Chelsea have partnered with a legendary photographer to focus on their Black fans based in each of the five boroughs of New York City to tell their story.
The result is an incredible story of how Chelsea fans across New York City come together to support their team and their community, showcasing the passion Black fans bring to the game.
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NYC-based photographer Mel D. Cole owns Charcoal Pitch FC and his latest collaboration with Chelsea is named ‘Five Boroughs’ and highlights five different Black Chelsea supporters from the five boroughs of New York City.
“I wanted to do this project primarily because there is a lack of positive Black storytelling in soccer. I want people to be inspired by what they hear and see with hopes that one day they will motivate others and continue to be great,” Cole said.
Cole wants to give soccer the same treatment he’s given music and entertainment superstars such as Jay-Z, Drake, Beyonce and many more.
The Chelsea fans featured in this project are Candace from Brooklyn, Joseph from Harlem, Ty in Queens, Tunmise in Staten Island and Edgar in the Bronx.
Coming Friday: Five Boroughs, five stories of a shared love of Chelsea FC. Influential music photographer @meldcole of @charcoalpitchfc will take us around NYC, capturing how representation, passion and uniqueness power the passion behind what it means to be a Blue. pic.twitter.com/tPfn77Aw95
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) March 24, 2021
Mel D. Cole joined our own Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle on the latest The 2 Robbies podcast (watch in full in the video above) to discuss this project with Chelsea.
“This highlights five amazing Black Chelsea supporters that live in all of the five boroughs in New York,” Cole explained. “We picked five incredible people, who all have unique stories, and we talked to them about diversity within Chelsea, why they are Chelsea fans and why do you like a team that is thousands of miles away! We talk a little bit about everything.”
Cole has photographed many soccer stars and games across the world and has previously worked on a project with Hector Bellerin, as he loves the ‘Beautiful Game’ and wants to continue telling the stories within it.
Mel also shared what he is doing with Charcoal Pitch FC and what his hope is for Black soccer fans and players in the future.
“What I am doing is trying to make sure Black people have a platform and we are telling these stories that are untold. There is a giant void in the Black community and soccer when it comes to storytelling,” Cole said.
Here are all 5 episodes, one from each of NYC’s ‘Five Boroughs’
For many, Brooklyn is the epicenter of diversity, a place where passion & culture are proudly on display wherever you go. It’s one reason Candace calls Brooklyn home, and a vital component to her CFC fandom.
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) March 26, 2021
Culture and Harlem go hand in hand. A premium on community has a lot to do with that. After the news Chelsea was supporting youth club @FCHARLEM, Joseph quickly latched onto the Blues.
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) March 29, 2021
Queens tough is no joke. Ask Ty, a Queensbridge native who passes on his swagger these days at a local boxing clinic. The resilience and toughness of Chelsea appealed to him immediately.
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) March 31, 2021
When people sleep on Chelsea, Tunmise isn’t fazed. For years, his home of Staten Island has been the forgotten borough. But there, pride is alive & well — for home and for the Blues.
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) April 5, 2021
Sometimes you don’t choose your team, fandom chooses you. Edgar knows this all too well. Growing up blocks from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, it was Chelsea of all teams who won him over.
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) April 8, 2021