Film Screening of  “AJASS: Pioneers of the Black is Beautiful Movement”

5:30 PM – 9:30 PM

The Venue

Date: April 14th
Location: The Cooper Union

The Herb Lubalin Study Center in conjunction with Cultural Caravan Productions, Inc., presents a screening of the award-winning documentary, AJASS: Pioneers of the Black is Beautiful Movement, by Louise Dente.  

The African Jazz-Art Society & Studios (AJASS) was founded in 1956 by a group of four talented creatives: Elombe Brath, Kwame Brathwaite, Bob Gumbs, and Chris Acemandese Hall. Inspired by the writings of activist and Black nationalist Marcus Garvey, and his protégé, Carlos Cook of the African Nationalist Pioneer Movement (ANPM), AJASS was a collective of artists, playwrights, designers, musicians, and other Black creatives who sought to produce and promote their own work. Elombe Brath said that one of AJASS’s primary purposes was to “spread the idea of Black unity through appreciation of self, beauty of self — and to establish a Black standard.”

Dente’s documentary chronicles the journey of AJASS from its start in the South Bronx, where they first hosted jazz concerts, to Harlem where their projects expanded helping to shape the visual landscape of the second Harlem Renaissance in the process. It features commentary from several prominent voices on the impact of AJASS and the Grandassa Models, a modeling group created by AJASS for Black women, aiming to challenge white beauty standards.  

Learn more here.

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