Justin Withers: "Whether we have a Democratic President or Republican president it makes very little difference"
This is not just a Black problem, writes the activist.
Justin’s story originally appeared in up + rising, a celebration of extraordinary Black voices, and is the first chapter of i-D's 40th anniversary issue (1980-2020).
i-D chronicled over 100 activists and artists, musicians and writers, photographers and creatives, in Atlanta, Baltimore, Minneapolis, LA, London, New York, Paris and Toronto.
“Whether we have a Democratic President or Republican president it makes very little difference. It’s not about any political party or organization, our fight doesn’t end with removing any one president or changing any one law.
This is not some new disease that is only now randomly plaguing our country. It’s a disease that has existed for hundreds of years and was put here purposefully. It is a carefully designed, beautifully executed disease of systematic oppression that aims to close every door of opportunity to those of us considered less than their white counterparts.
Our life, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness has been denied from the beginning. Black people have continuously screamed for the justice and equality that was promised, but now, even those whose skin keeps them safe from this oppression have joined the fight. Allies who use their privilege to amplify black voices make it impossible to continue ignoring the call for justice.
Now it is clear to all the world, this is not a “Black problem” this is a problem of humanity. We the people have united and we demand that our Country be held accountable, that it lives up to its promises, and that it fights to achieve the ideals it was built upon.
They’re scared because finally we the people can actually form a more perfect union. That’ll be the day when all Americans can be proud Americans.”
Photography Justin French
Styling Edward Bowleg III
Hair Suhailah Wali using JASS Products by Janel Sealy Smith.
Make-up Raisa Flowers using Pat McGrath Labs.
Lighting technician Tim Hoffman.
Styling assistance DeVante Rollins.
Make-up assistance Ashley Brignolle.
Production Casey Murphy.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Alexandra Antonova.