Divine Journeys: Photographer James Anthony & Alpha Phi Alpha are Driving the Legacy of Black Excellence Forward


March 20, 2024

On December 4, 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American men, the seven founding fathers, known as the “Jewels” of the fraternity, saw a need for strong brotherhood among African descendants in America. From that first brotherhood has come more than a century of “scholarship, fellowship, good character, and the uplifting of humanity.” Recently, we partnered with Hyundai to sit down with Alpha Phi Alpha member James Anthony to discuss the legacy he’s building along his Divine Journey.

James Anthony is many things: a photographer, a director, a producer, a father, and an Alpha man who credits his fraternity with setting him on the path toward building a legacy of Black excellence.

“When I got to college, and I got introduced to fraternity life, I really saw the presence of the Alphas on my campus at Savannah State University, and I sought to be a member of the brotherhood,” Anthony tells BOTWC. He became a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. in 2004, coming through the Delta Eta chapter at Savannah State University. 


Anthony’s college experience also inspired him to pick up a camera for the first time, and he photographed his friends and fraternity brothers on campus. He built a following and a portfolio that has granted him the opportunity to travel the world with his camera in tow. 

“I have my camera wherever I go; it’s one of the driving forces for me as a storyteller,” Anthony reflects. “The influence of Alpha was always to leave a legacy and when I have that camera in hand, I’m always documenting my legacy.”

Not only does the brotherhood he has found in Alpha inspire Anthony on his creative journey, but also the formidable legacies of Alpha men, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, motivate him to forge a legacy of his own. This legacy is one he can proudly uphold, inspiring other Black men to pursue their dreams and uplift their community.


“Alphas are known as dignified; they’re known as respectable,” Anthony shares. “There are such prominent members… that [are a] representation of dignified Black men. That is something I wanted to be a part of.”

Being a member of this fraternity has also helped Anthony during hard times in his life. He’s dedicated to paying forward to the brothers who will come through the organization after him, helping set them on a path toward building a reputation of kindness and respect for his fellow brothers.

“I’ve been on the receiving end in my journey as far as brothers that have looked out for me so when I come across other people, I like to do the same.”


This dedication to service, as well as the creative expression found behind the lens of his camera, drives Anthony in his career and his hopes for the future. 

“What fueled me to move across the country was bigger opportunities. I felt like those opportunities were going to help strengthen the foundation for me to potentially start a life, start a family,” Anthony says as he reflects on his career. “The fact that I’ve been able to work with some of the most iconic people in the world, and that’s because I said, ‘Yo, I want to pick up this camera, see what it has to offer.” He’s become a photographer to the stars, including Usher, Regina King, Taraji P. Henson, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, who herself is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., another Divine Nine Greek letter organization. 

Sharing in the fraternal spirit of Alpha drives Anthony to be a productive member of his community to show love to his people.


“It’s that love because you all stand for something, and that’s the betterment of your people. I honestly feel that’s how I live my life,” he says. 

Cover photo: Divine Journeys: Photographer James Anthony & Alpha Phi Alpha Are Driving The Legacy of Black Excellence Forward / Photo credit: Because Of Them We Can

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