The Individualist (2020) Ricky Powell documentary
Ricky Powell, the downtown New York Zelig who with his point-and-shoot camera documented the early years of hip-hop’s ascendance as well as a host of other subcultural scenes and the celebrities and fringe characters who populated the city, was found dead on Feb. 1 in
Ricky Powell, the downtown New York Zelig who with his point-and-shoot camera documented the early years of hip-hop’s ascendance as well as a host of other subcultural scenes and the celebrities and fringe characters who populated the city, was found dead on Feb. 1 in his West Village apartment. He was 59.
Published Feb. 2, 2021
Known to many as the “Rickster” or “The Lazy Hustler”, Ricky Powell was a downtown – East Village subculture celebrity. I, personally, use to always see him somewhere by Washington Square, Tompkins Park and sometimes by Crif Dogs. I recognized him from public access television were he’d interview people and film parties at the Limelight and art galleries and such. He was that dude and like CHEERS everybody knew his name.
Ricky Powell came into the limelight as a photographer for the Beastie Boys; by then he was already plugged into the NYC underground and the downtown scene, capturing candid photographs of Influential artists Basquiat, Andy Warhol & Keith Haring, actors Debi Mazar, Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Laurence Fishburne, Graff writers Zephyr, Futura, QUIK, Fab5Freddy, HipHop artists from the 80’s all the way up to the late 90’s and many others.
The Individualist is a Documentary about the surreal life of Ricky Powell. A very entertaining tribute told from the man himself. From his unorthodox childhood with his mother to his High School days, his frozen lemonade stand in the East Village and his gallivanting with the downtown NYC art scene. His touring with the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and his beloved NYC Public Access “Hangin’ with the Rickster”. Ricky has lived four lifetimes in one. A man of many stories, jokes and anecdotes The Individualist is sprinkled with amazing music and commentary from his friends and people that knew him.
This is highly recommended by myself. A truly and undisputed NYC legend.
When asked by Interview Magazine what people can maybe learn from images he has taken over the years? He answer was:
When people look at my pictures from the ’80s, they’re like, “Oh my God, shit looks so fun back then.” Generally speaking, since 2000, I’ve seen New York City get invaded and infested by cornballs. A lot of the cool, interesting people are gone. The jerkoffs replaced the cool authentic people.
And I couldn’t agree with him more. Rest In Peace to the Rickster.