Hip Hop Work
Charcoal Pitch F.C. Mel D. Cole founded the first Black owned sports photography agency dedicated to creatively exploring soccer/football.
Heidi: In the forward to GREAT, Questlove symbolizes you with THE ROOTS. “I’ve heard music compared to many things. Some say it’s a game. Some say it’s hell. I say it’s a war. Photographers are correspondents in this war documenting every battle. Every step of the way. The invading Beatles had Harry Benson. Jenny’s Lens was the West Coast Punk scene’s eye. Run DMC & The Beastie Boys had Ricky Powell and the Roots had Mel D. Cole— or should I say Mel D. Cole had us?” – Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Mel: Yeah that obviously is HUGE! Questlove has been a big part of the reason I am where I am in my career. Without him I might be in a different place.
You have a history of documenting culture. This past week you documented a battle, what made this instance different for you?
It felt more like a war, an invasion. It was hostile, people died. That’s the major difference. That day was more life or death than any other day for me.
As always most of my safety issues come from the cops. I have not had any major issues with members of BLM or pro Trump supporters. The major difference is what each side is fighting for. Both side passionately want their side to win!
I came with goggles and a helmet. I left the helmet at the Trump rally. So to be honest I was not very prepared. But that won’t happen again. I ordered a gas mask and other items to make sure that I am ready for the next time.
No I kinda wing it. I go with the flow. I know having good manners will take you places and using a calm tone in my voice lets the person know I mean them no harm at all.
Did you ever feel threatened?
Yes. It was very scary at times.
What would you like your peers and viewers to know about this experience?
That there’s a human behind every photo that I captured that day and they all have stories to tell. Right or wrong, there’s a story and it’s important for history’s sake to continue to tell those stories.