"River & Me" by Niyo Malik
Proceeds from these #ModelPride NFTs will benefit The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.
This piece is a photo of my current partner and me skating on Valentine’s Day earlier this year that is now somewhat of a visual love letter to him. Encompassing us is a rainbow inscribed with the words “Native sons now kings. You are the highlight of my life. My rock. My partner. My shield. Visibility saves lives.”
I designed this GIF in collaboration Sarah Fadem, my friend and product designer, drawing on Richard Wright’s novel Native Son and the experience of love for the first time as the primary inspiration. The title “Native Son” refers to the multitude of young men represented by the primary protagonists of the book, men who have grown up in a society that constantly pushes them down and tells them they are insignificant. So much of media, even modern portrayal of LGBTQ relationships, reinforces the idea that Black queer relationships are not to be celebrated. This is my way of celebrating myself and championing Black Queer Love without seeking validation.
I remember how I felt when saw a queer person owning who they are, and it gave me permission to be myself. I hope to be that person for someone else. That visibility saved my life. These are the sort of images I wish I could have seen earlier in life and I hope it empowers someone else.
About the Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) young people.