Category Archives: photography

The duo ‘Climbing PoeTree’ is art meets activism in its most powerful revelation

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These two young ladies “ALIXA + NAIMA are at the forefront of using art to speak, to inspire and to share thoughts on the state of affairs in the world at large.  They have inspired me for a few years now.  As a poet and mother of a young lady, I am thrilled to share the story of these immense artists with my daughter and those I come into contact with.  They epitomize exactly what we do here with NevahBlackDown, we use art to uplift and promote positive change.  They bring truth gloriously mixed with a passion that creates a template to be honored. (photos by Pablo Aguilar)

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“Creativity is the antidote for violence and destruction. Art is our most human expression, our voice to communicate our stories, to challenge injustice and the misrepresentations of mainstream media, to expose harsh realities and engender even more powerful hope, a force to bring diverse peoples together, a tool to rebuild our communities, and a weapon to win this struggle for universal liberation.”
– Alixa + Naima

“Over the last 13 years, Climbing PoeTree has infused our movements for justice with healing and imagination, inspiring thousands through their award-winning multimedia theater, dual-voice spoken word, visual art, sustainable touring, and community organizing. Co-creators Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman are cultural architects committed to reframing the story through multi-voice spoken word, hip hop, world music, and multimedia theater that translate deep research around the most pressing issues of our time into stunning artistry that catalyzes their audiences to activate the transformation they wish to cultivate within themselves and their communities.” Read and find out more about CLIMBING POETREE

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Climbing Poetry has just released their latest album “INTRINSIC” A must purchase for your music collection!

On 3/31/2017 Climbing PoeTree released a new collection of rebel-rousing anthems, bilingual ballads, and unconventional love songs. Backed by 33 world-class musicians, vocalists, and producers, Alixa and Naima’s impassioned lyricism propel 17 soulful compositions bridging electronic music and live instrumentation, combining hip-hop, spoken word, rock, blues, folk, and Afro-Latin beats.

Produced by the powerhouse music legend, Toshi Reagon, INTRINSIC features an incredible cadre of collaborators including Carolyn MalachiRising Appalachia, B Steady, Taina Asli, Arooj Aftab, Juliette Jones, Ayla Nereo and many more.

Check out the official video for ‘WE SURVIVED’

There is so much more to check out with these powerful young ladies.  I suggest a visit to their website CLIMBING POETREE

NevahBlackDown is proud of the profoundly positive and strong images these young ladies present to the world.  I hope they continue to speak up and share their gifts with the world!





Omar Victor Diop: Photography Unparalleled

I was pleasantly caught off guard by the power in these images.  I held my breath and failed to inhale.  I found my way onto Omar Victor Diop’s website by clicking a link from an article I read.  I was mesmerized.  The images are palpable, they seem to penetrate your aura and leave you wanting to come to terms with what Omar Victor Diop is trying to say.   Below is a small portion of his world that I (personally) find intoxicating.  The images are a part of a project called “LIBERTY” — read more below…

Omar Victor Diop was born in Dakar in 1980. Since his early days, Omar Victor Diop developed an interest in Photography and Design, essentially as a means to capture the diversity of modern African societies and lifestyles.

LIBERTY: A universal Chronology of Black Protest


Thiaroye 1944 


Selma 1965

Liberty recalls, interprets and juxtaposes moments of this Black protest differentiated by time, geography or size, placing them in the same chronology, that of a frantic quest for freedom.

Key dates abound; history of Black protest is rich, whether slave revolts, marches for emancipation and against apartheid movements for independence, or against police violence. Yet, very few think of a parallel between the chronology of protests on the continent and that of similar movements that have been initiated within the diaspora to concurrent periods …

The approach is allegorical, including the placement of symbolic elements, borrowed from the floral language. The tone of Liberty is not that of lamentation, but rather that of contemplation, solemnity, and celebration.

The series is currently at its finalization stage.


This work is necessary during our now time.  We can use these images to bring us into a conversation regarding the black struggle and black empowerment via a worldwide discussion.  Art speaks a language many can relate to.  It opens hearts and demands a creative soul to yearn for knowledge and answers.  Bravo! Omar Victor Diop.  Your work ignites a positive and powerful emotion resting in TRUTH!




Cisco Street Lenz Photography


It all started when I saw a few images on Facebook.  I kept watching after I had made a connection with his page.  He made a connection with my page and sent me a request to photograph me.  I was cool with that so we set a time and made it happen.  It was like a weekend or something and he came by in that part of the day when the sun was making its descent.  We didn’t have much time and I was on my way to Pasadena after we finished up!

We didn’t think we would get too much but so happens the photos were awesome!  We made a connection in person and a real friendship ensued.  We haven’t been able to shoot again – YET – we will again as we are in talks to.  Aside from all of that I can’t say enough about his style, and the way he captures the moment with such raw honesty.  His images are caught (lovingly) in this time where the image of our people need to be truthful and without stereotype.  He doesn’t always show what’s perfect, rather he serves us spirit! From behind his camera he is loving and brotherly.  He is a true California personality.  Also known as Angel Rodrigues. Check out his work!

Contact Cisco StreetLenz

A few of my favorites





streetlenzView more of Cisco Streetlenz work

By: Karen Gibson Roc