The first comprehensive exhibition of contemporary global black dandyism of its kind, The Dandy Lion Project was born in November 2010 with the exhibition titled Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculinity. This exhibition was a discussion about the refashioning and articulation of black masculinity. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, the black dandy’s look is highly tailored. He is a rebel—a modern-day representation of the African trickster. His style and identity generally contradict the stereotypes, boxes, categories, and ideas that a society has about him. The dandy represents a complicated dance between race, gender, power, and style. Primarily, dandyism as a fashion trend was born in Europe during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. More specifically, the dandy is mostly a British construct who came into being in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but who simultaneously has French roots. He was classified as an individual whose self-importance, impeccable dress, and manners attract attention and afford status. A black dandy can be defined as a self-fashioned gentleman who intentionally appropriates classical European fashion with an African disaporan aesthetic and sensibilities. Ideally, the conversation sparked by this project will continue to challenge, evolve, and inform ideas of masculinity, class, gender, and sexuality.
Research Article|November 01 2015
Fashioning Black Masculinity: The Origins of the Dandy Lion Project
Shantrelle P. Lewis
Shantrelle P. Lewis
Shantrelle P. Lewis is a 2014 United Nations Programme for People of African Descent Fellow and 2012–13 Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellow. She is a US-based curator and researcher who travels internationally researching diasporic aesthetics, spirituality, and the survival and evolution of African retentions. At present, she is making a documentary about the Dutch blackface tradition Zwarte Piet, race, racism, and black identity in the Netherlands.
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Nka (2015) 2015 (37): 54-61.
Shantrelle P. Lewis; Fashioning Black Masculinity: The Origins of the Dandy Lion Project. Nka 1 November 2015; 2015 (37): 54–61. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-3339871
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