The highly distinctive styles adopted by black men and women over the last fifty years have their origins in the African diaspora but they have also been moulded by politics, cultural exchange and the desire of different social groups to forge a distinctive identity. Black Style looks at the huge variety to be seen in black dress, hair and accessories, whether in West Africa, or Jamaica, or reinvented on the streets of the United States and Great Britain.
John Picton looks at West Africa and the relationship between the vibrant textile patterns dyed and woven by local tribespeople and the statuesque robes worn by West African communities, while Carolyn Cooper concentrates on Jamaican dress and its historical roots. Susan B. Kaiser, Leslie Rabine, Carol Hall and Daryl Ketchum highlight hip-hop culture within a broader historical context, placing the concept of respect, originating in the early years of slavery, at the centre of African-American style identity. Carol Tulloch draws on a wide range of examples, from the Evangelical church and gospel singers, to family events such as weddings and funerals, the world of pop music, carnivals and street markets, to portray the multiple strands that make up black dress and identity in Great Britain.
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