Black history.... history as in about five minutes ago. Alive and well and tweeting about being the first Black girl at a school after desegregation.
Portraits by James Van Der Zee
Women and children, Lenox (c. 1909)
Harlem (c. 1920)
Alpha Phi Alpha Basketball Team (1926)
Untitled (Portrait of a Boy in a Sailor Suit) (1927)
Couple in Raccoon Coats (1932)
Sunday Morning (c. 1932)
Her Best Friend (1940)
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982)
Today in Black Excellence: Dapper Dan—the underground fashion icon who made history as the first Black designer to receive CFDA’s lifetime achievement award.
“I don’t give a damn about failure. I was born part of failure. We are the phoenix—all of us here in America, every black man, woman, and child are part of the phoenix, still rising from those ashes. All my life is about getting knocked down and getting back up. I don’t care. It’s fun!”—Dapper Dan.
What’s Dapper Dan’s story?
Born Daniel Day on August 8, 1944, in Harlem, New York City, into a working-class family. By 13, he was making thousands a day after teaching himself gambling. By the 70s, Dan first sold items out of his car, and in 1982, the iconic Dapper Dan’s Boutique had its grand opening —open 24/7.
Dan is self-taught—from his fabrics and leather printing, to his creations of unique textiles featuring Louis Vuitton and Gucci logos. His designs became synonymous with 80s hip-hop—but Dan was neglected by the fashion world, and his illegal use of major label logos led to police raids. Local attention became Global; European luxury fashion companies like Fendi caught wind and promptly took legal action. Dapper Dan’s Boutique was shut down in 1992. Ever the hustler, he continued working underground.
How did he come to win the CFDA award?
Ironically, to say the least, and on his own terms in true Dapper Dan style. Fans were outraged when they noticed Gucci steal one of his classic designs for a major show. The coat was first made for Olympian Diane Dixon, and she posted on Instagram: “Give Dapper Dan his credit. He did it first in 1989!” Incredibly, Gucci accepted its wrongdoing and sparked his career into new life when it offered a partnership.
At age 77, he made history as the first Black fashion designer honored with the CFDA’s Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the first designer to receive the honor without ever doing a solo fashion show. Truly the epitome of Black excellence.
Original portrait by Tumblr Creatr @patiencelekienart
There’s a quote by Faith Cummings that says, “We still struggle to garner a seat at the table. Even though we’ve oft built the table ourselves.” As a Black Creative, this is a reality many of us face. And Dapper Dan is a modern representation of just that—Black Excellence. He exemplifies how and why our contributions to culture often define culture. It was an honor dedicating this piece to him, as an extension of my gratitude and appreciation for the path he has paved for all Black Creatives. Thank you Dapper Dan.
In many cultures, ethnic groups, and nations around the world, hair is considered a source of power and prestige. African people brought these traditions and beliefs to the Americas and passed them down through the generations.
In my mother’s family (Black Americans from rural South Carolina) the women don’t cut their hair off unless absolutely necessary (i.e damage or routine trimming). Long hair is considered a symbol of beauty and power; my mother often told me that our hair holds our strength and power. Though my mother’s family has been American born for several generations, it is fascinating to see the beliefs and traditions of our African ancestors passed down. We are emotionally and spiritually attached to our hair, cutting it only with the knowledge that we are starting completely clean and removing stagnant energy.
Couple this with the forced removal and covering of our hair from the times of slavery and onward, and you can see why so many Black women and men alike take such pride and care in their natural hair and love to adorn our heads with wigs, weaves, braids, twists, accessories, and sharp designs.
Hair is not just hair in African diaspora cultures, and this is why the appropriation and stigma surrounding our hair is so harmful.
The energy I give off
🤎🖤 BLACKTOBER 2022 🖤🤎
#Blacktober is an October month-long exclusive event where Black and Mixed Black creators are celebrated and uplifted with their creative skill of choice. Be it visual art, redraws, cosplay, writing, streaming, and more! A prompt list is provided to go off of, but anyone can make their own list. The event is strictly for Black and Mixed Black creators! Use the tag to share your beautiful creations with the community. Fun fact, October is Black History Month over here! ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿
This year we have a daily and a weekly list for you all to use! We hope that you have fun and cannot wait to see your creations once again. Remember to take breaks, no stress, and meet new people!
We would love the support from others who want to help/advocate for our community - you can do so by commenting, sharing and uplifting the work of Black creators!
Get hype and have fun sharing your Black creativity! [MORE INFO + FAQ HERE]
considering it's black history month, UNFRIENDLY reminder that police brutality and racism aren't magically gone just because joe biden's the president now. keep the energy you did for george floyd, breonna taylor, sandra bland, ahmaud arbery, atatiana jefferson, and many many more these next four years. there's still so much work that needs to be done. we CANNOT give up.
#now that’s what I call Black Girl Magic
- Ciara Renee as Elsa in Frozen on Broadway
- Kyla Stone as Anya in the national tour of Anastasia
- Keke Palmer as Cinderella in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway
- Emilie Kouatchou as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway
- Morgan Siobhan Green as Eurydice in the national tour of Hadestown
- Brittney Johnson as Galinda Upland in Wicked on Broadway
- MJ Rodriguez as Audrey Fulquard in Little Shop of Horrors at Pasadena Playhouse
- Amara Okereke as Cosette in Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre
- Tiffany Mann as Jenna Rolan in Be More Chill on Broadway
- Jisel Soleil Ayon as Jenna Hunterson in the national tour of Waitress
Black History month. Here is your 1st black history heroine.
The lady circled in the photo was Lucy Higgs Nichols. She was born into slavery in Tennessee, but during the Civil War she managed to escape and found her way to 23rd Indiana Infantry Regiment which was encamped nearby. She stayed with the regiment and worked as a nurse throughout the war.
After the war, she moved north with the regiment and settled in Indiana, where she found work with some of the veterans of the 23rd.
She applied for a pension after Congress passed the Army Nurses Pension Act of 1892 which allowed Civil War nurses to draw pensions for their service. The War Department had no record of her, so her pension was denied. Fifty-five surviving veterans of the 23rd petitioned Congress for the pension they felt she had rightfully earned, and it was granted.
The photograph shows Nichols and other veterans of the Indiana regiment at a reunion in 1898. Beloved by the troops who referred to her as “Aunt Lucy,” Nichols was the only woman to receive an honorary induction into the Grand Army of the Republic, and she was buried in an unmarked grave in New Albany with full military honors in 1915.
Black History Month Art Challenge
Day 2: Cyborg from Teen Titans
Today in Black Excellence: Maya Angelou—a literature titan whose 1969 memoir was the first nonfiction bestseller by an African American woman.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” —Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
What was the early life of Maya Angelou?
She became a celebrated writer and Black icon, but it came from a childhood of tragedy. Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, Angelou was quickly exposed to racism as a child. Her parents split when she was young, and while visiting her mother, aged eight, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend: her uncles killed the boyfriend in revenge. These horrors left Angelou mute for five years, as she discussed in an interview with Oprah, a close friend. At age 16, she gave birth and was forced to work grueling jobs to support her son—including fry cook, sex worker, and nightclub performer.
She recounted her traumas to close friend James Baldwin—fellow writer and Black icon. He challenged Angelou to write about her experiences, and she published the wildly successful memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It catapulted Angelou to international stardom and was nominated for a National Book Award in 1970. It remained on The New York Times’ paperback nonfiction bestseller list for two years—the longest record in history.
What made her such a Black icon?
Angelou was a close friend of Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated on her birthday in 1968. Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for years afterward. In 1964, Angelou helped another activist friend Malcolm X in founding the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
Spanning over 50 years, she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, books of poetry, and plays. Her 1971 poetry collection, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ’Fore I Die, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Because of her tireless work in literature and political activism, Angelou became widely respected as a spokesperson for the Black experience, particularly of women. You can even find her legacy in your pocket—she recently became the first black woman to appear on a US quarter.
Original portrait by Tumblr Creatr @inuqo
"I was filled with such deep gratitude while working on this illustration of Maya Angelou. Her talent, creativity, strength, power and resilience is inspiring to us all and I wanted to display how beautiful her Universe was. How important her words and life's journey was because it showed us that no matter how hard we fall, still we can rise".”
Celebrate Black History Month with Tumblr!
Here's some of the songs we're vibin' to at Tumblr. Serving you jams from some of your faves, some new hits and some songs you forgot you loved — giving you Black Excellence from start to finish.
Beauty Supply store run
Photography @sianeh16 (IG askphotos_)
“Sunday in Bed-Stuy 📸 “
Happy Lesbian Visibility Week, be a real ally by giving gals money and not just by writing hashtags in ya social media profiles 🖤
Help a black lesbian and her Trans lesbian partner pay for car repairs, make up for days of work lost to illness and in general, just survive!: