Friday, January 20, 2017

“An American Experience” vs. “[The] American Experience” in Boston

I believe I defy every stereotype of a stereotypical black man. I seek knowledge, I am motivated, I am loving, and caring. I hope to really change the world and change the image or representation of a black man in America. And, I will do this by motivating young black men and teaching them that their life is as important as their counterparts. No matter what race, creed, or religion. ” — Reginald Fils, Entrepreneur, High School Student

"Black Brotha, I love ya, I will never - try to hurt ya
I want ya, to know that, I'm here for you - forever true
Black Brotha, strong brotha, there is no - one above ya
I want ya, to know that, I'm here for you - forever true” -Brotha, Angie Stone

Social Media is the place where an artist can display their unapologetic, revolutionary, and groundbreaking artistry. When I come across FLY and dope artist, especially my brothas, I make sure I follow them and Big Up their work because it takes creativity, patience, pride, courage, and they need their props. It hits home when I see a FLY Brotha from my hometown of Boston who have the courage to defy stereotypes of Black boys and Black Men, especially in the City of Boston through artistry of any kind. 

I am honored and privileged to showcase the work of Khabeer Sultan, a Brown Beau From Boston, and photographer out of Boston. "An American Experience" showcase Brown Beaus in Boston, that are positive role models, family men, students, leaders, yogis, musicians, entrepreneurs, professional Black men who are part of the African Diaspora, and doing groundbreaking work as Black men. 

Sometimes, we allow media, White Supremacy, self-hatred, and other factors deter us from seeing, supporting, and complimenting the work that our Brothas are doing for our community locally and globally. We often forget that we are in this thing together and we need one another to heal, love, and make this World a better place.

Bolivar Geraldo Jr., Computer Engineer

An American Experience Project Is A Celebration Of The Brilliance And Complexities Of Black Men And Men Of Color. After Viewing This Project You Will Leave With A More Transparent Understanding Of Who They Are. -K. Sultan, Content Creator and Photography of An American Experience
BGFB: Tell The Brown Girl Tribe about yourself? What’s your background?

K. Sultan: My name is Khabeer Sultan. I was born and raised in Boston. I began my photography career 4 years ago. In the beginning, I would look at the images that I was attracted to and thought I could recreate them. It took me a long time, many hours and practice finding out I wanted to photograph something completely different from what I originally set out to achieve. I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine who is also a photographer and telling him, “I will never photograph people”. He told me I would change my mind, but I didn't believe him at the time, and here we are today.

BGFB: What was the pivotal moment in your personal or professional life that birth “An American Experience”?

K. Sultan: Before I had the idea to start this project I always knew that I wanted to use my art to give voice to my community. I didn’t know how or what but there was a desire to do something for years to change the narrative of men of color in America. It wasn’t until I watched Ava Duvernays, “13th” that the idea came about to create a project to showcase men of color in a positive light. To tell their stories that often go untold. When the documentary ended I was left with a literal knot in my stomach. I felt compelled to immediately do something to help my community. There was specific a point in the documentary that spoke about the misrepresentation of Black men in America, throughout our history in this country. That really stood out to me. I think it’s amazing how powerful art when it’s used to convey a message.

BGFB: Which neighborhoods in Boston did you shoot in? Which photo shoot inspired you the most?

K. Sultan: I photograph throughout Boston and surrounding towns. The photo project isn’t exclusive to Boston, I plan to take make a visit to New York soon to photograph some gentleman that will be great additions to the project. I can take something from each photograph and find inspiration. I think that’s what is great about this project, it has allowed me to discover my own truth and learn more about men in my community. This project is multi layered, I think people who aren't of color will get a better understanding of who we are as men, and I believe men of color will also get a better understanding of who we are. Each man I have photographed has been an inspiration to me. I’m really honored and feel privileged to have met these men and being allowed to use my art as the vehicle to tell their stories. It’s a humbling journey.

Mike Massey, Yogi
BGFB: What are you communicating with “An American Experience”? What role does your photography play in The Post-Obama Era and The Upcoming Trump Era?

K. Sultan: I’m communicating honesty. When you read the quotes and jump back to the image, or vice verse, you are compelled to listen to the words of the men. We are complex, I don’t think we fit into one category as people, but many, our experiences shape us and it shows in this project. With President Obama leaving office and not knowing where the country is headed each individual who wants better for this nation has a responsibility to do better. What history has taught me and what it continues to teach me is that we can’t sit and hope for change without giving any effort to make a change. My photography is a vehicle to show a side of people you don’t often see, I think it will better our society even if only in a small way. If a young boy of color sees my project and is inspired by one of the men in the project that would be a success to me. A lot of children look up to sports players and actors who aren’t in reach when they have men doing great things in their neighborhoods that they can build relationships with.

BGFB: What are some future projects are you currently working or planning to work on?

K. Sultan: My entire focus is on this project at this moment. I have some ideas that I will pursue when the time is right, for now, there is where I am.

BGFB: What is next for “An American Experience”?

K. Sultan: I’m working on having a panelist discussion to include some of the men who have participated in the project, discussing some of their experiences with an audience. I am also working on gallery showings and getting this project in front of the eyes of young youth.

BGFB: What is one positive takeaway you want to share with the Brown Girl Tribe?

K. Sultan: When you really take the time to look within you will be amazed at how much you have to give.

BGFB: Let the Brown Girl Tribe know how they can support you and spread love to you and “An American Experience”?

K. Sultan: You can support “An American Experience” by sharing the project via social media and my recommending men who would be a great addition to the project. The more we are all involved the stronger our voice will be to change the narrative.

Brown Girl Tribe make sure you go and support our Brown Beau From Boston, K. Sultan!

K. Sultan Social Media and Website:
American Experience on Twitter: @KSultanPhoto
American Experience on Instagram:

*The title of the project is “An American Experience” vs “[The] American Experience”
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