Baltimore Beings #12

"For awhile, fans of the project have wondered what actually happened to Baltimore Beings. To answer the question, I wasn't feelin' it. I love the idea -- what it could do, but the drive in my heart was not there. So I stopped. And I told myself that i wouldn't continue until I FELT the passion. Until I FELT the need to get the stories. And that time has come. I've raised my frequency in a way that allows me to have the knack for happiness. For equality. For LOVE. And that is the turn this project has taken. Love, is what we need. Love is what we lack and it's only love that keeps this going." -Keem Griffey


 Location: Harbor Place

"Love doesn't die. It's eternal. I've been in love and i'm still in love. "


Location: South Baltimore

"Unconditional love is achievable but it takes two. It takes effort. And if you don't bring that background with you...of love and happiness, it's going to be very difficult to find that unconditional love in that relationship because it takes a lot of emotional intelligence. And to get two people together with at least the same level of emotional intelligence, or that background of being's very difficult these days. The social demands or expectations will not facilitate that."


 Location: South Baltimore

"I brother the most. We've been through the most together. We lost our father at a very young age. I was 10. He was 8. So we both, since that time, have tried to learn to cope with not having a father. We didn't always have the best relationship with our mother because she wanted to live her own life. So he's trying to find his way without a father being a young male and i'm trying to do the same being a young woman. My brother needed someone to look up to as a man but i needed an example of how a man is supposed to treat me and what to look for in a man. So I've been teaching him and he's been teaching me."

Baltimore Beings #8

Location: Eutaw St.

"People get stuck. Become a victim of circumstance. They start feeling sorry for themselves. Baltimore, being the kind of city it is, it makes them a little deterred from their goals and dreams. And thats the worst part: seeing people do that to themselves." 

Location: Charles St

"Once I realized that no one gives a shit and people are going to judge you regardless, and you can do whatever you want with your time and like, once I became myself, I became empowered and just, happy. 'Cause it's like, nothing is stopping you from ANYTHING. Nobody's rules. The only thing that limits you is money. I mean, because that's just how it is. (Laughs)"

Location: Kenyon Ave.

"I love my twin sisters so much. They're my world. They're 11 now."

Baltimore Beings #7

Location: Howard St.

Keem Griffey: What have you been listening to lately? 

"Random commercials. Like I'll skip the music and go to the commercials (laughs)."

Location: East Baltimore

"My son makes me happy. He's six years of age. Another thing that makes me happy is being a clown. Living life out loud. Without a care. Not worrying about what the critics have to say."

Location: Downtown Baltimore

"My last relationship is a thing that should've been in a movie. Yeah. The shit you see in these Tyler Perry movies, I should've been one of those girls. The heartaches. The fights. Anything you name, I've gone through it. Rape. Domestic violence. The real kind. Not just pushing and head mushing. Scrapping. Straight scrapping. Everyday. So, I'm emotionally drained. It's been like that for the past two years. And people tell me to let things go. No. You can't let shit like that go. Plus that shit has made me a stronger person. All those fights, all that shit that happened. All the side bitches. All the beefs I had to go through. The bitches I did lose. The bitches I was friends with. I'm extremely grateful for my last relationship. It's unfortunate that I had to go through the things I went through but I'm happy for it. It makes me the person I am now. Can't nobody take that from me."

Baltimore Beings #2

Last week, we debuted a photo series by Baltimore-based photographer and True Laurels contributor, Keem Griffey, called Baltimore Beings. As promised, here is the second installment of the series with three new local faces and stories. Check it out: 

Location: Inner Harbor

"I fear nothing. That shit is all in your head man. And i hate when i hear that word. Being fearful is a disability (laughs out loud)."


Location: Noodles & Company

"My biggest fear when I was a child was my father not coming back to get me. I've had many friends that had the "Dad didn't come get me" story. I was always glad he came back. I knew he would but it was still my fear."


Location: Lombard & Howard St

"Worst part about being out here...there is no one out here to say, 'Hey Tony, you're doing a good job.' Or, 'Keep up the good work.' And maybe it's not "good work" but this makes me, me. Been out here since 2006, you know? Mom died in 2005. But it still hurts because i hadn't talked to her since 2004. 

Keem Griffey: What happened to your leg if you don't mind me asking?

"It was all drugs man. Shot myself so many damn times in the groin. I got an ulcer and it developed into gangrene."


See more of Keem Griffey's work on Instagram: @keemgriffey


Baltimore Beings

Keem Griffey is a Baltimore-based photographer whose new "Baltimore Beings" photo series was featured in True Laurels Vol. 4. For the series, he approaches random people walking around the city and asks them about themselves, hoping to create some sort of comical and therapeutic relief. He says that in a blue-collar city like Baltimore, people can often be worn down by day-to-day worries so stopping them to ask about their lives can brighten their day. By sharing their stories, he hopes to touch other people whose experiences are similar, as well. 

We'll be sharing new installments of Baltimore Beings every week on True Laurels. Check the newest below:

Location: Pelham & Mannasota

Left: you know what i got to say? Motherfuckers better wake up now!

Right: It cost $0.00 to keep it Real! 

Location: Workplace

"Being gay is one of the hardest challenges I had to face in life and to be honest there have been times I wish I wasn’t just to make everybody I love happy. But, this isn’t about everybody’s happiness but my own and I choose to live the way I was born. It’s like trying to change my skin color! Love yourself by all means"

Location: Herring Run Park

"At this point in my life, I honestly can say I'm hungrier than I've ever been to make it with music. There isn't a minute of an hour in any single day in my life where I don't think about being successful in it. It's to the point it eats at me so much that I think I might lose my shit soon if I don't make it. I write like a madman and every time I use the bathroom to poop or shower, I usually come out with four or five lines to save in the notes section of my phone"

Follow Keem Griffey on Twitter: @KeemGriffey