Stylin' Black Power: Fashion, Dignity, and Masculinity
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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This study examines Black men’s style during the shifting political terrain of the Black Power Movement in the1960s and 1970s. Through a stylistic analysis of images, film, musical albums, and advertisements, I question how modes of dress and adornment influenced Black Power and masculinity. In part, I argue Black men’s attire during the Black Power era became political symbols and material bodily expressions of resistance, Pan-Africanism, Black pride, and Black masculinity. Further, I demonstrate that Black men’s modes of dress during the movement shaped beauty culture worldwide and acted as a vehicle for protest against white supremacy and Eurocentricity. By combining gender and cultural analyses, I identify how ideologies during the Black Power Movement shaped Black masculine expression via hairstyles and fashion. In doing so, I offer new interpretations of mid-twentieth century Black masculinity in the context of the social movements of the sixties and seventies.