Black Americana is a four part photo-essay presenting a commentary on Black American life and patriotism that I came across on Vogue Italiana.
Island in the Sun is the first installment of the series; inspired by images of Grace Kelly, Dorothy Dandridge and other pin-ups from the 50s, the editorial recreates images of a fun day at the beach with a group of friends. While not necessarily a societal norm in our community during that time, just like other Americans, Black people did find time to experience the simple joys of life, this editorial was done to highlight that.
Shot by Rod Gailes OBC at Fort Tilden Beach in New York, the swimwear was designed by D’Angelo Scott and styled by Jamari Walker.
Click here to read an interview with Brandon Littlejohn, the creative director, and to see the full editorial.
I have an affinity for fashion from the 50s, and I feel like the shoot was executed beautifully. A great takeaway from the interview: Only 24, after working in entertainment for a while, Littlejohn decided to take control of his career and develop the projects that HE found interesting.
“I realized no one is going to anoint you the chosen one no matter how hard you work. So I just decided to go for it. I wanted to be a Creative Director, so I woke up one day, and decided I was going to creatively direct something. It empowered me to truly believe if you are about doing the work, the rest will fall into place. People respond to those who are willing to do it for themselves.”
Truly inspiring for those looking to get behind the wheel and create their own destiny.
Also, if you like the editorial, there’s a fundraising campaign for the remaining installments on Indie Gogo (similar to kickstarter) that you can donate to for support.