Wedding photographer shuts down bride who asked for refund over Black Lives Matter posts
An Ohio photographer is praised online after closing a client who has attempted to cancel her contract because of her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Shakira Rochelle, a wedding and birth photographer from the Cincinnati region, received a text message from a prospective bride on June 15, expressing her anger at Rochelle's personal contribution to supporting BLM on social media.
In the text message shared on Twitter, the bride requests a refund of her deposit on the grounds that she and her fiance “cannot bring themselves to support someone who is so open on matters that simply do not concern them as someone who doesn't believe that ALL lives are important. "
"It would be really embarrassing for us to have you at our event and to feel that you are not stable enough to do the job that we need from you," added the bride. "Please let me know when and how we can expect our refund and we ask that you be released from our contract. Many thanks."
In response, Rochelle said that "unfortunately" nothing could be done because the contract signed by the couple was non-refundable.
"I will shortly email you a cancellation agreement that requires your signature to expire your date," added Rochelle. "I wish you a lifetime of growth and would like to thank you for your donation to Black Lives Matter."
The bride simply replied, "You will hear from our lawyer."
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Rochelle told In The Know that she and the bride had met twice before the exchange - once during the first consultation where the couple checked the packages for the wedding in January 2021 and signed the above contract, and a second time Engagement photos of the couple "that are free with the package (the bride)."
"We got on very well in both situations ... so well that she followed my personal social media platforms shortly thereafter," said Rochelle. "In my opinion, she recognized there that we have to have different views on things."
Although Rochelle said she was unsure about the exact "decision point" that caused the bride to cancel her services, she said that after the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, she was actively teaching material on her social Shared media pages.
"I shared a lot of things in my profiles in the hope of raising people and showing support, took part in protests, and even stood alone with a sign on the sidewalk in my own little town weeks ago," said the photographer.
Rochelle says she hasn't heard from the bride since the text exchange tweets went viral, collecting over 1.1 million likes and nearly 200,000 retweets in just three days.
"I haven't heard from her," she said in The Know. "She has deactivated social media and has yet to sign the contract release that I sent her."
Rochelle also shared the exchange on her own personal Facebook, where she was supported by friends, customers, and strangers alike.
"She is my hero," wrote a woman.
"Not all heroes wear cloaks," said another. "Some have camera gear and biting jokes."
Two days after the text message was first shared, Rochelle went back to Facebook to target a group of people who appeared to have used photoshopped versions of their exchanges to give the impression that the incident was invented to boost their business.
"I was hoping to calm down until this frenzy was over, but today I woke up to something that hurt my soul," she wrote. "There is a screenshot with photoshops that says it was a business tactic to publish this story to make a profit from the BLM movement."
"It's the most absurd thing I've ever heard," she continued. “The original post started privately until a friend asked if she could share it. I never had the intention or desire to go viral for this or anything else. "
The photographer further explained that she had already been booked by the post office until winter 2020 and was not even nearly hurt by business.
"I already don't have enough availability," she wrote. "I was considering deleting the original post, but it is viral on other people's platforms and deleting it would violate everything I stand for."
“I have always stood up for human rights and will continue to do so. I marched with my loved ones as well as alone, ”she added. "My intentions are pure. Please know that what you saw from me was the complete story. "
Despite losing a customer, Rochelle told In The Know that she was willing to share the messages with the hope of exposing the level of racism and hatred that is still abundant in America.
"It was important to me that people understand that these things are happening," she said. “Racism is very real and very lively today. No backlash I've received comes close to what our colored people experience every day if they just wake up. And I will continue to stand for that and continue to fight for what I think is right. "
Activism is not limited to being at the forefront. Here are places where you can donate to help the Black Lives Matter movement and demonstrators.
More from In The Know:
How a fusion of identities and a strong Trini accent helped me to embrace my Caribbean heritage
14 beauty and wellness brands in black ownership that you can support today and every day
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19 black owned fashion brands that are supported today, tomorrow and always
Wedding Photographer Closes Bride, who asked for a refund for Black Lives Matter contributions, first appeared on In The Know.
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