A Seat at The Round Table-2010

Words: Ouigi Theodore + Photography Marcqui Akins

We were young, eager to make a change and thought we were ready to change the world. Ten years later, we realized the world changed us more than we changed it. We didn’t ask the room where they saw themselves in ten years, I guess we were too busy thinking about making immediate changes. The room was not short of talent and eager visionaries, but our sense of time was short of experience. Yet 10 years later, I realize that we were all active in making a difference. We understood the power of coming together and creating our own table. At Least that’s what I had in mind when we gathered over 50 of us at The Brooklyn Circus NYc to speak about working together and making a difference. The follow up round table, where these professional portraits were shot by photographer Marcqui Akins was a bigger production. We took it more serious, we understood the magnitude of investing in the moment, the talent and therefore the future.

I rented Kai studio owned by on Dean street

We were clear that we wanted to build our own table and not fight for a seat at the table. With the recent death of congressman John Lewis who was one of the original Freedom Riders: 

Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated Southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Morgan v. Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which ruled that segregated public buses

I’m sure if you would have asked everyone in the room where they would be 10 years from the day of the event, their concept of success and growth would have been attached to a dollar amount, home size, popularity and hopefully a new family. But New York has a way of making you a professional chaser, with little time to really understand what wealth, success and family really is. 

Boys have become men, aspiring designers have become reputable photographers, young men have become activists, fathers, teachers and leaders in their community. None famous, none focused on money first but all very successful in their own rights.