Black Can Be Even More Beautiful

A survey of work by the celebrated photographer Kwame Brathwaite shows the early promise of a movement that profoundly affected American culture yet still remains unfulfilled.

To say “Black is beautiful” now, in certain areas of the country, is to state the obvious. In other places it may sound like a deliberately provocative political statement. Both responses are part of the legacy of the “Black Is Beautiful” movement, which was founded in the early 1960s and still deeply reverberates throughout American visual popular culture.

The event that sparked the movement was a fashion show titled “Naturally ’62,” held at Harlem’s Purple Manor nightclub on Jan. 28 of that year. It was

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