Hammonds House Museum

Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity

Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity

 Hanif Abdur-Rahim, A Revolutionary in Etiquette - Connosieurs of SWAG (2010)

Hanif Abdur-Rahim, A Revolutionary in Etiquette - Connosieurs of SWAG (2010)

Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity
On View: January 18, 2019 - April 28, 2019 | Opening Night Reception: January 18, 2019 | Curator’s Talk: January 19, 2019, Auburn Avenue Research Library

Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity seeks to distinguish the contemporary expressions of the Black Dandy phenomenon in popular culture. The first comprehensive exhibition of its kind, Dandy Lion highlights young men who defy stereotypical and monolithic understandings of Black masculinity by remixing Victorian-era fashion with traditional African sartorial sensibilities.

Dandy Lion features images of both emerging and world-renowned photographers and filmmakers from various regions of the African Diaspora, including the U.S., South Africa, the Congo and Western Europe. Juxtaposed against a contemporary backdrop, the “hip hop” generation’s Black Dandy is noticeably different from the historical minstrel or Harlem Renaissance queer prototype. The 21st century Black Dandy’s sartorial choices are an expression of the African aesthetic rather than an imitation of European high-brow society. Using their self-fashioned bodies as sites of resistance, contemporary Black dandies are complicating modern narratives of what it means to be Black, masculine and fashionable today.

The hyper “thug” narrative is confronted in the exhibition and a portrait of the multi-varied alternative identities that have always existed in Diasporic communities is elevated. As a statement, Dandy Lion not definitive. It is provocative and inquisitive – meant to provoke, intrigue and celebrate.