Nikki Johnson

Photographer / Social Explorer
Location: New York, New York
Nationality: USA
Biography: Mississippi-born, New York based photographer follows her subjects throughout their environments. She captures their lives and learns their stories, even when her portraits are of strangers whom she may never meet again. Although she does not... read on
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"BLACK JELLY - The Photographs" Opening Reception and Book Signing - Feb 18th 7-9PM @ Theater for the New City Gallery
nikki johnson
Feb 16, 2019

Black Jelly, Poems by Melanie Maria Goodreaux / Photos by Nikki Johnson
Published by Fly By Night Press, A Subsidiary of  A Gathering of the Tribes

Opening Reception for exhibition BLACK JELLY: THE PHOTOS by NIKKI JOHNSON
Poetry Reading by Melanie Maria Goodreaux, Music by Clark Gayton.  
Light refreshments, a live band, poetry reading, books signing, in celebration of the new book and the beautiful photos inside that are on view from Feb 18-March 31st.

Monday, February 18th from 7-9PM

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY ART GALLERY @155 1st Ave Between E 10th and E 11th

Here are some thoughts about the book from those who managed to get a sneak peek!

"Here is Black Jelly. With verve, with power, with provocative flair, Goodreaux honors the body electric, the fullness of her mind, and strength of her humanity. Forged by the heat of history and cultural geographies, we go places where fig leaves fail to hide, folk wisdoms that celebrate divine visions and black womanhood."  

–Major Jackson, author and one of New York Times' Black Male Writers of Our Times, Poetry Editor at the Harvard Review. 
“...a raucous, erotic, unflinching celebration of pain, love, loss, joy-- and the intersections between them. Goodreaux’s verses and Johnson’s images form a tapestry of deliciously potent visual testimonies of raw experience. This collection constructs an index of the beautiful conundrum related to being a black Southern woman in the United States…”

--John Jennings, New York Times best-selling author. Illustrator of Octavia Butler’s KINDRED

"The poems of Black Jelly are deftly-rendered, personal and musical. Buck-jumping images jingle to a sardonic backbeat. Tight, percussive lines boom in an urban pocket. Goodreaux’s parade-scape mashes up New Orleans and New York City as it waves you into a funky second line strut. One woman’s body--the emotional-physical geography of her--leads the way. Lines traverse the page like animated trolley tracks mapping a woman’s ebulliently lived and complicated journey. Nikki Johnson’s photo portrait wonders are textural moods of emotional skin."
-- Janice A. Lowe, author, Leaving CLE  poems of nomadic dispersal

"Black Jelly is a gorgeous gumbo of passion and pain, memories and mojo, recipes for vulnerability and triumphs. A testimony of love's thorns and sweet fragrance. A beautiful offering of a woman free and honest and boldly unafraid to be naked and let her black jelly shake. "
-- Liza Jessie Peterson, author of ALL DAY: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island and The Peculiar Patriot

"This is a shimmering debut from Melanie Goodreaux in collaboration with Nikki Johnson. While down home and eye-twitching in its truths and realness, Goodreaux’s poetry collection is also sweet-sweet and beautifully crafted. Black Jelly is a profoundly jarring, compelling and masterful shaping of meta-concepts brought together. This book is to be savored with all the senses."
— Tracie Morris,  author, handholding: 5 kinds and Who Do With Words
Poems by Melanie Maria Goodreaux and Photography by Nikki Johnson
Now Available for Order!
Black Jelly presents a roaming prodigal woman tossed from a traditional sense of home who wrestles with fitting into the tidy demands of womanhood. Goodreaux is both celebratory and pained by the struggle -- giving a womanist' lens with an honest and inward female dialogue on body, bulge, singleness, childlessness, and a cavalcade of characters that carry her through the long arc of life from kitchens to nightclubs to the realities of love, relationship, and eroticism. This new book of poetry and photography is memory-specific while offering striking commentary on the "formlessness" of being a woman. It is a reflective and relatable work that explores the messiness of tremendous sadness, memory, meanness, being ghosted by loved ones, while celebrating cultural roots, married life, and imperfection.

Black Jelly is the first solo book of poetry by Melanie Maria Goodreaux merged with personal photos and select photography of Nikki Johnson. Both artists bask in African-American eccentricities while mixing emblems of southern roots, religiosity, sex, death, and transformation. The two women bring their southern roots to the work. Melanie Maria is New Orleans-born, while Nikki Johnson is from Eupora, Mississippi.

Goodreaux and Johnson were introduced to each other by the legendary Steve Cannon of A Gathering of the Tribes, called the "Father of the Lower East Side Arts movement" by The New York Times when they moved to New York City. Nikki Johnson has been a documentarian of poet and playwright Melanie Maria Goodreaux ever since, representing 20 years of New York City living, from the East Village to Harlem-- with all the art and malaise in between presented in Black Jelly.

Above Melanie Maria Goodreaux (left) and Nikki Johnson (right).


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