FACES OF THE FUTURE • THE TOP 10 FEMALES OF SS17

thriving on fresh talent each season, the fashion world is one of great work and great controversy. the use of girls, the tumult of the development process for some and the lack of diversity which is still at the forefront of represented beauty is what keeps us watching. in the movement of #blacklivesmatter, i felt it important to retreat to some of my old content, as i feel the hope of these messages of success are what we need. selected here are ten females who have already walked the runways of haute couture in both paris and milan. as the couture season initiates the new fashion season, the bookings each girl lands, and the agencies that represent them play a large role. in paris for couture, to shows in new york, back up to london, through milan and back to paris at the close- runway is a dominating aspect of modeling and can significantly impact or destroy a career. in the high end, image compartments of modeling, runway is king. from runway, you gain the visibility and are able to enter into editorial; which can lead you to advertising campaigns. this is the normal trajectory for what is deemed successful in creating a model. magazine covers, show packages, and presence in new digital components of luxury brands also play a role. but without runway, who are you? tough as it may be, this is the truth. each girl in this feature have been hand selected, and throughly reviewed ahead of publishing. while there are no real predictions one can make, only hopes, in fashion; these are my selections. and as the season gets underway, we will see which girls will advance to next season.

mayowa-nicholasMAYOWA NICHOLAS winner of elite model look in her region, nigerian stunner, mayowa is represented by the society in new york, and elite globally. elite owns the society, and with the strength of such a partnership, mayowa has been able to dominate aspects of runway, and is one of the most promising faces on the fashion scene. for the FW16 campaign season, mayowa is seen for miu miu, yves saint laurent and dolce & gabbana. on the runway, last season she walked in over 20 shows, including both prada and dior. for this new season, for couture, she appeared in five shows. her lead into the new season is strong. her look is strong yet delicate, she’s a star on the rise for this versatility. put her on your radar.

noemie abigailNOEMIE ABIGAIL represented by DNA in new york, and viva in paris. on the couture catwalk, noemie has already been seen this season for valentino, fendi, elie saab and giambattista valli. noemie is in her second season debuting as a prada exclusive, last season. this exclusive also landed her the FW16 ad campaign, shot by steven meisel. with her already stellar track record and impressive relationship with prada, keep your eye out for her. she has also been seen on the runway for saçai, which links her to super stylist, karl templer. i’m sure her rounds at interview magazine will be seen in the coming months, where templer is also the creative director. noemie became the first black winner of elite model look france, in 2014, at 16.

karly-loyceKARLY LOYCE she’s the fresh faced black girl that you seen in those céline ads. represented by women model management in new york, london and paris; karly has quickly become almost synonymous with the cool vibes we associate wth celine. androgynous in ways, but versatile enough to channel an elegance, on the runway she’s a killer. for the couture season last month, she appeared for giambattista valli, elie saab, vauthier and yes, chanel. she’s been well received on the editorial front, appearing for american vogue, WSJ and vogue germany- her star will continue to rise with the coming season, internationally. karly represents a new class of cool girls that are taking over fashion, and dominating the industry.

selena forrestSELENA FORREST debuted as an exclusive for proenza scholar, last season, selena forrest came out swinging her first season. represented by NEXT she’s been the face of proenza for two seasons now, and this season for couture, she appeared for both fendi and chanel. she landed the cover of i-D magazine, is cited as a the top new comers and is the campaign face for DKNY, plus she’s also seen as part of the nike x olivier roustieng collaboration campaign.  fresh faced as ever, selena gives off that effortless and at times tomboy vibe. captivating for her youthful look, you can see in her features that this will only grow into greater beauty in years to come. with her features, selena is super versatile for new era and classic beauty alike.

nahjiya-imaniNAJIYAH IMANI new face represented by heroes NYC, najiyah imani is already making waves appearing for the prada resort collection and for the miu min look book. with stunning bone structure and elegant features, najiyah is possibly the freshest face in this collective of girls. i will definitely be keeping an eye out for her on the runway, and can’t wait to see how that will set her up for success on the campaign and editorial circuit. versatility is the name of the game in modeling and this girl has many dimensions. one of my favorite faces this season. love her early reception, which is creating all the right vibes for her as a new face.


diloneDILONE
 existing within that subset of models that hinge on androgyny, the industry seeks the edge that dilone of DNA models possesses. she has that effortless cool with her laid back features, but also holds that transformative quality that draws her in many directions from commercial appeal to high end experimentation. from major brand advertising to editorial circuit visualsa native new yorker, she has already made appearances with marc jacobs, burberry, versace and fendi. with campaigns, she’s doing incredibly well, even at this early a stage- booking for coach, versace, balmain and opening ceremony. from tom boy to high end glam- I’m seeing stars for dilone. mother agent? omit management, also based in new york.

farihiya-shireFARHIYA SHIRE marilyn agency in new york, farhiya is a gorgeous talent i spotted on the couture runways of jean-paul gaultier. while not a new face, per sé; having already been featured in international editions of glamour as well as a few B-level shows, i like her. her look is that kind that blends cute with sophistication, reliant on the team she is working with or the vision of casting directors. her book, from what i’ve seen doesn’t nearly do her justice. one of exceeding potential, i am hoping to see more of her on the runway. marilyn has been an industry force, having gone through rebranding, we’ll see how well they work for farhiya, this season and onward. versatility is key in the modeling game, and we’ll see how hard farhiya can push through.

photo-sep-07-7-01-27-pmMARIE FOFANA spotted on the runways of dior haute couture, for the fall 2016 season; maria has a bubbling presence with more of the edgier circuit of fashion and editorial. through much curiosity, i had been watching marie and seen she was represented by ford in paris, being discovered by crystal models also based in paris. from the looks of her instagram, i am seeing IMG- so she is one to add to your model tracker, she may be popping off soon and could be considered an underdog. with her already interesting track record in paris, she’s one to keep an eye on. the fashion season is filled with surprises, IMG could be hiding her for a global exclusive at one of the big fashion houses this season.

photo-sep-07-7-08-09-pmLONDONE MYERS (the lions) debuted as a YSL exclusive, londone myers is also the current face seen in the windows at american retailer, the gap. her relaxed image is the current grade of girl that the industry seems to be favoring. represented by the lions, this girl is dripping in potential. with her already outstanding track record with campaign bookings, and the commercial strength of the lions and their VS tie-ins, her features and all the powers that be are sure to play well in her favor, on the high-end and commercial tip. with mention of newer agency, MSA on her profile, the rapping from the lions could’ve been an agency swap-snatch move. which is always interesting.

crystal-noriegaCRYSTAL NOREIGA represented by elite in new york and premium in paris, i spotted crystal at gaultier couture. always a master of high style and casting appeal, gaultier had a few girls that were not used by others. with sure shots, and girls with star power potential alike, there are no true predictions for any girls, any season with any clients. such is the case for crystal noriega. she was a new face at DNA in 2011 at 18 years old, and then popped up at elite. with agency shifts, either the girl was not supported or clients were not responsive. i see the potential for her and will keep her on my radar for the bookings she lands this season, and monitor where else she pops up.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 9. BLACK TO THE BEGINNING

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the bones that built this site are black. america, as i know it- is black. art is black. beauty, is black. and while many variations exist as means of texturizing contrast between light and dark- the beginning is now and will forever be black. inspired, single handedly by the editorial shoot of steven meisel featuring sessilee lopez, this site was born. that issue, the 2008 all black edition of italian vogue is the best selling issue of vogue, of all time. the only issue in the publishing history of conde nast to go to re-print. affectionately, i was drawn to sessilee. cosmically, i was drawn to her. it was as if the energy was elevated into the universe, leading me into a new level of life that i had never anticipated beforehand. living in my home of the bay area, within the northern calfornia region, just outside of san francisco- it was me, my laptop and a vision.

steadily, i began to understand, study and analyze the fashion industry. having already been previously engaged in musical media for many more years prior; the internet was affecting the influence of music and the concept of visual sounds was running rampant. i seen this. looking for something new, something that drives information and bridges the gap- i started to write about fashion. understanding that there was no go-to source for ‘black fashion’, for lack of better articulation, in the digital blogosphere at that time. i didn’t so much like the idea of segregation that lived in the concept and titling of ‘black fashion’ either.  so, i started to craft the content with a focus on ethnic models, shit- the only fashion we knew was from rap lyrics. we seen kim and foxy rocking chanel, we seen mary donning fendi sunglasses and noticed the versace shirts on the backs of tupac shakur and later, B.I.G. as i started to build into this direction, the narrative grew, my voice amplified- the response started to grow and quickly. the international audience responded in no time at all, many industry heads started to tap into it. because of my ‘fashion from concentrate’ direction- many thought i lived in new york city. my network continued to grow in that region,  and the work was done off-site.

many of the models i profiled became friends of the site, and from editorial fashion spreads to runway review, jeremydanté.com became a vital source of fashion media, with a cultured and ethnic voice. there was no need to call it black fashion, or to highlight things in an ostentatious way- i just did it. spoke about it, represented it. i spoke on the dimension in which i know style. i highlighted issues, and praised the moments of glory that uplift our culture. and that is what i’ve been doing since then. with the issues of police brutality crashing into headlines, daily- we must understand that the misrepresentation of our people is nothing new. during the journey of this site, i have taken every opportunity to uplift and re-appropriate in as many ways as i could. maintaining a luxury appeal, i wanted us to be able to have a space where we would be credited for our immeasurable influence of beauty and regality.

merging aspects of music into the fashion dialogue, i was able to get the attention of kanye west and MTV, a blessing of visibility, as much of the work done here is for culture and those outlets. high-end hip-hop, as kanye describes, was the perfect description of the content. initially, i thought i would be a silent partner, contributing only dialogue in a lonely web space for myself. but others joined the conversation in over 137 countries around the world. when i finally relocated to new york city, after going back and fourth with my choice to do so, over a six year period- my goal was to enter into the industry with the same tenacity and purified power of understanding that, yes, we are under represented. upon my relocation, after being unhappy with my job at a small fashion directory company, i called sessilee. i told her that i needed to get out. she said, “i can make a call” – and she did. while much of my segue into the industry was stressful- i would not change any of the experience. i think that many aspects of change and growth are found in struggle. i knew who i was before i got to new york city, i’ve said that many times and will always remind you.

so, to be met with unfavorable or challenged circumstance- boo, i’ve been there, i’ve done that. no struggle will knock the course- it will only lead to more enlightened psychological frame work. and let’s be clear- i am never one to lead with misinformation, lack of truth or fear- ever. i am very grateful for all opportunities i have come across and had the blessing to be a part of. while i recognize that all things are temporary, my mission remains intact. this chapter, dedicated to the work for culture i have done on this site, is a reminder of where we’ve been together. a checkpoint; we are not done- there is more work to be done. further barriers are left unbroken. we are culture. there is no barrier strong enough to block our light, or lock into our destiny as purely and effortlessly as we will and do, each and every day.

we define the beauty in which we derive, because we’ve lived it. we are that beauty, and represented in that is no need for promotion within our own community. it’s the world that exists outside of us that seems to forget. but someone elses inability to properly value us is not an actual indication of said value. here, black culture and most ethnic beauty is and will always be celebrated. here, we have remained committed to bridging the gap of underrepresentation in media, and have pushed the boundaries of those limitations to create a new era for ourselves. that work, will never stop. and even when we achieve those goals- let us remember, that is when the real work begins. because to become a legend is step one, and to maintain that is a whole other ball game, thus the lifetime of dedication called upon us to carry out that work. while many may look past the media-hybrid social work we are doing- these aspects of media are still intended to represent the people, the world around us. and our beauty, our culture will never be ignored. as long as we continue to address it, and represent it thoroughly, we won’t be deterred. to be beautiful is an inner quality, to approach all things purely and resourcefully, articulately- are skills. let’s continue to do that work and represent the beauty we’ve always known, each and everyday, with each other and to inform those unaware.

dedicated to the many models, editors and writers
who actively represent our culture each and everyday, 
in the world of fashion, and in all areas of media

WHAT KENDALL FOR VOGUE MEANS FOR FASHION

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no one is with a cooler agency, or of the most famous celebrity family than kendall jenner. all of this is a PR dream. and while many dreams can come with their trappings, kendall and her team have definitely positioned her through hard work and the right bookings. many deem her as flat, say she is under developed. but, the point of fashion is to be fresh, to capture an innocence before it is tarnished- to capture youth and allow it to live forever through style and photography. the kardashian factor is inarguable. many expectations of models require performance, but some are reliant on luck. whether genetics, or a chance meeting with a scout- it’s all an alignment of energy and opportunity.

kendall, in the series she grew up filming, was seemingly a bit more reserved and shy. even in the episodes which showed her older sister kim kardashian encouraging her to model, she was seen rejecting forceable ideas of what models should be, or the rigor of certain routines. steadily, like many other developing models, she studied models of the past and even intentionally entered into fashion rather silently. she debuted on the runway for marc jacobs, which is how many other girls get their start to become a hot item and continued to flourish. her visibility within the hollywood scene has lent it’s power to her follow through success, but you can’t force someone to work as hard as kendall has. i say all of this to say that she has earned this cover. but now let’s talk some real shit.

let me tell you what this cover means for fashion. american vogue in particular is this heavily political publication entity that prides itself on being a leader. almost as manufactured as american politics itself- the decision for who lands the cover are strategically aligned with cultural impact, happenings in music and film- and then fashion seems to seamlessly hit in and around all of that to create the vogue image. many seem to forget that magazine covers were home to many great supermodels of the past. our celebrity obsessed culture created a shift that american vogue, in many ways, spearheaded. but now, with the hybrid editions of celebrity children landing fashion opportunities for their elevated cool factor, and blueprint of street-inspires-style; we are looking at the next generation. with models like gigi hadid and kendall now gracing the covers- we’re looking at the rebirth of the supermodel for the next generation.

while on the topic of model authenticity and earned respect, i think karlie kloss should have landed this cover before kendall. while i give kendall her respect and dues- karlie exists without a famous family and has crafted her success on thoughtful partnerships and intelligent choices, like a real business woman should. hailed as one of the top 30 models of the new millennium, kloss burst onto the scene through NEXT model management and quickly killed the catwalk for dior, oscar de la renta and yes, chanel. while there isn’t one designer runway she hasn’t touched- her slow burn success is what true models are made of. covers of italian vogue, regularly- karlie loss is and has been the one to beat, but no one was ever able to do so. a performer of theatricality and understandability through poise- kendall’s cover will act as a firestarter for the return to the covers for models everywhere.

a perfect blend of celebrity, modeling and that ever alluring vibe that fashion loves to create with the question, “who’s that girl?”- fashion is about intrigue. fashion is about creating new ideas, and representing women in all their glory, beautiful- either experimentally or transformatively. when done the right way, brands are built into the presence of these women, and while kendall may have secured the bookings- from the grit of the modeling industry, girls like karlie kloss are the real MVP’s. in 2015, kloss enrolled at NYU, after she had already killed the international fashion scene, to which she is still a booking staple. having begun modeling in 2007, kloss is now represented by IMG, is now 24 years old, hails from chicago and has been a leading example for young women everywhere. she created kode for karlie, a partnership with flatiron school and code.org, which supports young girls with karlie’s shared interest of coding in computer science and software engineering. karlie’s kookies was created to benefit hungry children around the world, and is a partnership through FEED projects. it’s time her success be seen more on the frontline and in a solo cover, for american vogue. she is about building unity and philanthropy around young women and embodies the true ideals of what it means to be an american. thanks for the lay-up ken, now karlie can get us a winning shot.

kendall shot by mert + marcus
styling by tonne goodman
september 2016

CHAPTER 8. CHILD OF GOD

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chapter eight. with responsibility, foundational understanding of people and regard to a higher power- all things in life are guided. existing within a world of many choices, we are empowered by our decisions, are given ample opportunities to liberate ourselves from our struggle in coming together. in my own independent processes of creative discovery, i exist by choice- alone. left to deal with my own instinctual terrain. so if i make a mistake, i am left to deal with the discovery of resolution and betterment. in that process, i’ve learned to develop accountability. i’ve applied said lessons of accountability to other aspects of life- in learning of others, i have learned more of myself.

fearlessly, i have loved. hopefully, i continue to try. and now openly, i connect with like minded individuals who are helpful in building with me. no longer do i feel it necessary to go it alone. i accept all challenges and invitations of wellness from above. i find comfort in knowing that this phase is now a shared instinct. understanding myself, and who i am to the core is paired with who i am in the eyes of god. instructed through instinct, i follow the signs, stay awake and understand that my power in creating limits provides me with many more freedoms and leads me to greater liberation. while aspects of privilege have not always been readily available, i lead my mind to thinking of possibility and strategy, rather than loss and discomfort. i lead my mind to think of how we can come together, instead of segregating. a range of greatness we have within us that we are unable to tap into; being distracted by the choices of others; knowing that these decisions cannot alter the realities in which we live everyday.

in our lives, we tend to look outward when we should be looking inward. when facing adversity or struggle to create, we should remember that all answers exist within us. much like our mistakes, or regrets, our power- it all exists within us. achieving balance in this process is no easy feat, there are moments of surrender, resilience – thus is the circle of life. in circular motion, we should be vibrating upwards, using each moment and each motion ever thrusting to use that momentum to push ourselves through each lesson learned. many of the trappings are created for us, we just need the awareness to surpass each along the way. for every moment we’ve discovered a loss, we must remain hopeful for the gain that is to follow. and we must continue to keep going.

in our eventual quest to find whatever it is each of us are looking for- love, purpose or inspiration; we’re all looking ahead when we should try more to look within, and to know when it is time to look into one another. knowing that each of our individual power, though great, can be limited without the sharing and support of our brothers and sisters- who exist in our world, sharing a guided light with us, generated by god. often times religion and spirituality are weighted topics that appear darker than needed; but in this darkness is greatness. things greater than us, bigger than our visions can contain, much more expansive than our love can envelope, or our minds can comprehend.

in this open, unknown of greatness that is created from such a purified space of love, exists our true existence. but we need not be distracted by all the things that hold us from that- we must choose properly, speak with understanding, and look into the things we do not know, to gift to ourselves greater understanding and greater power. weakness temporary, our stories of love live forever. we should lean on the everlasting, and the overpowering nature of these lightings of glory. as children, we are always learning and should follow the guidance of the beauty placed in front of us, within us. let us not cover our eyes to what surrounds us every day. to look at the gruesome, to highlight aspects of beauty further. to understand that challenges preface every accomplishment, and our fight will result in the victory, greater than we could have imagined. possibility should lead our hearts, fear should only exist momentarily. born from love, guided by light- inside. permission to be angry, with knowledge of how to process that into action.

our vision may get clouded, but we must challenge ourselves to see. our understanding will only grow as we approach, learn and grow into it. in closeness, more will become clear. we must be aware of dangers, or distractions from the course. coming into the unknown with boundless hope to conquer is how victory is won. everyday, we will face these challenges. so expect to be tested, but hold onto yourself, and the discoveries you’ve made from within. it’s time to sing a new song, to write the lyrics for memories that we’ve wanted to contain. let us not forget the pain which inspired and motivated changes. let love ground us in proper action. so we can look back and remember all the ways we’ve grown. into ourselves and into each other, through struggle, accomplishment and joy in connecting.

for the everlasting memory of all black people
who have lost their lives to prejudice 
and the families still trying to cope

CHAPTER 7. LETTER TO LOST LOVE

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chapter seven. “you carry the burden of a heartbreak that is not your own” she told me, as i sat there with her in target where they were serving starbucks coffee. i was wearing nike running shorts, my signature five panel cap and had come in for nothing more than a gallon of water and gum. she spotted me, and i suppose was responsive to my energy. she told me other things that were more validating for me. that of which will remain private and locked away, as many of her readings were very personal stories about life-long struggles i have carried and taken on for others who have both loved, and lost in my life.

from school boy crushes and love letters penned, long ago are the beginnings of my love stories. in this phase, love lost is never love forgotten. and this history with love, though longing, is a record that i am proud of. my stories of love show resilience, belief, hope and adoration. from the days i would sit in my room, against the speaker, listening to love songs and resonating with the feeling. or when i would sit and write to sort through my own developing feelings for someone- i’ve mastered the process of falling in love and securing what comes next. in today’s context, these moments still complicate realities for me. as a foundational element of my development, this part of my personality drives all aspects of passion. whether in contrast of shy or reserved nature, or the gunning emotion i feel to just go for it- it’s all inclusive.

these aspects of myself bleed into my love of inspiration, my love for development and my compassion for moments of struggle, seen also in my hope and strength to continue the good fight. many of my stories of love lost include moments of abandon, my worst fear being, ultimately, to be forgotten. in many of my artistic skills, i try to make each moment an experience. to touch a heart, move a mind or shift perception- all sourced from the fear that love will be lost, or worse- forgotten. whether i’ve created boundaries or walked away from past loves in life, the love has always lived on. in my current space, lingering like smoke- the same concept persists. yeah, i may have pawned the engagement ring, but i kept tattoo, and i still show respect. i still have hope, even though moments have past, in some cases years have gone by, but i still hold to hope. as crazy as all of it sounds.

love, to me, is an investment. if i love you, i respect you and allow you in where no one else can enter. i’ll hold you close and never let go- as a challenge, not even when you ask me to. it’s ever fleeting, unrelenting, it’s consistent- persistent and can suck you in. it’s pure, and to some, unrecognized. it’s confident without being overwhelmingly so, and it thrives on the nature to connect, reshape and revitalize with each smile shared or disagreement looked past. it’s the thought that keeps me up at night, or the light tug that i feel when i remember that i can’t call you or i miss hearing your voice. it’s an idea of romance that is forever inspired, keeps you looking toward the future with a little bit of sadness from the past. but you can never forget that it happened; maybe it’s not lost- just hiding somewhere, or looking for you while  you are looking for it at the same exact time.

in my own literary world, in my emotional story board- these moments haunt me. some comfort me, and others remind me of what i’ve overcome. my love is forever forgiving, forever thriving and boundless. all it takes is understanding, patience and time. to all those i’ve loved, i have pushed myself to love more beyond you, in an effort to rise above and past the pain from our interaction. where i am now, i have been willfully equipped to love in stronger, more resilient ways. love is my strongest suiting of armor. though i spare no space in being quick to respond, at time easily angered, i am also sensitively forgiving and vulnerably available to reason, talk and reconnect. with pain acting as the teacher, and love remaining the connector- i push forward, knowing which love i’ve lost and which love will live forever. i’ve learned to depart, remain connected and rediscover with strength in love. and now, this love story will reveal itself in a new way. i’ve collected only a few, but in this collective each of you wear crowns, some shining brighter than others but each in your own special way. while you may have lost your love for me, just know that somewhere, not too far from where we used to be, i still sit and wait for you. and i always will.

for my greatest moments of love
may your memories shine forever

CHAPTER 6. THE SOUND OF CHANGE

 

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chapter six. much of the experience i have created for you, as a reader, and within your setting as an audience is vividly realistic of who i actually am. if anything, i am more animated in person than i appear in photos or some of the more serious content i’ve created in this space. all the social media, it’s just a vehicle- any platform you come in contact with; it’s up to you to define the ways you are seen, and to use those spaces responsibly. on both micro and macro levels, i think of everything. understanding that image is so important. and to remain genuine and organic, i have learned to master a way that represents myself accurately- to become my full, self actualized self.

understanding within that framework, that i can be whoever i want to be so long as it inspires, connects and supports growth, love and hope for what changes are needed for the world around me. sharing inspiration, finding a voice, helping others find their own. this whole site started as a learning space. we both studied fashion together, after the music industry was punctured by the internet. my passion has always been, first, music. and in this space, the fashion direction caught the most heat- so i went with it. i think there is a large misconception to some of the things that i do, in the digital space. i think some people might write off what I’m doing as trivial, or possibly they won’t see the connection, on a macro level, with things that are happening in media at a potentially micro level.

the truth of the matter is- its all connected. and while i take great pride in fostering, discovering and highlighting those connections and bridging that gap, i questioned my sense of connectivity since my arrival here to new york city. it’s been quite a challenge trying to break free from the structure that i have known. faced with challenges of opposing views, i’m not naive or easily impressionable. i have very strong ideas that have been proven within my own experience – proven through reactions of others, proven through devastation, through loss and gain. life is really about conflict, and how you rise to the occasion, venturing onto the next level just to arrive at the gateway of a new set of challenges; which utilizes what you learned in the previous phase.

and so, in an effort to return to more classical ideas; there has been an revisiting of old inspiration and ways that have been more triggered with a sense of purity. childhood activities now steeped in adult fascination and psychological grips. to return to ideas of sound, or style and to revisit in an effort of self examination. while much of my life has changed drastically, there are still many moments that have gone undocumented. conscious as that may be, i am looking for ways to share the stories. to again, build that bridge and connect myself to you. in being terminated from the agency where i worked to develop and cultivate talent, i have had time to recalibrate.

thinking of my past life; thinking of what i felt connected to, happy about and pleased with before i started making all of these changes. while i came away from the whole agency experience unscathed. i’ve always been able to adapt, make changes and push myself forward. i’ve taken meetings with one model management, wilhelmina, the society and yes, IMG. but the idea of going back into a field where the girls aren’t always as respected or nurtured in the ways i would have personally done it myself; i had to stop myself. getting back to me, who i am and what has made me- as intelligent, capable and tenacious as i am- the last laugh has not been had. battles lost, war not won.

this next phase will see more concentration on inspiration, documenting experiences and reporting on micro elements of media that affect the macro, bigger picture that affects us all. to return to a strength, not forgotten, but possibly covered by other ideas that weren’t my own. i am still here. i won’t allow my sense of leadership, my ability to conquer any task or provide informed decisions in pursuits of business to knock my stride or catch my rhythm and affect my pathway. all things possible in the eyes of god, and through his greater will for me to succeed. a personal marination process will now exist here. enriched through music, inspired by image and carefully translated through culture and viewpoint. i’m not done yet.

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THE ICON LEAGUE: JANET JACKSON

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i remember sitting with my auntie gie watching “the pleasure principle” and listening to my auntie tell me all the ways that janet jackson was already iconic. that was in 1991. with a career spanning over 40 years in the business, janet jackson is the first to be added to my  icon league. this series will spotlight and recognize women in music for their contributions to music, style and culture. with no need for introduction, janet is from the royal family of entertainment, the jacksons. throughout her iconic reign, she has dominated areas of dance, performance and style. representing black women with an unabashed approach to independence, and sexual dominance- there is no other like janet.

janet joins my icon league with 11 albums, 5 major motion picture roles, 2 television show roles, 7 world tours and 51 music videos. through her albums, janet became the voice for women looking to break free from restriction, demanding more control in their relationships both professional and personal. demanding respect and individualization in her career, she successfully created her own lane- striking a balance between her and her famous brothers. she became an industry leader in the process, creating a blueprint for what female artists in the pop genre were expected to do. janet’s influence created the pathway which pioneered the careers of madonna, britney spears and beyoncé. this influence trickled to create and influence other artists like lil’ kim, ciara and rihanna. many of these women have utilized sex appeal, high powered choreography and a feminist dialogue to alter the ways in which females are seen in music and media. involvement with janet has also spurred success for celebrities like choreographer tina landon, jennifer lopez who danced with janet before her success as an actor and entrepreneur. janet also worked with paula abduhl before she had her run of mainstream success and appeal in the 1990’s.

criminally underrated for this pathway of influence, and a third tier level, janet jackson’s influence touches every other artist that has come and gone in the industry. image industries have followed her lead of sex appeal, and her transformation and growth as a women, chronicled through each era and album over the course of her life have championed trends of beauty, body and sound. within her career span, she has introduced aspects of military inspired dance formations, has further advanced the pro-black musical dialogue in which leads all of the music industry. unapologetically, at the ripe age of 50 years old, janet jackson is a living legend and the full crux of her relevance and emblematic stance as a powerful woman in music cannot be summed in so many words.

wishing a happy birthday to janet,
we thank you for all you’ve done for culture
celebrating your life and legacy always