Boys Don’t Cry is project inspired by Nefertari’s friends whom she has observed over time.
Who are you?
Bonjour, my name is Nefertari Pierre-Louis and I’m a 16-year-old aspiring artist. I’m currently based in sunny South Florida but will someday settle in Paris, France. From a young age, I’ve always held this burning ambition for creativity in the palms of my hands. Art is, undeniably, an important part of my life. I want to excel at what I love to do forever.
What inspired you to create Boys Don’t Cry?
Boys Don’t Cry was undoubtedly inspired by my friends. I’ve always had a majority of guy friends, so naturally I observe them all the time.
One of them in particular, Greg, really initiated my ideas. It was crazy to me that while having some effeminate qualities and deep emotional expression, he could still be straight. That really got me thinking! Society has forced this necessary masculinity on straight, especially black, boys/men. With them vulnerability is so discouraged, and it shouldn’t ever be. I got a lot of negative feedback from people thinking I was just trying to “emasculate the black man”, but that is still far from true.
I was simply highlighting the straight boys/men out there who balance their masculinity and delicacy, because those boys DO exist. I used flowers, colorful hair clips and nail polish on my models to fight that awful gender preference on simple things. That really upset some closed-minded viewers who preached that all my items were feminine and thus all my models are “gay”. I put a lot of concepts into this photo series and I think thats why it got so much positive and negative attention.
I will continue to do projects like this and challenge societies standards.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I capture a variety of aspects in life. I’m most expressive when incorporating my own personal experiences and emotions into my work. Through my work I hope to ease depth into ones thought process. I want the viewer, with an open mind, to really consider everything.
I love to capture that raw, grainy feel in my photographs. I want the emotion to look you straight in the eyes. Currently i’m using a digital camera, the Canon Rebel T3i, but I would love to expand to different mediums. Also, after my positive success with ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ I will definitely do more portraiture work.
Are there any other projects that you’re working on that use photography for social good?
Most definitely! I hold a burning optimism for the upcoming black youth. I’m virtually surrounded by so many fresh faced, intelligent, creative, woke indigo teenagers. I see so many young photographers like myself featured in big corporation websites like Urban Outfitters and Teen Vogue. Better yet, I see these bright teens establish their OWN creative base to publicize their products or opinions.I know now that whatever our youth puts its mind to can be done. I am, you are, WE are, the upcoming indigo youth.