As a first-generation American born in the U.S. to parents from Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, I am a product of cultural hybridity. My art investigates how traits of indigenous African cultures such as Mende and Bubi (my ethnic heritage) have transformed and shape-shifted within the African diaspora.
When I began my photography career in 1993, New York City hip-hop was where I pointed my lens. I knew that this golden era of hip-hop was important. Understanding the power of my focus, I documented every moment that I could.
In 2006, I became aware of a hip-hop scene growing in Accra, Ghana. My love for the culture and curiosity of what I call a spiritual cipher made me want to investigate. I say spiritual cipher, as I think of hip-hop as a symbolic shape-shifter, using coded language and syncopated rhythms rooted in West African cultures, such as Mende. Magical is how hip-hop travels back home in a new way, coded for receiving ears who become inspired to create something fresh.
In 2008, I began a ten-year journey of documenting hip-hop, Afro-Pop, and urban youth culture in Accra (Ghana), Bamako (Mali), Dakar (Senegal), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Johannesburg (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), Freetown (Sierra Leone), and Lagos (Nigeria). No Wahala, It’s All Good: A Spiritual Cypher within the Hip-Hop Diaspora is a representation of this cultural connection between Africa and its diaspora.