African American Images From the 1890s to the PresentBook - 2009
Long overlooked in American culture, African American beautyfinally get its due in this landmark work
As a student in the 1970s, Deborah Willis came to therealization that images of black beauty, female and male, simplydid not exist in the larger culture. Determined to redress thisimbalance, Willis examined everything from vintage ladies' journalsto black newspapers, and started what would become a lifelongquest. With more than two hundred arresting images, many previouslyunpublished, Posing Beauty recovers a world many never knewexisted. Historical subjects such as Billie Holiday and JosephineBaker illuminate the past; Angela Davis and Muhammad Ali take us tothe civil rights era; Denzel Washington, Lil' Kim, and MichelleObama celebrate the present. Featuring the works of more than onehundred photographers, including Carl van Vechten, Eve Arnold, LeeFriedlander, and Carrie Mae Weems, Willis's book not onlycelebrates the lives of the famous but also captures the barbershop, the bodybuilding contest, and prom night. PosingBeauty challenges our most fundamental assumptions about whatit means to be "beautiful."