#umdmelanin shines a light on black beauty


if you’ve paid close attention to #blacktwitter, then you know about the ongoing hbcu versus predominantly white institution (pwi) debate. it’s mostly as divisive as the perpetual light skin versus dark skin conversation, and includes pontifications about how hbcus are breeding grounds for “wokeness.” i disagree that black colleges and universities are the only/best places that a young person’s black consciousness can evolve.  with the right affirmation, sociopolitical awareness can exist just as strongly among the students of color at pwis. #umdmelanin proves this point beautifully.

created by photographer olasubomi adesoye, a senior accounting and international business major, the photo project features black women who attend the university of maryland. when describing his work, adesoye noted “the series is meant to capture and showcase the essence of an african american woman at college park.”

deliberately launched during black history month, the young sisters featured are captured in formation (sidenote: thank you solange for blessing us with this classic moment in black girl magic that will forever be re-enacted) as well as in recognizable spots around the college’s campus. overall, their beauty, stories and fierceness is powerful.

hands down, this was the best black history month of my lifetime. much love to the entire crew and models who made #umdmelanin possible — with such a substantive message behind the images, this work should be featured in art galleries around the globe.