Ja’Deana Cognetta-Whitfield

Photography "Like my mother, I love me a discount store"
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"Like my mother, I love me a discount store."- Shayla Kerr

Shayla took me to explore some of the staples of her childhood, one of the few African markets and discount stores that exist on Central Ave in Albany, NY.

As a first gen, she talked about how these stores felt like home and a place of familiarity to her and her family. Memories of her mom dragging her along shopping trips as a child, she was immersed by all these stores had to offer; and I'm sure that was and is the same for many others coming from similar backgrounds and households.

Even as an adult, she finds that little girl in her through each colorful and patterned aisle. Not only could you find your basic necessities for affordable prices, these stores have a sense of community that you couldn't find at any old local Walmart or Dollar Tree. In fact, we even had one of the store owners tell us where he felt was the perfect place to capture a shot. He encouraged us and made us feel comfortable, all while running his business. If that's not community, I don't know what is!

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