"Fierce! Being Black, Being Gay"

25 Years of Photography by Christopher Cushman

(Curtis Lipscomb)


To better understand the work in the newst exhibit at Affirmations, we turn to the Forward from the book "FIERCE! Being Black, Being Gay":

"What Chris has done with this important collection of images, Fierce: Being Black, Being Gay in America, A Photographic Essay, is to seek, lift, and affirm the identity and visibility of men-who love-men and express it in many ways. His photographs display Midwest American men from the outlandish and flamboyant, to the subdued and subtle. You'd think these were "ladies who lunch;" muscular men dressed for the "Park" in lace, and floppy hats to give effect for all to see. Brothers connecting in places we know are safe, such as our nightclubs, the discos, and special events targeting our interests.

The importance of Fierce is paramount: all men are created equal, and share a space on earth. These portraits of men have to be recognized as God's beauty and not His damnation. Time will thank those who were strong and dared enough to express themselves for all to see and appreciate in a manner that's loving and creative. Time will also thank us for not living in a paranoid state of mind, and afraid of our own shadows. Remember, this cluster of work isn't Robert Mappelthope's approach to black imagery, but the approach of documenting men as they wanted to be seen: with and without sexual stimulation, for shock value."

Christopher Cushman is a Toronto-based photographer.  His collection Fierce! Being Black, Being Gay will be presented, by Kick - The Agency for LGBT African-Americans at the Pittmann-Puckett Art Gallery at Affirmations, 290 W. 9 Mile in Ferndale.  The opening reception will be from 7-9 pm on July 9, 2010.  For more information go to www.goaffirmations.org.