Vintage Black Glamour

Maya Angelou doing a little reading in her dressing room before her performance at the Village Vanguard in New York City. Long before she was a poet and writer and the icon we know today, Dr. Angelou was a dancer and singer of folk and calypso songs (she even recorded an album in 1957 called “Miss Calypso” and appeared in the film “Calypso Heat Wave” that same year. This photo was taken by G. Marshall Wilson, who was a staff photographer at Ebony for 33 years. Photo: Art.com

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CultureSOUL *50s*: African Americans in Color c. 1950s

Photo credits:

  1. Southern California c. 1950s
  2. Southern California c. 1950s
  3. Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956. Gordon Parks
  4. Southern California, 1956
  5. Airline Terminal, Atlanta, Georgia, 1956. Gordon Parks
  6. Bathing Beauties contest c. 1950s
  7. Coney Island, NY, 1957
  8. Location unknown c. 1950s
  9. Wedding, Southern California, 1956
  10. Rare color image from “A Great Day In Harlem” iconic Jazz photo. This close up features Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams and Thelonious Monk.

For more images of African Americans in color, see this Gordon Parks photo essay on the Civil Rights era recent published in HuffPost.

#50sMonth

Favorite Classic Black Female Stars Josephine Baker (1906-1975)

 “Baker was a woman torn between multiple identities and multiple loves. She lived for her loves and in a certain sense, died as a result of them. It seems to me that as a key to understanding her destiny, nothing is more important than the song ‘I Have Two Loves,’ which became her theme song and was associated with her throughout her life. In my opinion, everything is contained in the song’s assertion, ‘I have two loves, my country and Paris,’ which goes far beyond its apparent simplicity. In these few words, Baker transcends herself and reaches out to the destiny of an entire generation. It is in this far-reaching influence that we can see the startling modernity of this woman, who resembled and even surpassed Colette and George Sand. She wished to be free all her life, and she was always guided by that passion and commitment.”  

 Simon Njami in Bennetta Jules-Rosette’s Josephine Baker in Art and Life: The Icon and the Image

Today, Misty Copeland was named Principal Ballerina at American Ballet Theatre, the first Black ballerina in the company’s 75 year history. The photo on the right is Ms. Copeland being congratulated by one of her idols, Raven Wilkinson. Ms. Wilkinson was the first Black woman to dance full-time with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1955 - but racism stunted much of her career in the United States. The photo on the right was taken by Gene Schiavone. The photo of Ms. Wilkinson in the 1950s was provided by her to Pointe Magazine

Cecil Williams in the 1950s - and today. I am taking the liberty of posting Mr. Williams again so people can see him now. From my original post: I thought about this searing, beautiful picture today in light of recent events in the United States. I, like many others, shared it a few years ago on my blog, but it was only today that I finally found the name of the man in the photograph! His name is Cecil Williams and, he happens to be a photographer himself. The photo was probably taken by Mr. Williams mentor, John Goodwin, who joined him for a talk at Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina in September 2013 about their experiences as black photographers in South Carolina during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era. Mr. Williams, an Orangeburg, South Carolina native was a correspondent for Jet Magazine when he was only 15 and made national news after shooting some crucial pictures after the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. This picture of Mr. Williams currently hangs over the water fountain on the Garden level of the Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina.

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#BlackHistoryMonth 2014

CultureSOUL: *The Graduates* Post- Reconstruction Era - The African Americans

1. Fisk University Graduates including W.E.B. Dubois (right), 1888

2. Class from Roger Williams University in Nashville - 1899

3. Howard Univ. graduating class c. 1900

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“1965″ Selma Inspired Editorial :  A Story of the bravery, beauty, style and sacrifices of the women leaders and the everyday woman of the times.


Photography + Art Director Jasmine Durhal | Jassieuo | @jassiuo

Stylist + Wardrobe Consultant Tiffany McPherson | ONE FIND DUO | @onefindduo

Models Nell Ayeni @browngirltightcurl | Shannon Powell @shannonmichele__ | Tyler Lawrence @_mighty5| Jamila Woods@duhmilo23 | Candace @imbeaming

Graphic Design  Marcia Josephs | Musings of Krav | musingsofkrav

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