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Inspiring ‘Glitterboy’ photo project challenges notions of black masculinity and sexuality

Philadelphia-based photographer Quil Lemon hopes his photography will help transform people’s minds.

“I wanted to shift culture with my work,” 19-year-old Lemon tells Philly.com. “I wanted to change the way people view things.”

The idea is pretty simple: Young black men pose wearing glitter in an effort to challenge traditionally-held beliefs about masculinity, gender, race, and sexuality.

Lemon, who is currently studying at the New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, says he originally got the idea from a Snapchat post by Frank Ocean, in which the singer said, “A real glitterboy will shine and shine and shine.”

From there, he set out to find male models willing to take of their shirts to be bedazzled and then photographed as “glitterboys.”

“I’m glad a lot of them saw the bigger picture of what this meant versus just being focused on themselves,” Lemon explains. “It’s more about masculinity for all black boys.”

Scroll down for photos from Glitterboys

MYLES for my series "GLITTERBOY" out on @i_d

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JORDUN for my series "GLITTERBOY" out on ID

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MUSTAPHA for my series "GLITTERBOY" out on @i_d

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QUIET LUKE ?for my series "GLITTERBOY" on @i_d

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TEDDY for my series "GLITTERBOY" out on @i_d

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NICK for my series "GLITTERBOY" out on @i_d

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RAHEEM for my series "GLITTERBOY" out on @i_d

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HARLEY for my series "GLITTERBOY" out on @i_d

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TODD for my series "GLITTERBOY" out on @i_d

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Related: Black, Bisexual, And Invisible: A Cry For Acceptance And An End To Racism In The LGBTQ Community