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Concrete Runway

[whitespace] Selamawit Mekonen On the Haight

Photos and Text by Elana Koff

Name: Selamawit Mekonen

Age: 22

What are you wearing today?: Pretty much everything I'm wearing is from Haight Street, except my jewelry, which I pick up at flea markets.

What do you do?: I'm an artist. I paint, sculpt, make jewelry and body paint. Myself and three other artists--Nina, Starr and Shanta--have started an organization called Black Berry Revolution. The collective manifests love, respect and unity in the black community, especially in the artist community. We started it out of a need to find and unify black artists. We gather people together and feature poetry, music, spoken word, paintings, etc. And we give people a forum to meet and network with other artists who are creating but don't have appropriate representation.

I'm an African woman who grew up in Europe and currently lives in America. There is no grouping for me. I don't have to make ethnic art. I don't have to compromise my art in order to make it. We participate in political activism if there is a need for it. Black Berry Revolution is about changing people's awareness and consciousness on a deeper level.

For more information on Black Berry Revolution, call 415/621-6860.

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From the July 13-26, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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