Dad Dresses Daughter As Iconic Black Women For An Awesome Photography Project

February was Black History Month, March was Women’s History Month, and March 8 was International Women’s Day. While those aren’t the ONLY times to celebrate women and people of color, they are important reminders about the history of a certain section of society that isn’t often given front and center, except when it is something controversial. Think of what a polarizing term “feminism” is, and think of all the major news stories driven by racial prejudice over the past couple of years.

In an attempt to teach his young daughter the positive side of race and gender, away from what we often get bombarded with in mainstream media, one dad is using his photography skills to create something really awesome.


Brooklyn, NY-based Marc Bushelle together with his wife photographed their 5 year-old daughter Lily and dressed her up as a handful of iconic black women throughout history.

“We thought it would be important to recreate iconic photos so our daughter could feel a connection to these amazing women who came before her,” he told Cafemom.

“This has been so encouraging and I certainly want to keep the momentum going,” he added. “We will continue to do the iconic photos. We wanted to educate our daughter. We had no idea it would reach, touch, and teach so many people.”

These images are amazing, and remind us of another photography project from a couple of years ago. Texas photographer and mom Jaime C Moore photographed her 5 year-old daughter Emma, dressed up as iconic and pioneering women throughout history in order to give her a wider scope of what women do in the real world, away from the narrow-minded Disney Princess mold.

While Marc’s photos are particularly meant to be anti-Disney images, they certainly help to place emphasis on real life, trailblazing women that young girls need to know about, more than Belle or Ariel. Heck, even more than most celebrities and reality stars these days!

The women Marc dressed Lily up include model Grace Jones, poet Toni Morrison, Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, and many more:


This is Lily (on the right) as Shirley Chisholm who became the first black woman to be elected to Congress and was the first woman to campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“We are looking for women who are trailblazers in all sorts of fields,” Marc says.


Michelle Howard became the first female four star admiral in the United States Navy just last year. That same day, she also became the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Famously, she helped to direct the ship that rescued hijacked Captain Richard Phillips and his crew, and was referenced in the Tom Hanks film, ‘Captain Phillips’.

She was also interviewed in The Empowerment Project documentary which we are huge supporters of.


As the author of the classic ‘Beloved’, Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first black woman to earn that achievement. In 2012, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. She is known for the lyrical proses that she uses to tackle complex issues like the psychological impact of slavery and colorism in the Black community.


Grace Jones started out as a model, and appeared on covers of Elle and Vogue. Her androgyny, sharp cheekbones and fearlessness caught the attention of many when she danced in the legendary Studio 54 or stalked the catwalks of New York and Paris. She inspired designers like Helmut Lang and artist like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.

She then signed a deal with Island Records and steadily made appearances on the Top 40 charts, was nominated for a Grammy Award, and starred in multiple movies, including the James Bond flick ‘A View to a Kill’. People still look to her for inspiration (Kim Kardashian for one) because in a world of derivatives, she is a true original.


When she first joined a vaudeville troupe in New York City, Josephine Baker had no idea she’d be the show’s main star. She was catapulted to the spotlight and was one of the women who spoke during Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington. Josephine eventually went to Europe to further her dancing career, sensing limitations in NYC.

But as her popularity grew throughout France and the rest of Europe, she still remained concerned about the plight of Black people in America. She used her celebrity to demand that the venues in the US that she performed at were not segregated. To get his daughter in character, Marc and his wife showed her YouTube videos, speeches, and performances in inspiration.


Dr. Mae Jemison made history, to say the least. She was the first black woman to get accepted to the NASA astronaut training program and was on-board the Endeavor in 1992. She had been a Peace Corp volunteer and was working as a doctor when she was inspired by Sally Ride to change careers. She said, “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations” and she reached for the stars.


Bessie Coleman was Lily’s favorite woman to dress up as.

Unable to become a pilot in the US, she studied French and went to Europe. When she returned to the US she became a sensation for her ability to do barrel rolls, wing walks and her loop-de-loop trick aviation. She was the first African American woman to pilot a United States plane.

“[My daughter] attends PS 770 The New American Academy in Brooklyn and her class is named after Bessie Coleman,” Marc says, making this one Lily’s ultimate photo shoot.

You can see more of Marc’s work and the attention he is getting from this iconic-themed photoshoot by going to his Facebook page. He plans on doing more creative projects like this, that challenge existing boundary lines and cause people to think about the world around them.





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