Saturday, June 30, 2007

Two Steps Away Break Dancers at Dupont Circle on Friday evening, 22 June 2007

After attending the Herb White Memorial Service at the Friends Meeting House on Friday evening, 22 June 2007 I headed to Dupont Circle in connection with my ongoing Friday Nights in Washington DC series.

As I entered the Circle at its north side, from Connecticut Avenue, I observed two Metropolitan police officers several yards in front of me walking in the same direction as I.

At a distance I could see and hear a group of black males in the process of 'break dancing'. I wondered if the police officers were rushing to the fountain to instruct the black males that they could not perform. As had been the case just a few days before when a cop car pulled up to the overpass at Dupont Circle North and told three young black males who I was in the process of videotaping playing New Orleans jazz that they could 'toot their horns' at that location.

In a similar way that I take pictures of windows that shop keepers will run out into the street and demand that I not take pictures. Or that people on the street will follow me up and down the street watching my every move and sometimes will demand to know "what are you photographing?".

As a black male photographer I am very famiiar with such discrimination since it is something that I encounter each and every time that I photograph. Not only in Dupont Circle but throughout the country in the course of my travels. And, in several cases, cops and security guards have demanded that I show them my ID.

Though the police did not instruct the group of black males to leave - the way that they stood watching was not unlike the way that I had been treated moments before by many who attended the Herb White Memorial.

After video-taping and photographing the group of black male 'break dancers' I handed them my card and said that I would post the images to flickr and upload a video to You Tube.

From New York City, Two Steps Away Dancers include Ross from Brooklyn and Sham, Chubs and Alex from the Bronx. Contact information is Stella, their Manager, at 347-365-8903 or

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