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NEW. NOW. NEXT, NY: Tyrone Z. McCants, Photographer & Poppa

by Gavy Steele in BLINK NY

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Art can be anything but not all the time can it be full of substance, not all the time can art represent the truth about culture. When looking at artist Zire’s work there is a sense of responsibility and when speaking with him there is a sense of hope. There is depth in his conversation as well as his art, a man who takes pride not only in himself but his family and his work.

2nd Annual Poppa's Day, Family Outing 2011

An artist in the business for 9 years he has come a long way since finding interest in the art of photography in junior high. His other passions include music, structured art, spoken word, and dance. Although he is not an active participant in these areas currently, he has a heartfelt appreciation for different forms of art and all these forms of art are the highlights of his work. His upbringing no doubt had much to do with it, a Harlem born, Bronx bred man or as we call it “the boogie down Bronx” who had an absentee father that he didn’t really see much. He mentions having to grow alone “I had to go through a lot of life lessons on my own, I had to learn to answer many of my own questions, to listen to my instincts” even though he had a stepfather. This allowed him to know the difference between a leader and a follower and stresses the importance of strong individuals and communities. He believes in the power of relationships, the bond between man and woman, the building up of individuals and coming together to build strong communities that facilitate the growth of art. On the subject of strong communities Zire has started a movement called Proud Poppas a community involved movement where he encourages men within those communities to play active roles in the lives of their children; “I’m not about making money, I want to push for change.”

HUDDE - men's career mentor day

When asked about his desire for Proud Poppas and the direction that he sees it going in, he expounds on the roles of men and women and how so much has changed stating “We don’t really know ourselves individually”, indicating men and women do not have a sense of who they are individually especially in the black community. He says “What I want to see is, us having a few annual events, providing information and workshops and resources. It’s all about community development and we in the black HUDDE - men's career mentor daycommunity need to start working with each other”.  We came to an interesting point in our discussion about the power of the dollar within different communities; Referring to the buying power in black communities and how weak it is. It is very rare to find an artist with such knowledge and depth when it comes to the awareness of his surroundings. When asked about someone that gives him inspiration he mentions Melvin Van Peebles a multitalented actor, director, screenwriter, playwright and novelist, he calls him “relentless” in work. Zire studies Mr. Van Peebles because of his desire for the arts and has even made efforts to contact in hopes of coming face to face with him one day. Zire’s appreciation for arts and the world is great, stating that he seeks to travel to Africa and Japan one day. He is looking for men that are motivated and ready to work and has had support from a legend in the rap game, SticMan from the group DeadPrez. He seeks to branch out to different states in hopes of gaining momentum for Proud Poppas.

Zire is a Proud Poppa of five, a seventeen year old son, nine year old daughter, eight year old son, three year old son and one year old daughter with his wife whom he calls beautiful and his greatest support. One can truly feel the love between the two just by him talking about her. The depth of this man is too great to put into just one interview, I somewhat feel there needs to be a part II.
His thoughts on BLINK “I love the layout of the website. I love the fact that you all do these interviews and you keep people connected to the rest of the world. I just really love what you guys are doing. Shout out to lady Carole J to her partner as well and everyone at BLINK Atlanta Magazine. I want to give a shout out to MC Class in California who introduced me to Ms. Carole J. Shout out to everyone peace and love.

Source: Gavy Steele

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