PHOTO OF THE DAY: Meet Queen Akilah Brown Bey Isra’el.

Yes, that was her name.  I had her write it down because I knew I wouldn’t remember it.

I have a bad memory when it comes to names, but I never forget a face.

Taken April 26, 2012 in Philadelphia, PA.

And I knew that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take some photos of this regal, stately woman.  I noticed (and heard her…notice the jingly bells on the scarf wrapped around her waist) at  the library several times prior to me approaching her, and I made up my mind that I was going to talk to her.

Taken April 26, 2012 in Philadelphia, PA.

And talk we did.

I’ve gotten into the mode of asking people “What’s Their Story?” to help put my subjects at ease while I’m shooting. Usually, I can learn a lot about people within a 5-10 minute time frame.

We talked for at least a half-hour. She claims I got her fired up. I take full responsibility for that!

She had a lot to say…I found in my year-plus of being here that most Philly natives are never short on words. A former community activist, she had plenty to say about crime in Germantown, the failure of public education to adequately prepare urban children for 21st century jobs, the dumbing down of jobs that don’t challenge people to think…the list goes on and on.

I was astonished to learn that she had 4 adult children and 19 grandchildren…and that while she was raising her family she was taking on a lot of social projects, often without the support that she could have benefited from.

What a familiar story…Black women have been carrying the community on their backs through their social activism, hard work, dedication and sheer determination since the story was written.  What gets neglected?  Usually our health and well being.

I didn’t ask her, but I suppose that is why she gets around on a cane now.

Yeah, her mobility challenges may slow her down, but she had enough fire and drama to strike a pose befitting a queen.

Taken April 26, 2012 in Philadelphia, PA.

Peace and blessings.


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