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Dandy Lion: Photographing The Worldwide 'Black Dandy' Style Phenomenon

'Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity' is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago April 6 to July 12.

All images courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago


Last week France's CANAL+ aired a new documentary about Black Dandyism. In just a week from now, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago will launch a new series dedicated to the worldwide style phenomenon. Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity, which touts itself as the first comprehensive exhibition of its kind, shines its spotlight on young men across the Diaspora who are defying stereotypical and monolithic notions of "Black masculinity" through the way they dress. According to a press release, "Juxtaposed against an urban backdrop, the 'hip hop' generation’s Black Dandy is noticeably different from the historical minstrel or Harlem Renaissance queer prototype. The 21st century Black Dandy’s sartorial choices are an expression of the African aesthetic rather than an imitation of European high-brow society. Using their self-fashioned bodies as sites of resistance, contemporary Black dandies are complicating modern narratives of what it means to be Black, masculine and fashionable today."

The exhibition will feature work by more than 25 photographers and filmmakers, including Terence Nance, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn (who was recently behind these stunning portraits of Senegal's Baye Fall brotherhood), Sierra Leonean NY-based Deconstructing She photographer Adama Delphine Fawundu, Mozambique's Cassi Amanda Gibson, Namibian style guru Loux The Vintage Guru, Johannesburg photographer Harness Hamese, Gentleman Of Bacongo photographer Daniele Tamagni, and Rog Walker (who also shot Solange's wedding portraits).

Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity, curated by Brooklyn/Philadelphia-based curator Shantrelle P. Lewis, is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago from April 6 to July 12, 2015.

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