&&Co: We realized that your Stan Smiths is embroidered with the phrase “Creative by way of the Creator,” which is also on your Instagram bio. What does that phrase mean to you?
JK: My talents came from somewhere, from a higher source, as much as I want to take credit for it I can’t because it comes from a different place.
“It started with writing.”
We realized during our commute that Joekenneth immediately pulled out his notebook && pen as if it was a habitual pattern that occurs every time he touches underground. As a matter of fact, we felt like he stepped into a zone, and we we’re mere outsiders seeing him at his most comfortable space.
&&Co: You disappeared for a second there. What is it about putting words to a paper that takes you out of your current reality?
JK: It started with writing. That’s how I began the journey of finding my voice and ultimately finding myself. Writing was the friend that comforted me as I watched my parents unravel in domestic turmoil. It was the outlet that I needed after the divorce. The shoulder that held the heaviness of my head packed with words, words to explain the complexity of my emotions. Writing helped me to see the nuances and colors of the world around me. It sparked my interest in photography because there’s always something to be said even if it can’t be written.
&&Co: That’s deep. Do you think that writing has helped you see the light during darker times?
JK: Confronting my vulnerabilities with the aid of language can be likened to the work of a therapist. Words have talked me off ledges. Writing has saved my life over and over again. And I’m certain that it’ll continue to do so.
Eventually we put the notes down, the camera down, and talked about everything from Religion to Church ave. Some things you have to be present for. Respect to the journalists who can hear and listen at the same time.
We got what we came for and then some, a conversation and some words to live by.