The many names and titles of Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s last emperor, proclaim the grandeur and majesty of his role in the country’s recent history. As elaborate and expressive as the words used to describe him, the role of his physical body as a public embodiment of modernity evoked the spirit of his politics, both at home and abroad. This essay examines how Haile Selassie controlled his visual image, through clothing as well as photography, in order to express his political and cultural agendas.

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