Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case SP, Shelf 6

Miss Black & Beautiful

Photograph
c.1970s (photographed), 2012 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Grenadian born photographer Raphael Albert (1935-2009) was committed to celebrating the growing black population in Britain. Whilst living in Hammersmith, West London he began to organise and photograph a host of black beauty pageants from the 1960s to the 1980s, mostly targeted at women from the British Caribbean community.

The pageants echoed the sentiment of the ‘Black is Beautiful’ movement, which started in America in the 1960s. The movement encouraged black people to embrace their natural beauty. ‘Black is Beautiful’ became an international movement and the phrase was adopted by the anti-apartheid activist, Steve Biko, as part of the Black Consciousness Movement.

The V&A acquired seven of Albert’s photographs documenting beauty pageants and the British Caribbean community in London as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleBlack Beauty Pageants (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Gelatin silver fibre-based print
Brief Description
Photograph by Raphael Albert, 'Miss Black & Beautiful', from the portfolio Black Beauty Pageants, gelatin silver print, London, c. 1970s, printed 2012
Physical Description
A black and white photograph of a young black woman seated wearing a crown, a bikini and a sash with the words 'Miss BLACK & BEAUTIFUL' printed on it. She has her eyes closed and is smiling. There are two women with afros either side of her, kissing each of her cheeks.
Dimensions
  • Image width: 280mm
  • Image height: 280mm
  • Paper width: 305mm
  • Paper height: 405mm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
(Stamped by Autograph ABP on the verso)
Gallery Label
Raphael Albert (1935 – 2009) Untitled Untitled The Harder They Come Beauty Salon Untitled Miss Black & Beautiful From the series Black Beauty Pageants 1960 – 79 This series of photographs echoes the sentiment of the ‘Black is Beautiful’ movement, which started in America in the 1960s. The movement encouraged black people to embrace their natural beauty. Albert became interested in black British beauty pageants while working as a freelance photographer for the newspaper West Indian World. He founded the Miss Teenager and Miss West Indies in Great Britain contests in 1974. He viewed the contests as a way of restoring confidence within his community. Gelatin silver prints (printed 2012) Museum nos. E.312 to 317-2013 (16/02/2015-24/05/2015)
Credit line
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Object history
The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
Grenadian born photographer Raphael Albert (1935-2009) was committed to celebrating the growing black population in Britain. Whilst living in Hammersmith, West London he began to organise and photograph a host of black beauty pageants from the 1960s to the 1980s, mostly targeted at women from the British Caribbean community.



The pageants echoed the sentiment of the ‘Black is Beautiful’ movement, which started in America in the 1960s. The movement encouraged black people to embrace their natural beauty. ‘Black is Beautiful’ became an international movement and the phrase was adopted by the anti-apartheid activist, Steve Biko, as part of the Black Consciousness Movement.



The V&A acquired seven of Albert’s photographs documenting beauty pageants and the British Caribbean community in London as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
E.314-2013

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record createdFebruary 7, 2013
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