THE HOLD UP—From left: Vernard Alexander, Lee Davis, Joshua Pollard, Andre’ D. Samuel, Leon Ford, Chris Edmonds, Derrick Tillman, Greg Spencer and Rev. Cornell Jones. (Photo by Emmai Alaquiva)

THE HOLD UP—From left: Vernard Alexander, Lee Davis, Joshua Pollard, Andre’ D. Samuel, Leon Ford, Chris Edmonds, Derrick Tillman, Greg Spencer and Rev. Cornell Jones. (Photo by Emmai Alaquiva)


“The Hold Up” was inspired by the courage of my fellow BMe Leader, Leon Ford who was shot five times by Pittsburgh Police and survived.

Being a 2016 BMe leader and helping to create effective social change in Pittsburgh has been transformative in my life, but I wanted to do more. Once I had the concept for the photo locked in, I called upon my BMe leaders who dropped what they were doing to support our brother Ford.

I decided to shoot the photo in the middle of the street on Liberty Avenue with disruption in mind to display how we will not be moved. “The Hold Up” is the definition of how brothers from all walks of life––doctors, athletes, businessman, CEO’s and more––can come to together and hold each other up through it all. WE ARE POWERFUL. WE ARE STRONG. WE ARE KINGS.

All in all, If we change the Optics that we download, we can upload a new voice for the world to hear.

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