Edited by Tanisha C. Ford, Essays by Kwame Brathwaite, Tanisha C. Ford, and Deborah Willis. Published in conjunction with major touring exhibition, "Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful," at Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, CA) from April 11 - September 1, 2019; Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco, CA) from December 4, 2019 - March 1, 2020; Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, SC) from June 27 - September 6, 2020; Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX) from June 27 - September 19, 2021; Reynolda House Museum of American Art (Winston-Salem, NC) from February 2 - May 8, 2022; and The New-York Historical Society (New York, NY) from August 19, 2022 - January 16, 2023.
"In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite used his photography to popularize the political slogan “Black Is Beautiful.” This monograph―the first ever dedicated to Brathwaite’s remarkable career―tells the story of a key, but under-recognized, figure of the second Harlem Renaissance.
Inspired by the writings of activist and black nationalist Marcus Garvey, Brathwaite, along with his older brother, Elombe Brath, founded the African Jazz Arts Society and Studios (AJASS) and the Grandassa Models (1962). AJASS was a collective of artists, playwrights, designers, and dancers; Grandassa Models was a modeling agency for black women, founded to challenge white beauty standards. From stunning studio portraits of the Grandassa Models to behind-the-scenes images of Harlem’s artistic community, including Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, and Miles Davis, this book offers a long-overdue exploration of Brathwaite’s life and work."