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Kwame Brathwaite, photojournalist and activist has passed away


Photographer Kwame Brathwaite, who helped popularize the "Black is Beautiful" movement of the 1960s, has died.

Kwame Brathwaite, Self-portrait, African Jazz-Art Society & Studios (AJASS), Harlem, ca. 1964. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND PHILIP MARTIN GALLERY, LOS ANGELES

His son, Kwame Brathwaite Jr, shared a post on social media to announce his father’s death. Brathwaite Jr wrote: “I am deeply saddened to share that my Baba, the patriarch of our family, our rock and my hero, has transitioned. Thank you for your love and support during this difficult time. Kwame Brathwaite January 1, 1938 – April 1, 2023.”


The photographer was born in New York City to parents who were immigrants from Barbados. He grew up in Brooklyn, Harlem and the South Bronx and was first drawn to photography when he arrived at the School of Industrial Art. It was there that he first saw David Jackson’s photograph of Emmett Till in his open casket.


Brathwaite’s interest was piqued when he saw a young man taking photos in a dark jazz club without a flash. He decided to do the same and learned to work without the benefit of using much light and processed his photographs with a method that enhanced black skin. Throughout his career, Brathwaite shot the likes of jazz icons Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk.

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Kwame Brathwaite, photojournalist and activist has passed away

March 31, 2023

Art Report Africa

1 min read

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