Amplified Voices

Curated by the Aperture Foundation, New York, Black Is Beautiful is the first-ever major exhibition dedicated to Kwame Brathwaite-a photographer, activist and key figure of the second Harlem Renaissance. Today, “Black Lives Matter” has amplified the voices of black men and women across the globe fighting police brutality and injustice. In the 1960s, the phrase “Black is Beautiful” similarly kick started a cultural movement in an age of segregation.

Alongside his older brother Elombe Brath, Brathwaite founded the African Jazz Art Society and Studios in 1956 and Grandassa Models in 1962 to amplify the voices of black creatives, challenging mainstream beauty standards of the time. During this time Brathwaite took many of the portraits that appear in the show at Aperture, captured behind the curtains of fashion shows or in New York clubs.

Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite opens until 1 September at Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. More info can be found here.

Lead image: Kwame Brathwaite.