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Brathwaite Exhibits "Black is Beautiful"

FILE - The New-York Historical Society, at right, is next to an entrance to the city's Central Park. Image taken 10.6.2016

At 84-years-old, photographer and activist Kwame Brathwaite has his first major show but the work dates back to the 1960s. The New-York Historical Society, where the exhibit is being hosted, said he's viewed as a pioneer of the "Black Is Beautiful" movement.

"Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite" includes 40 black-and-white as well as color photographs, as well as clothing and jewelry, some of which have never been on publicly displayed.

Items worn by the Grandassa Models which Brathwaite founded is in the exhibit. The collective encouraged Black women to embrace natural hairstyles and their African ancestry.

His son said it is a discussion that is still happening today.

"The fact of the matter is, is that one should be able to bring them whole their whole selves to work, to their life and to be able to live authentically," said Brathwaite Jr.

The artist's son went on to say "The fact that my father was able to do that and really bring the truest form and someone's truest self to life was really, really important, and a part of his process that he took great care and took in detailed attention to really ensure that ... we were represented properly."

Marilyn Satin Kushner, exhibit curator lauded the artist's work and its presence at the historical society. "It's perfect for us because it's history, civil rights, it's New York and it's really wonderful photography. So, it just made total sense for us to try to bring this here."

Celebrities such as Jesse Williams, Swiss Beatz, Alicia Keys, and Rihanna are fans of Brathwaite's work.

"Rihanna used my father's work to drop her clothing line," he said, "She's another unapologetically kind of herself person also from Barbados. My father's parents are from Barbados."

He added "So, it was really it's really amazing to see how people have kind of taken up the mantle and really help, you know, put the image out into the world."