19-year-old artist Myles Loftin uses film and a playful photographic essay to challenge the stereotype of dangerous black men or boys in hoodies. His series adds positive portrayals of black teens in a world populated by depictions of criminality and violence.
According to his website, the series is meant to humanise images of black men dressed in hoodies, an article of clothing that when associated with the black male, is imagined to symbolise criminality and the stereotypical thug. “The media has always put a negative light on black men in hoodies and even when you google “black boy hoodie” you get images of criminals while the search “white boy hoodie” produces cookie cutter stock photos of white teenagers smiling,” explains Loftin.
Loftin photographed four black teens/men and portrayed them in a positive light that is in direct contrast to the media’s representation. The final product is a series of photographs, screenshots and a film that attempts to shift perception.
“Society’s standards placed against black males need to be erased because they are extremely harmful and divisive. It contributes to the reason black males are targeted more by police, why we receive longer jail sentences than our white counterparts and the discrimination that we receive,” he writes.
“Also, by reversing the portrayals of black and white males this project seeks to understand how the perception of both will change depending on how they are depicted.”