[Art + Design] 1001 Black Men: Illustrations inspired by Nikki Giovanni’s poem ‘Beautiful Black Men’

In June 2010 English professor and artist Ajuan Mance started ‘100 Black Men’ to document the faces of men she saw on her daily journeys in Oakland, California. The project includes the faces of family members, friends and neighbours.

In the poem “Beautiful Black Men,” Nikki Giovanni describes her love for all types of Black men, explaining that, for her, they represent “the same old danger/but a brand new pleasure.” In this series of drawings, I push past entrenched stereotypes to create images of Black men that reflect the wonderful complexity of African American lives–our history so deeply embedded in our present, our celebrations so often tempered by grief and, yes, the pleasure and danger we find in so many of the people, places, and activities that give us joy.”