This New York teen is challenging masculinity with glitter

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A 19-year-old from New York City is setting out to challenge the gender norms for black men in a stunning new photo series.

Glitterboy, which will continue through until the autumn, aims to explore masculinity, gender fluidity, and male make-up.

Speaking to PinkNews Quil Lemons, the artist behind the collection, said he wanted to “combat stereotypical norms”.

“Glitterboy is an ongoing series that explores the many nuances of black men embracing femininity while combatting the stereotypical norms.

“It’s a series in homage to Frank Ocean, and the many men such as Prince and David Bowie who challenged what a man and masculinity should be.”

Models in the project simply pose naturally, with the addition of some glitter and great lighting.

The student, who is currently at New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, said he hopes to show “carefree black men”, while also touching on femininity and male make-up.

“A glitter boy is a black man openly embracing who they are in whatever shape or form,” he explains.

“Glitter boys are young black men shifting culture and stereotypes placed upon the black male body.”

Since first posting the project on Instagram three weeks ago, he has been overwhelmed with the response.

One of Quil Lemons Pictures
Credit: @quillemons

“Glitter boy is autobiographical,” he adds. “I hope to stir the pot and make my audience question their views of what is acceptable for young black men.

“I hope many who see it feel liberated to unapologetically be themselves especially young black men.

“Masculinity can imprison young black boys and hopefully this will be a beacon of hope to set them free.”

Photo series have been used before as a striking way of capturing the LGBT community. In 2015, for example, photographer Arjun Kamath captured the struggle many couples face in coming out for the first time.

A Toronto photographer also previously documented his transition in a stripped back photo series.

You can see more of Quil’s photos as they are released on his Instagram.