Can you believe it’s the fifth anniversary of the NOH8 campaign?
Photographer Adam Bouska’s been sticking duct tape and paint on people for half a decade now, with no plans to let up anytime soon.
This week Bouska & friends celebrated the milestone with a party at Avalon in Hollywood, and we popped by to say hello and take some pix of our own.
The party started around 7 with a fancy red carpet featuring Ryan Cabrera, DJ Mandy Jiroux, Chaz Dean and Rachel Crow. Since we are old and have no idea what the kids are listening to these days, we had only the slightest awareness of who these people are, but they certainly seemed very nice.
Mostly, we attended because we wanted to learn what the NOH8 photos mean to different people. And we got some fascinating (and diverse) explanations. Read on for our favorites.
Ali, Kyle, Reggie and Iwona staked out a spot on the balcony. The photos represent “equality for all,” Reggie explained. “Hatred is such a big thing in this country and the world.”
Edwin and Marcello weren’t afraid to bare a little skin. To Edwin, the pictures mean “no recrimination.” Also, he added, “Latinos need to get over it.”
“Over what?” we asked.
“All of it,” he said. Okay!
Christina and John had a laid-back attitude to the photos. They mean “equality and peace,” John said.
“Equality,” explained Trevor, sitting with Marque. “To stop discrimination, speaking bad … to stop all negative.”
It was loud on the ground floor, and we had some difficulty hearing people. When we asked this young lady if we could take her photo, her friend hollered “Sue Wong” at us and proceeded to write “Sue Wong” in our notebook. Later investigation revealed that “Sue Wong” is the name of the woman who designed the dress. Nice work, Susie!
She also wrote “Priscilla” in our notebook, so we assume that’s her name. Or her friend’s name. Or maybe that’s who did her hair? They both scurried off before we could get to the bottom of the matter.
How about that pose, though? Get it, girl.
Marc, Joe and Brandon all have excellent accessories. Joe explained that the photos represent “freedom to love. And you can be proud of that.” He went on, “the duct tape symbolizes that so many people have had to keep silent. We are not going to forget all those people.”
We bumped into Jonathan Allen, a singer from America’s Got Talent. What a cutie! Here’s his moving debut segment from the show.
Demitrius, Joesph and Charles were hanging out with Jonathan Allen. “The duct tape means no more shame,” said Charles. “And if you can’t be silent, say nice things.”
Here’s Walter Prescott (Mr. Congeniality in the Mr. Gay pageant) and Myriah Gould (Miss Topanga Canyon in the Miss USA pageant). “It’s a very important cause,” said Myriah. “There’s too much judgement in general.”
“Love is love,” said Walter, adding, “we should just all love each other.”
Never were truer (or more pageant-winning) words spoken.
Here are Sage and Sebastian, doing what hot young things do: posing with perfect hair and skin. No, no, it’s fine, we’re not jealous.
“Everyone should be equal,” said gorgeous Sebastian, adding, “being who you are is important to me as a person.”
“It’s about speaking without words,” said the beautiful Saige, “and standing for something.”
As we headed off into the night (to a gingerbread-decorating contest where we won second place, thank you very much), we could see a long line of activists waiting to attach tape and paint to themselves before a white screen. Happy fifth anniversary, NOH8!