A group of style influencers found a modern, innovative way to celebrate Black History Month. With the use of some stunning monochromatic photos, the #WeAreBlackHistory photo series highlights the links between iconic Black women civil rights leaders of the past with the cultural warriors that people admire today.
Black History Month is often celebrated in media with a few short public service announcements, a few historic references to popular Black leaders and maybe an educational special or two. College campuses welcome a round of influential Black speakers and K-12 schools might host contests with the help of some Black history trivia.
For the three creative minds behind the Style Influencers Group, a network dedicated to connecting brands with prominent Black influencers in fashion and beauty, Black History Month called for a more unique celebration.
This Black History Month was different, Jessica Andrews, Christina Brown and Lexi Felder noted. This February, influencers were doing their best to lead a civil rights movement of their very own following the string of deaths of unarmed Black people by police officers.
The three ladies wanted a way to celebrate the women pushing for equality and justice today while paying homage to the historical figures like Rosa Parks and Betty Shabazz who were the major influencers of the past.
The solution was the #WeAreBlackHistory photo series.
With the help of photographer Jerome A. Shaw, the women paired iconic photos of Black female civil rights leaders with influencers of the 21st century and then released the stunning set of black and white photos on Elle.com.
HuffPost Style’s Julee Wilson channels Rosa Parks, Essence.com’s Deena Campbell poses as Maya Angelou, Kela’s Kloset founder and TV host Kela Walker channels her inner Coretta Scott-King, natural hair vlogger Taren Guy brings the spirit of Billie Holiday back to life, BlogHer editor Feminista Jones takes on the role of Betty Shabazz and Ebony.com’s Jamilah Lemieux is portrayed as Angela Davis.
A variety of other icons were depicted as well including Dorothy Dandridge and Pearl Bailey, all accompanied with an influencer of today doing their best to match the Black history icon’s likeness.
While the personalities involved are popular women, Brown explained that picking the women for the shoot had to do with more than just being well known.
“There were chosen not only because they are deeply inspired by their icons, but because they’re making a tangible impact and shaping our history with their words, actions and images,” she said, according to the Huffington Post.
Andrews also pointed out that while these women are powerful leaders and influencers today, the photoseries is not trying to equate them to the icons that came before them.
“We aren’t claiming to be the next iteration of these icons, but we do stand on their shoulders,” she explained.
From artistic aesthetics to the symbolic message, the photo series is compelling, beautiful and incredibly unique.