Location: Oakland, CA (St. Louis, MO raised)
Favorite vinyl record or throwback tune: "Much Better Off" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
We make everything look, sound and taste great. As a kid, I would visit my Aunt Pat’s crib, and find myself enthralled by the old photographs she had on display. The unfamiliar faces always left me intrigued. I would sit and listen to her narrate stories about my dad, his friends, and her husband’s family, all while gazing up at photos taken from the 40s through the early 90s.
In the photos, it was really the style, location backdrops, cars and attitudes that really grabbed my attention. I remember thinking, “Damn, I wish I was around back then!” Outside of old photos, my aunt had a lot of things. She wasn’t a hoarder per se, but she did have a lot of old furniture pieces and knick-knacks. It’s crazy to look back now and recall how I used to stare into her china cabinet, observing all her little black figures, pressing combs and those country ass brooms hanging on the walls, haha. But I loved all these things.
Growing up I didn’t realize how these things embodied our identities and experiences as individuals – and as communities. These items/artifacts have been in our family for years, passed down from one generation to the next. In these domestic/decorative objects is where I found my interest in collecting all things ‘Black.’ My house was the definition of Black. Plastic on the couch, Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X pictures hanging crookedly on the wall, and let’s not forget the photos of Black Jesus with locs. Even today, these images are still hanging on the wall, and the furniture still sits in the same exact place.
Black vintage to me is something that is both rich and priceless. When I come across old black literature, it’s not even a question about whether or not I’m copping it (because I am). Oh, and PLEASE don’t let it have a black person on the cover, because it’s mine before you even noticed it. I’m a photographer, so seeing photos spanning the 20th century damn near brings tears to my face. I almost feel obligated to search for black vintage goods whenever I get the chance. Some items are treasurers you can’t really put a price on. Some things just have a value that money can’t buy. I can write for hours about my passion for black vintage wares, but I’m going to stall y’all. It’s up to us to carry on the legacy our ancestors left us. To many, this is just a hobby, but to me it’s a never-ending lifestyle.
To check out Adrian's work, visit his website here + follow him on Instagram here.