June 1, 2010

Chasing the Dream

Canon EOS 7D | Canon 35mm f/1.4 | Available Light
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This is a emcee named Troubel. I'm not sure if I'm spelling that right, although I should know on account of I have his CD. Somewhere.

A couple of months before I took this photograph, I stopped by the Starbucks on Woodward and Mack. As I approached the counter to order a small coffee (I always ask for a "small", not a "tall" because I refuse to use Starbuck's cup size cult nomenclature) the young man pictured above called out from the de facto CD market he tended on a tabletop directly across from store's cash register.

"Yo. You support Detroit hip hop?"


Of all the things I hate in life, there probably aren't many things I hate more than being asked questions by strangers.

No, I don't have 37 cents for the bus. Yes, I am paying cash for these groceries*, and no, I don't want to buy your gat damn rap album.

Not usually, at least.

I told my man that I don't usually buy CDs from strangers, but I was willing to make an exception because he was lightskinned and us lightskinned coloreds would never rise again if we didn't stick together. Word to Christopher Williams, son.

Since this encounter was pre-The People of Detroit, it didn't occur to me at the time to take his photograph. However, since starting the project, Troubel has been on my mind as a potential addition to the project.

So when I stopped by Starbucks on May 15th, I told him about the project and asked if I could make his portrait - being that I supported Detroit hip hop and all.

He didn't remember me until I reminded him that I purchased his CD because he was light skinned like me. Which proves my belief that the best way to leave an impression on people is by saying stupid shit to them.

Before making this photo, I took the time to talk to Troubel. He said that he was excited to be doing a short tour of Michigan with a few well-known local rappers. He said he felt the tour was evidence that his tireless hustle was paying off in some small way.

He also confided that his tireless hustle was negatively impacting some of his personal relationships.  Some of the people in his life wanted him to spend more time with them and less time chasing his dream.

If I could talk to his people I would tell them this: When people have a urge to create, they will never be at peace unless they are doing so. Try not to resent their passion. Try to support and admire it.  After all, it takes a lot of gumption to ask total strangers to buy your sight-unheard rap CD.

Kinda like it takes alotta gumption to ask strangers to take their picture.


So, if you are ever at the Starbucks  on Mack and Woodward, drop some digits for Troubel's CD. Even if you're not light skinned.

[View the weekdaily blog and meet more of: The People of Detroit ]

*ask a friend from the hood.


Princess Pika said...

OMG, this crap is hilarious. Seriously!!! Light skinned!!! Noah you say some crazy shit but I think this ridiculous sarcastic offensive humor is going to get you somewhere. I mean it is the way of the world today right lol

A. said...

"Of all the things I hate in life, there probably aren't many things I hate more than being asked questions by strangers."

ohh - the irony

Tafari said...

Im not all that sure that I could support a light skinneded rapper. Just saying.

They never look hard enough.

Princess Pika said...

Yeah it depends on who the stranger is asking the question. I'm shallow so you have to be cute, professional, or charming...lol

Oh and T.I. look hard enough for me and Common I guess is caramel so whatever I love them both lol

Warped Mind said...

I love your photography and the connection to your subjects.

Unknown said...

Ok Noah as I mentioned to you before your People of Detroit project has become part of my daily routine, but i have never had the urge to comment, this one however I can not resist... you called one of you past subjects a straight fool but that is exactly what you are!....LMAO at your story and the portrait is amazing as well...

The People of Detroit said...

New 2 This:
:) I can't help myself.

I guess I should have been specific: I dont like being ask for money or being asked if I would like to buy a CD or EBT card by strangers. You can ask to take my photos all you like. Matter of fact, Imma ask my self to take a picture of myself at some point :)


Thank you so much!

Rasheedia :
I have to admit, I do like to laugh. :)

mallit18 said...

Love it! Hilarious! I literally laughed out loud..several times! No really I did.