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‘Dandy Lion’ rejects young black male stereotypes

This cover image released by Aperture shows, “Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style,” written by Shantrelle P. Lewis. (Aperture via AP)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Seven years ago, Shantrelle P. Lewis was consumed by the negative images of young, black men being depicted in media as aggressive and dangerous.

Most looked nothing like the black men she knew: in her family, her social circle, from her college days at Howard University, or from living in New Orleans, New York or Philadelphia. In response, the curator launched “The Dandy Lion Project,” a touring photography and film exhibit focused on black men in cities around the world with an aesthetic that incorporates European and African influences.

The project is now a book, “Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style” (Aperture Foundation) celebrating the bold prints, bright colors and tailored style challenging society to reimagine what it means to be a black man. Lewis discussed the project and the significance of “Black Dandyism” in a recent interview with The Associated Press.