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Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite

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Open from April 11 through September 1, 2019.

At a time when beauty was basically defined by Ken and Barbie – think white and blonde with little noses – Kwame Brathwaite helped lead the battle cry “Black is Beautiful” and helped charge one of the most influential cultural movements of the 1950s and ’60s. Inspired by the writings of famed activist and black nationalist Marcus Garvey, Brathwaite harnessed the power of art, music, and fashion to affect social change. According to Skirball managing curator Bethany Montagano, “Black Is Beautiful demonstrates how Kwame Brathwaite’s photographs disrupted cultural norms and helped to broaden our definition of what is beautiful and who gets to decide.”

The exhibition opens with a panel discussion amongst the artist’s son Kwame S. Brathwaite (who also directs the Kwame Brathwaite Archive), fashion designer Mimi Plange, photographer Tyler Mitchell, and Black Panther costume designer Ruth Carter. The group will examine the social impact of Brathwaite’s photography and consider contemporary issues of representation and activism through media. Ticket holders for this event can arrive early and view the exhibition beginning at 6pm.