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Kwame Brathwaite


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About the Author

Kwame Brathwaite (born in Brooklyn, New York, 1938) is represented by Philip Martin in Los Angeles. Beginning in the early 1960s, Brathwaite photographed stories for black publications such as the New York Amsterdam News , City Sun , and Daily Challenge , helping set the stage for the Black Arts and Black Power movements. By the 1970s, Brathwaite was one of the era's top concert photographers, shaping the images of such public figures as Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, James Brown, and Muhammad Ali. Recent acquirers of Brathwaite's work include the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. Tanisha C. Ford (essay) is associate professor of Africana studies and history at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (2015), which won the 2016 Organization of American Historians' Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for best book on civil rights history. She was featured in Aperture 's Fall 2017 issue, "Elements of Style," among many other publications. Ford is a cofounder of TEXTURES, a pop-up material culture lab, creating and curating content on fashion and the built environment. Deborah Willis (essay) is an artist, writer, and curator, as well as professor and chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She has been a Richard D. Cohen Fellow of African and African American Art History at the Hutchins Center, Harvard University (2014), a Guggenheim Fellow (2005), a Fletcher Fellow (2005), and a MacArthur Fellow (2000). Willis received the NAACP Image Award in 2014 for her coauthored book Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery (2013).


"From Beyonce to Barack Obama, it's hard to think of a black figure who does not owe their prominence, in some measure, to the ethos of 'Black is Beautiful'" --Ekow Eshun, Financial Times

"The Brooklyn-born photographer spent his career working to elevate natural black beauty during a time when the fashion industry was resistant." --the Guardian "Together, the exhibition and the monograph are important footnotes to a slogan that has become both a state of mind and a revolutionary movement." --Hyperallergic "Through Brathwaite's delicate and compassionate eye, the black female form, unadulterated in appearance, gave a new visual language that helped heal centuries-old white-supremacist wounds. The Grandassa models were an idealization of a black female utopia, which reinvigorated a limitless Africa that carried all the dialects, languages, accents, and subcultures within one womb. Brathwaite did not depict the black woman as what she could be, but as what she had always been, her beauty a constant and not something to be fixed." --Morgan Jerkins, Artsy

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