I would not have revisited the 42nd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival had it not been that I wanted to pick-up two official 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival tee-shirts (one for Richard and the other for me). Which after much searching over the past two seasons I have not been able to locate at its Folkways online store.
In the past I have visited the Festival a number of times during each summer season, this year, as a result of the 25 June 2008 incident which was not unlike similar incidents in 2007, 2006 and 2005 nor incidents that I experience when documenting the annual National Police Week, Race For The Cure or the various GLBT Pride events ... I purposely did not document the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival nor the Independence Day Parade.
Returning home after my 4 July 2008 photo walk through Dupont Circle and along P Street I ran into a lady who lives in my apartment complex that mentioned that she was just getting in from an almost nine hour day of volunteering at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival's Market Place. It was during that conversation that when I inquired if the tee-shirts were available online that she informed me that they were not.
It was then and there that I decided that I would revisit the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on Sunday, its closing day, to pick up a couple of tee-shirts.
I'm almost sure that my Sunday visit would not necessarily have been an 'in your face' direct action' had I not received the email that I did from a white man whose book I am in the process of reading who tried to tell me that, perhaps, my perspective about racism is not what it is.
And, as I subwayed to the Festival I reflected on my experiences over the past 40 some years when others had tried to convince me of the exact same thing. Only to realize years later that what I had expressed or suspected at the time that it was or was not was more true than the lies or misconceptions that they had misled me to believe.
So, as I captured The Original Soul Invaders performance on the Dancehall Stage at the 42nd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival closing day in a similar way that I captured opening day, not only was that email reverberating through my thoughts so was the incident that had occurred on opening day.
Here is the video.