Friday, May 14, 2021

Why We’re Here

January 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Feature

Why We’re Here

For more than a decade, Las Vegas Black Image has been part of a long tradition of positive self-examination in chronicling the Black experience in America. And we’re just getting started.

When you think about the image that Black Americans project to the world, there’s no overlooking the work and words of W.E.B. Du Bois — the thinker and historian whose activism led to the creation of the NAACP. According to the Library of Congress:

At the turn of the century Du Bois compiled a series of photographs for the “American Negro” exhibit at the 1900 Paris Exposition. He organized the 363 images into albums, entitled Types of American Negroes, Georgia, U.S.A. and Negro Life in Georgia, U.S.A.

At the time, Du Bois was a professor of sociology at Atlanta University, committed to combating racism with empirical evidence of the economic, social, and cultural conditions of African Americans. He believed that a clear revelation of the facts of African American life and culture would challenge the claims of biological race scientists influential at the time, which proposed that African Americans were inherently inferior to Anglo-Americans. The photographs of affluent young African American men and women challenged the scientific “evidence” and popular racist caricatures of the day that ridiculed and sought to diminish African American social and economic success. Further, the wide range of hair styles and skin tones represented in the photographs demonstrated that the so-called “Negro type” was in fact a diverse group of distinct individuals. The one public statement Du Bois made concerning these photographs was that visitors to the American Negro exhibit would find “several volumes of photographs of typical Negro faces, which hardly square with conventional American ideas.”

Du Bois’s work for the American Negro exhibit was extensive and much praised. In the Spring of 1900, Paris Exposition judges awarded him a gold medal for his role as “collaborator” and “compiler” of materials for the exhibit.

Las Vegas Black Image Magazine grabbed Du Bois’ historic baton more than a decade ago, determined to create a magazine that would reflect the “positive” literary and photographic imagery of African Americans in Nevada. Before Las Vegas Black Image Magazine came to be, images of African Americans in our city and state — if any — displayed us according to negative stereotypes. But along came our 44th President Barack Obama — which changed the narrative of what a Black man and family looked like.

Las Vegas Black Image seeks to continue the image breaking perception of today’s African Americans and the stories of success that define the Black community.

According to Las Vegas Black Image owners/publishers Charles Tureaud and Kimberly Bailey Tureaud, “There is still so much work to be done, but we are so blessed to chronicle Black lifestyle and achievement in Nevada — and we celebrate all the supporters and readers of the magazine. African-Americans have played an indelible role in building the entertainment capital into what it is today. The positive images tell a story that we capture each month. African-American notables, celebrities and influencers have poured their talents into Black culture — which has inspired positive movement in Black communities across America. We are thrilled to continue this journey of impact.”

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