Shabazz's photographs celebrate the "cool" style of early hip-hop culture between 1980 and 1989. Though his work is firmly rooted in the tradition of urban street photography, Shabazz here shows his subjects striking a pose and staring straight into the camera. The resulting images become less documentary and more yearbook-like in style. At first viewing, the clothes and posturing seem almost ridiculous, until we remember the excesses of the 1980s. By comparing the styles and attitudes of this bygone era to contemporary hip-hop culture, Ernie Paniccioli's essay places Shabazz's photos within a historical and social context. He points out that like all fresh and honest trends, the hip-hop style has become sadly commodified and more concerned with status than substance. But in the early era presented here, the focus was never style for style's sake it was about rebellion and survival.
Shabazz, who has published his photos in the Source, Vibe, and other magazines, documents his "passion for photography and his love for his people" while raising important issues of racial justice and equality. Free self-expression is communicated through hair, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and, most importantly, posturing. An important examination of urban and youth culture through colorful photographs, this is recommended for all public and academic libraries. Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
0.79" H x 9.74" L x 7.16" W, 1.47 lbs, 128 pages
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