Misconceptions and Miscommunications with Rumey Powell


Text: Naomi Shimada
Photography: Stephen Thomas-Dorin


Rumey Powell, a beginning Jamaican model in Pittsburgh has struggled through misconceptions his whole life.

A big misconception within the black community is being labeled as a threat.  If you are from the inner city you are judge the first six seconds someone meets you.  The way we walk, the way we talk, and the way we dress leads others to have some misconceptions.


Powell personally has been affected by misconceptions, especially by snap judgments made by people.

As a black man growing up in this world with these misconceptions, I have been affected deeply.  I am one of those men from the inner city that get judge the first six seconds someone sees me.  I have been told numerous times that my appearance is un-approachable.  When people first see me, they think that I am mean and that I am a threat.  Right there, I am automatically labeled.

Powell believes that these misconceptions comes from people outside a community and looking into it.

Whenever someone does not know anything about a person or place, they draw up assumptions.  All they know is what they see or hear others talking about.  This is how rumors get started and people’s lives start to get affected.  People will talk about you when you have nothing, and they will talk about you when have everything.  These are the people that have not found self-love and still walk around blaming others for the situation that they are in.


Self-love is very important to Powell, who believes that it is a way for the black community change some of the misconceptions.

We as the black community can end these misconceptions by speaking to each other.  If you walk pass someone on the street, ask them how they are doing.  Self-love plays a major role in becoming a better version of you, and that allows us to understand who we are, so that we can make better decisions and changes.  We can end the misconceptions that are out there about ourselves, but there will always be misconceptions in the black communities because everyone is entitled to their own opinion and perspective.


To end misconceptions, Powell believes that the first step is to end discrimination within the black community itself.

We must first end the discrimination we have in our own communities.  There is a battle going on with people pocket watching.  What I mean by this is, people are so concerned about what others got instead of counting their blessing.  This is an on-going problem within our communities, and because of this, envy and jealousy has become the root of all evil.  So I believe that once we stop the discrimination between ourselves, then we will be able to work together and push to end discrimination completely.