The subversive power of the black dandy
Black men’s style is a form of radical personal politics, argues the curator of a new photography exhibition paying tribute to the ‘louche, camp and playful’ from Soweto to New York
When I was 16, my dad and I were parked outside the Express Dairy in Wembley, chatting in the front of our car. We’d been there for about 10 minutes when there was a knock on the window. It was a police officer. Someone had reported the presence of two suspicious men in a vehicle.
As we drove off, my dad chuckled at the idea that anyone could think of us, a middle-aged man and his son in a Volvo estate, as a threat. I laughed too, but I wouldn’t have if I’d realised that incidents like this were soon to become commonplace. Here, in 1984, was an end to boyhood and the start of my journey into adulthood – into becoming a black man.