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Friday, September 1, 2017

Monuments to Non-Conformity

Barbara Hillary 1931-
Monuments come in all shapes, sizes, materials, relative importance. There are monumental figures who have shaped history, for example: President Barack Obama, Ms. Rosa Parks, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, the Honorable Thurgood Marshall, Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, Ms. Barbara Hillary, and many, many more esteemed individuals HERE. Then there are those who live large, in defiance of stereotypes and being pigeon-holed. They are monuments to the power and strength of the individual and group.

Starting in 2004, there has been an annual Afro-Punk Festival in New York. Some looks from the 2012 Festival can be found HERE. For some looks at the 2017 Afro-Punk Festival, look HERE.
Cordell Louis at Afro-Punk.Photo:Deidre Schoo NYT
In addition to this festival, there is an annual Everyday People dance festival in many locations around the country. HERE is as link to the 2017 daytime dance party in New York. This festival is a celebration of the African diaspora in all its differences, similarities, varieties.

Michael Twitty has been on a mission of Culinary Justice. As a black, gay, Jewish food historian and chef he is bringing awareness of the African roots of Southern cooking and its importance in the history of America. He is concerned that this history/knowledge is being buried and lost. He is currently on a book and lecture/cooking demonstration tour, hoping to engage people in thoughtful conversation.

Michael Twitty
There is a Federation of Black Cowboys: this link is to the New York Chapter. Most people are unaware that in the heyday of cowboys, 25% were black and played a very important role in shaping the West. THIS link takes you to several sub-topics on this subject at BlackPast.org. A history of black cowboys can be read HERE. An essay in The New Yorker magazine on modern cowboys, including black cowgirls, can be found HERE.

And finally, no commentary on living large is complete without the mention of fashion super star André Leon Talley. Mr. Talley has established himself as a style consultant and taste maker and "maven" of the fashion world. All the people and groups mentioned here are monuments to style, culture, non-conformity, and to celebrating life.

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