Then and Now: Seven


One night at an action just down from The White House, I turned a corner and ran into what I thought was a modern day version of a Black Panther.

About my height he and I stared in each other’s eyes for a moment that seemed like an eternity. Me, the photographer with a camera, he an angry protester.

Stepping back, I took his photo and handed him my business card. He looked at it, smiled, then smiled at me. Extending his hand he said, “I’m Seven. People call me Seven.”

And there began another friendship that I made during OccupyDC.

This afternoon I’m standing on the sidewalks outside of Starbucks when I hear this booming voice call out my name, ‘JERRY NELSON!!!” Turning around, I saw Seven dodging traffic as he crossed 16th street. A hug, some slaps on the back and a handshake later we caught up on the news that each of us had.

During OccupyDC, Seven was another of the (informal) leaders of the group. When the cops would cordon off a section of street, Seven would be the first many times to challenge it.

Tall and almost always wearing a mask and mirrored sunglasses he was easy to spot in a crowd. He shows up in many of my shots and he’s another that I’m proud to call a friend.

These days Seven has a recording career that is starting to take off. Listen for him on the radio. With his booming voice and name “Seven” he’ll be easy to pick out.

Seven today. A protester with a budding music career.

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