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.


Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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Amapiano Pioneer DJ Stokie Shares His Journey In New Documentary ‘iPiano eSoweto: The DJ Stokie Story’

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