It’s easy to get discouraged about the state of race relations in this country. Even as we celebrate achievements like the first black President, we lament the unjust killings of unarmed black men and women by police. It’s with that in mind that Style Influencers Group (SIG), a collective created to connect brands and multicultural influencers, came up with the concept for “We Are Black History.”
“With increased awareness on social injustice, I wanted us to get together to recreate images of iconic black women for Black History Month to pay homage to these women that have paved the way for us,” SIG co-founder Alexis Felder told Buzzfeed.
The uplifting photo project, which debuted on ELLE.com, features today’s leading influencers recreating photos of black history icons. It was photographed by Jerome A. Shaw with hair by Seto McCoy using True Indian Hair extensions, makeup by Denise Laidley and Kalifa Gordon of Kayden Makeup Artistry and manicures by Gracie J of The Editorial Nail.
#WeAreBlackHistory not only honors historic icons, it celebrates women who are fighting everyday to bring about change in the present. “[The influencers] were selected because they’re making a tangible impact and shaping our history with their words, actions, and images,” Christina Brown, SIG co-founder, said in an official statement. “Each influencer has a personal connection to the legend they’re paying tribute to,” she added. Some of the influencers featured include Huffington Post Style & Beauty Editor Julee Wilson as Rosa Parks, Blogher editor Feminista Jones as Betty Shabazz and natural hair vlogger Taren Guy as Billie Holiday. Though the influencers feel connected to the icons, they’re not claiming to be the second coming. “In no way are we claiming to be the next iteration of these icons,” Jessica C. Andrews, co-founder of SIG, wrote on ELLE.com. “We’re simply paying homage to them for the way they’ve inspired us in our careers and beyond.” Check out more photos in the slideshow below.