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Catalog Data

Photograph by:
Kwame Brathwaite, American, 1938 - 2023  Search this
Subject of:
Helene Nomsa Brath, American  Search this
Wigs Parisian, American  Search this
African Jazz-Arts Society and Studios, American, founded 1956  Search this
pigment on paper (fiber product)
H x W: 15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm)
inkjet prints
Place captured:
Harlem, New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
ca. 1963; printed 2018
A black-and-white photograph of Grandassa model Nomsa Brath protesting in front of the Wigs Parisian store front on 125th Street in Harlem, New York. Brath's hair is cropped into a short afro style and she is wearing a white, sleeveless, knee length dress, black high heels, and sunglasses. She is also wearing a protest placard over her torso that reads [NATURAL···YES! WIGS···NO] above a cartoon illustration of two women, one with natural hair styled into a top knot and the other wearing a blonde wig. The cartoon woman with the natural hairstyle has her eyes closed and is holding out her hand in a stop signal towards the woman wearing the wig. To the right of Brath is another female protester wearing a placard that reads [DON’T BE A / JACKASS… / BE / NATURAL!] above an illustration of two women and a donkey. On the far right is a third female protester. Her partially visible placard reads [[---?]iSFiTS / [[---?]nted]. Two men are also standing on the right on either side of the protesters and a woman in a floral skirt stands in front of the doorway of the store, smoking a cigarette. The storefront is white with a retracted, black awning and a sign above with cursive black text that reads [[Wi]gs / Parisian]. The storefront entrance is lined with a glass window display. The white walls of the display case's interior is decorated with illustrations of wigs. In the left foreground is a parking meter. There are no marks or inscriptions, front or back.
African American  Search this
Activism  Search this
African diaspora  Search this
Associations and institutions  Search this
Beauty culture  Search this
Black power  Search this
Business  Search this
Fashion  Search this
Hair  Search this
Photography  Search this
Race discrimination  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Courtesy of the Kwame Brathwaite Archive & Philip Martin Gallery, © Kwame Brathwaite
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Media Arts-Photography
Black is Beautiful
BAM (Black Arts Movement 1965-1976)
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture