Type in “couples in love” into a Google search browser and scroll through the images it yields... but don’t hold your breath until you see an image reflecting a black couple.
That’s not the only web-based offering where imagery showing people of color engaging in acts of affection is scarce. The glaring lack of these types of photos along with the overexposure of imagery around black tragedy is what recently prompted activists and media professionals Michaela Angela Davis and Dabo Ché to tackle these issues and do something about it. So, they did.
On Valentine’s Day, Davis and Ché officially launched a revolutionary new campaign titled “Black Love Power,” a digital platform dedicated to promoting powerful images of black people engaging in acts of love both through their website and across social media. The photos, which are all taken by talented black photographers, seek to show a broad range of images of black people and the many ways they express affection.
“Black is big, generous and mystical. Love is the most transformative energy there is. Power is what all people want. So Black Love Power, for me, is a reinforcement of, who we are, what we’re made of and what we have,” Davis told The Huffington Post. “In this political climate and always, it is a radical act, an act of resistance even, for Black folks to love each other boldly, out in the open-repetitiously.”
The “Black Love Power” platform essentially serves as a digital photo gallery that encompasses the work of talented photographers Davis and Ché have recruited and worked with.
Together, the two have built a network of over 50 black photographers who know how to capture photos that demonstrate the diversity, beauty and strength of blackness as well as their interpretation of black love. To help show off these images, Davis and Ché have also partnered with HuffPost Black Voices and will take over the site’s Instagram account on Tuesday to disseminate these images more widely at a time we need to indulge in and celebrate them most.
“I think it’s critical to have a broad range of images that express and illustrate our generous humanity and the profound diversity of our beauty,” Davis said. “The way black people demonstrate love-through our bodies, our style, our music, art, language, our food, humor, the way we love God is vast and mighty. The world loves to witness and learn from black love, we just want to make it easier for folks to see.”
The project it doesn’t stop with the stunning photography. “Black Love Power” aims to reimagine and reflect the many ways black love can be experienced and perceived. In fact, Ché says the platform aims to “make us less reactionary to how other people treat us and more proactive about how we treat each other and focus on how we want to build a sustainable future.”
“This is a platform where we can explore relationships, politics, sex, economics and all things that can positively affect ourselves, our community and ultimately the world we live in,” he added.
In looking ahead, Davis and Ché plan to continue to collect and distribute images that align with their mission in hopes that people will feel uplifted, empowered and healed in some way after viewing them.
“And that’s not just for Black people. When anyone is exposed to love, there’s no room for fear or hate. Love triumphs over all,” Ché said.
Black love has the power to empower and energize everyone and the central mission behind this campaign is one that reinforces the beauty of black love and the transformative power it embraces.
“I want black people to have a refuge and refuel in our profound indestructible love. I also want us to dip back frequently, in the soulful sexy we way we love. We love like Prince, Phyllis Hyman and Marvin Gaye,” Davis said. “I also really want people to know all the AMAZING Black photographers capturing time, ideas and us through a particular lens. And I want people to love one another more, bravely, sweetly and frequently,” she added.
“Black Love is a SUPER Power, we need to simply activate [it].”
Check out some of the featured photographers and their work with the “Black Love Power” project in the slideshow below.