About This Exhibition
This is a critical period in history for the African-American community. In recent years, many have been able to transcend racial, cultural and economic boundaries while others have found themselves increasingly confined to the margins of society. African-American men are particularly challenged by this paradox. A black man was the President of the United States, yet black men are still severely overrepresented in incarceration and high school dropout rates, and suffer disproportionately from various preventable health risks and as victims of homicide.
– Excerpt taken from Question Bridge: Black Males artist statement
The representation and depiction of black males in popular culture has long been governed by prevailing stereotyped attitudes about race and sexuality. Far too little is known about the range of internal values and dynamics of this group. Scientists, theorists, historians, politicians and activists have investigated the plight of the African-American male on various levels and from diverse perspectives, yet not enough has been done to represent a multi-faceted and self-determined representation of this demographic. Ultimately, black males are at greatest odds with themselves. The question is, “Why?”
Question Bridge: Black Males opens a window onto the complex and often unspoken dialogue among African-American men, creating an intimate and essentially genuine experience for viewers and subjects and providing new opportunities for understanding and healing. This project brings to the forefront the full spectrum of what it means to be “black” and “male” in America. “Blackness” ceases to be a simple, monochromatic concept.
Question Bridge: Black Males was created by Chris Johnson and Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair. The executive producers are Delroy Lindo, Deborah Willis and Jesse Williams.
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, The New Press. 2010
- Michelle Alexander's HuffPost blog
- A Call for Change: Providing Solutions for Black Male Achievement (PDF)
- The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males
Image credits: From left to right, top to bottom: Jesse Williams, Nelson George, Chandler Parker, Ambassador Andrews Young, Robert Horton, Delroy Lindo. ©Chris Johnson.