The ‘We Love You Project’ Is Changing The Way The World Sees Black Men
I don’t need to tell you, it’s hard out here for a Black man. In a time where Black Men are deemed as “bad dudes” all around and the most you hear about Black men in the news is when they are being shot or standing up for their rights, one person decided to do something different and actually celebrate black men.
Freelance photographer Byron Summers,from Prince George’s County, Maryland, set out to photograph 1,000 black men from around the country and flood the internet with their portraits. He’s sharing their images on his Instagram page accompanied with their names and the message, “Thank you for taking back your image. We love you.”
According to their website, the We Love You Project, is “a simple but powerful reassurance to our black boys and men that even though it feels like we are being murdered and destroyed constantly, we are still a part of a larger community that loves and supports us.”
“This project not only allows me to use my image to counter misconceptions but also another outlet to give back. Muhammad Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for you room here on earth.” My service to my young brothers is to let them know they are loved.” . Travis, . Thank you for taking back your image. . We love you. . #WeLoveYouDC #TheWeLoveYouProject
Summers, who’s been practicing photography since he was 15, said he was overwhelmingly frustrated after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and wanted to uplift the black community with a simple phrase they may not hear as often as they need.
The website goes on to clarify that images we see in main stream media depict us as less than human – thugs, suspects, and even more, dead and discarded. These are the images that brainwash us into believing there is truth behind them.
“We are not worthless.
We are not trash.
We are someone’s son, brother, cousin, uncle, husband or father. We’re HUMAN!”
Byron hopes through the art of photography we can see just how human and how special we really are. Images can be powerful reinforcements. They can be examples of who we are and aspire to be.
In addition to the photo series, Summers sells T-shirts that read “We Love You,” on his site, and proceeds from the sales go to the families of the victims of police brutality.