langston hughes-inspired portrait series celebrates black beauty and humanity 

December 19, 2017
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Shot by photographer Mark Elzey backstage at Collina Strada Spring Summer 2017, his “I, too” photo series is inspired by a poem of the same name by Langston Hughes. A stirring and captivating love letter to blackness and a complicated portrait of post-abolition Black Americanness, an idealistic hope for humanity that has long been denied. A hopefulness that, no matter how naive, persists in the Black American consciousness. Now, Elzey’s presents the beauty Hughes referenced, well overdue of acknowledgment.

I, Too


I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.