What It’s Like To Be 16 In New York Today | i-D


In school, very often we
practice the Active Shooter threats, you know, because it is
a very real possibility that it’s going to happen.
You never know. And it is very scary because
they don’t tell you when it’s real or not. Growing up in a place where
everything is controlled, I think that’s definitely caused us to
want to be more rebellious. I like to express myself through
skateboarding mostly, same as fashion. It’s like, “Oh yeah,
I can wear this.” and people will be like,
“What the f*ck is that?” You know? We’re the next to come. We have to make our future. I really want to build, like,
a sustainable empire, make clothing out of,
like, recycled plastic. I feel like the Gen Z
generation is autonomous. We kind of just
go out and do things. This right here is the
greatest 16-year-old, my brother,
my best friend. Me and my brother
work on clothing. I design it, he does
the finishing touches. I really want to see my
art, like, on everybody. We do it for the kids. The people that want
to see art, love art. My name is Veyonce,
I live in the Bronx. I’ve lived there my entire life. I just started voguing. It’s been six months and I’m really
devoted to that, due to the fact that women’s performance
is, like, such a small category. It makes me feel so much confidence
that I never even had before. I’m Dominican, and it’s not really
common for boys or men to express themselves and be
able, like, to dress up. I work at Malibu Pet Hotel.
We board dogs, and, like, I clean up
after them and I walk them. My heart lies with fashion. I’m a DJ, producer, singer,
rapper, writer. It’s New York, like, this is a New York thing. Don’t wait to start living… start now. In New York, we take these, like,
state tests called the Regents which if we moved to
any other State, like, it’s useless. Like, I’d rather learn
about taxes and all that… Yo, yo, yo! …so I could actually
use that in real life! – Of course! My dream is to become
a principal dancer at the Martha Graham
Dance Company. Every dancer has, like,
their own story to tell. I don’t have to say anything,
my body just will say it for me. There are so many people, like,
my age who are queer in both their gender
and their sexuality. I think we’re going to allow
the next generation to understand that
the term ‘straight’, doesn’t necessarily exist. It’s like, everyone has, like, their
Sweet Sixteens and everything, but I never really
wanted anything like that. Now, like, I purposely, like,
wear whatever I want, because I can. I’m currently working on this book
of stories and images, and, kind of, show all, like,
the broad spectrums which is sexuality, and identity,
and gender expression. I think that if I’d seen who I was
to become when I was younger, and I was struggling, like, I’d
be scared, but kind of excited. New Yorkers aren’t the same
from the rest of the world. It’s kind of the whole world
brought into a big city. Experiencing that, I feel like
I’ve already seen the whole world. When you’re 16, there are limitless
opportunities in New York. We were queueing for a
Brockhampton concert, and then we’d
made them bracelets, and some of the members
were walking by and they were wearing them, …
and we were like, “Oh my God!” Like, “We made those for you!”
And they were like, “Thanks, I like
them a lot!” And I was like, “Aww!”
It was a cute experience. Being Dominican, and black,
and Panamanian, and Jamaican, there’s a whole lot to it! At my school, I was
actually thinking about it, like, we don’t have that many,
like, just fully anything kids. We’re full of surprises,
you never know. We’re really just the
best generation, so that’s really it. Living in a post 9/11 society, we’ve just kind of
had to always be aware how you have to adapt
and live in this world. Whether it be artistically,
or politically, we have the opportunities
to express ourselves in a way that
will inspire others. Yeah, everyone wants to
make a T-shirt brand, though. Like, everyone has a
T-shirt brand, I don’t know. It’s like… it’s like oversaturated
with T-shirts right now.

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