Cebo Campbell

Hallo Berlin

I was told you’d be gray. Brutal and muscular. Told about bristled faces and damp eyes, stone broken into grit, cold hands in pockets, and somber like the temperament of boulders. Gray, they said. But gray I learned is a blend. Extremes in gradient. No one said gray could be filled with memory. Or that gray was awake. Berlin is stirring, you see. Stirring. Where, together are things once parted. Stirring, which is to say: changing, which is to say: activated. Visibility so. Bold graffiti tattoo the buildings where Mercedes are built. Gray. Like smiles exploding sunlight from grim cheeks. Gray. As the women in yellow hats breaking bread around bowls of beetroot soup. Gray. As the boys dressed like pieces of art—dancing hard in clubs to defy the sun. Gray like people praying with Caribbean accents at the memorial for murdered Jews. East and West pendulum swings from Mansions to Mad Max, its crown a blurred line. And scars centuries cannot live away, yet live with. Sullen and vibrant. Quiet and expressive. Civil and willing. Stirring. Stirring. Stirring. Until gray is a rainbow painted onto stone. Repeatedly. Until gray makes up all the colors stirred together.

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I am an author and a Creative Director.

As a full-time creative (VP of Creative Services at Spherical), I spend most days writing in the nooks and crannies of my available time. I wake up at 5:30am just to get in a few hours putting words on paper. I write on the train. I write on planes. I write waiting in lines. I feel I have to write. The reason is simple: representation.

I often tell the story of Ferris Bueller; a kid who decides to skip school and, on charm alone, steals a car, impersonates a cop, drinks underage, tampers with computers, and at every step exposes his best friends to peril, only to go home and fall asleep with his mother to kiss him into sweet dreams. I asked myself if Ferris were Trayvon Martin, how might that story end? I know the answer. So do you. And this is why representation is so important. I aim to contribute more stories into the world that diversely feature regular (but beautiful) lives made extraordinary. Art, I believe, is the only way to accomplish this. All my creative work is inspired by and aims to add to all the great work in the world.