Early “Black is Beautiful” Photos by Kwame Brathwaite

Untitled (Naturally ’68 photo shoot in the Apollo Theater featuring Grandassa models and AJASS founding members Frank Adu, Elombe Brath and Ernest Baxter), 1968. Credit Kwame Brathwaite / Courtesy of Philip Martin Gallery LA

Powerful, beautiful, mesmerizing historical photos. I loved the fashions, earrings and headdress, hair, the poses. The images are beautifully composed by a very talented photographer, Kwame Brathwaite.

Most of all, LOOK at the beauty and pride in everyone’s faces.

THIS was before Nixon, GOP and FBI took down Black power and organizations. What the conservatives did to the rising Black communities is a hidden, shameful chapter in America. Which is ongoing today.

I was in high school and college when these photos were created. I read the news. Especially underground papers like the LA Free Press. Plus mainstream media like Newsweek and Time magazines (had subscriptions to all), LA Times, Look and Life magazines and more. I know what I’m talking about!

“The Photos That Lifted Up the Black Is Beautiful Movement. For over 50 years, the photographer Kwame Brathwaite captured African-American beauty and fashion, giving visual power to black power.”

SO many stunning images. I wanted to post them all. But this is especially compelling. Something beautiful about slightly toned black and white photos. Photographer Kwame Brathwaite worked ceaselessly in the darkroom.

His compositions, confidence instilled in those he photographed, and the sheer technical aspects, whether black and white (toned or not) and color, is truly remarkable. True signs of a talented photographer of high intellectual skills. Genius.

Untitled (Grandassa Models, Merton Simpson Gallery), 1966. Credit Kwame Brathwaite / Courtesy of Philip Martin Gallery LA.

I encourage you to look at these images. REALLY LOOK. You can learn a lot by really looking carefully at stunning, memorable, timeless photos. 

#BlackIsBeautifulStunningMemorablePhotos #BlackIsBeautifulPhotographerKwameBrathwaite <3

Untitled (Kwame Brathwaite self-portrait at AJASS Studios), 1964. Credit  Kwame Brathwaite / Courtesy of Philip Martin Gallery LA

(You can read a few free articles from the New York Times each month. Some libraries offer free daily access.)