New York, NY – Bronx native Joe Conzo is not only a famed Hip Hop photographer, but he’s also a former EMT for the New York City Fire Department.
On September 11, 2001, he was one of the first responders on the scene as both towers of the World Trade Center collapsed following the infamous terrorist attack.
Eighteen years later, Conzo has been diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer. It’s no secret in the wake of the momentous tragedy, countless first responders and fellow New Yorkers have been diagnosed with some type of cancer.
As Conzo explained in a July interview with BronxTalk, he would have to endure 12 chemo sessions. In an Instagram post from Monday (September 3), Conzo revealed he was about to undergo his twelfth and final round.
“My beautiful niece @keri.connolly sending me some love for my last Chemo session 2morrow!!!” he wrote in the caption. His niece is holding a sign that reads: “Cancer messed with the wrong mother fucker.”
There’s a logo censoring part of the drawing, which is actually a t-shirt design being used to bring awareness to Conzo’s situation. Legendary b-boy Crazy Legs and pioneering dancer Popin Pete are among the many showing their support for Conzo by repping his t-shirt.
In June, talk show host/comedian Jon Stewart sat before Congress and passionately fought for the Victim Compensation Fund to be extended. He spoke alongside first responder Luis Alvarez who was fighting colorectal cancer and looked extremely ill during the hearing.
Alvarez died less than a month later at 53. Conzo, however, is determined to beat his illness.
Conzo’s work is currently part of the Beyond The Streets exhibit in New York City. Fellow Hip Hop luminaries such as Eric Haze, Cey Adams, Martha Cooper and Fab 5 Freddy are also included in the show.
His photography was also a part of the recent Contact High exhibit in Beverly Hills.
Check out the Conzo shirts below and find them here.