The lack of diverse images and representation of Black folks in the media, on television, and in movies are not only disappointing, but mean that too many times we do not get to see our beauty and awesomeness reflected back. It is even more difficult with the decline of traditional Black newspapers and magazines, where we would often be celebrated. Oftentimes we have to turn to photos of people in our own family to validate our sense of selves.
Author Nichelle Gainer, creator of Vintage Black Glamour, which first started as popular Tumblr and Facebook pages and will soon be a coffee table book available for purchase, provided the world with photos of famous and non-famous Black people from former eras looking fabulous and doing fabulous things. Terrific photos of Lena Horne or Dorothy Dandridge or Maya Angelou would roll across timelines and be shared far and wide. We craved these images where Black women were not depicted as the old school maids or the modern-day reality stars, but instead they were the epitome of style and well, glamour.
Gainer has now created a website for everyday people to submit their own family photos, under the heading My Vintage Black Glamour. You can provide a description of who’s in the photo, the time period, and why it’s important to you and your legacy. Allowing people to upload their own photos matters because it is a celebration of ourselves and a constant reminder that we matter, that we have hopes, dreams, families, that we smile and laugh, have fun, and like to capture our life experiences not just for ourselves, but for the next generation to admire and emulate.
Now, Huffington Post’s Black Voices has launched a My Black Family campaign. People are being encouraged to tweet photos using the hashtag #MyBlackFamily. Pictures are beginning to be posted and they are a joy to witness. While most of the submitted photos are in color, of modern-day families, it’s a reminder of the evolution of the Black family and that there is great diversity within us. The images of Black people smiling and looking happy to be together are a great contrast to the negative stereotypes we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
These two projects are a great reminder that we must continuously celebrate ourselves – the past and present us. Because if we don’t then who will?
Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.
— Elaine Hegwood Bowen (@englewoodelaine) September 10, 2014
— Lisa Wiley (@lisacw63) September 9, 2014
— Summer Gory-Martin (@summergory) September 9, 2014
Click through to see more beautiful #MyBlackFamily photos!