The global appeal of black dandyism

The global appeal of black dandyism

Black dandyism now a global phenomenon. The impeccable fashion of black dandies across the African Diaspora continues to captivate a worldwide audience. France’s Canal+ last year released a documentary, “Black Dandy,” which tells the story and origins of the black dandy, tracing it to enslaved Africans in the Americas. Daniele Tamagni’s photobook “Gentlemen of Bacongo” chronicles the style of Congolese Sapeurs. Now, the Dandy Lion project brainchild of Shantrelle P. Lewis, a curator and researcher from New Orleans, is on display in the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.


“Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculinity” is a travelling show that examines the rise of black dandyism globally. Through photographs and film curated by Lewis, the project displays an alternative look into the multi-dimensional masculinity of men of African descent. It aims to provoke and incite new ideas into urban black masculinity. The project also aims to redefine the black dandy of our times, who are more masculine than previous dandies who favored metrosexual expressions, and draw heavily from African aesthetics.



The so-called black dandies are fashion-savvy men who take bits of classical European fashion and merge it with African aesthetics. Black dandyism connects men and women alike throughout the African Diaspora. This is reflected in the Dandy Lion project, which gathers images from cities in three continents, from Brooklyn to London to Johannesburg. The men in the images are of different nationalities, African American, French, Jamaican, and Congolese, to name a few.


Through these muses from across the world, the Dandy Lion project puts black men in the spotlight. Through it, connections within the African Diaspora are highlighted, while stereotypes attached to masculinity and black men are challenged. “Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculinity” will be on exhibition until September 18 at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.


What drives the popularity of black dandies globally? Let us know your answer by leaving a comment below or reaching me on Twitter @rafeeeeta

Rafeeat Aliyu

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