You’ve been credited with documenting the birth of hip-hop. What did you make of it then?
At the time, I didn’t realize that I was documenting the birth of hip-hop. For me, I was just documenting the world that I lived in and that was very intriguing. Hip-hop today is a multi-billion dollar industry that has created countless opportunities for so many people both here and abroad. It has now become a universal language that has gone beyond the communities it came from.
Why do you think these photographs have become so timeless?
For the people who grew up during the late ‘70s and ‘80s, in NY, it’s almost like looking back at a high school yearbook of friends and family. Another reason I think a lot of people are drawn to Back in the Days is largely because of the fashion exhibited in the photos. The ‘80s was a period in time when a lot of young people from my community took great pride in looking good and representing themselves in a dignified manner.
Street Photographer Jamel Shabazz Brings Back the Days with a New Book & Doc