SAM COMEN PHOTOGRAPHY
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Black Lives, Many Colors

On October 14, 2017 the group White People 4 Black Lives staged a benefit for Black Lives Matter that brought together leading activists and actors to perform historically significant speeches (i.e. Sojourner Truth, Malcom X, John Brown) in front of an audience of over 300 people in West Adams’ McCarty Memorial Church. The audience included family members of those killed in police confrontations and in correctional custody. 

The event made me aware that activists of all backgrounds with disparate priorities have rallied to the Black Lives Matter message, and are organizing and fundraising in support of the movement. Because, of course, the issues that Black Lives Matter takes-on are not Black-only issues.  

I was compelled to portray the diverse individuals who are coming together in this fractured political climate to stand up in recognition and rejection of systemic racism. To do that, I built a temporary on-site photographic studio that allowed me a sitting with each activist or allied actor in the moments before and after their performance. I set out to make honest photographs with my subjects to foster strong, empathetic connection to the viewer. My intention is to celebrate each of these individuals, amplifying their work for racial justice. My hope is that this will show the plurality of voices that have coalesced behind the Black Lives Matter movement, and in turn, will contribute to tolerance and understanding in the United States today. 

Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors

Co-founder of Black Lives Matter

Sahar Pirzada & Traci Kato-Kinyama

Sahar Pirzada & Traci Kato-Kinyama

Organizers of Vigilant Love, a community against Islamophobia

Rev. Eddie Anderson

Rev. Eddie Anderson

Pastor of McCarty Memorial Christian Church

Sheri Foster Blake

Sheri Foster Blake

Actor, Black Lives Matter supporter

Jon Huertas

Jon Huertas

Actor, Black Lives Matter supporter

Bellamy Young

Bellamy Young

Actor, Black Lives Matter supporter

Dahlia Ferlito

Dahlia Ferlito

Co-founder of White People 4 Black Lives

Sheri Graves

Sheri Graves

Mother of Shaylene Antoinette Graves, who was found dead in a correctional facility where she was a prisoner in San Bernadino, California in 2016

Trisha Michael

Trisha Michael

Sister of Kisha Michael, killed by Inglewood, CA police in 2016

Robert Wisdom

Robert Wisdom

Actor, Black Lives Matter supporter

Bamby Salcedo

Bamby Salcedo

Latina Transgender speaker and activist

Matt McGorry

Matt McGorry

Actor, White People 4 Black Lives organizer

Melina Abdullah

Melina Abdullah

Lead organizer of Black Lives Matter - Los Angeles, professor of Pan-African Studies Cal State LA