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Black History month; Illo Agency celebrating history's greatest black achievers

February marks Black History Month - which provides a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise the outstanding contributions people of African and Caribbean descent have made to our world. These include significant contributions in the fields of science, politics, law, sports, the arts, entertainment, and many other fields. 

As we represent worldwide artists, we asked some to create portraits of people past or present, who have shaped their own country, otherwise anyone they admire.  It’s been a really interesting project, bringing to light all these incredible people. Please keep reading below to find out more re: their choices of black history achievers!

Gabino Ezeiza illustrated by Nana González (Argentina)

Gabino Ezeiza, was an Afro-porteño born in San Telmo (an old slave neighbourhood) in 1858, a time when there was a considerable number of black Afro-descendants in the area of today's Greater Buenos Aires. the biggest payador in history, both in Argentina and Uruguay. It was he who invented the payada with rhythm of milonga and was one of the influences on the origins of Tango. The Gardel of his time.

Buika illustrated by Carmen Sánchez Rincón (Spain)

Buika, her parents were exiled from Equatorial Guinea and now she sings flamenco and is very well known in that world.

A collective of achievers - illustrated by Chasity Hamilton (USA)

Charlotte Nebres at 11 was the first black dancer to win the coveted role of Marie, the young heroine of "The Nutcracker."  Matt Baker, one of the first known black American artists to find success in the comic book industry. Patricia Bath, Invented Laser cataract Surgery. Rosetta Tharpe - God-Mother of Rock & Roll.  Gerald Anderson Lawson, pioneered the first home video game system with interchangeable games.  Carla Hayden, the first woman and first African American to hold the post as Librarian of Congress.  Mariya Russell, the first black woman to command a Michelin-starred kitchen.  See our Instagram account @illoagency for the full collection).

Mae Jemison illustrated by Dunni Mustapha (UK)

Mae Carol Jemison is an American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

LeBron James and Kendrick Lamar illustrated by Grace Tsai (Taiwan/USA)

LeBron James. he opened the I Promise School, a public elementary school for at-risk children of his hometown Akron,Ohio. Kendrick Lamar, first hip hop artist to win the Pulitzer.

Gaitana illustrated by Oksana Drachkovska (Ukraine)

Gaitana is a Ukrainian singer and songwriter, Essami was born in Kiev to a Ukrainian mother, Tatiana Petrova, and a father, Klaver Essami, from the Republic of the Congo.

Muhammed Ali illustrated by Simon Paulson (UK)

Ali was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training as an amateur boxer at age 12. At 18, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics, and turned professional later that year. He converted to Islam and became a Muslim after 1961, and eventually took the name Muhammad Ali.

Refugee illustrated by Simona De Leo (Italy)

"The SILENCE of the good people is more dangerous than BRUTALITY of the bad people- Martin Luther King, Jr"

Carter J Woodson by Simone Altumura (Italy)

Carter Godwin Woodson (December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950)[1] was an American historian, author, journalist, and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He was one of the first scholars to study the history of the African diaspora, including African-American history. A founder of The Journal of Negro History in 1916, Woodson has been called the "father of black history".[2] In February 1926 he launched the celebration of "Negro History Week", the precursor of Black History Month.

EYEMAN album work,  illustration by Carolina Altamura (Argentina / Amsterdam)

The band wanted to honour women who were part of the history of jazz for their music and voice, whether on stage or on their album covers, with their enormous personality and their own style. I chose to illustrate this woman because I feel it was an important opportunity to make visible those Afro-descendant women , who were part of the history of jazz and dazzle us, even today, with her talent. EYEMAN is a jazz band from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The protests - Ana Paula Santander (Colombia)

The drawing was based in a photograph of the march in Washington in 1963 organized the civil rights movement. One of the most important events for African - American History.

Bayard Rustin illustrated by Cheyne Gallarde (USA. Hawaii)

Bayard Rustin,  openly gay advisor for Martin Luther King Jr. He was a huge influence on the Civil Rights Movement and in 2013 President Obama posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Like what you see here? If so, please reach out to any of the illo agents to find out/ see more  > [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

at illo agency we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrates by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.