Aaliyah Mcqueen




My name is Aaliyah McQueen. I am seventeen years old. I like to call myself an all around artist, because I like all forms of art. I do more work in photography and poetry areas. I’ve been with In Progress for almost 2 years now. I love the opportunities and experiences I have been receiving while being apart of the artist community. I believe more and more opportunities will come which will help me grow as an individual.

The only way to be very successful to me as an artist is allow your thought process to expand. Don't stay singled-minded! During my time spent at In Progress I'm hoping to develop many skills that I didn't enter with.


  • Professional DSLR camera operation;

  • Lighting and backdrop set up and operation;

  • Conceptual photography technique;

  • Post-production editing in photography;

  • Software applications: Adobe Photoshop, Light Room, MS Word.


The American Dream from a Forgotten Perspective

What does it mean to live the American dream? It means to live forgotten.   A perfect land would be one where “all men are created equal with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“The Pursuit of Happiness” (first photograph to the right) presents sadness. You have a flag that represents a country that promises that you can live with happiness in it's fine print. In a country that leaves that out, the pursuit of happiness is something people try to achieve through the barriers thrown at them by their own country. This photo shows the face of the forgotten who have been living in sadness. The flag and what it represents is more of a response to all those that believe in the "American dream". It's made to say that some Americans haven’t seen the promised freedom that is attached to our flag through other people’s eyes. “

“Hands Up / Don’t Shoot “ (photograph top center) reflects a huge statement. There have been too many moments where people of color have been attacked - physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Most in our United States of American do not move quickly to jump up and help the person "up".  Instead they place their praise upon our patriotic symbols.   There is so much respect given to objects.  Parents often complain that that their children’s phones are controlling them (an object), without realizing that they are praising and allowing a flag (an object) to control them. This photograph represents the silence given to those killed today and those killed years ago - those whose names can’t be remembered.  This photograph is dedicated to children that are killing children because they aren’t taught the value of another child’s life - because what they see is that cops kill, that we kill -and so they kill, because its either kill or be killed.   

Children don’t yet know the intelligence sculpted within their minds or the rhythms of their hearts, that is until they are forced to. It is in those heightened moments of fear that they have to become “smart” quickly, because in an instance they can find themselves in a situation where right from wrong doesn’t exist and things happen quick.  Isn’t that what the cops say? “That it all happened all too fast?; “That they felt a threat in the moment, so they reacted without a second thought?”  Why was it that their second thought was to shoot?  Then shoot? Then shoot 10 times more?  How is it that a police officer can just hide behind that badge?  They are sworn to follow the law, to pledge to the flag.  They are held up high in our society as American heroes.  And yet, so many of them have ignored the fine print – our “right to live” blinded to children on their knees; with hands up, and fear in their eyes.  Blinded to young men pleading for their lives, unable to remind our Officers of the Law that they cannot attack them physically, mentally, or emotionally because they have the right to live.

All men are created equal” (photograph bottom center) is divided by color - the black and grey (dark side) and the colored (light side).  It shows the division, that in turn creates inequality. Holding on to a flag where the red and white stripes are fading away along with the stars, presents the idea that America is erasing everything it was said to stand for. When grasping onto something you’ve waited so long for just for it to fade away, you feel yourself as separated - denied opportunity; lost in your longing for something that will never be yours to have. It is then, that you realize that your country – the country you have known your whole life, has forgotten your name.

This first image shows someone that looks very unhappy and scared in a way. The flag and the question written on it, is more a response for all those that believe in the "American dream". America itself seems to separate itself from all other areas in an arrogant manner.

This separation leads people to be confused on what is truly happening in America. They are told that we are all given the opportunity to pursue "American Dream", but then again what is the "American dream"?

Liberty” (photograph to the far right) shows that as an American some of us might never take part in this “dream” or in the patriotism that surrounds it.  It's to say we will not stand for being less than, and allowing the flag that represents our country to contain more value and worth than our minds, bodies and souls.   Its saying “STOP America, STOP promising broken promises with your flag that must be pledged to. The flag flying upside down shows how a dream can easily be turned into a nightmare.