This New York City Photographer Is Investigating the Historic Origins of the "Dap"

The Dap handshake is much more than a handshake and has a history dating back to the Vietnam War. After doing extensive research on the Dap, New York City-based photographer and visual artist LaMont Hamilton created a visual project called Five on the Black Hand Side which explores and celebrates the handshake in black culture. Check it out in this video from Great Big Story.

The dap is more than just a handshake, it’s a symbol of solidarity, one with a long and proud history behind it. The origins of this greeting trace back to young Black American soldiers stationed abroad during the Vietnam War. With racism prevalent in the military and a new Black consciousness emerging during the civil rights movement, the young soldiers developed a physical language as a gesture of unity. Thus was born the dap, an acronym for “Dignity and Pride.” Photographer LaMont Hamilton has been studying the historical impact of the dap in his series “Five on the Black Hand Side,” telling the story of how the handshake came to hold such a profound place in Black culture.

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