Mel D. Cole is quite simply the man behind all the best rap and hip hop artist photos of the past few decades. From Drake to Kanye West, Rihanna, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, The Roots, Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep and many more. But during the pandemic, Cole looked at what was happening right in front of his eyes, far from the glitzy world of show business: he followed the Black Lives Matter protests starting in the spring of 2020, immortalizing one of the most important social movements in American history. Cole photographed his first protest, a march in New York in 2014. This is his second experience with protest photography, taking to the streets to capture the faces and emotions of the 2020 movement.

“Photographing the Black Lives Matter movement is the most important work of my entire life. It has meant the world to me to document and do this service. It’s what I have, it’s what I can bring to the table, and it’s my eye, my platform to tell the stories.” reports the photographer. A book from the series, titled American Protest. Photographs 2020-2021, is now available on the Damiani publishing house website.