Mama is HONING IN on her personal style! These fashion choices have been on point!
Image Credit: IG / @marsaimartin
Marsai Martin has been making quite the splash in Hollywood. The young legend launched her production company, Genius Productions, earlier this year and is the youngest executive producer of major motion picture in history with the help of her film Little.
Day by day, with each red carpet and press appearance, the Little star is catching some major attention in fashion. With the help of her stylist Jason Rembert, Martin’s looks have been impeccable, donning beautiful and fun pieces from designers like Pamella Roman, Esteban Cortaz, Georges Hobeika and more.
Martin’s looks from the press tour for Little were what really caught my attention. The amazing thing about the Black-ish star’s style evolution is that at the tender age of 14, her sartorial essence exudes the bold, fun, bright and cool youthfulness as well as the elegant, classic and poised maturity that is present in her personality. Stylist Jason Rembert has been able to style the young actress in a way that doesn’t age her, yet captures the wise-beyond-her-years nature of her persona.
Basically, wisdom + youth, but make it fashion.
Check out some of my fav looks from the actress + executive producer on her press tour (alongside Issa Rae and Regina Hall—who have also been serving some really amazing looks).
Her style isn’t too aggressive or trying to hard; it’s just right and so good. I can’t wait to see how her style elevates and the magic that her and Jason deliver next.
Marsai Martin is a name that everyone should become very familiar with. She is #blackgirlmagic personified, and great things are ahead for her—in power moves and in style moments. Prepare for the impending slay accordingly!
& run, don't walk, to your nearest theater to see Little, OUT NOW!
Image Credit: Observer
No matter how you feel about Nipsey Hussle, you can’t deny the work he put in to uplift his community. He had genuine love for uplifting people and for spreading knowledge that would inspire and empower people to build something that would leave a lasting effect on our communities. His legacy is definitely one that will live on.
I have to admit that I hadn’t been one to stay abreast of the endeavors of the late rapper and philanthropist. There was dope music, humanitarian efforts, moves made to educate the community in S.T.E.M, creating opportunities for locals, and real estate investments to put money back into and improve the community; it was amazing to realize all he had accomplished and the plans he had for the future. However, it was through seeing the impact he had on his community in South Central L.A., the lives he was able to touch all over the world that I saw the essence of who the “Down as a Great” artist was—a man with a heart for people.
I hope we never forget the work that he put in and are empowered to do the work in our own communities to come up together and pour into the spaces that led us to becoming the people we are today. The marathon continues.
Image Credit: Billboard
I was particularly interested in what Nipsey was able to do with his clothing brand and “Smartstore” location, Marathon Clothing. The business model is a great case study for an example of a successful start-up retail business that caters to today’s consumer. There is an emphasis on curating a unique lifestyle experience that combines elements from the physical and digital spaces, one that fuses together the worlds of retail and fashion, music and technology. Through Marathon Clothing (and the other properties he bought out in the same area), more business opportunities were also created in the Crenshaw neighborhood.
Image Credit: IG / @themarathonstore
The Grammy-nominated artist launched the Marathon line in June 2017, with the goal of becoming an urban Sanrio—the Japanese company that designs, licenses and produces products inspired by Japanese culture and more affectionately known as the company that brought Hello Kitty to the market—as the goal the company. The brick and mortar Marathon location carries apparel, music accessories, jerseys and footwear with something for everyone. The Puma collaborator saw a need and filled it, starting within his community, in an effort to blend the worlds of hip-hop, technology and fashion. This contribution cannot be ignored.
In a statement regarding the Marathon brand, the 33-year-old had this to say: “This is us trying to disrupt retail, create a theme park for the brand. This is us trying to create a retail network to become vertically integrated. This is us trying to super-serve the core with an upgraded experience. This is us trying to fuse hip-hop, fashion, and tech. We believe that's what the Marathon store is. It's an immature concept. It hasn't evolved to its fullest form yet. But I think we're in the process of seeing technology integrated with everything, become a part of the world. So, I think that we're just putting our chips on experience. We think this is where retail is going. So, we want to be one of the leaders.”
The amount of vision that he had and his team of partners still have for The Marathon Clothing is something that one can’t help but root for.
Image Credit: YouTube
Taking a look at the man behind the fashion brand, I loved the simplicity of the Crenshaw native’s sartorial choices. Whether he was rocking a tee + signature chain combo or a tracksuit or designer pieces, his style always gave off an effortlessly cool vibe. Very L.A.
Just a cool dude who wanted to look fly—you can’t help but appreciate his style!
Not to mention the GQ shoot starring him and girlfriend Lauren London showed us that there wasn’t a look he couldn’t pull off!
Image Credit: GQ
RIP Nipsey Hussle—a soul that will forever be missed.
Image Credit: Pat McGrath Labs/ patmcgrath.com
After all of the aftermath surrounding Forbes referring to Kylie Jenner as a self-made billionaire, the true self-made queen of beauty, Pat McGrath, is in our midst that I believe we can all get behind.
The British makeup artist was dubbed the most influential MUA in the world by Anna Wintour. With McGrath's hefty resume and track record, that is definitely not a misnomer. She is the artist behind makeup at fashion shows and shoots all around the world and for many publications; Queen Elizabeth II made her a member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to the fashion and beauty industries; she was engaged as the Global Beauty Creative Design Director by Proctor and Gamble in 2004; she has developed and launched luxury cosmetic brands for the likes of Giorgio Armani and Dolce and Gabbana, to name a few; and she conceptualizes and creates beauty looks for more than 60 ready-to-wear and couture shows each season in Milan, Paris, London and New York. It's certainly no surprise that Pat McGrath is the most sought-after makeup artist in the world; her work is legendary!
Her own brand, Pat McGrath Labs is known for breathtakingly beautiful moments on social media, gorgeous pigments and colors and extremely high-quality products. Its most recent success has, if nothing else, has cemented her place in the multi-billion dollar global beauty industry as a leading innovator and creator with endless reach and influence. Pat McGrath Labs was recently estimated to be worth over $1 billion. Pat McGrath has perfected her level of talent and built her reputation, brand and business from the ground up. The hard work and dedication to her craft shows with each runway show, product launch
It's so amazing to see a black woman excel at the top of her industry! Pat McGrath is definitely an inspiration for entrepreneurs in fashion and beauty all over the world. Seeing all of the work that she has done and all of the projects she's had her hands on was super inspiring to me! I can't wait to see what's next for her and her brand.
Image Credit: Forbes
Kylie Jenner has managed to create one of the most relavent, influential cosmetic empires of the current beauty landscape, and she’s well on her way to becoming the youngest billionaire.
Her success is commendable, and this milestone is something to be celebrated. At 21, Jenner’s makeup brand Kylie Cosmetics is worth $900 million dollars, with an expected rise to $1 billion coming in the near future. This milestone landed the Kylie Cosmetics owner a Forbes cover acknowledging her success. It was all good until Forbes named Jenner the “youngest-ever self-made billionaire.”
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While we can acknowledge Kylie Jenner’s success and how she has been able to utilize social media and her image to garner success for her brand, make no mistake in conflating her success outside of the Kardashian/ Jenner brand with being defined as self-made.
Self-made is one thing that Kylie is not! That says nothing about her dedication concerning her company and other endeavors, but it makes plain the fact that she had help on her stair climb to billionaire status. She was born into a family with money, and her potential trajectory for success was further cushioned by the platform that came with and the money machine that is the KUWTK franchise. Did she ask for that privilege (that doubles as a blessing and a curse)? No. Does that take anything away from the validity of her brand? Of course not. However, the fact of the matter is that her situation afforded her the familial financial backing and platform that undoubtedly contributed to her success with her brand.
The same would go for any celebrity child or any child born into a family with money and/ or status. The type of situation that includes money, access and status makes it easier to get a business started and off the ground. Even if one would fail, the fall isn’t as hard as it’d be for someone who doesn’t come from the same financial situation. For an entrepreneur who is making moves and making things happen on their own, they feel the effects of failure and missteps deeper than their wealth-supported counterpart would.
Nonetheless, congratulations are in order for Kylie and Kylie Cosmetics. The birth and success of a company is always a great and inspiring thing to witness.
Virgil Abloh's debut for Louis Vuitton Men's was one of the most highly-anticipated shows on the S/S '19 schedule! The show proved to be nothing short of a MOMENT, one that left attendees and Abloh himself overwhelmed with joy!
The show took place in Paris at the luxurious Domaine du Palais and featured a prismatic, rainbow-colored runway--a visual that was even more significant while we're in the midst of Pride month. Guests, a roster that included celebrities, musicians and the best and brightest in fashion and streetwear, were gifted t-shirts whose colors coordinated with the sections of color on the runway as an opportunity to participate in the overall spectacle.
The streetwear influence that has been prevalent in fashion and the luxury segment was undeniably evident. The show featured a refreshingly diverse range of models, with Kid Cudi, Steve Lacy, Playboi Carti, Blondey McCoy and more among them, draped in silhouettes and styles that boasted a cool yet polished vibe. The collection's content featured lightweight, graphic-printed jackets, pieces with LV-emblazoned details, long trench coats, hoodies, loose shirts, baggy pants, separates and so much more. Louis Vuitton is a brand known for its innovations in accessories in relation to travel and transportation, so its accessories were where the beauty of the collection really shined. Chest rigs, padded, zip-up vests, belt bags, side bags, mini trunks, duffels and more were pieces that drove the collection home. Iridescent-finished, LV-accented holdall bags were a personal favorite.
Video Credit: Youtube/ Louis Vuitton
Virgil Abloh's debut collection as the artistic director for Louis Vuitton Men's was nothing short of amazing. From the clothing and accessories to the runway to the show's musical production (live music from four-piece band BADBADNOTGOOD and music from Kanye's ye), the air at the show was filled with joy, speechless excitement and anticipation for what's to come, I'm sure. The finale yielded a standing ovation and erupted in cheers as Virgil took his victory walk at the presentation's close. The emotional embrace with Kanye further cemented teh moment and was representative of all of the hard work and dedication that brought Virgil to this point. History was made, and this is something to celebrate!
Virgil Abloh will join the ranks of Oswald Boateng and Olivier Rousteing, black men who have been at the creative helm of major design houses. Definitely one for the books!
I'm seriously over people picking apart situations that really aren't that deep and don't need a dissertation or think piece to accompany them.
Image Credit: Twitter, @hausmuva
A debate via Twitter exploded down the timeline that crossed into the realms of colorism/ classism, black sterotypes and the degradation of black women.
Here we have Nicki Minaj, the subject of a shoot with Elle Magazine. Kim Kimble, a famous celebrity hairstylist, stepping into the frame to do her job to ensure that her work is seen in its best light. Karl Lagereld, the creative director behind the shoot saw something beautiful in this set up and told Kimble to stay in the frame.
When I saw this image, I thought oh okay, Kim's fixing Nicki's hair. Some behind-the-scenes shot, maybe. I didn't feel like the image was degrading Kimble and displaying Nicki as a high-class, aristocrat who has her maid come in and cater to her needs. I didn't get Mammy vibes. I didn't get a dark-skinned woman being shown as lesser because of her stature and a light-skinned woman being better than because of her appearance and long, straightened hair. I saw a woman being paid to do her job and taking pride in her craft. In this image, two women who are both very wealthy and dominating in their respective fields doing what they came on set to do. The fact that this captured moment is being stripped down to tired archetypes of light-skinned versus dark-skinned women is indicative of a bigger issue. Deep down, these illustrations and situations of classism and colorism are so ingrained in the minds of black people that we can't take things for what they are. A narrative was created here that sparked a conversation that wasn't helpful or necessary.
If we wanted to have a conversation about Lagerfeld and the photographer that made this image possible, we definitely can. Lagerfeld has consistently been problematic for years. Was this his intention with this photo? Was he seeking to perpetuate a negative narrative to stir things up? I wouldn't put it past him, but we'll never really know.
To lend a hand to understanding both sides, I get it: optics matter. There is the assumption that the average person knows who Kimble is, so they simply see a dark-skinned woman being of service to Nicki Minaj, a light-skinned woman. This is exactly how they views us. To me, that's a lazy argument. The only ones arguing about this is us, so is it really just them who believes this narrative? All of that still lends to the idea that the -isms at play have power over our minds, and we allow them to take over every time. Everything is made into a race issue, whether valid or not. It's one thing to recognize that there are outside things at play in a situation; it's an entirely different thing to give power to those things and further perpetuate them.
The way that this image was broken down was a lot, and the mental gymnastics being exercised here are exhausting. It's a shame that these -isms are embedded so deeply in our minds that we always see an issue with something innocent; it is truly sad. An organic moment captured on set was turned into a master/ servant narrative because people can't let go of these types of prejudices, and that's damaging. Kim Kimble, despite her success and stature her industry, was reduced down to her skin color and a tired stereotype, saying a lot more about how dark-skinned women are viewed in society.
Are we seriously that pressed for controversy and to be "woke?"
Image Credit: E Online
Image Credit: IG/ @aurorajames
"Here's to hoping that people of color will be recognized as more than inspirations and 'muses' one day," says Aurora James in her IG stories after the CFDA Awards, apologizing to her followers and proclaiming that she would make it up to them.
The Brother Vellies founder and creative director was nominated for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent at this year's "fashion oscars." She was the second black woman to be nominated for the award, following Carly Cushnie of Cushnie et Ochs. James was nominated for her amazing work in accessories design and in creating opportunities of employment for women in underserved communities in Morocco, South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya. With Brother Vellies, not only is James creating sustainable jobs in Africa, but she has introduced traditional African footwear and craftsmanship to the American fashion space.
Among the nominees in the category for 2018 alongside James were Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, Kristopher Brock and Laura Vassar Brock of Brock Collection, Sander Lak of Sies Marjan and Mike Amiri of Amiri. Sandar Lak took home the award.
The thing that hurts here is that no matter the amount of work that black people do for the fashion industry, the frequency of their work being celebrated on a main stage is few and far between. Like James mentioned in her IG story, everyone is inspired by those within the black community and black people are always someone's muse in this industry. However, when the fashion industry has to make a decision on who will come out on top, designers and tastemakers and stylists (the list goes on) of color are rarely chosen to take the top spot. We are the muse of the culture but are not being rightfully credited as such. Time and time again, we are the honorable mention. The same black figures and figures of color are recycled in the forefront as a means to pacify the issue. We are looked down upon for standing in and showcasing our truths, stories and aesthetics but are forced to stand by and watch everyone else take credit for what started with our communities. Every time a person of color is celebrated or appointed to a high position or the like, the moment is monumental. At some point, the fashion has to get to a point where inclusion and diversity and giving people their flowers and praise while they're still here is commonplace. The hype surrounding appointments like Elaine Welteroth, Edward Enninful and Virgil Abloh or other happenings concerning black men and women in this industry die down just as quickly as the moments arise. Then it's off to the next thing; business as usual. I will always celebrate and shed light on black men and women that are doing amazing things in the industry that I've grown to love. While we don't need to look to the mainstream to validate our existence in fashion spaces, it'd be nice to actually be celebrated for our accomplishments and contributions on the same level that our fair-skinned counterparts are.
Aurora James deserved better. Kerby Jean-Raymond also deserved better. We, as a community, also have to be vigilant about putting our own on pedestals, celebrating our own and not waiting for others to realize our value. We have to choose ourselves when no one else will.
I will always be thankful to all of the designers of color who continue to feed the industry that we have so much love for even when the industry doesn't always show love in return.
Image Credit: Harper's Bazaar
The Iranian-African American actress's star continues to shine bright, making her energy, voice and work ethic undeniable; she's definitely a force to be reckoned with! The latest for Yara Shahidi is landing the June 2018 cover of Harper's Bazaar Arabia.
The Grown-ish star sat down with Harper's Bazaar and discussed her sense of identity and heritage, her activism for girls, voter education and POC, the importance of education, imposter syndrome and so much more. Check out the entire interview on the Harper's Bazaar platform!
Yara brought a cool, playful and carefree energy to the set, dancing around and vibing to the playlist that featured everyone from Kanye West to Bob Marley. Her vibe is so infectious, you can literally feel her energy leap from the images. She displayed a cool ease to the shoot that combined beauty, grace with a unique touch that makes us love Yara that much more. Her natural modeling skills shined as she made Chanel s/s18 Haute Couture garments come to life, adding a relaxed touch with her own Nike sneakers. The dreamy, ethereal and light pieces make you dream and wish something in your closet resembled the shoot's wardrobe. Oh, how a girl can dream!
Talk about pretty in pink! Get into the gorgeous, dreamy images below!
Catch a glimpse of Yara's fun, cool spirit on set in the video below!
So Rihanna won the Met Gala red carpet again. No surprise there.
Image Credit: Instagram / @badgalriri
Solange was the heavenly body I didn't know I needed. She was the true winner for me. It was something about her headpiece and the durag together that stole the show for me. Solange had the blackest aesthetic on the carpet, something that I wished I felt more of from the black attendees.
& for her durag to read "MY GOD WEARS A DURAG" ...?!?!?! C'MON NOW! Solange just gives me what I need every time. I stan.
Image Credit: Instagram / @saintrecords
My other faves of the night included Janelle Monae, Zendaya, Cardi B and more.
Image Credit: Instagram / @janellemonae, @zendaya, @cardib, @sza, @lilycollins, @blakelively, @chadwickboseman, @jaredleto, @katebosworth
Overall, the red carpet was a good one. There were some great moments and some not-so-great moments, but I was pleased with the efforts of the attendees that committed to the 'Heavenly Bodies' theme. The hits of the night were superb!
However, since the dress code was Sunday's best, I would've enjoyed seeing the visual manifestation and dramatizations of what Sunday morning looks like for more than just the Catholic religion. When I think of Sunday's best and church attire, I think of all of the different religions that gather in their respective places of worship. Personally, I think of the event of getting dressed for church every Sunday morning. The look had to be together! For everyone to show up in wardrobe choices directly related to the Catholic religion was very cool to see but was also taking the theme of the night too literal. I understand the Catholic imagery and references to renaissance art that inspired the looks on the carpet, it just would've been nice to see something that existed outside of the white gaze of religion. I mean, Jared Leto was basically white Jesus...
It would've been great to see religion from the black perspective (Baptist, COGIC, Pentecostal, etc.) showcased in this particular space, especially since the majority of my favorite looks came from the black attendees. That's why Solange's incorporation of the durag into her look was so great to me; it was the blackest thing there, something that connected with me directly. Being unapologetically black in these kinds of spaces is necessary.
There's (generally) such a reverence that black people have for religious spaces. I would've loved to see evidences of that displayed on the red carpet. I was really looking forward to the black women channeling their inner church mothers and seeing the hats, gloves and fans. I wanted the three-piece suits, robes, something that felt like black church. The legacy of black church and African spirituality unapologetically showcased was missing from the Met Gala red carpet for me, but I also understand that that would take black stylists and designers and persons that understand religion and spirituality from that perspective.
Eh, perhaps another time.
Overall, the attendees this year looked great. There were those that followed the theme and those that didn't, per usual. The carpet was fun to see. Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with next year!
So, the Met Gala is tomorrow, and I already have a vision for what I want to see...
The theme of the exhibit is Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, however the suggested attire is "Sunday best." I expect the black celebrities to CARRY on the red carpet. They've been preparing for this very moment their entire lives!
I'm especially excited for the women. I want to see opulent, extra hats and fascinators. Church fans and lap scarves should be in hand for extra effect. I need to feel the gaudiness of a southern Sunday church service. It should feel like Easter Sunday, and all of the church mothers are trying to show each other up. I want to be gassed and have my inner churchy nature fed.
Image Credit: The Cut, Rapture Gold, BGLH Marketplace, Alis Fashion Design, Black Art Depot
Ah, wishful thinking. I already know the carpet will feature some Catholic-influenced gowns; Rihanna will come back to claim her red carpet title; there will more than likely be some borderline blaspheme moments; and the carpet will be cute but nothing special.
I'm still excited to see the red carpet looks though. I'm especially looking forward to all of the commentary - my favorite part, honestly.
Who are y'all looking forward too seeing? Who are your favorite looks from past galas? Leave a comment and let me know!
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