Pioneering photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks died on Tuesday, March 7th in his New York home. Parks joined Life magazine’s staff in the late 1940s, becoming the publication’s first Black photographer. Parks also became the first Black filmmaker to write, direct and score a major studio film in 1969 with The Learning Tree. He went on to direct the seminal blaxploitation film Shaft. Parks’ career also included writing novels, poetry, and musical compositions. In 1998, Parks shot XXL’s “The Greatest Day In Hip-Hop History” cover for the December ’98 issue (below).

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