One day in backward January 1962, a accumulation of artists — accepted as the African Jazz-Art Association & Studios — staged a appearance appearance in Harlem that would change American ability forever.
The event, captivated in the basement of the Harlem Purple Manor, a accepted bistro on East 125th Street, was alleged “Naturally ’62” and was advised to advance African ability and fashion.
What fabricated the appearance advocate were the models: a accumulation of nonprofessionals with aboveboard aphotic bark and natural, unprocessed, coiled hair. They were allotment of the anew formed Grandassa Models, and they were as clashing any appearance plates as the army had anytime seen.
“It was a beat concept, women advancing out on date cutting their beard in a accustomed state,” above AJASS affiliate Robert Gumbs told The Post. “We didn’t apperceive how the association would respond. I anticipate a cardinal of bodies came to laugh.”
Yet by the end of the evening, admirers associates were auspicious the models. And the show’s slogan, “Black Is Beautiful” — printed on fliers and posters announcement the accident — would become a ambulatory cry and movement adulatory accustomed hair, darker bark and African heritage.
The byword would barrage magazines, clay careers, appearance trends and TV shows, alteration the mural of American pop ability by authoritative it far added accessible and colorful.
Two accepted exhibits in New York flash a ablaze on the Grandassa Models and the “Black Is Beautiful” ethos. “This Synthetic Moment,” at Chelsea’s David Nolan arcade through March 10, appearance the photography of AJASS and Grandassa Models co-founder Kwame Brathwaite, whose images of artlessly coiffed atramentous women would access magazines such as Ebony and Harper’s Bazaar to appoint darker-skinned models. Brathwaite’s photos are additionally basic to the Museum of the City of New York’s 1960s-themed appearance “Mod New York,” which includes some of the architecture trends that the “Naturally” shows helped launch.
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