PITTSBURGH — When Ej Brown, a 25-year-old Point Park University graduate decided to take grad photos of his friends, he was feeling a little bit of frustration.
That frustration came from what Brown saw as the negative perception of minorities in the media.
However, it was how he chose to channel that frustration that has Brown in the national spotlight.
“I figured I’d put it on Facebook and get a couple of likes,” Brown said.
Instead of taking normal graduation photos, Brown instead opted to take mugshot style images of the Point Park Graduates holding police booking slates in their cap and gowns.
Brown describes the photos as a positive spin on many people’s perception of minorities.
“I wanted to show people that African-American or minorities aren’t just criminals, we are engineers, we are doctors and graduates,” Brown said.
After seeing the photos, a friend suggested that Brown put the photos on the popular social sharing site, Tumblr. Over the next 24 hours, Brown saw his photos getting major traction that eventually poured from Tumblr to other social networking sites like Facebook.
With all of the attention his photos were receiving online, he was contacted by major national news outlets and even saw his work being shared by celebrities like Russell Simmons.
“You realize that we really can’t let this sit down. We actually have a movement that’s happened and we need to continue and come up with ideas,” Brown said.
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