Biggie Photographer Gives Jamaica Residents the Royal Treatment
QUEENS — A new website is turning Jamaica residents into kings and queens.
In its latest effort to promote the neighborhood as a "cool destination and cultural hub," the Jamaica Center BID has launched a website that features photos of Jamaica residents — many of them wearing gilded crowns.
QueensRoyalty.org was launched by the BID last week to promote the area as a destination for shopping and business opportunities, according to Felicia Tunnah, executive director of the Jamaica Center BID.
“The point of this campaign is also to celebrate the people of Jamaica — celebrate its past, its present and its future,” she said.
For the project, the BID asked four professional photographers — Barron Claiborne, Delphine Diaw Diallo, Russell Frederick and Jamel Shabazz — to take about 100 photographs of Jamaica residents, including artists, entrepreneurs and students.
Claiborne, who famously photographed rapper Notorious B.I.G. wearing a crown — a photo that was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone — did the same with Jamaica residents. Diallo shot portraits in black-and-white, Frederick photographed people on the street and Shabazz took pictures of business owners, shoppers, students and musicians around the neighborhood.
The shots went on display for the first time earlier this year with a projection screen above a busy stretch of Jamaica Avenue.
Visitors to the website will also find videos made by teens, with images of sites in the area including Rufus King Manor and the Jamaica Performing Art Center, and short interviews with current and former residents including Danny Simmons, an abstract painter and the brother of hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons.
People checking the website are also asked to share their opinions about the neighborhood.
“We want to know how they connect to the neighborhood and what makes Jamaica a special place for them,” Tunnah said.