Ricky Powell has a {he}ART for Haiti

There’s really no way to sum up Ricky Powell, known to the truly hip—not to be confused with hipsters—as the fourth Beastie Boy, in a word, a book, or a photograph. He’s the kind of character that documentary filmmakers fawn over. He’s true grit in motion, for better and worse, ebbing and flowing in the cut.


Born and raised in New York City, Powell has worked as a bike messenger, Frozade vendor, dog walker, magazine columnist, substitute teacher, public access cable TV host, photographer, and author. The author of Oh Snap!, The Rickford Files, Frozade Moments, and Public Access, Powell has also published in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Vibe, The Source, Rolling Stone, L’Uomo Vogue, and French Vogue. He is the host of Rappin’ with the Rickster, which originally aired on New York public access television from 1990–1996. Now, he’s blessing {he}ART For Haiti with a digital print titled Jean-Michel Basquiat (10 X 24 inches), pictured below, for our silent auction this Sunday. Here, he shared his thoughts about art, God, and reincarnation:

Style master? Dondi White

What or whom will you come back as in your next life? A character in a Cheech and Chong movie: the original one, Up in Smoke

What’s your motto? Don’t be greedy/toke and pass

If I could channel any artist, living or dead, it would be photographer Helen Levitt  (she’s my all time favorite female street photographer. She died a couple of years ago at 96)

If I were a photograph, I’d be called The Lazy Hustler/The Cool Substitute Teacher/The Oscar Madison of Hip Hop/The Doloist

Too many to mention and I hope they get hit by a bus are overrated

Favorite destination: St Croix and Venice, Italy

God is a fig newton of certain people’s imaginations

Art is different people’s opinions

What quality do you most admire in others? Wit and loyalty

What quality do you least like in yourself? Partying naked with oriental escorts a lil’ too much (that shit is expensive) and being generous to a fault.

I can’t live without my transistor radio

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