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tv   Goodbye 2021 A Year to Remember... and Forget  MSNBC  January 1, 2022 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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i love when i start a day and i really don't know where it will take me. waking up every day in a different country, creating projects. never really looking back. just thinking the action, action, action. maybe that's why i've always kept a trace of it.
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it is the greatest ever. imagine you cannot shine and be afraid to talk to people. when i approach it, i have to explain. i come here by myself. with my own money to do this project here with you, in your community. if it makes sense to you. then of course, some people ask, yeah, but what is this going to achieve? i always say, i don't know. let's see.
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it is almost like if you do a pact with the unknown. okay, we are going to do this but i have no idea where it is going to take us. >> thank you.
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so here i am at a super max prison to meet inmates that have been incarcerated when they were teenagers. this is a maximum security event four. so a lot of the most violent. someone got stabbed. that was when? >> that was two days ago. >> uh-huh.
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hey, how are you? i come from france. i try on remember every name, guys. give me a minute. how are you? j.r. well, thank you for having me. what we're about to do here is take photos of you guys and also, photos of people who made it out, and also families of people who have forgiven or people connected with some people in here. so to try to connect all the dots to show how everyone is linked together. we're not here to judge anything. we're here to listen to the story and portray you the way you want to be portrayed. but my feeling just from being from the outside. that's why i really need to hear from you. is that this is like being between walls. it feels like everyone is
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trapped in the same hole. i want to make that as a visual. so when people see it, they understand it. i would love to hear from you. if you have any questions for me, you know, how can i help make things clearer? any question basically, i'm open. >> what is it that you're trying to accomplish with this? that's my question. >> the thing is, i didn't even know that someone could be locked up when he was a kid for life. in my country, i never heard that. maybe in the u.s. people know. but people tend to forgot. by not seeing each other, you tend to forget. everybody goes into their own thing and then you get forgotten. when you see and you put a story to someone, then you can't forget it anymore.
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i don't make promises. i'm not a politician. i am very careful with my words. but i give you an example. it is interesting when you work on walls. when there is a wall that i keep herring. okay, one of my friends just draw there. ♪♪ >> how are you doing? >> we're just checking out your wall. >> they want to see it. >> what wall? do you see a wall anywhere? >> sorry. >> that's been there a long time. >> where do you guys live? >> france. >> i mean, he's american. we're french. yeah. >> do you need me to pull up? >> yeah.
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>> hi. >> how is it going? >> pretty good. >> where are you headed? >> we're going to take some pictures of the wall. >> the wall? >> the fence, whatever. >> have a good time. >> okay. thanks. >> i wanted to find a place where could i do this that would bla i the wall but not touch the wall.p the wall but not touch t wall.l the wall but not touch t wall.a the wall but not touch t wall.y the wall but not touch t wall. i found a place to drive in front of the wall. on the u.s. side, helicopters flying. okay. this doesn't look like an easy place to do anything. then i look at the other side and i see some houses close by the wall. not that far. so we drove past the wall. and then i go to the closest house from the wall.
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maybe i can paste something on that house. i knock on that door. there was a woman and two old people. a little baby, a dog. she looks at me. oh, i follow you on social media. that's insane. the first door i bang, you know. that's really weird. you know me. i do this kind of stuff. so she takes me to the spot that is the closest to the fence. the trees and stuff. it is a bit complicated for me to do it there. i continue driving alongside the wall. i kept going all the way to the ocean. that kid. he don't know what a fence is. he don't know their two countries, what that wall means. i go back and all did i was photograph him in the crib. looking around him like that. and then i left. and we look around.
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down the little hill, go to the wall. nothing. just grass and garbage here and there. okay, whose land is this? so i ask everybody neighbor. excuse me, sir. do you know whose land is that? i don't know. that's all i need to know. hey, man, some people wouldn't even open the door. >> so what did you do? >> my only option was let's rent a bulldozer. anyone can get a bulldozer. they will deliver to it whatever address. i started digging the ground. the risk for me as a french person in mexico digging a ground next to the border. well, i'm not digging a whole under. i will just flattening it so maybe the mexicans will come first and say hey, man, you can't do that. are you crazy? oh, man. i'm sorry. one day, two days, 15 days. no one says anything. i comment believe it. who is in charge here?
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so then i go to a place with scaffolding. >> if you pay, we will build it. we don't ask questions. bigger than the wall. three times the size of the wall. let's see if the border stops it. i come with my team and we pace that little kid. there was like maybe, okay, that's why i will lose everything. they will start saying, there is something big being built by the wall. we should do something.
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in one day we paint the entire structure. let's get out of here. and i pass back on the other side and stumbled on those two border patrol looking at the kid. and i put on the internet, hey, whoever wants to go see that kid. here is the location. that's all i say. one of the great things that i will do, if you build a giant kid somewhere, people say, i'll go see that. let's go take a selfie in front
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of it. that's where my idea stopped. i hope people go and see the wall. it is the same land but we are on each side. and what happened is something i haven't planned. people exchanging their phones through the wall to take photos of each other. connecting, talking, hey, how are you? wait, wait, they could be passing drugs or weapons. let's go arrest those people. after three weeks, no one got arrested. how do people don't get arrested for passing stuff through the wall? clean free. it's gentle on her skin, and out cleans our old free detergent. tide hygienic clean free. hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin.
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we decided to go organize a table that would go through the wall. we build the table 36 feet on each side. yes. we will block the road a little bit on the u.s. side. because the table will end up on the road. a few days later, we got a letter from the border patrol saying they strongly recommend keeping the table on the mexican side only. we continued but we had to improvise another way of building the table on the u.s. side. and then we invited people to come for the last time. people on the mexican side all started sitting. we started making food. but there was nobody on the other side because we couldn't build a table. hello. how are you? from germany.
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amazing! as soon as people would come to take photos, we told them, hey, if you can stay a little bit longer. after like an hour, an hour and a half, there was maybe 20, 30 people. and we passed them a towel. okay. maybe we only have a couple minutes. let's go fast. the table on the mexican side and continuing on the u.s. side. one music band on two sides. ♪♪ >> half the band was in mexico. the other half was in the u.s. it was the same band. they were playing the same music. we passed tacos that we made in mexico. so now i'm thinking, we are going to get arrested in five minutes. let's pretend we're eating so i
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can take a photo. everybody gather around the table. we're going to take a photo. are you ready? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! from up there, they know all. we thought this would last two minutes. that we would take the photo and that's it. we would have to take everything up. five minutes passed, 15, 20, 30, one hour. we're still eating. just nice with music. for a moment we really forgot there was a war.
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this is the eye of the woman who is a dreamer. a dreamer is someone who has come to the united states when she was very little with her parents but illegal. her name is mera. i told her not to come. not only did she come. she came with her mother. >> i have very few months left being able to be this brave and come to the border. >> reporter: it's only an hour and a half later that a border patrol came. everybody got scared. i told them, send him over to me. i was on the safe side. i was in mexico anyway. i was not even trying to justify myself. he said i know, i know. it turns out they were watching us the whole time but decided to
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let it happen. >> thank you. >> can you toast with me? >> sure. >> thank you. chinese tea at the mexican border. how is that? >> he went and talked with myra. he said he also had family on the other side and they were talking. that made me realize that art can go places beyond roads, beyond rules, beyond borders. art is not part of the state. it is something that we own. we the people own. that's why it goes so far. the little kids say, hey, i'm here. i exist. i am no terrorist. >> a better future for me.
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? >> now looking down in front of you. perfect. i like when you hold it there. nice. >> certainly i don't think of this. that you will do life in prison as a kid doing the things that you've done. a lot of fences and walls in here to keep us in. but it does more than that. it destroys who we are. it destroys our families. >> you were what, a graffiti artist? that's funny. i kind of started off coming
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into that little lifestyle. my transition went in a different way after. >> 14 years ago, i had no human contact. >> they cut you off and take you out. >> the human cages. insane. but here, the bird gets free. >> we hope this image will get around the world. people will see and then they will say, who is that person? when you put your hand on any person, you can see any person right away. you hear the stories of the people. >> my name is kevin. i was a gang member. i put my whole life and focus into what i was doing at the moment. i was just trying to please other people. i knew this was not what i wanted but i was scared. i'm not the person that you see.
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>> how do you see that you're a loving person with this on my face, you know? i was trying to explain. it was a prison thing. it's not really like how i perceive other people. and it made me feel really ashamed. >> i'm not just a monster that society sees me as. i'm a man. i'm a human. >> my name is nicholas. >> my name -- >> my name is chris.
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the biggest mountains in the world we have to pass are ourselves. when i see a guy with a swastika on his face, that is like an instant wall of fearful but when kevin, the guy with the swastika, walked up, wow. if i don't ask him now, when in my life i would have the opportunity to ask. kevin, can i ask you what is this? do you know? of course, i have fear. i have boundaries. my wall every day to fight them.
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>> come around. come around this side and paint your face. in between lines. that's the most important. >> you see the first eye in here? look at that. that's yours. yes! >> are you in there?
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>> oh my god. yeah? every line. every line. >> every detail like that adds something. >> people do it on the put aer.
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>> let's go! >> let's do it. >> the guys cleaned the yard yesterday. they said they cleaned the blood, the tear gas. it is hard to imagine there's violence every day. >> yep. >> how many guys? >> 11 years. >> i was raised here. i never really imagined that one day you could get out and do something that you will never even believe. the more we think like that, the more we can obtain those dreams. people want to be this big. from way up there. do you know what i mean? we can see it. we want to be that big from way up there. just a little hope, a little effort. you got it. >> and some paper. >> some paper.
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[ laughter ] >> that's the crew right there. >> pizza time. pizza. >> so i'm back in here. look at the shadow. i put that portrait that i took of you on social media. and people were like, they were really, i think people were touched by your photo because of the depth in your eyes and what you shared. and completely because of your tattoo on your cheek. >> i understand the symbols i wear represent hate to many people. when we come here, we're forced to fight for our lives against other races. it causes hurt in a lot of people's hearts. if i could, i would remove it. >> if i find someone who could remove it? >> let's do it. >> if anyone is out there
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looking for someone to remove this. >> please. i need that. >> a hard day's work. >> my buddy richie over there. >> i'm just the old guy here, hanging out, enjoying this. in my 25 years being busted at cdc, i never thought i would see this. a collective group of individuals come together for one purpose. we've got mexicans working with blacks and whites and everybody interacting. it is big. it shows everybody is willing to put all the hate and the negativity behind us to work together for a common goal. you know what i mean?
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>> oh! >> this is the first time we ever seen a drone live like this. ♪♪
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>> you see? >> congrats, everybody. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> thank you, man. >> what are you doing? >> i'm trying to keep my eye. >> i don't want to take it off the ground. i want the leave it there. but tearing it, i felt good. the process is what mattered. i think that's what art gets. the process. wasn't just, we took a picture, we drew a picture.
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that's what i learned from you. >> the process is what mattered. it took me years to realize that. he was just realizing it in a heartbeat. it stayed with me because that reassured me i was keeping the right part of that whole journey. life opens up. aleve it... and see what's possible. unleash the freshness... ♪♪ still fresh ♪♪ in wash-scent booster ♪♪ downy unstopables i have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. so i'm taking zeposia, a once-daily pill. because i won't let uc stop me from being me.
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boom! graffiti just started. but look at this. those are all graffiti from 1918, 1914, 1846, 1923. and there's tons of people who want to exist and be seen and be remembered. i relate to that. >> growing up outside paris, i was doing graffiti writing everywhere i can. on roof tops. it's not that i had to escape by the window. my parents were sleeping on the couch in the living room. they just gave me the freedom. as a child of immigrants, i come from a family that never had a voice. i feel like i'll living among
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them. no one else would care but my family would be, yeah, yeah. you made that roof top. one day i was just at a train station in paris waiting for my friend and he was late. and at some point, i see the bag there. at the train, the bag was still there. so i open and i see this camera. i took it. and i had that idea of i should document. i was documenting everything. i was documenting climbing the roofs. i was documenting the night experiences. and i loved it.
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i would make photo copies of it and i would give it to the people i photographed. then i was like, they have in hand. i can just paste one on the wall. but my photos were really small so you wouldn't really notice them. so i start framing the photos. and i started noticing that people in suits and ties would stop and look at them. if people don't like it, they can scratch it, take it down. but it creates reactions. even if people are hating, i'm happy.
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when i started, many times we got arrested. one day i went to the store and i had the hat and glasses. maybe when i take them off, no one will recognize me. at that time i thought the whole world was just paris and its
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surroundings. and then i met him and he took me to a place i've never seen before. they were already making art, making graffiti. we had that kind of similar vibe and we understood each other right away. one day he took me to his neighborhood. it is a project like mine. but i've never seen a neighborhood like that. it was completely abandoned.
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they build these buildings where you could be in paris really quickly but still live in the country side. because the train was going to run out there. but the train never came. neither did the highway. the real estate developers all left and families that had less money came instead. the city said we have nothing to do with this. that's what really drove people
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crazy. we are the forgotten of the forgotten. at that time he was shooting a short film and he took me. i was in the neighborhood. someone said why don't you take a photo? take a photo of me. so the minute i take that photo, everybody look at it and said
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you had a gun? what are you talking about? that's my camera. oh, yeah, your camera. that's crazy. a whole day of taking photos. they were there with all those photos and we didn't know what to do. there were all those buildings. let's cover them. let's just do it. we didn't want to get arresd so we asked all the kids to come down and hang by the pastings.
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when the cops would come by it would be 100 of us so it was not worth stopping whatever we were doing. i never pasted anything so big. it was the first time. that photo holding the camera. it is a photo that would follow us all our life. their car insurance. ow! i'm ok! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ only in theaters december 17th. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ aleve-x.
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>> thank you. >> this is it. >> i kept on going back there over the years. that's where we did all our projects.
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they are destroying the last building. the b-5 where he grew up, to rebuild smaller buildings. this place is for us a seed of creation. now we are running a school across the street from it. it is not a school to teach you how to be a good photographer or a great painter but how to survive as an artist. and it is free. surrounding yourself with people that come from different stories, different paths. that's what nourished us. you should check what it is and see what you can take from it.
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