Exhibition: Dawoud Bey: The Chicago Project
Exhibition: Group Portrait
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Exhibition: Dawoud Bey: The Chicago Project > Chris

Christopher Robinson
Dawoud Bey, Christopher, South Shore High School, 2003, Chromogenic print, Courtesy of the artist, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, and Gorney Bravin + Lee

Interview Excerpt

Audio: speaker (2.4MB mp3 file; 2 minutes)

I think I come off as a bad person, 'cause when I get around people I don't know I kind of ball up into a shell and don't really voice myself when I should, 'cause I'm so affected by what people think of me that I don't wanna, like, give them the stereotype of a young person my age. Stereotype would be: don't know nothin', probably ain't goin' to be nothin'.

Can I tell a story about what happened? Alright. One day, right, me and my cousins, we was riding in the car. We had pulled over to go over this girl's house, and we was sitting on the car and the police pulled up on us and they told us to get on the car or whatever, right, so we got on the car and everything. So further and further along they started asking us questions, and it's really making me mad because they're asking you questions but they're trying to see, like, if you're goin' say something dumb. But you're not really saying nothin' dumb, but they're depicting you to be dumb but you don't feel that you are dumb. So that's frustrating because if somebody think you're dumb, and you know you're not dumb you're gonna want to tell them, but the police, if you try to... you know what I'm saying... get out of line with them, they hit you or somethin', so really I kept my mouth shut.

But that's why black young people in America use rap as a voice for us, as people to put out... you know what I'm saying... 'Cause they have like certain messages. Like, people think all rappers is, "they're bad, they do bad stuff," but they'll tell you in their songs why they do bad stuff, like they had nothin' else to turn to, so that's the only way they can do it. But they tell you, like, "man, you shouldn't do it, because it's a bad thing and this ain't goin' lead to nowhere." Only reason they had to do it was 'cause it was the last choice they had to use. So that's why I think rap music is a big voice for us.