SOUND VS. STYLE: RIHANNA

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anti: a person who is opposed to a particular practice, party, policy or action. there are very few leaders in the game of new school urban sound. when she hit the scene; rihanna was a pretty island girl with some cute shit to say. she sang about a thug coming into her life, or having to deal with the dilemma of cheating on her lover. we’ve taken cover under her umbrella, and while she transitioned into a good girl gone bad; she never lost her heart. she has grown into a woman, and there is no greater proof than this album. of the few leaders, exists rihanna. i won’t delve into an intricate dissection of the album, track by track. you as the listener can feel on your own. ANTI cements rihanna as an artist and leader in rare, but true form.

equipped with vibes and production to usher in a new era for, not only her; but a sound that will no doubt create a ripple affect in music, ANTI is rihanna’s strongest body of work to date. from the writing, to the mystique around it’s release. rihanna is at a level that not many artists can reach. brought into stardom at the forefront of the digital revolution in music; rihanna has maintained elevated visibility, remains one of musics most downloaded artists of all time and crushes all competition, being praised as one of the most marketable celebrities in all of entertainment. in development, her growth has been very organic. we’ve celebrated accomplishments with her, we’ve grown into fashion and style with her, our hearts broke with her and our hearts have mended with her. long gone are the days of her just being some girl from barbados, but here stands a woman with a voice- not just in music, but with her message. a message of strength, and endurance- which inspires you to push forward. it’s about not apologizing for who you are, and for celebrating such individuality; despite the backlash or harsh reactions you might get.

ANTI is a body of work that will continue to live on; and unlike her previous projects, is far more holistic. in maturity alone, rihanna is fearless in her expression and her experience shines brighter than it ever has before. there is the unspoken sex appeal, a vulnerability, an edge; but never lacking a vision or purpose, all of the writing is perfectly etched to the being of rihanna herself. the sound is personalized, and new. not such a drastic departure from music we’ve heard from her before, but it cohesively blends her personality, to a sound, to an image- and to a true and unbreakable beauty that only she can create, promote and sell. with rihanna, it’s not about selling a product. it’s about branding properly. to the extreme of artistry and appeal fusing to become one being. rihanna proves that she can do anything and that she is more than just a single’s artist, which she has been widely criticized for. this body of work is a domino effect of sonic vibes that are both feminine and in your face; all the pieces fit perfectly in their place. they contrast and combine the hard and soft, in a way that many artists are, well, not cool enough to pull off. it’s about balance, development and thorough understanding of where she has been, as a girl, where she is as an artist and where she is headed as a woman and icon. this among many other moments of static in music is true, artistic clarity.

this is an installment of the sound vs. style music feature series
purchase the deluxe edition of “ANTI” available here through itunes 

click here to view past artists featured

CHAPTER 1. INSIDE THE EXTERIOR

chapter one. social media has shit fucked up. and while my ability to prolifically express such a sentiment escapes me, the new year brings about a new ambition to document my journey of development through mirroring, theme and elevated awareness. a selection of twelve chapters will live in this space over the course of the next year. totaling to one post per month, and a living story to be told; in my words, the only fitting way my story should be told. much of my development has been constructed on the gauge of my ability to give. to be responsible, to manage up; to strategize and to properly assess the value of things- so that nothing and no one is left behind or forgotten. but in this process, i am the forgotten one. the exterior is a concept of reality and surface. much of the internal affects the external, and in the last month of reflection i continue to think of this concept more and more thoroughly; not being fooled by the outside, but not being naive to what may, or may not, lie beneath the surface of all things, tangible and unfelt.

the last month of the year seen me traveling back to my home of the bay area, in the northern region of california, and also in the southern region of the state, in los angeles. while much of the last year had been a tug-of-war with my heart, mind and my own endurance, the decision to move to new york had already been made and was set in stone. restricted financially, and bound by a promise i made to myself; i was planted and the ground that held my feet in place slowly became cemented here in the concrete jungle. the last year is this blur of struggle that only i know, truly, how hard it has been. traveling back home had my anxiety at it’s peak. as i boarded the A train from all the way uptown to queens, my body spiked with anxiety, i kind of wanted to run back into my apartment and hide in the purity of my all white bedroom. i didn’t sleep the entire night and packed after a dinner party with the agency, where i told the president, “thank you for making my dream come true, really”.

arriving at the airport terminal, clad in all black with luggage to match; i sat at my gate, 4 hours early, just so i could sit and think about everything that the last year had brought me. the love that i found, the dream i achieved and was living, and everything it cost to make all of that happen. tears welted up in my eyes as i sat there thinking about how hard i worked to scratch the surface of really making it. i thought about what i left behind at home, and wondered if everything would be the same; or if life had pressed on without me, leaving me an even smaller space than i had once had back home in the bay. as the plane took off, i began to immediately fall asleep to push the hours of flight away and to distract myself from the lack of planning i had made for who i would see first and who would see me.

first thing i did as i exited the gate was take a deep breath of the clean san francisco, california air the international airport terminal. in a flurry of just four short days, i seen friends that have become my family at the university of california, berkeley; seeing many familiar faces, none of which have forgotten me, or who i am destined to be. it was a good feeing. my cousin took me to in-n-out burger, and a few other spots i love to eat. my strongest ride-or-die homegirls helped me to and from the airport, and let me stay with them during my short visit. in the visit, i seen both sets of my grandparents, which is a blessing to my heart and mind. “don’t bring him here”, spoke one relative. and as my heart sank, i remembered why i left in the first place. right up against the christmas season, much of my familial has been reduced to it’s founding members; with convenient subtraction of those who have been categorized as problematic to the health of my life and aspirations.

i skated off to los angeles, after having a conversation with my girl, penny. “now do you see that you made the right choice to leave?”, she asked. i agreed. knowing that i made the best decision i could at the time i had made it. the familiarity of home is comfortable but can easily inspired complacency if not treated in the right regard. los angeles was my vacation; a place where i could rest, build and recuperate from the year i had in new york city. i was with leya; to help create a lifestyle structure for her apartment. this method of building took on many forms, from energy sharing, to scouting for interior pieces that fit the space and character of leya herself. to balance light with dark; to be mindful of lines and cleanliness. to eat the right food, to have the right attitude and listen to the right music all while sharing an open heart of inspiration and gratitude. the perfect start to a new year. i take with me the heartache of love lost, and understand that all pain is with growth. the concept of inside the exterior came to me; because the idea of home was romanticized. being inside of my looking glass, i realized i chose to extend outward, into the world i am now living. inside that exterior, i was able to help leya to create a new foundation for herself; and see much of myself in this figurative process of building, retracting and mindfulness.

with the goals of the new year already actively working in my favor, i remain filled with hope and am inspired to push forward in a real way; more confident in my instincts, choices and respecting the angel that brought me to new york. i know this year will be one of greater goals achieved, love received and more importantly, love reciprocated. to opening my mind to a boundless love that extends from my core and connects with that of my strongest partner yet. these hopes are now manifested in the writings of this piece, and the rest of my story will be told, as each month passes throughout this year.

A NEW DAWN OF DEVELOPMENT

i remember being at a house party in south city, out in the bay and talking with my homegirl charity, about goals and dreams. she told me, “you’re super talented, you just have to be patient.” that was about four years ago, and her words made me sit back. the process of development for those truly seeking accomplishment, seems never ending. time spent can start to feel like time wasted, because we’re a society that now thrives on instant gratification. my performance mentality keeps me on my toes, and I’m always looking for ways to push forward. in childhood, my grandmother would get me art sets. illustrative, paint sets, origami paper- anything you could think of, artistic, i got it. i didn’t stop getting art sets until i was about 17 years old. even looking back now, creativity seemed to be threaded into who i am. how empowering it has been for me, to feel encouraged to have ideas and a vision, and to just create. as i grew, the ideas blossomed as did my awareness and sense of self. it takes honest work, earnest trial and error and power of progression.

now today, i seek to build relationships with individuals who have utilized the same sense of development, or those who are in need of such resurfacing. whether encouragement, or simple re-aligning- creativity is power. vision is valuable, and there is no greater set of skills than that of both planning and execution. in this current phase of my life, career and my own on-going development of self; there is a general response. there is a way that i’ve developed myself, and when seeking to develop others; i often think about things that have impacted me. the common theme of sound vs. style often plays out here. it’s felt through content. i find myself challenged by lacking levels of taste in my every day work. this is a particular challenge that propels me forward. the need to refine is not completed in just one stage. a domino effect of sorts, it takes strategic placement; one must have the knowledge and understanding that ideas and planning must be within a certain distance of one another, in order for the effect to be, well, effective. one domino against another, placement can take months, years and for some, decades. but when the right range of motion sets the first domino into motion, all is well by way of design.

as many years as i have spent figuratively setting the dominoes up; each piece is now setting a trail of execution for me. this process is still on going. in many ways, my own development reminds me of ones own internal power of vision. clarity of ideas leads to precision of execution. there is a marination process that is required for development, understanding of timing is key. defeat isn’t always what it seems. timing is more important than always taking home first prize. many winners have curbed their losses with a greater desire for victory; they kept going. you keep fighting, you keep trying, you develop, then re-develop, they re-design and come back stronger. the secret to effective development is found in patience.

listen to more of my thoughts on development and image
on ‘sundays with danté‘, a weekly web series.

ASSIMILATING AESTHETICS

individualistic views of beauty, are just that- individual. there is an unspoken nature that i seek in building relationships. whether those relationships are one dimensional, in my relation to a feel or vibe- i don’t often find myself being caught up in situations that require my explanation of levels of taste. in an aspirational approach, i’ve long created a world of beauty around me. living in moments of uncomfortability, or in lesser grades of quality; i learned how to create an aesthetic. how to build a world that i wanted to live in. to fill that world with proper sounds, beautiful images and characters who complimented me and added onto the layers of intellectuality that soon formed a foundation for creative identity.

in this new phase of my life and career, i find myself defining the importance of aesthetic as it relates to our culture. for individuals of color, the pressure to deliver on a certain level of taste is crucial. we have more to prove, we have to work harder and essentially, it’s in these moments of pushing through to the breaking of boundaries that ultimately gives us a stronger footing in the makings of the world around us. i’ve been thinking about this a lot, especially segueing into the agency and looking to make myself necessary. i thought a lot about the ways i’ve crafted my own presence on the internet, always looking to represent myself with use of certain typefaces, images and even my choice in words. you are what you represent yourself to be, and in creative industries nothing is more valuable.

everything counts; and it’s in your best interest to represent yourself, the way you want to be seen. there is a personal side to the realm of social media in which we derive. i think, in developing a space for myself, i’ve definitely looked for ways to represent who i am, instead of portraying myself to be a certain way. there is a clear cut difference in faking it until you make it, in contrast to know who you are with strength and self assured nature. from knowing ones angles, to the music you listen to- everything is dripping in influence from your past experience, your hopes for the future and your present day mindset. speaking more largely to development, it’s important to understand your root, in order for you to flourish. i’ve been blessed enough to count on consistency and a strong eye for beauty, with clear ideals of balance in contrasts of hard and soft. in understanding a multitude of cultural levels, i’ve been able to develop content here, which has connected me to you, in many ways. in this new phase, that influence now has the opportunity to develop even further. with projects and ambitions well underway; i am seeking a new direction, that will allow my sense of aesthetic and taste to become amplified. be inspired to inspire those around you, in a way that is true to your identity in who you are, in alignment with who you hope to become. do something for culture, every day.

listen to more of my thoughts on development and image
on ‘sundays with danté‘, a weekly web series.

FROM BLOGGER TO BOOKER: JEREMY DANTÉ FOR MAJOR

there i sat, in front of katia sherman, president of major model management. i was in head to toe black on black, wearing a suit. and for the first time in my life, i felt visible. after eight years of hardwork, over 6,000 posts, many sleepless nights and countless moments spent thinking about how best to discuss this idea of beauty. after examining the culture of high fashion as it relates to each and everyone of us- i felt myself being elevated. referred to the agency by sessilee lopez, the fact that i am blessed enough to even type that onto this site, is major. as i spoke candidly with katia about the industry during my interview, speaking on my view point and the power i feel that lives in the world of modeling- it was this cinematic moment where laughter flows in slow motion. my entrance into the building will be a panoramic wide screen shot; soundtracked by the new york city traffic of park avenue. the true meaning of a dream come true, in my life.

“people like you come along once every blue moon”, she said. and while there was little explaining, my resume sat in front of katia as she looked at me, almost sensing my energy. i didn’t have to explain myself as i felt i had to so many other times before; when telling people about my dream. my spirit was calm. she got it. she got me. words were exchanged but more powerfully was the energy that was transferred. i was with sessilee a few weeks prior in soho, and sat next to her at dinner, looking at her and telling her in the most honest way; “i don’t think you understand how you’ve impacted culture.” see, the moment i seen sessilee in the all black italian vogue in 2007, i was sitting in my one bedroom, income based loft apartment- eating saltine crackers and peanut butter for dinner. in that apartment, i learned as much as i could possibly self teach myself about the fashion industry. over a three year period, i was isolated; not speaking to my family after being put out of my home. from polaroids to runway booking, to ad campaigns and beyond- i became who i have been known as; as a writer, and digital personality. the unique opportunity i created for myself has been one built on identity and knowledge of self. what you see in images and words is who i am- it’s not this fantasy that has no grasp of reality. i am who i portray myself to be- no fluff, real shit.

in understanding who i am; i have been able to properly sense and promote faces, energy and cultural nuances not often spoken upon. it’s this dream come true that i am living now; where i am able to grow and be recognized for my instincts. the real work begins now. i have been installed as a part of major model management, here in new york city. the first agency i looked at, in creating the content that has driven this site since 2008. i am a part of the image and development division, where i will work with the agency to bring the biggest stars and most beautiful faces to a global audience. this act of manifestation could not have been done without each and every one of you. you have contributed to my success in strong, and silent ways. i thank you every single day for sharing moments, understanding beauty and for appreciating the power of image as it has been discussed within this space. the words that i write are mere glimpses into the new reality that we will embark upon together. the content will shift in this space, and will become more sharply geared towards the work of development that we create with our image board at major model management. in representing the integrity of that energy, this moment means a realization of hard work earning me a place where i have communicated a desire to be for many, many years. development and growth are a process very close to my heart; in this- i encourage you all to continue following my story in a way that inspires your own.

special thanks to sessilee lopez
visit majormodel.com for casting information
thank you for believing

FASHION ON FILM: DIOR AND I

Document 1 (Page 5)there are very few documentaries that encapsulate the feel of emotion that i feel for beauty. there is a moving experience of creativity that is so powerful; a feeling of gratification and belief. and those emotions were felt during my viewing “dior and i”. directed by frédéric tcheng, the documentary follows raf simons upon his entering of the house of christian dior as creative director. following the director over an eight week period as he creates his first couture collection, not only for christian dior but the first of his entire career. known notoriously for his extensive work as a design minimalist, the documentary showcases the maximal methods and meticulous processes that raf operates within. the most fascinating of processes to see within the film, was the delivering of references to the atelier, when communicating designs for the actual collections. whereas sketches are delivered, raf’s approach is very modern as he is described in the film as “very organized”. compiling things in a digital form, raf works from digital files; packets of references are sent to each seamstress in the atelier. there were interesting technological techiques which were shown in the film, in creating and trying different aestetics which further welded the beauty of high art and high fashion together in a new, refreshing way. emotionally moved by process, and rocked by the insurmountable pressure to elevate and maintain the legacy of the house, the film is a must see for those who feel an emotional attachment to the world of style and design. the flowered walls, the introduction of the design team- it was all done in the same vein as the other fashion documentaries which introduce a set of characters to give the house of dior some heart. the editing of the film shifted between modern, current day moments and then sifted in and out of dialogued moments intended to represent the spirit of christian dior himself, in a reflective way; borrowing his own words from his autobiography. it’s a stunning piece of documentarian gold that allows you an insight to raf, the man and the emotional component that artists working within fashion feel; how they handle pressure and how delicate, and important all these elements mean to creative process. a moving depiction of raf simons for the house of christian dior.

now playing in select theaters ‘dior and i’ will be
available for digital purchase
june 30th via amazon instant video

FACES OF FALL • THE TOP 10 FEMALES OF FW15

this fall brought greater effort of diversification to the runways around the globe. of the season, there were a few stand out faces stomping the runway and breaking barriers in the process. with new stars shining onto the runways of marc jacobs, fendi and the ultra exclusive, prada- i wanted to revisit my early days in this space. the days when models assisted in constructing the content seen, thus inspiring the dialogue that has compelled readers to this space, since 2008. selected solely for their presence on the runway; if it’s one thing we’ve learned- it starts with runway. the stars seen here today, have the potential to become stars of tomorrow, and some are even well on their way. listed in alphabetical order, these are the stand out faces i’ve personally selected for the 2015 fall/winter show season. recognize where you seen the spotlight hit first.

AAMITO STACIE LAGUM as the first ever winner of africa’s next top model, representing uganda, aamito lagum had a breakout season on the runway this fall. rivaling runway bookings of even america’s next top model contestants and victor’s, lagum walked a staggering 20 shows this season. represented by DNA models in new york, viva models in paris, london and barcelona; aamito opened at balenciaga in paris this past week and walked for marc by marc jacobs, here in new york. with an international following thanks to her victory on africa’s next top model, ammito is a new face with incredible versatility for both the commercial and luxury markets. i will definitely be checking for aamito on the editorial front.

AMILNA ESTEVÃO represented by the society, new york, amilna amilna estevão won the elite model contest at age 14 in angola brazil in 2013. her debut at new york fashion week seen her hit the catwalk for alexander wang, while she had notable bookings walking for fendi, prada and balenciaga, booking a total of 33. amilan’s doll-like features make her a prime candidate for beauty campaigns and she would fit easily into an array of editorial bookings along with some commercial work as well. at the age of 20 years old, amilna’s promise in europe is that of legend. she is represented by elite models, internationally and her mother agency in luanda is da banda model management. amilna is a young star on the rise.

AYA JONES represented by the lions in new york; aya jones is fast becoming a breakout runway superstar. she debuted as an exclusive for prada last season, returning this season with greater confidence and poise behind her. with her agency pulling a rarity of industry know-how and skill, aya walked in couture shows for valentino and christian dior. and for fall show season, absolutely killed the competition walking 44 shows; including marc jacobs, valentino, prada, christian dior, tom ford, dolce and gabbana, burberry, miu miu, versace and fendi. outside of runway, aya has surfaced in advertising campaigns, being used for marc jacobs’ beauty campaign for 2015. ahead of the pack, aya is the latest face to rival the new set of supers.

GRACE BOL a stunner from sudan, grace bol has one of the strongest looks in fashion today. with severe features that set her apart from many other girls around the world, grace is a go-to face for edgy brands, in the high end circuit.with a fall season show tally of 15 shows, grace walked some of the most high profile style shows including vivienne westwood, kanye west adidas- which seen her being used for their look book, as well as balenciaga, KTZ and hermès. appearing on the cover of interview magazine, russia with editorial features in harper’s bazaar UK for the month of march- grace is fairly established as a working model. elite models in new york, oui management in paris, why not models in milan and storm in london.

IMAAN HAMAAN already a recognized face in the glossies, imaan hamaan has been on the scene since 2013, appearing on the runway for givenchy and gaultier couture. represented by DNA models in new york, why not models in milan, and by viva models in barcelona, paris and london; imaan is from the netherlands. with a modest 7 show bookings this fall, imaan was seen for some of the best labels on the catwalk appearing for ralph lauren in new york, and givenchy for the men’s show in paris. she booked the SS15 givenchy campaign, and has already graced the cover of american vogue last year, with five features outside of that. this year, she continues her editorial dominance, holding it down in the pages of american vogue.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetLEILA NDA runway killer, leila nda was born for the catwalk. with her mother agency in brussels, leila is repped by new york models in new york, women management in paris, fashion model management in milan and models 1 in london. for the 2014 calendar year, leila walked 80 shows, including gucci and marc jacobs. this season sees her runway dominance continue, as she walked nearly 40 shows, killing couture- walking for valentino, dior, giambattista valli and elie saab. during fall show season, she appeared again at marc jacobs, returned as a member of the balmain army, was seen at balenciaga, hermès and yes, dior too. for the month of march, leila appears in the pages of italian, american and teen vogue.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetLEOMIE ANDERSON in 2011, leomie anderson appeared for the british reality show, ‘the modeling agency’. the reality show followed her career beginnings at her mother agency, premiere models in london. outside of the reality show, imerges a real star. represented by fusion models, new york, oui management in paris, monster in milan and uno in barcelona; anderson walked 12 shows this season, but shows real promise as a stand out face. active in the realm of social media, chronicling her pathway on and off the runway, she actively manages a blog called, “cracked china cup”. in today’s modern day market, leiomie’s unabashed, openness about her modeling career makes her a face and personality to watch.

MARIA BORGES hitting the scene in 2011, maria borges has garnered a juggernaut of powerful bookings which show more quality than quality, over everything else. her second season out, she was featured as a part of the givenchy couture castings, and from there; her involvement with the house brought additional bookings. she was cast for the spring 2014 givenchy campaign and appeared on the cover of vogue portugal last may. for the month of march, borges appears for her own solo cover, in the steven klein shot cover series for l’officiel singapore. for the FW15 show season, maria booked 9 shows. among them, givenchy in paris, moschino in milan and carolina herrera in new york.

RILEY MONTANA last september, riley montana was featured in the unforgettable mert + marcus shot, W magazine cover. before that, she was cast for two givenchy campaigns, two seasons in a row, and and became and editorial regular gracing the glossies by way of vogue in japan, germany, italy and paris. represented by new york models in new york, oui in paris, d’management in milan, premier in london, jill models in antwerp and LA models being her mother agency- riley is a dope girl with expensive features. another girl recruited for the balmain army, riley was also seen for the fall show season, on the runways of marc jacobs, amidst her 14 count show season tally. with vivid luxury appeal, riley is a face to watch this year.

TAMI WILLIAMS last december, a bright new face sprung onto the cover of french elle. represented by elite in new york and paris, as well as why not model management in milan; there is an almost quiet take over from tami. garnering editorial features throughout last year; in 2015, tami has begun circulating the editorial more heavily. for february, she has already appeared for W magazine and the new york times style magazine; and appears twice in the march issue of american vogue. this fall show season; williams booked 40 shows, appearing for marc jacobs, valentino, balmain, dolce & gabbana and calvin klein. she debuted on the catwalk in fall 2014, at marc jacobs, and walked for alexander wang. eyes on the catwalk, tami is here.

all agency representation current at time of reporting
special thanks to models.com for statistics