Thu., April 11, 8 p.m., Tuesdays-Fridays, 12-5 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 1
Born in Brooklyn in 1938, photographer Kwame Brathwaite and his brother, Elombe Brath, co-founded a collective of creatives called the African Jazz Arts Society and Studios in 1956 and a modeling agency named Grandassa Models in 1962. The models sported Afrocentric clothes and natural, unprocessed hair, which helped popularized the “Black Is Beautiful” movement and redefined fashion and beauty standards for black women. Brathwaite, now 81, also photographed black celebrities and artists, including Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Diana Ross, Miles Davis, Bob Marley, Grace Jones and Muhammad Ali, and such events as the Wattstax concert at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1972 and The Jackson 5’s tour of Africa in 1974.
More than 40 of his images are featured in “Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite” at the Skirball, including one of his wife, Sikolo, wearing a beaded headpiece and jewelry by Carolee Prince, who created similar designs for Nina Simone. Among the exhibit’s related programs is the April 11 opening-day discussion with Ghana-born designer Mimi Plange, photographer Tyler Mitchell and son Kwame S. Brathwaite, who runs the Kwame Brathwaite Archive in Pasadena.