August 16, 2022

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At the Gordon Parks Foundation Annual Awards Dinner, Photography Is Paramount

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“There’s a whole lot of funds in this room tonight, I like this,” claimed Kasseem Dean, aka Swizz Beatz, as he appeared out at the packed space at Cipriani 42nd Street in Manhattan on Thursday night. The Gordon Parks Foundation Annual Awards Dinner had drawn a complete home of supporters. “So really do not get shy when that time arrives all-around really do not get shy for the reason that now far more than ever we have to help the Gordon Parks legacy.”

The gala honored Mark Bradford, Laurene Powell Jobs, Tonya Lewis Lee, Spike Lee and Darren Walker with the Gordon Parks Basis Award all over the evening, and Bisa Butler, Andre D. Wagner and Nicole R. Fleetwood were introduced as the foundation’s 2022 fellowship recipients. Guests bundled Leonardo DiCaprio, Questlove, party co-chair Swizz Beatz, Maxwell Osbourne — dressed in a suit from his new label AnOnlyChild — Rev. Dr. William J. Barber 2nd, Anderson Cooper and Wynton Marsalis.

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“I grew up searching at visuals that Gordon Parks made, not even realizing it was Gordon Parks as a younger individual,” mentioned Tonya Lewis Lee for the duration of cocktail hour. “His do the job, these black-and-white pictures of just typical individuals, were being so impressive to me in a way that I didn’t even recognize. He confirmed me that you can use your very own artwork to really make an affect and shine a mild on points.”

Various of the late photographer’s legendary images were being exhibited on a wall to greet attendees as they entered the space the prints would be auctioned off later on in the evening.

Questioned if one particular of Parks’ photographs in particular resonated, Lee mentioned a several that hit specially close to residence. “We have a couple Gordon Parks at my residence,” she mentioned, contacting out  the photographer’s famed “American Gothic” image of a female posing with a broom in front of an American flag and “Invisible Man,” encouraged by Ralph Ellison’s novel. “The just one that actually stands out to me proper now is a self portrait of [Parks] upcoming to his digicam,” Lee included.

“In times like this, I think it is truly important to help and sustain institutions like [the Gordon Parks Foundation],” reported Bradford, who was afterwards launched onstage by Cooper. “The perform that they do is crucial simply because it can transform life, it can assist artists. It is about longevity and sustainability.”

Dean touched on that value as he welcomed the group adhering to an opening performance by The Roots member Black Assumed. “Photography is a single of the strongest mediums in the environment,” mentioned Dean, as Parks’ images were being projected on huge screen screens flanking the phase. His 1956 picture “At Segregated Drinking Fountain,” taken in Alabama in 1956, served as the evening’s central backdrop a person of the women of all ages pictured in the photograph, Cora Taylor, was in the audience as a exclusive guest.

“Gordon Parks was way in advance of his time. He was capturing moments that we even now stay right now, he was capturing moments that we however didn’t get over, continue to to this day,” additional Dean. “We still have a good deal of get the job done to do.”

Leonardo DiCaprio - Credit: Lexie Moreland/WWD

Leonardo DiCaprio – Credit history: Lexie Moreland/WWD

Lexie Moreland/WWD

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