13 Powerful Photos Remind the World of the People Behind #BlackLivesMatter

13 Powerful Photos Remind the World of the People Behind #BlackLivesMatter

Art can be revolutionary. And sometimes art functions as the soul of radical movements. Street art is no different. 

On March 21, the 24 Hour Project, a street photography initiative co-created by Renzo Grande and Sam Smotherman, joined the movement to end state-sanctioned violence against black individuals by partnering with #BlackLivesMatter organizers. Together, the groups produced #BLM247, a public photography series capturing the everyday lives of black individuals across the world over the course of a single day. 

Developed in 2014, the 24 Hour Project has already drawn hundreds of global participants. This year, #BLM247 specifically focused on documenting black life under the theme "The Human Condition." The resultant images of black people dancing, smiling, hugging, rapping, shopping or thinking serve as a reminder that movements are nothing without the human beings who inspire and lead them.

"#BLM247 allows us to tell our stories from our own varied and unique lenses, rather than through the lens of the media," Tanya Lucia Bernard, photographer and Black Lives Matter organizer, told Mic. "Through these photos, we get to see into each others' lives, and that creates a closeness and intimacy that leads to new friendships. You can connect with someone in Ghana, in the U.K. or St. Louis just by following the #BLM247 hashtag."

In centering on the inner lives of black people, #BLM247 is helping to move the dialogue around modern racism from the importance of protests and political work to the necessity of experiencing the everyday moments of beauty and complexity found in black peoples' lives. The photos illustrate the power of art as a tool for community-building, ultimately reminding us that:

Sometimes street art is visual protest.

Blackness is luminous.

And pleasure, parties and sweat are signs of life.

That black love, like black lives, matters.

Whether one is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender...

Young, old or somewhere in between...

Living in urban space...

Or on the either side of the Atlantic...

Freestyling on a street corner or at a club...

Caught smiling in the midst of conversation and bouts of laughter...

Or watching another news program where a bloodied black body is captured...

We are united by our commonality and survival.