Mpozi Tolbert -- a friend remembers

Dateline: Tue 27 May 2008

Photograoher Brian Jones of London emailed Monday with this message:

"I am a friend of Mpozi and only just found out about his death. I am very sad about this. I knew him when I lived in Philly many years ago.

"After a little web research I came across your blog.

"I have made a post about Mpozi on my blog and would appreciate it if you would forward this to anyone you think might be interested."

Brian, 39, has posted some amazing photos of Mpozi, as well as his recollections of meeting the talented young artist in Philadelphia, when both lived there.

Brian writes, on his blog, Iambrianjones:

"Before I met him I was already familiar with his work as he had a 'photo of the week' in the Philadelphia City Paper. The first thing I would do when I got my copy of the paper was look for his photo. Then one night I was having a drink at Dirty Frank's bar and chatting to this enthusiastic young man with dreads who, after about an hour of conversation, introduced himself as Mpozi.

"He was one of the first people I had met who made a living from photography; and he was only 20. I can only hope to be as successful and prolific as Mpozi was in his short life. At 16 he sold his first photo to a newspaper, during his early twenties he was an Associated Press staff photographer and at the age of 26 he secured a staff job at a major city daily newspaper, the Indianapolis Star. He was also a good friend of the members of the Philly hip hop band the Roots and documented their rise to prominence throughout the early 1990s."

For the record, Brian himself is an established photographer, working in Europe, North America and Australia since leaving Philadelphia 14 years ago.

You really must see Brian's photos, some of a very young Mpozi, and read what else he has to say. Mpozi died July 3, 2006, in the Star newsroom.

Here is the link:

http://iambrianjones.blogspot.com/2008/05/mpozi-mshale-tolbert-1972-2006.html

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