There’s more to Staten Island than ‘Mob Wives’ and Wu Tang Clan

Photographer Glenna Gordon, no stranger to AIAC, is working on a new project in Staten Island, home to the largest population of Liberians outside of Liberia. I asked her if I could publish some of the work here. You can view the full set here. She also sent this note:

Most New Yorkers still think of Staten Island as working class Italian, but mainly due to the huge influx of West Africans from Liberia, Guinea, Ivory Coast and elsewhere, the black population of Staten Island has grown by 12 percent in the last decade. It’s hard to say how many Liberians and others live in Staten Island since many people haven’t sorted their immigration status. But there are plenty-o. I’m now splitting my time between New York and West Africa, and I’ve started a new photo project on Staten Island. I first went out there for a visit in mid-April. I attended a meeting of the Staten Island Liberian Community Association, which was a mix of formalities, community news, and a very loud argument between two old ma conducted in rapid fire Liberian English. I was invited to come back and photograph a special mother’s day program a couple of weeks later. And that’s how I found myself riding a white stretch limo around Staten Island on a Saturday night with a group of old Liberian ladies dressed in their fanciest lapa. I’m excited about working in New York for a change, and where this project might go.


Further Reading

An unfinished project

Christian theology was appropriated to play an integral role in the justifying apartheid’s racist ideology. Black theologians resisted through a theology of the oppressed.

Writing while black

The film adaptation of Percival Everett’s novel ‘Erasure’ leaves little room to explore Black middle-class complicity in commodifying the traumas of Black working-class lives.

The Mogadishu analogy

In Gaza and Haiti, the specter of another Mogadishu is being raised to alert on-lookers and policymakers of unfolding tragedies. But we have to be careful when making comparisons.

Kwame Nkrumah today

New documents looking at British and American involvement in overthrowing Kwame Nkrumah give us pause to reflect on his legacy, and its resonances today.