PRE-ORDER: Black Is Beautiful: JET Beauties of the Week
PRE-ORDER: ON SALE October 3, 2023
Famed 60s sunshine pop band 5th Dimension’s LaMonte McLemore’s additional enduring legacy is that of a photographer, contributing a weekly column “Beauty of the Week” to the renowned publication of African American pop culture, JET. Here, for the first time, is his personal selection of the column’s glory era.
As a founding member and vocalist in the award-winning pop-soul group The 5th Dimension, LaMonte McLemore enjoyed enormous critical and commercial acclaim in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But arguably just as impactful, if not more so, was his career as a photographer cementing Black women and models in American media and cultural history.
McLemore freelanced for JET magazine for more than four decades, principally shooting for its “Beauty of the Week” feature, which encapsulated Black joy, style, and beauty. During this time, he photographed over 500 Black women, most of whom were not professional models. The section, in which a woman was featured in a swimsuit along with her name, place of residence, profession, hobbies, and interests, became one of the most popular among the magazine’s audiences, as it showcased the everyday beauty and elegance of Black women, contributing greatly to what has been called the “first form of social media” by acclaimed contemporary visual artist, Mickalene Thomas. This photographic output serves as a living document of everyday Black fashion and elegance.
Black Is Beautiful: JET Beauties of the Week compiles, for the first time, numerous photographs from McLemore’s “Beauty of the Week” shoots, including never-before-seen outtakes from those sessions. This dynamic coffee table book is a tribute to LaMonte McLemore’s talent and cultural impact, and is a celebration of Black women, Black beauty, and Black culture.
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