By Kenni Khalil Phillips
Kenni Khalil Phillips knew that growing up gay in the St. Bernard Public Housing Development of New Orleans wasn’t going to be easy. But family silences and tragedy, as well as the wide scale destruction of Hurricane Katrina, sometimes made him feel like he was going crazy. Displaced from his home after the storm, from 2007-2009, Kenni chronicled his family’s history and day-to-day lives through creative nonfiction, interviews, and photographs. In these explorations, he retraces the impact of the murder of his uncle, DJ Irv—a legendary founder of New Orleans bounce music—and the groundbreaking hip hop journalism of his Aunt Loren. Confronting the stereotypes of Black masculinity, he also begins to embrace his own identity.
This second edition of Signed, The President includes a new essay by Kenni, updating readers on his life since the book was first published. Twelve years later, he claims his work as a coming out story that is both universal and unique to the New Orleans experience.
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