Black Cotton Photography Art

by Tomeekha Pitre and Rasta Asaru Escott EL

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Black Cotton is a collectable photography art coffee table book that tells the story of the African Diaspora woman’s beauty, style, presence and journey in other cultures. The vision of Rasta Escott El and Tomeekha Pitre was to produce and publish a book that uses visual and literary arts to display the African Diaspora woman in a way that demonstrates the strength in her grace, beauty and journey.

Rasta worked his creative genius with each photograph, graphics and edits. Poetic quotes by literary scholars such as: Evy Trezvant, Sadiki Bakari, Proverb C. Wisdom, Rasta Escott EL and Tomeekha Pitre complements the story behind each photograph.

Rasta and Tomeekha collaborated with professional artists in the divine creative production that gave birth to the vibrantly bold looks exhibited in the cultural coffee table book, BLACK COTTON.

BLACK COTTON re-identifies the pride and dignity of our African American women here and abroad. We are sure you will feel the same.

Purchase Black Cotton by Tomeekha Pitre
Book genre: Non Fiction, Art, Photography, African American

Target audience: African American women between the ages of 20 - 50, young girl’s between the ages of 8-19 and anyone interested in collected coffee table books.
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Intimate Conversation with Tomeekha Pitre

Tomeekha is a successful business professional within the corporate world of medical healthcare. She has curated and represented emerging visual artists, produced theatre productions, and spearheads HUEMANITEE, Inc.

Tomeekha is the co-owner of Black Cotton, LLC where she is Publisher of literary projects for the Black Cotton Publishing division. Her expertise in business and the arts allows her to enjoy consulting for startup businesses and creative projects.

Her debut novel, Earth’s Quiet Chaos, is a fictional narrative inspired by life experiences. She is spirit-led to share stories that will uplift, empower, educate and inspire individuals to live in the highest version of self.

BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What drives you?

TPE: This is an interesting question because it reminds me of a haiku I wrote to address questions about why I paint. It goes like this,
Music is the reason
Painting is my life
I write to tell the story

In the past, I mostly wrote poems and short essays. It wasn’t until the year of 2012 that I acknowledged my passion to tell stories. I love to write. If I’m thinking it, I have a strong need to write it.

What drives me is being of service. I’ve adopted something my husband always says, “We were born of creativity to create.” This statement resonates with me because I strongly feel that we show each other the way by sharing our stories.

BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish? Why or why not?
TPE: In 2013, my husband and I published our first book. That book is an art photography coffee table book titled, “Black Cotton”. The development and research took so much time and we learned so much that we decided to birth an LLC named after our first published book, Black Cotton LLC. Our business is a media and publishing company. The purpose of our business is to create an opening for independent authors with the intent to (not just publish their book) work side by side. This way the author learns each step of the publishing process. The goal is to provide them with the tools to self-publish their next project and create their own businesses.

BPM: What hurdles, if any, did you have to overcome as a new author and business owner?

TPE: WOW! Let me start with business owner; and I’m going to keep it real because I’m all about sharing lessons learned. Our biggest hurdles were accounting, marketing, sales and promotions. These “lessons learned,” taught us that we couldn’t do everything as well as we thought we could on our own. We had to come real in knowing our skill set, know our weak areas and pay someone with the proven skill to fill our weak areas and trust them to do what they do. The other lesson is there has to be a benefit value for everyone and everything you do and plan for, for the best results.

As an author, my biggest hurdle writing conflict. Oh, my goodness. I was so scared because I know the power of written words. I was scared to write some deadly horrible for a character or have a character get shot or anything. OH MY GOODNESS… I had to get over it. It was the hardest thing as a writer for me to overcome.

BPM: Our life experiences, challenges and success help define who we are on many levels. At what point in your career did you discover your real worth and own it?

TPE: YES! Great question. I’m 42 and I didn’t get this until the age of 37 or 38 and it’s something that I wish I had discovered at 28. We can’t expect others to respect our worth if we don’t own it ourselves. What that means is – I know I’m really good at taking an idea and through the planning, development and implementation phases. So if I’m going to be of service for anyone in this area, I have a minimum and maximum price for my services. Because I’m serious about what I do, putting a price tag on my work will only attract those that are serious about their work and will pay for what they need.

BPM: Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow on your journey?

TPE: I followed and follow the clues left behind from my ancestors.
However, in 2012 I attended a healing retreat with Queen Afua. After that retreat, the group decided to continue our meet ups via conference call. We were doing the gateway work outlined in Sacred Woman by Queen Afua. The first gateway was: Sacred Words. Within each gateway we’re to create an altar in the spirit of the spiritual guardian and in gateway 1 the Kemetic Spiritual Guardian is Tehuti (The scribe). The altar is to consist of specific artifacts that carry the energy of each gateway. It also calls for adding pictures of ancestors, elders, and contemporaries to follow in their footsteps. So I posted the following pictures on my wall and typed out each of their names under their pictures:

Ancestors: Zora Neale Hurston and Phillis Wheatley
Elders: Sonia Sanchez and Maya Angelou (living at the time)
Contemporaries: Sister Souljah and Edwidge Dandicat

I wasn’t thinking of writing a book of any kind at this point. My purpose in conquering this gateway was to journal every day. Little did I know, that God had another form of journaling in store for me. During gateway 1, is when I began writing the story of Earth’s Quiet Chaos.

BPM: Do you set out to educate or inspire, entertain or illuminate a particular subject?

TPE: My purpose in displaying any of my gifts is done in the spirit of healing and inspiring others. I used to co-host a poetry venue and one of the things I’d always say is that we learn and heal from each other. Which is why it is a requirement in life for us to share our stories (even those we are ashamed of) and our gifts, because for every person who thinks you or your story or your gift is whack, there is that one that will be healed and inspired to BE. So, with that, I’d say I set out to inspire and heal.

BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing this book?

TPE: Although this book is fictional, it was inspired by my relationship with my youngest sister. Writing it was healing for me. It was like I gave birth to something new and refreshing. One of the big things I learned was taking it one step at a time. Don’t rush the process. This was really hard for me because I have a project manager background, so I was stressing and getting overwhelmed when I wasn’t sticking to the timeline. Then a soft voice said, “Why are you rushing? This book isn’t being created for you. Let it take its time and it will be the right time.” I was like, “Yeah. Right on!” So, I learned how to take my time and not rush.

BPM: What was your primary quest in publishing this book? Why now?
TPE: My quest in publishing this book is to make it available for people to read in hopes that it reaches the eyes of those in need of it. Why now? Well, because the book chooses its own time to be released.

BPM: What should readers DO after reading this book?
TPE: Well, after recommending the book and/or purchasing for their friends or family – Pray, meditate, and give thanks for no longer allowing another person’s journey to compromise their own.

BPM: Readers you can follow the author online at the links below.

Tomeekha's website:
FB: TomeekhaPitre
Instagram: Tomeekha
witter: @tomeekha

More About the Models and Watch the Film

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Rasta Asaru can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your beautiful art/coffee table book.
RAE: Black Cotton celebrates the natural beauty of black women in an exhibited art form with the use of various mediums such as: fashion, makeup, hair design, photography and graphic design. Black Cotton tells a photographic story of the African presence in various cultures from an artistic point of view. The beginning of the book opens with a historical preface of the Afro hairstyle, the iconic Afro pick, and our presence in other cultures.

Additionally, what made the Black Cotton project great was the collaboration with other artists and writers. Throughout the book are poems and quotes that either my wife and I wrote or the contribution made my other authors and poets. It's a great book for your daughter, niece or the teenage girl in your life. Seeing the images of black women portrayed in such an artistic and power light gives our daughters something to admire about their own beauty and power.

Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point? What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
RAE: The Black Book took a year of labor, the team came together to speak about, or choose, various themes in order to shoot the book. The creative team is made up of myself as the photographer and graphic editor, Tomeekha Pitre - Project Director and Head Stylist, Tammie Lee - Makeup Artist, James Williams - Hair stylist, and Ronieka Pinkney - second Stylist.

I drew up a sample storyboard of various themes and concept and submitted that storyboard to the team; and from that, the team was able to configure what they wanted to do with it. This granted a 100% creative freedom type of process. No one was told what to do. As far as hairstyles, makeup or wardrobe styling. Because of this creative process, Black Cotton portrays an authentic artistic point of view throughout the entire book.

Rasta Asaru what drives you to continue to create?
What drives me mostly is the overall process in creating different things that are connected to my personal political views or ideologies, and just basically creating the definitive work for myself that cannot be surpassed, and constantly challenging myself within the creative process.

Book genre: Non Fiction, Art, Photography, African American
Target audience: African American women between the ages of 20 - 50, young girl's between the ages of 8-19 and anyone interested in collected coffee table books.
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Meet Rasta Asaru Escott EL


Photographer / Digital Editor/ Sculptor

"For me Art is the ever eluding dream of memories in time, it is in that instant of the moment that I have awaken to find myself creating the images from the dream. In simple, I am creating what was told to me by my ancestors in resemblance of their dream. I remember what others forget." --- Rasta Asaru Escott EL

Rasta Asaru Escott EL was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where he currently resides and creates. Escott EL's inspiration came at an early age when he found himself intrigued by the various elements, textures, and colors of materials. During this curious time, Escott EL began to mimic these objects on paper, while teaching himself how to sketch, draw and use color.

Escott EL's creative desires continued into high school, where he advanced from sketching and drawing on paper to graffiti art. As a graffiti artist, his unique blend and arrangement of color complemented his abstract designs.

After high school, Escott EL was offered tutelage at Otis Parsons Art Institute, where he would get his first interaction with fellow artists. His experience at Otis, although short, was a memorable one. "One of my instructors informed me that my approach and process for creating was wrong. The instructor's statement allowed me to analyze my work and the work of others. I began to notice the differences in our work and saw that most of the other students' work were of similar styles and lacked individuality.

In fact, even the use of color was the same. Coming from a graffiti background, I felt like my creative freedom was being taken away from me." From then on, Escott EL began to embrace his freedom to create and continued on his own.

After connecting with a fellow artist named Greg Chaney, they had a brief conversation, where Greg actually taught Rasta how to create sculpture over the telephone. From that telephone conversation forward, Rasta created his first bust and started his artistic work in the medium of sculpture and creating for various galleries and festivals.

In 1995, during an Art Festival, Rasta met fellow artist, Charles Dickson. Dickson, offered Escott EL an apprenticeship at The Dickson Studio. During Escott EL's apprenticeship at The Dickson Studios, he would learn how to breakdown and manipulate materials.

In 2000, Escott EL began to try his artistic eye in film and digital rendering, to further capture his creative ideas. It was in those moments that he found himself intrigued with photography and the platforms that came with them. "I found that taking pictures of my own work felt more complete compared to what the work really represented. In most cases, my works shot by other photographers would be missing important details, so I learned digital photography, lighting and graphic design.

Purchase Black Cotton by Tomeekha Pitre
Book genre: Non Fiction, Art, Photography, African American

Target audience: African American women between the ages of 20 - 50, young girl’s between the ages of 8-19 and anyone interested in collected coffee table books.