OWhile there is an array of experiences interwoven into the tapestry of black fatherhood, there are often perpetuated stereotypes that portray black men as absent fathers. A new one based in Washington, DC exposure uses photography as a way to empower black dads to reclaim their stories.
The exhibition, dubbed “Framing Fatherhood,” is a collective of 75 poignant photographs that center black joy and provide an authentic perspective on the experiences of black men. The visual exposition serves as a celebratory ode to the roles. Black men play in their families, communities, and society at large. Through the images captured by 14 black photographers, “Framing Fatherhood” aims to dispel misconceptions about black childhood and manhood and foster conversations about how they are viewed in society.
The photojournalism exhibition is organized by Dr. Imani M. Cheers, founder and director of the initiative It Takes a Village: Basics of Boyhood and Messages for Manhood; a project whose mission is rooted in examining the influence of social media on the “public and mental health” of the black community. “Launching this exhibition is a project of love and very intentional – the artists selected, their specific images included, the title, the forthcoming book. All of this celebrates the beautiful images of black men not seen in mainstream media,” Dr. Cheers said in a statement. “The purpose of the exhibit is to celebrate black men and fathers through the lens of iconic black male photographers who make up our creative village.”
Among the photographers included in the exhibit is a Brooklyn-born visual storyteller Jamel Shabazzbaltimore photographer Devin Allen who was behind the lens of the ‘Baltimore Uprising’ photo that was taken during the protests that followed freddy Gray’s died and landed on Time May 2015 cover, and Washington, D.C.-based combat veteran and documentary photographer Michael A. McCoy. Other photographers include Tau Battice, Reese Bland, Steven John Irby, quinton pete, Antoine Geathers, D. Michael Cheers, Frederic Russell, Erskine Isaac, Reggie Cunningham, Kary Mason and Michael Young.
“Framing Fatherhood” officially opened on June 18 and will run through July 31 at George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.
Several art projects have been created to celebrate black fathers. The nonprofit organization Black Women Cultivating Change has released a film called “Presence Over Presents” that delves into the fatherhood journeys of black men in Cincinnati.
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