Maia Truesdale-Scott: Blog en-us (C) Maia Truesdale-Scott (Maia Truesdale-Scott) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:01:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:01:00 GMT Maia Truesdale-Scott: Blog 74 120 Blog 8 Masculinity  


Over the last couple of months we have been inundated with rhetoric that reinforces racism and misogyny.  I could go on for days about the enormous weight it is to be female and the blatant inequality in the home, work place and justice system, but I’ve realized how we define musicality is a stem if not the root of the problem .“Toxic Masculinity” is a byproduct of negative and hateful ideologies in reference to manhood.  I felt it was essential that I touch upon this because it affects both genders in a harmful way. The question then becomes how do we define masculinity? 

If we limit femininity to weakness, vulnerability, and nurturing we miss the mark the same way we mislead ourselves by defining masculinity as macho, aggressive and brute strength. I find these characterizations to be periscopic of another time and less reflective of our society as a whole.

As a woman looking in, I see positive attributes of maleness in the adjectives of compassion, encouragement and mentoring. Though it may not technically be my place to offer alternative definitions, I feel we must start somewhere to reclaim a more accurate and positive meaning to masculinity. Current definitions of maleness fail to mention the importance of societal roles, familial or communal relationships and their respected responsibilities. In addition, there is largely no discussion of the positive roles such as leaders, protectors, warriors, peacemakers, and teachers.  Granted some of these qualities and roles are shared between the genders, but it’s the subtle beauty of how we enact and contribute to society that celebrates our differences.

I’ve been privileged to be in the company of men who truly embody manhood. These men come from different walks of life, different ethnic backgrounds and are of different ages but all share the positive qualities of masculinity. Part of my goal, when I embarked on this photographic journey was to highlight these positive male attributes within the Black community and to show the depth, strength and even vulnerability of these men. Some of the photographs were meant invoke a specific emotion where others are small glimpses of gentle interactions and relationships.  These photographs are meant to be a challenge to our perceptions of maleness and also a reminder that we are more then what we are defined as. It’s my belief that it is essential in this current climate to reevaluate or remove some of those old classifications and not be afraid to define our roles and ourselves differently.  

 By reclaiming our right to define masculinity and the roles associated with it we show our young men what is expected of them, how they should interact within our society, treat members of the opposite sex,  and that they are worthy of respect. As women, we benefit because it sets a higher standard and requires a certain level of responsibility from our men. No longer should we accept the “boys will be boys” attitude, we expect our boys to become men.

(Maia Truesdale-Scott) Black Men Masculinity Toxic Masculinity Wed, 26 Oct 2016 19:54:44 GMT
A Simple Prayer  

As we watch our children play,

 we pray.

As we hear the song of their laughter,

 we pray.

As we witness the sun’s rays shining through their smiles,

 we pray.

Through sequences of setting suns and rising moons

we pray our children bloom

 and are allowed to grow to their fullest potential,

not to die over something inconsequential.

That they are judged by their character and the sincerity of their heart

not by senseless violence should we part.

Their identities were shaped long ago

by our ancestor’s visions and thou

they are but children they live it such a time of woe.

Where playing while black, brown and red

can result in them ending filled with lead.

How are we to explain society’s shame

that the hue of their skin could still, Today,  result in innocent pain?

As we walk along the threshold of time

 seeing the past and present only separated by a fine line.

Where those who swore to protect

Turn away in neglect

or select their view of our children’s worth

and feel it’s their right to return them to Mother Earth.

We chose to pray every day in every way

for the salvation of the ones that lay and the ones that slay.

We pray

to find common ground and re-educate minds

to look forward and leave hate behind

We pray

We pray

We pray

 ~ Maia Truesdale-Scott

(Maia Truesdale-Scott) Tue, 18 Oct 2016 15:17:32 GMT
Blog 6 Brotherhood Brotherhood


I felt it was important to have images of black men together. Not in a confrontational way but in a natural way. Words like brotherhood, camaraderie, friendship, or cooperation are rarely associated with black men in our society. 

The above photograph is of members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.  The men featured hold many roles and titles including; teacher, coach, photographer, business manager, social worker and film maker.  In their communities, they work as mentors to Black youth, support local food banks and a sponsor a host of charities. On a national level, the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity support “Bigger and Better Business, Education and Social Action.”  It’s important to note whether their work is local or on a national platform they work on projects together and support each other.

I asked these gentlemen to pose for me because they represent positive attributes of Black malehood and Black brotherhood. Random every day images of Black men socializing, discussing issues, laughing and enjoying each other’s company are seldom published or sent through the media pipeline.  I would wager these images aren’t often seen not because they don’t exist but because they don’t support negative sensationalism.  Black communities are plagued with terms like “Black on Black” crime but seldom do we hear dialogue on “White on White” crime.  One wonders why that is.

Negative depictions of Black men are commonly seen through a variety of media outlets without being questioned or providing any counterbalance. Due to these irresponsible delineations the general public is exposed to a distorted representation of men of color. Are we to think Black men don’t ever get along? Or that the only way they communicate is with violence?

The men featured contradict common myths about men of color, not only are they professionals and businessmen they are also “Every Day” men.  African Americans who are not exceptions to what we see through the media’s slanted lens, but in fact the reality.    

(Maia Truesdale-Scott) Black Black Brotherhood, Brother Brotherhood Fraternity Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Positive Positive Image of Black Men, Positive Image of Men Mon, 26 Sep 2016 14:53:11 GMT
Blog 5- Moment of Silence Moment of Silence


After learning of the deaths of two more black men at the hands of police, I literally had to remove myself from media outlets.  The increasing amount of footage showing humans being shot and killed is both infuriatingly hurtful and creating an apathetic environment. I read one person’s opinion comparing these videos to snuff films and how in some circles they are being used to ridicule instead of a call for justice. For myself, seeing the last moments of someone’s life resulting from a senseless act is beyond painful and to know their death was due to their hue is unspeakable.

I don’t know why black men are seen as such a threat and why the response to anything from a confrontation to a request for help is seen as a valid use of lethal force.  Is blackness so threatening?  Why are Black people and specifically Black men seen as so dangerous that those who pledge to uphold the law feel justified in taking their lives?  This is certainly not the response of every police officer and there are many good officers who value human lives, but somehow it seems as if it is open season on people of color.

Immediately, the demonizing and dehumanizing of the victims came into play. The media began to paint these men in colors of aggression, violence and mayhem to justify the use of lethal force. Even if these men weren’t outstanding citizens they didn’t deserve to be shot down like animals. We have a justice system! In that system police officers are to protect and serve, attorneys are to plead cases and judges along with a jury of your peers decide your fate.  Somehow it seems a few officers in certain areas of our country believe their role is to be judge, jury and executioner. 

Though we are enraged, infuriated, disgusted and fed up we must not react in a way that continues to be harmful to our communities. Looting and destruction of property doesn’t solve these issues. Positive outlets like protesting, reinvesting in our communities and our youth, boycotting with purpose, withholding our economic resources, and controlling our images in the media are all pathways towards change.

So in response to the senseless violence let’s take a brief moment of silence and after that moment of silence let’s focus on those pathways towards change. 

(Maia Truesdale-Scott) Thu, 22 Sep 2016 00:43:04 GMT
Blog 4- Community Involvement

Why don’t we see more images of black men investing in their communities? Are we to believe this is an anomaly or an occasional occurrence? We are told that inner cities are plagued with violence and poverty among people of color, that aggression and lack of education is the norm. When urban youth are portrayed it is often with some negative connotation or comment, they are hardly ever represented working together.  Sure, the presence of hostility is found in the inner cities as it is in rural and prominent communities, but like those other communities the inner city has a bounty of unique, intelligent, and prolific individuals dedicated to the betterment of our world.

The photograph accompanying this blog features members of a community based organization from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, “Brothers and Sisters Making a Difference” (BSMD). Under the leadership of its founder, Ellis Proctor, BSMD encourages community and self awareness through positive motivation, education, athletics and neighborhood activities. It utilizes social media to publically acknowledge outstanding report cards and academic excellence. Students are rewarded with clothing promoting a positive message, “I AM GREAT”, “BE GREAT”, or honoring familial roles; Brother, Sister, Mother, Father, Son with poetic verse. Currently, 21 BSMD youth members are in college and excelling. By empowering this younger generation of future leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, and artists the affirmation is realized, “I am Great.” Though the words are simple they are meaningful and needed.

 I captured the above images while these young men were cleaning and picking up trash at a local playground and the surrounding areas. This activity happens at least once a month, so it isn’t to be confused with a onetime thing or photo opportunity.  These youth could be spending their time doing a variety of other activities but they chose to come out and invest in their neighborhood. This isn’t an odd incident, this is their norm.

Again, I feel the question I asked earlier creeping up, why don’t we see images like this in the media? Is it because positive actions aren’t news or is it because stereotypes about young black men are so ingrained in our subconscious that we don’t recognize these acts? I don’t know the answer to the proposed question. All I know is that these young men are GREAT. Great because every day they face someone else’s negative perception of them, but they continually chose to make positive and impactful decisions not only for themselves but for their families and community.


(Maia Truesdale-Scott) Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:47:39 GMT
Blog 3   Come Home, Daddy.Washington, DC

I knew immediately that I needed a photograph that depicted law enforcement especially in this current climate. It’s easy to vilify all police officers and lump them into categories without taking into account their humanity.  Labeling all officers as corrupt is as much a disservice as labeling all Black men as criminals.  This isn’t to absolve the actions of police officers who take the law into their own hands, making judgments based on bias and prejudice. It’s simply to acknowledge that our world is not black and white, rather it is muddy and often blurred.

Can’t we all relate to a father wanting to come home and kiss his child goodnight? Don’t we all want our children to have long lives and bright futures?

Viewing each other with compassion is what leads to understanding and change. We are all one family, we are all one race, and it is time we see that clearly and unfiltered. 

(Maia Truesdale-Scott) Wed, 17 Aug 2016 13:35:55 GMT
blog 2- Intent and Process Story TimeHarrisburg, PA

The Beauty and Humanity of Black Men in America:

Intent and Process


Like many Americans the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling shook me.  I went through feelings of sadness, anger and frustration.  The Question of why is this happening and do Black lives really matter held me captive for days. My personal belief system drives me to find either positive solutions or meaningful ways to express myself.  These feelings of wanting and needing to do something in response to the loss of these two men propelled me to begin this project.

The media’s lens paints a skewed and one sided depiction of Black men. This depiction, these negative images do not represent the black men I know; the men who take care of their children, love their wives and parents, and who contribute to their communities and society as a whole.

My response was natural and unassuming. I simply want to share the many faces of the many good men I know who happen to be black. These images are of family members, friends, people I admire, and even strangers.  The most powerful statement we can make is one that represents our true selves, not facades and not how the media identifies us, but our own words, our own images and our humanity.

I invite you to view the images presented through my lens. The smiles and laughter are genuine as is the subtle gestures of love and respect. All I ask is that you let the photographs speak for themselves and challenge your perceptions.

(Maia Truesdale-Scott) Sun, 14 Aug 2016 15:58:24 GMT
Introduction to Photo Essay Collection - The Beauty and Humanity of Black Men in America

In the eyes of the media, black men are often portrayed in a negative light. Images and language choices are soaked with references to violence, stereotypical rhetoric and values reminiscent of our not so distant colonial past. The only answer I see is to combat the onslaught of negativity with truth. Black men are fathers, brothers, husbands, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, community activists, artists, musicians and an integral part of our community and society at large.  My photo project seeks to explore the humanity and beauty of black men by flooding the media with honest, real and true images of everyday men of color. 

~Maia Truesdale-Scott

(Maia Truesdale-Scott) Sat, 23 Jul 2016 00:53:18 GMT