New Project Allows Black People Write Their Own Obituaries
The Black Obituary Project is a collection of pre-written obits to put a spotlight on the anti-Black violence and growing surge of police brutality. HuffPo recently featured the project’s creator on why he chose to convey his sentiments in this fashion:
“Ja’han Elliot Jones, 24, was unarmed when shot and killed in conflict with local police officers,” his obituary reads. “His familiarity with the Black canon steered him into a potent state of unapologetic Blackness ― one in which the James Baldwins and Young Jeezy’s; the bell hookses and the Queen Bey’s; the Frantz Fanons and the Futures all occupied hollowed, cherished beautiful space in Jones’ identity.”
“So often, we are killed and our photos are posted about but our stories are not,” Jones told The Huffington Post. “This grants black folks agency we’re often denied in death. We are telling our stories ― speaking of our triumphs and tragedies ― before anyone else attempts to do so for us.”
ARIYANNA ZOE NORMAN Ariyanna Zoe Norman, 25, was unarmed when shot and killed in conflict with local police officers. Norman, a passionate and vocal advocate for mental health, was hopeful about her future. Many witnessed her highlight reel but few witnessed her struggles. During her adolescence she began to experience depressive episodes and her loving family supported her through recovery. Years later she decided mental illness was nothing to be ashamed of and she used pageants as a platform to spread that message. Ariyanna served as Miss Black Arizona 2012, Miss Chandler 2015, and was in pursuit of the Miss Arizona USA 2017 title. Watching movies was her greatest escape and the most effective tool for coping with her mental health condition. Norman’s film ideas kept her mind busy during quiet moments. She aspired to be new age blend of Dorothy Dandridge and Dorothea Dix – an important contributor to the film industry and the mental health awareness movement. Ariyanna Zoe Norman was once a woman upon this Earth, yet she is no longer. Ariyanna Zoe Norman is survived by her mother, Marcia Norman; her father, Henry Norman II; her brother, Henry Norman III; and her niece Tahlia Norman. #BlackObituaryProject
ANTHONY HATTEN Anthony Philip Hatten, 20, was unarmed when shot and killed in conflict with local police officers. Hatten, a man full of dreams, seeing the world for it’s potential to be all-loving, and all the while dealing with school and understanding the world’s imperfections. In grade school he was a class clown, and loved to see everyone laughing. Growing up as a divorced child and knowing that in life there should only be room for love. He had to learn year by year, step by step what it meant to mature. He felt the best way for him to teach the world about himself was through his music. His message to the world was the acknowledgement that we were put on this earth to love. With that message he hopes that someone can understand him and cultivate his seed and spread love on this earth. That’s what is lacking in a lot of dark hearts and he felt like it’s a huge reason for the violence going on. That was his voice, that was his song. Anthony Hatten was a once a man upon this Earth, yet he is no longer. Anthony Hatten is survived by his mother, Kimberly L. Hatten; his father, Anthony Hatten Sr.; and his younger siblings, Hannah Hatten (8), Kaira Hatten (16), and Joshua Hatten (9 months). #BlackObituaryProject
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