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Finalists selected for Black Light Project

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Finalists for the Black Light Project include, front row, from left, Brad Mitchell, Bobbie Clark, Paul Hines, Troy Davis and back row, from left, Christopher Cooper, Jah Murphy, Matt Gailliard, Yannick McLeod, Maurece Lewis and Brandon Lynch.

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From Contributed Reports

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fourteen members of the community have been selected to take part in the Black Light Project photography documentary that will be displayed at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences beginning in January 2020.

The Black Light Project, founded by Tonya Jefferson-Lynch, presents black men in a positive manner while shifting narratives that are often shared through media outlets.

Rocky Mount-area men were vetted for the project through nominations and interviews prior to the final selections.

JoSeth Bocook, Bobbie Clark, Chris Cooper, Troy Davis, Matthew Gailliard, Paul Hines, Kyle Johnson, Maurece Lewis, Brandon Lynch, Brad Mitchell, Jah Murphy, Tremaine McCalston, Yannick McLeod and Mike Wright will represent the area in the exhibit, which also will include on-camera interviews as well as voice recordings available on Ottocast.

Jefferson-Lynch said one of the things she admires about the subjects is their progression through life’s ups and downs.

Not everyone’s path to success is a straight line.

“This project isn’t about perfection, but it’s about the seasons that may include feeling unloved, loneliness, but also triumph and joy,” Jefferson-Lynch said. “Ultimately, it’s about the positive things you can learn and create from that.”

Black Light Project visual artists Bryce Chapman and Randy Curtis will photograph the subjects during individual sessions this fall.

“Typically, I portray the story behind the person,” Curtis said. “With African-American males, I want to portray their strength because typically in the media there are images of them looking disheveled or uncouth.”

With the aid of a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, artist renderings of eight Black Light Project subjects will be displayed on banners throughout the city beginning in the spring of 2020.

“Hopefully, this project will not only change the narrative but also inspire our next generation of leaders,” city of Rocky Mount Parks & Recreation Director Elton Daniels said.

For more information about The Black Light Project, visit theblacklightproject.org.

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