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“BLACK AMERICANA: The Photo-Essay”
Vol. 1 - Island in the Sun
“Black Americana” is a four part photo-essay presenting a commentary on Black American life and patriotism.
When we weren’t marching, dodging fire hoses, and police dogs biting at our brown skin – when we weren’t singing songs of freedom, and training how to peacefully resist in southern sit-ins, we were doing what other Americans did – we went to the beach. “Island in the Sun”, a first installment in the ground-breaking series “Black Americana” re-introduces, and reclaims the image – the representation of free Black women and men living their lives openly and beautifully. The series seeks to offer a broader lens of Black American life not often seen – a restoration of Black bodies on a summer day in 1950’s America. “The beach setting is significant.” says Brandon Littlejohn, Creative Producer of “Black Americana”. “Beaches are visually associated with affluence in urban areas because of Black people’s limited access.” Littlejohn continues, “I wanted to capture Black young women and men in these spaces, because after all, this was a reality for Black people during this time.” This is the other side of the southern Black domestic worker; the other side of the Black male porter. This too was Black American life, in all of its splendor.
- Geneva S. Thomas
Creative Producer - Brandon Littlejohn
Photographer - Rod Gailes OBC
Wardrobe Design - Jamari Walker
Makeup Design - Dominique Jenelle
Hair Design - Shirlonda Brailsford
Casting - Latrice Davis
Women’s Bathing Suits designed by D’ Angelo Scott
Models - (Tope Alabi, Desmond Amofah, Ngozi Assata, Tradell Hawkins, Stephanie Kyereme, Titilayo Mutushi, Robert Vance)
Creative Producer, Brandon Littlejohn, and Photographer, Rod Gailes OBC, are collaborating to create a brilliant four-part photography series that showcases classic American settings through an Afro-Elite lens. The “Black Americana” series encourages African Americans to challenge societal messages about Blackness, while aspiring to higher levels of art and education on their own terms. Creating opportunities in the creative industry via a collective effort and artistically challenging the way African Americans have been conditioned to see themselves are two main goals of the “Black Americana” series.
-Taylor N. Lewis