Curated by Shantrelle P. Lewis
Juxtaposed against an urban backdrop where the clothing of choice for many Black men consists of a pair of sagging pants, exposed underwear, and white tees – the “hip hop generation” has produced another phenomenon of style – the New Age Dandy Lion. Noticeably different from his historical minstrel or Harlem Renaissance queer prototype, the 21st century Dandy Lion is more masculine than metro-sexual, more of an expression of the African mode of swagger than an imitation of European high-brow society. A performance and embodiment of sophistication, Dandy Lions are gentlemen of exceptional manners who consciously postulate what it means to be Black, masculine, and full of style, not simply as performance, but an embodiment of a lifestyle.
A Photographic Series by Laylah Amatullah Barrayn
They use words to incite our imagination, to expand our vision, to investigate and document. They are novelists, poets, journalists, playwrights, essayists, and songwriters. “Her Word as Witness” is a visual tribute to mothers of literature and daughters of the Diaspora.
There aren’t enough circumstances where we actually see the women behind the words that inspire us. ”Her Word as Witness” places names that are often seen to faces not seen enough, and brings together, in one book, Black women writers across genres and generations.
LAYLAH AMATULLAH BARRAYN is a photographer based in New York City. She has created compelling portraiture and reportage across Europe, Africa and Asia. Her work has been exhibited nationally and has been published in the Smithsonian-produced anthology, “BLACK: A Celebration of a Culture,” edited by photo historian Deborah Willis of New York University. She has curated exhibitions at the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, galleries and non-traditional spaces.