Reebok x “Basquiat” Omni Pump Lite Gas Mask by Freehand Profit feat. Guest Author – B(e) Selah

February means a number of things to folks, strange that it’s also the shortest month. Just yesterday most of us celebrated (or at least made an attempt to) Valentine’s Day with the people we love (be it romantic or related or just friends). I seized the day to make my girlfriend of almost 3 years my fiancé. Now we gear up for All Star Weekend, which has sneakerheads (myself included) anxious and hopeful in hunt of this years hottest kicks. We’ve been watching Jordan Brand unfold #XX8DaysofFlight promotion with premium black leathers and kryptonite greens that’ll make even the Man of Steel ask MJ how he got so fly.

And of course, February is Black History Month. What better time to tip my hat to an artist who had a HUGE influence on me and my creative development, Jean Michel Basquiat. He embraced and embodied art, graffiti, poetry and music. More than a “Renaissance Man”, Basquiat wasn’t a “Black painter” he was the truest form of an “American artist”. Being that friend/poet/co-author of Army of the Undeadstock (AOTU), B(e) Selah shares my passion for JMB’s work/life/message I thought he’d be the perfect spirit to fill the mask. So with the help of Sebastian Bleak, Andre Power & We-Are-Ra, we set out on a beautiful San Diego day to capture this mask – made from a single pair of Reebok Omni Pump Lites.

Being that most of you have a basic understanding of the work from my viewpoint I asked B(e) Selah to grace us with his words, without further delay… WELCOME B(e) SELAH!

{You’ll see me chime in occasionally in GREEN. – FP}

WARNING: If you’re a STONE THROW(er), get your satchel filled but keep it that way…or not.

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Haiku Entitled: Reebok Basquiat Pump

                    Radiant Loa

                    etching childlike brushstrokes with

                    same ‘ol SAMO crown

(I would have to change my artist name if I described the above haiku)

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To b(e) honest, I was shocked when I was approached by Freehand Profit to be the muse/model for the Basquiat shoot. Dream come true comes close. Just like most art goons, I appreciate his work on a subatomic level…like I’m the only one that truly “feels” his body of work (so not true). That day, as I recall it, was a mad dash like most shoots. Well, 97% of it was. There was this 3%, at The Punctilio Project & on the roof of We-Are-Ra headquarters, that was very different; very mindful. You could tell that everyone who was involved was focused on neither a pair of sneakers or masks, but on the life of an artist that meant so much to us all. Speechless & timeless photos/moments were shared. The JMB portion of AOTU was an homage. All of it. Not to an artist but to a person.

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{talking about} Freehand Profit: Genius. Period. To abandon momentarily the more lucrative (whatever that means) forms of art he studied at Corcoran for years to chop up sneakers worth lives nowadays (unfortunately)…straight genius. Why? For his LOVE of sneakers? Now your hitting the level of a crazy genius. Freehand Profit is an artist I would love to meet one day and try to figure out what it feels like to be a famous destroyer & creator alike. The work of Freehand Profit has yet to be discovered fully (wish I could share what I know…something like George Lucas honestly). Follow & enjoy his artistic journey.

{talking about} Gary: My brother. Period. Both of us were born and raised in the DMV area & live in SoCal now. We both kinda like sneakers, and we both turn left at the intersection of “Definition St.” and “Art Blvd.” Not to b(e) different, but to reach that part of ourselves that we used to run from. So that’s honestly how we got to know each other. Those similarities. That and by typing the hash tag ‘sneakers’ into Instagram (when it was iPhone only and not the lovely creature it is now). Gary is just a tad bit different from Freehand Profit. I’ve met Gary, one of my closest friends actually. Gary really doesn’t make a [lot of] profit (shocker huh). He has ‘enough’, just as I do. We achieve this great feat by giving and genuinely caring about others too damn much; by abandoning the myth of success in Western culture. For example, Gary has worn a brace on his hand for months now*, secondary to the “Chopping Block” most of his waking hours. He is not one of those artistic martyrs, he is honestly just that compelled to give and create. Comes with a price, which he humbly accepts. Gary becomes worst than a kid-in-a-candy-store when you get him talking not about sneakers…but about fresh *ss sneakers. Any brand, doesn’t matter. Oh, Gary is also a person that takes at least 15 minutes to put new sneakers on (I’ll post a video of it this weekend to confirm). Gary is a man that very few individuals get to meet, for that I am extremely blessed. Uhhh THAT’S IT! You try defining an artist you know personally, poet or not. You just want to leave it at “crazy genius” pretty much.

{Just to be clear, B(e) Selah is speaking of the two sides of the same person. Blame it on me being a Gemini.}

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Black History Month (Get your stones ready…or not) No novel here, I’m actually against the way in which BHM is presented and portrayed. Yes, I do understand its history/purpose, pretty well actually. Countless hours & resources have been poured into the month of Feb., but unfortunately with a sense of entitlement. Which just needs to stop. Yes, we as a people have achieved much more than we are even given credit for throughout history. Very true. But if we claim that “Black History” should be celebrated throughout a month/year even, we are missing something HUGE…the history we are creating right now. Cool, know when Jean-Michel Basquiat was born and when Malcolm X died just like everyone else with Internet access…but also know if you prayed for someone or had a moment to push pause and simply “be” today. Far from a political or judgement statement, more of an encouragement. A challenge even, for everyone (black or not) to focus more on how “you” are appreciating/contributing to [black] history on a daily basis…or not.

Haiku Entitled: YHM

                Your History Month

                The deafening sound of stones

                dropped through glass ceilings

Let’s aim to make the month less about the BHM Nike releases and the “back of the cereal box” bios of Malcolm & Martin that schools teach. Instead let’s act upon their teachings, uncover the history that made us who we are (regardless of race but as a society) and of course seek truth in our lives and from our leaders.

PS- DAG, I did this without giving hypebeast the respect they (never) deserve. Now THAT’s art.

Grace & Peace,

B(e) Selah

::FOLLOW @beselah on IG & TWITTER::

*[damn bro, put me on BLAST! Lol, been working too hard but I just found KT tape and it's a huge help.]

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This mask will be available for sale during my first solo show this spring. Like all of my masks it is a 1 of 1. For more info on how to purchase or commission a mask check THIS out. For more information about what the work represents and more peep the multiple interviews, features & videos right HERE. It also was featured across the US with Sneaker Pimps as part of their 10th year touring. It was created and photographed in Fall of 2012 and was included as an exclusive in Army of the Undeadstock available now on PROFITink.com. Find out more about the book HERE.

2 thoughts on “Reebok x “Basquiat” Omni Pump Lite Gas Mask by Freehand Profit feat. Guest Author – B(e) Selah

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