EXHIBITORS Rodney Hawkins X Kwesi Yanful
Rodney Hawkins is the founder and CEO of Tiny Hawk Productions, a full service production company leading a shift in how we look at the world and our communities.
Kwesi Yanful is a portrait photographer of Ghanaian descent and has been making images since 2013.
A Photo Collection on restoring
America’s buried past
Creative Director Rodney Hawkins
Photography by Kwesi Yanful
Deep in the piney woods of East Texas, beneath a roughly 200-year-old overgrown and almost forgotten cemetery, is national journalist and filmmaker Rodney Hawkins’ family history. He began a journey to restore the Old Mount Gillion Cemetery in Nacogdoches, Texas—the oldest town in the state. His goal was to find the history buried beneath the surface and properly honor his ancestors but he found so much more. During his efforts, he sees the embodiment of the African-American experience: over 400 years of loss, survival and triumph. This is the story of America’s buried past.
Rodney started reporting a series about his experience for CBS Mornings with Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil and Nate Bulerson and along the journey he partnered with Ghanaian-American Photographer Kwesi Yanful to capture the experience. This photo collection will feature the work of Yanful who beautifully documents the communities cemetery restoration, the emotional connections to the family history and efforts to honor their ancestral roots.
Rodney Hawkins is the founder and CEO of Tiny Hawk Productions, a full-service production company leading a shift in how we look at the world and our communities. He successfully launched his company after 12 years at CBS News where he earned two Emmy nominations, a NAHJ award, Gracie and ABA Silver Gavel award for his work. During his time at the network, he covered two presidential elections, countless breaking news and features stories across the country and around the world. One area of focus during his tenure was racial injustice and inequality. Rodney began his career as the courtroom reporter for the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford, Florida and culminated his tenure producing CBS entire coverage of Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial and two-part documentary episodes for 48 hours. Continuing to expand his capabilities, he became CBS on-air talent after reporting, producing and writing a deeply personal three-part series on the restoration of his family’s nearly 200-old-cemetery with ties to his enslaved ancestors. Rodney will continue reporting the series for CBS with a book and potential documentary series in the works. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Emma Bowen Foundation, is a NABJ member and is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. He lives in Dallas, TX with his wife Marlowe.
Kwesi Yanful is a portrait photographer of Ghanaian descent and has been making images since 2013. In 2017, he founded Portraitnoire, a community of portrait enthusiasts that sought to highlight and display the beauty of being black.
Since 2019, Kwesi has been on MIZIZI’s creative team and has photographed all of their major campaigns. His work has been published in Forbes.com, Instagram for business, VSCO, Afropunk, Highsnobeity, The Source, OkayAfrica and Vogue.com. His photographs have also been featured in The Guardian and Good Morning America. He has worked with Disney/Viacom on “The Lion King” and “Coming to America” campaigns as well.
In 2021, Kwesi’s photographs were published in the Worcester Museum of Art’s “The Iconic Jersey — Baseball x Fashion” book.
Kwesi holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of New England and serves on Johnson and Johnson’s Infectious Diseases and Vaccines team. He currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.