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

Source: AP
Source: AP

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.

'nobody wants to be a star"; Los Angeles, CA #BLM247
Source: 
@tanyaluciabe/Instagram

"#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.

"These Walls"; Philadelphia, PA #BLM247
Source: 
@marcohillphoto

Blackness is luminous.

"Untitled"; Pretoria, South Africa #BLM247
Source: 
@ThembaM60

And pleasure, parties and sweat are signs of life.

"Dance"; Dakar, Senegal #BLM247
Source: 
@apostrophekola

That black love, like black lives, matters.

"Black Love Matters", New York City #BLM247
Source: 
@photofelli

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

"black gay lives matter"; New London, CT #BLM247
Source: 
@rob4video

Young, old or somewhere in between...

"Black Girl Magic", Wimington, DE #BLM247
Source: 
@sheismoxie

Living in urban space...

"G like that"; Philadelphia, PA #BLM247
Source: 
@saharchphoto;

Or on the either side of the Atlantic...

"cookies"; London, UK #BLM247
Source: 
@ellamishi

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

"untitled"; Memphis, TN #BLM247
Source: 
@mdasbury

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

"Untitled"; Chapel Hill, NC #BLM247
Source: 
@ayinde21

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

"Random Acts of Kindness" ; Philadelphia, PA #BLM247
Source: 
@365ken

We are united by our commonality and survival.

"Little Haiti"; Miami, FL #BLM247
Source: 
@johanne707

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Darnell L. Moore

Darnell L. Moore is a Senior Editor and Senior Correspondent at Mic. He is also co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire and Writer-in-Residence at the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice at Columbia University.

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