This summer, Honeysuckle was on the scene at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the debut of Lil Wayne’s UPROAR Hip Hop Festival, a new live concert series featuring Weezy, the cohort of talented artists he’s mentoring through his Young Money label, and very special guests. Organized in partnership with the team from GKUA Ultra Premium, Lil Wayne’s high-quality cannabis brand, UPROAR stayed true to its name.
What Is GKUA Inspired?
The Coliseum event (with some virtual tickets available for additional pandemic safety) also included GKUA Inspired, a competition showcasing unique photography submissions. As series curator Natalia Kopelman explained, the theme was “freedom,” so artists could run wild. 24 winners were ultimately chosen and had their work displayed at UPROAR’s Art Walk.
“GKUA Inspired is the brand’s passion project,” said Kopelman. “Our goal with GKUA Inspired is to spotlight artists from different disciplines and provide them with platforms. This mission is rooted in our belief that cannabis facilitates creativity and has been part of GKUA since the beginning. Having launched our brand just before the pandemic, this is our first big event where we’ve been able to really put those ideas into action…so yeah, it’s our first not our last.”
Why Did GKUA Inspired Use “Freedom” as Its Theme?
And what was behind the “freedom” theme? “Freedom just seemed like the obvious way to go,” Kopelman commented. “I mean, no matter who you are or where you are in the world…Chances are that your feelings of freedom have diminished over the past [two years]. We’ve been missing many of the freedoms we took for granted and we’ve been collectively reminded that freedom is something we have to fight for— socially and politically, of course…but personally it’s something we have to cultivate as well. Artistic expression definitely helps with that.”
Who Are GKUA Inspired’s Artists to Watch?
With work ranging from street scenes and contemplative portraits to shots that evoke “the high life,” here’s what GKUA Inspired photographers had to say about this first-of-its-kind exhibit.
Graciela Valentin (@parvdoxproductions)
“Drawing with light; with photography comes freedom… Being a part of GKUA Inspired has been amazing. The support they give us local photographers is great & makes us feel appreciated outside of our cities.”
Jordan Pope (@joztakethosee)
“Photography isn’t something I do, it’s who I am… My photos are a reflection of my emotions, they are a form of my heart.”
Lynese Harkless (@shot_by_nee)
"My pictures speak a thousand words."
Peter Willis (@kingp914)
“My work as a photographer is to inspire, encourage and motivate. I want people to see my work and understand, never be afraid to make that jump…being part of GKUA has allowed me to connect with other artists and get my creative juices flowing again. God said let there be light and boom it was lit.”
Zee Johnson (@ivy.league.hoodlum)
“The theme of the art walk was ‘freedom’. For me, freedom is always a prevalent theme in my own work. Not just freedom as a right, but freedom as a way of life. Everyone wants to have freedom of how they live, love and believe. And as long as those wants don’t harm the next person, we should all respect each other’s want to be free. Freedom enriches our lives. We should want that for ourselves. We should want that for each other.”
Featured image: The UPROAR Stage (C) Marcus McDonald @themcdub
*A version of this article first appeared in Honeysuckle's FREEDOM print edition. Buy your copy now!