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New Coloring Book Celebrates NYC's Old-School Hip-Hop Style

By Nicole Levy | July 27, 2016 9:40am
 A page from Jamel Shabazz's
A page from Jamel Shabazz's "Back in the Days Coloring Book," published by powerHouse Books.
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Jamel Shabazz and powerHouse Books

If you want to make a fashion statement this August, pick up your colored pencils.

Most adult coloring books — which have gained popularity over the past year as a form of art therapy, creative expression and meditation — feature outlines of objects like animals and plants and buildings.

But a coloring book out next month invites doodlers to fill in line drawings of New Yorkers sporting some old-school hip-hop looks: hi-top fades, heavy gold chains, Kangol hats and shearling jackets. 

coloring book page

The illustrations by Chuck Gonzales render in black and white the work of Brooklyn-born photographer Jamel Shabazz, from his 2001 book, "Back in the Days." Shabazz has documented New York City life, including hip-hop culture and street style, since the 1970s. 

His subjects in the pages of powerHouse books' "Back in the Days Coloring Book" stare down the camera with confidence, rocking Adidas tracksuits, peplum tops and huge boom boxes. The book's publication was first reported by The Cut. 

coloring book pages

If you want to decorate their fly outfits with other adults who won't judge you for coloring, you can bring your book to a "pop-up coloring bar" at The Strand bookstore's kiosk in Times Square on Aug. 2. That day you can also join the "Adult Colormania Club" at the Fort Washington Library in Washington Heights.