world beyond their hood and reimagine themselves moving through the world dancing to the beat of a different drummer.