Philadelphia's motto was expanded to "The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection" by the efforts of longtime radio host and godmother of Black Music Month, Dyana Williams. To continue amplifying the femxle voice in discussions about our city, this photo collection by Kyra Williams is a glance at Philly’s Black music herstory and a labor of love and respect for the Black womxn who have been the soundtrack to our lives: Billie Holiday, Patti LaBelle, Phyllis Hyman, Left Eye, Eve, Jill Scott, DJ Diamond Kuts, Jazmine Sullivan, and Tierra Whack. They’ve been the representation we need, allowing us to see and hear ourselves on screen, on stage, in magazines, and on the radio. They’ve told our stories beautifully through song, putting words and music to experiences that we've struggled to explain. They’ve paved the way for future generations of artists to speak candidly about their experiences while creating their own lanes as lyrical and fashionable risk takers. Without their contributions and the way they’ve amplified our voices, our lives would look and feel differently. These womxn are change makers, culture shifters, trend setters, and undeniable talents that deserve their flowers. Inspired by moments in their careers, these portraits tell nine stories in our backyard with Black womxn and girls from the Philadelphia area —both in front of and behind the camera— to honor their legacies and origins from The City of Sisterly Affection.

billie holiday

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Payton Drumwright

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Hair Stylist: Roshun Davis

Make-Up Artist: Myisha Foy

Inspiration: Live Performance Photographed by Everett

Patti Labelle

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Ania Holland

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Hair Stylist: Kyra Williams

Make-Up Artist: Bobbi Johnson

Inspiration: I'm In Love Again Album Cover Photographed by Bruce Laurance

Phyllis Hyman

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Azariah Harris

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Hair Stylist: Azariah Harris

Make-Up Artist: Tattiana Smith

Inspiration: Goddess of Love Album Cover Photographed by Phyllis Cuington

Left Eye

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Aliyah Staten

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Hair Stylist: Kyra Williams

Make-Up Artist: Tattiana Smith

Inspiration: Live Performance Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images

eve

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Taylar Dallas

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Make-Up Artist: Jurnee Gabri-El

Inspiration: Scorpion Album Cover Photographed by Kithe Brewster

jill scott

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Ava Jackson

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Hair Stylist: Ava Jackson

Make-Up Artist: Jurnee Gabri-El

Inspiration: "Golden" Music Video Directed by Chris Robinson

dj diamond kuts

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Amya Jackson

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Hair Stylist: Anisa Mason

Make-Up Artist: Myisha Foy

Inspiration: Photoshoot featured on HRBooking.com

jazmine sullivan

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Tanyyah Peterson

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Hair Stylist: Shanell Jett

Make-Up Artist: Jurnee Gabri-El

Inspiration: Heaux Tales Album Cover Photographed by Myesha Evon Gardner

tierra whack

Photographer: Kyra Williams

Model: Taylor Jones

Stylist: Kyra Williams & Karis Pringle

Hair Stylist: Shanté Williams

Make-Up Artist: Tattiana Smith

Inspiration: Images Photographed by Maria Jose Govea

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Exhibit Booklet

Photo Payment

Print order payments are accepted via CashApp at $StoriesInMyBackyard, Venmo at @SIMBY, GoFundMe (link below), and through Zelle to Kyra Williams at 215-571-5476. To Zelle, you can also scan the QR code below in your banking app.