I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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Ruddy Roye is a documentary photographer who was born in Jamaica and recently moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Cleveland, Ohio. His photos have appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Ebony, and The New Yorker’s Instagram account, where he shared his images of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. The man pictured on this month’s cover is a Brooklyn resident. Roye photographed him on Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
May 2020. A demonstrator at a protest in New York City.
November 2014. A chanting protester blocks the path of New York City police officers in Times Square.
September 2014. A New York City protester holds up a sign to ask the police a question.
December 2014. Twenty-year-old Robert Scott was one of the workers refurbishing the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi — an offbeat bed-and-breakfast with historical ties to the cotton industry. About the killing of unarmed Black men by police, he had this to say: “It’s messed up, but it’s nothing new. It is something that has been going on since the beginning of time. It will never get better; it will only get worse. It has to play itself out. We as Black people just need to prepare ourselves for anything. The police want to control us. If we object, we are penalized, and that’s just where we are right now.”
June 2020. Scores of Houston residents line the roadway to say their final goodbye to George Floyd as his casket makes its way to the grave site.
August 2014. Dante Newsome, a resident of Ferguson, told me that it could have been him instead of Michael Brown. “Why was he shot so many times? I am out here because I don’t understand. Why did Michael Brown lose his life so senselessly?”
June 2020. Nicole Harney said when she watched the video of how George Floyd had died under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin in May of this year, she broke down. “We’ve had enough. When I heard George Floyd cry for his momma, I thought about my son, and I knew I had to come out here in these streets. I could not stay on Twitter or any other platform. I had to come march outside.” Nicole and her son, Justin, are pictured here in front of a mural of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz — aka Malcolm X — and Harriet Tubman in Brooklyn, New York.
June 2020. A woman holds a candle at a Houston, Texas, vigil to honor the life of George Floyd.
August 2014. Members of Michael Brown Jr.’s family make their way to the church for his funeral service. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014. He was unarmed and eighteen years old.
My work is an attempt to show what it means to live in the struggle in places like South Carolina and Mississippi, and to document protests from Ferguson, Missouri, to New York City. I want to show the faces of those whose lives are spent in protest.