Gina Mei
March 13, 2015 6:10 am

There’s nothing quite as cute and wonderful and inspiring as little kids talking about their heroes — except maybe when those little kids also dress up and pose like famous pictures of said heroes. Then it just becomes next-level amazing.

After Janine Harper found a project online where a photographer had taken photos of her daughter dressed up as everyone from Susan B. Anthony to Amelia Earhart, she wanted to find a way to do the same for her 5-year-old, Lily. So, Harper brought the project to her photographer husband, Marc Bushelle; and they created a little series of their own.

Together, the two researched portraits of inspiring Black women throughout history, and decided to photograph Lily as a different she-ro once a week. From Toni Morrison to Grace Jones to Bessie Coleman, Lily would get a history (herstory!) lesson before each photo shoot about the woman she’d be portraying — thus learning about some really incredible ladies in the process. They hoped the project would also empower her to pursue her own passions.

“It is always challenging when trying to explain complex things to a child,” Bushelle tells NPR, “I feel that turning a history lesson into a dress-up game is a good way to approach it.”

Lily’s parents originally wanted to create a fun way for Lily to both learn about Black history and be able to “see herself in the story,” and the results are truly marvelous. It went so well, in fact, that they’ve even decided to continue the project indefinitely.

“We hope that by making these associations early we will instill a strong pride in her that will fortify her against any discrimination she may face in the future,” Harper tells NPR. According to Bushelle, it’s already doing just that. (And, let’s be real, if I got to dress up as one of my heroes once a week, I’d probably be feeling pretty empowered, too.)

Check out more of the amazing photos for yourself below — and keep an eye on Bushelle’s Facebook page for updates on the series!

(Images via Marc Bushelle)

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