Professional photographer Paul Phillips plans to provide artistic proof of the beauty in African-American women with his “Beauty in Black” project recently launched on Kickstarter.com. The idea was inspired by a disturbing blog post in 2010 written by evolutionary psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa who argued that black women are less physically attractive than other women. The post created a firestorm of angry comments across the web and was quickly removed from the website.
The “Beauty in Black” project will be a coffee table book filled with 30 to 40 high quality black & white and color photographs celebrating the beauty and spirit of black women. Phillips explains, “As a black man who is married to a beautiful black woman, I didn’t get mad I got busy,” he told BlackNews.com.” I am creating a photo essay that will portray the beauty of African American women of all shades, shapes and sizes.” The call for “models” will go out by word of mouth, over the internet, and in the media. The themes will deal with the hair, skin tone and body images of black women and girls from all walks of life from the celebrity to the everyday.
Kickstarter.com is the world’s largest online funding platform for creative projects. Phillips explains why he created the project on kickstarter.com, “As a professional photographer, I own all of the equipment to create the book. I plan to photograph women from all over the country. In addition to raising funds for travel and printing, I plan to hire makeup artists and wardrobe stylists to work with my models.” He plans to finish the book this year and publish by March 2013.
To learn more about “Beauty in Black”, watch the video, and/or make a donation, visit his KickStarter page at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1657641638/beauty-in-black. Each project is required to offer rewards for donations and must reach the stated funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands. Donations start as low as $5 and rewards includes items such as a screen saver, a set of note cards, and a desk calendar featuring images from the collection.
Although Kanazawa’s post was removed from the website, screen shots of excerpts appeared in the Huffington Post “Style” section: “What accounts for the markedly lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women? Black women are on average much heavier than nonblack women. […] However, this is not the reason black women are less physically attractive than nonblack women.”