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


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chapter five. in certain spaces, freedom can feel like being lost. open spaces of light when eyes are shut can seem like spaces of darkness. fucked up because im so used to functioning within entrapment. shackles held tight to my feet and wrists that i sometimes wake up with a longing feeling of being connected, because thats the only connection that is familiar. disconnected looking more like reconnecting; while discovering a sense of self that only leads to trap doors, leading me further into an isolation and dissection of me.

who am i? not a lost one, but still i keep looking for shit. continually searching, because it’s not enough. i’m not enough, i’m too much. cross examination of who i know myself to be, with who i one day hope to be. who i am today, being a reflection of years past, which unlock the doors with keys into my future. it’s all tied up. the layers are stacked within one another. everyone seems to want a piece, but no one handles with care. yet i’m the one who has an air about him. as if i’m expected to remain confined to your idea of me, and be secluded to your idea of humility? searching within a circumstance i traveled to; while you were searching for a reason to mark my exit. and speaking of exits, i had to make way for a greater freedom for him, running into the rails of my own fear of losing him forever. and while that forever seems in progress, and speaking of finding; i know what i found, and I’m hoping in many ways that all this shit is profound; enough to for me to get you back, because without you, i’ve fallen off track.

and it was me sitting back, bitching that you couldn’t love yourself because you didn’t love me. when i was the one leading, and perhaps most blindly. covering myself with you, and worrying about you, and worrying about us, now looking back i ain’t even have to make such a fuss. should’ve just let it breath, leave you be; and let you come to me. controlled while out of control, gripping on shit while i ain’t even have a grip on myself. paycheck to paycheck, fucking with the structure, organizing the unorganized; but setting myself up in the process. my sister came back around, not like i ever doubted that; but now the other one won’t even respond when it’s inspired by life and death moments. so, why try? am i trapped with the thought, or stuck mourning the loss of a certain freedom? a freedom that really wasn’t free at all? i remember shaking with tears in my eyes as i got on that flight, leaving the sunshine in the west, a job where i was vested and moving into the abyss, risking it all for love. but where did that take me? have i now become more lost?

finding the faith, understanding patience and trust; most of all of self, but through you, because nothing else greater exists over you. and while i play my own consciousness, grappling with pseudo-patience, like i’m in control because i can’t learn to let go. cause what the fuck is freedom when i can’t afford to go out to dinner, or buy new shit to wear? head down to a skin fade to escape the new york summer humidity; but was i only escaping that in which was within me? always looking to change, willing to grow- but still, cannot fucking let go. aware, and still numbed; because the control i surrender is the control that you’ve earned. fucking around with fire- always getting burned. except i’m used to it; so the scars i wear as badges of honor, while i move from level to level, unscathed and unmarked. my emotional processing is the key to my survival, and yet every step of the way there are questions. questions that become answered when i speak or write. so, all in all; what is learned here is that there is no freedom in silence. freedom is in my voice.



the concept of visual albums, truly, are a concept that has only existed within the realm of musical superstars. with the recent passing of prince, i seen “purple rain” at AMC 25 here in new york city. as i wiped tears from my eyes through every scene that seemed to slowly climax to the performance of “purple rain”, i thought of beyoncé. from insiders involved with production on the visual aspects of the body of work coming, i knew a full album would be dropping last night, so i went to bed and put my phone on sleep mode.

in an effort to absorb the creative content, as many of us should do with any full scoped body of work by any artist. i absorbed the message of freedom laid in the foundation before the days of beyoncé by prince. i thought about other legends, i thought of whitney houston and the bodyguard soundtrack, which was wildly successful in the musical market place, still being the best selling soundtrack of all-time. i thought of mariah with glitter, and though much can be said of that project, it still sold triple platinum across the globe. and who could forget the many visual films of michael jackson? of course, in the wake of our loss of prince, purple rain continues to reign across 80 nationwide participating AMC theaters, a true testament to the work of prince, and his artistic approach to curation of visuals, emotions and experience.

what beyoncé has done with this album, in contrast to what was done with her self-titled visual project from 2013 is expand her vocal textures through production. visually she has paid poetic tribute to being a proud black woman. in a coordinated balance of vulnerability and power, beyoncé understands more perfectly in this time now; how to play the foreground and background in a beautifully balanced form. her sensitivity to time and culture are so closely intertwined that there isn’t many other ways to refer to her outside of exceptional. an individualized artist of sound and style, what exists in this body of work is a careful crafting, that cannot be planned; it pours. the timing is spot on.

many of the albums visuals hint at moments in beyoncé’s career over the last, almost, 20 years. moments that showcase her love for her mother, her recognition of her father. it includes elements of creole ethnic make-up, the legacy of her grandmother, while much of the outspoken character traits of free artistic form, similar to those we’ve seen with solange, her sister, also make their way into the trenches of the albums overall message. there is a reality that is applied to love, that leaves questions when listening and watching the visual story unfold. by the albums end, the questions are answered- thus, the importance of seeing the body of work in totality before having any response at all.

i won’t take time to reveal my favorite tracks on the album, i will leave you to your own time to decide for yourself. to find the ways that you identify with the story being told, so you can come to a place of relativity within yourself and what beyoncé has put forth. i am one for love stories, i am one of loyalty and one who is always for the fight for what is right. here, beyoncé introduces a narration that is necessary for culture, for black people and for music as a whole. no borders are left unturned, no boundaries are left un-challenged and for that, beyoncé holds her strength of self close to heart. in that closeness, we as the audience are drawn in. for artists to recognize greatness of present time, nothing is impossible.

view ‘lemonade‘ now exclusively on tidal
album not yet released to iTunes



unrestrained, and in creative control; the life, legacy and career of prince is transcendent. beyond genres, generations and even mere identities, sonically he was just as much of an experience as he was a living breathing artist. a lyricist, and multi-instrumentalist- his career spans over three decades, and much of his influence seems to only scratch the surface of what will come to be many, many years from now. in the league of legends, now passing, prince, i will say; is among the most criminally underrated, and yet his influence knows no bounds or limitations. a legendary original, without compare or compromise.

escapism at it’s finest, the early years of prince, born prince rogers nelson in 1958; seen him honing his skill set and playing multiple instruments with a band in high school. before his record contract signing, record executives often mistook prince as an entire band, since his wide ranged vocal abilities and multiplied use of instrumentation in production appeared almost impossible for one person. signed by warner brothers at 17 years old, and was originally intended to work with maurice white, of earth, wind and fire. since the beginning of his career, prince was adamant about creative control. and always took every effort to be at the forefront of his creative process from start to finish. he excised such passion though full force production of his musical recording sessions and in his stage shows as well. throughout his challenging of culture and reformation of musical genre bending pursuits of expression, prince’s catalog became so intertwined with the musical experience that they were fixtures within our cerebral cortex. it’s the type of influence that is cultivated through several elements, that tie memories, senses and beauty together all in one musical microcosm. as i sit here and write, the more words i pour into this space, it seems unfit for the experience.

among his expansive discography, words do not to the influence of prince much justice. he existed in a world that peaked through sexual exploration, artistic eminence and domination of creativity. what prince did was create music. among his influence and even his many proteges throughout his career and beyond, spawned were many others who were also touched by his influence. a true marker of R&B evolution through use and application of jazz, blues, rock and pop magic- there is no other artist who has or will exist within the purest forms of inspiration like that of prince. notoriously shy, opinionated and strong- prince’s legacy has yet to be revealed. among the many wonders he always left unanswered, with his death, many may recall the speculation of ‘the vault‘; a secured arsenal of music, that has never been heard by the public.

prince, in his early days in minneapolis, was referred to a younger stevie wonder. conceptual in nature, many of the concepts in which housed each of his musical projects, themes were of great importance to him. since the late 70’s the vault reportedly houses upwards of 2,000 unheard and unreleased songs by prince. an actual vault, which is located at his minnesota estate, holds these records; and many fans through the years have wondered when all of this music will be released. notorious for his mystique and desires for privacy continue to keep us wonder up to today. is it possible that prince has planned the posthumous release of all this music? before digital, many have questioned whether the vault and it’s musical treasures will remain preserved or if they are planned for release. time will tell, but it seems as though, even today, with the expansive musical offerings we have, and have heard; production elements were lightyears ahead, innovation at it’s finest. his recording process has reportedly seen him producing one album per week, a process he had already implemented well into the 80’s. his compound, paisley park, houses the vault and was his main residence where he created music.

a revolution of incredible influence, i cannot say this enough- prince crosses all borders of gender, sexuality and artistry. a pioneer for creative control, and an opinion which has shot past many others, in the realm of industry. the story, for me and many others, of prince- is not now, nor will it ever be over. i offer you the opportunity to not read into my interpretation of who this artist was in life, but to think about it, originally, and understand the cultural impact of his work; and to listen to the music, to come to your own opinion of what he has created. of beauty, prince remains untouched in his curation of experience through sound. through sound, his penetrated emotions, and was able to resonate through memories that have always kept him timeless. this will not change in death.

a visual history through prince’s discography
the complete prince album discography


first-monday-in-may-lgthe collision of art and commerce, the debate of high art versus high fashion. the study and skill of combining aspects of culture in a high/low sensibility to break barriers has been mastered by anna wintour throughout her legendary tenure at vogue. the first monday in may focuses on the metropolitan museum’s annual costume gala, and explores the ideas and origins of the museum’s past affairs and how it has evolved. more specifically, the film zeroes in on the most recent gala, themed “china: through the looking glass”. director, andrew rossi carefully etched the perfect balance of ideas, planning and process; to give us a true look at what goes into the met gala from cradle to grave. throughout the documentary, the usual vogue crew is in attendance. leader of the pack anna wintour, again, takes center stage. appropriately so, baring in mind the ‘anna wintour costume center‘ was christened with her name in 2014 by michelle obama. the presence of wintour is one that many vogue fans and fashion spectators have come to accept, with any regard to american fashion. much like, the september issue, the real star of the documentary goes to andrew bolton, who is the curator responsible for the alexander mcqueen: savage beauty (2011) exhibition. the film takes you through the history of the met, from it’s high art reference point, and circles down to present day; intricately and delicately de-compartmentalizing the power behind wintour. highlighted is her understanding of power, and influence- thus, celebrity. perhaps the museum’s most prominent and influential figure since diana vreeland; wintour boasts strength in number and is largely to credit for re-branding the met and ushering in a new era for the house of countless art pieces and artifacts in the multi-million dollar range. addressed are the varying issues surrounding awareness and sensitivity of culture, the importance of balance and the existing tensions between high art and high fashion. speaking to the theme of tradition, shown is the chinese art board of directors arguing for modernization; as bolton, wintour and costume institute head, harold koda find themselves having to defend their intent to highlight the historical past and inspiration of china in forms of fashion, and costume. not a documentary you want to miss, if you are a fan of both art or fashion. while many fashion documentaries exist on the scene and in the archives; none are quite as special as this. regarded for it’s use of range, and true recognition of culture through evolution, the documentary was exceptionally well done. from rihanna to galliano this has range and is a must see.

the first monday is may’ is now playing in select cinemas
visit the documentary official website for showtimes


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brands are constantly reinventing themselves in our industry. the first of a new fashion history series i’m rolling out; the ‘brand DNA’ series will see me looking back at the code of each brand, respectively. as a part of this review process we will look at house origins, iconic moments and what lies ahead for the future. with the recent headlines circulating the house of saint laurent, there is no better label to start this series.

last week is was officially announced that hedi slimane was to exit the house; an installment that originally began in 2012. slimane’s history with the house began in 1996 within the menswear division of the label, where he is widely credited for skinny jeans and slim fitting male silhouettes (2000-01) among other style elements which have become staples in the modern male style movement. he parted ways with the brand in 2000, and drifted into the industry as a photographer, working on editorial projects and assorted campaign clients. for the most part he was said to be retired from high fashion design, but when stefano pilati was uninstalled as creative director in 2012, a position he held since 2004, following the departure of tom ford (1999-2004). respectively, each era cannot be discounted for the overall influence of the brand from origination to now.

along the way, each designer has left their own impression and interpretation of the iconic french fashion house. more of a new school forerunner, the house of yves saint laurent rose like a phoenix after yves himself was ousted from he house of christian dior, after he was appointed by dior himself at just 19 years old. his mentorship under dior created a very unique pathway of glamour, and when the house of yves saint laurent was founded, there was a mystique of sexual darkness embedded into the house code. tom ford, who’s legendary gucci era made the house what it is today is synonymous with sleek sex appeal and chic seduction. the relationship between ford and laurent went south when laurent disagreed with the direction ford was taking and spared no time in expressing such feelings. during stefano pilati’s time at the label his intention was to re-unify the house and it’s french heritage. yves saint laurent, who died in 2008 from brain cancer, started the house with his long time business and life partner, pierre bergé  in 1961 after he left dior.

the original code of the house popularized the safari look, debuted by laurent between the 60’s and 70’s, he also created the classic tuxedo suit for women in ’66, affectionately known as le smoking suit. many of the laurent’s muses were iconic or diplomatic women in france, which further allowed for the brand’s name to become etched into french fashion history. the label, yves saint laurent, reflected many aspects of darkness aligned with the personal life of saint laurent the man. he battled addiction as well as depression, on the heels of the tumultuous 70’s glam era of studio 54. amidst the history of the brand, now exists questions of where the future will lead. anthony vaccarello was announced as the new creative director at yves saint laurent and will likely inject his flavoring for sexy lines and powerful presence. vaccarello has his own line, and has also worked with donatella versace, for the versus line; where his level of attention to feminine prowess has been at the forefront. i always like to see how new minds interpret the house code. with a roster of iconic styles and french flavor galore, vaccarello is an interesting choice. slimane and his emo-hipster rocker vibe escalated revenue to $1 billion during his 4-year stint; and rumors are swirling that he will land at dior next or even chanel. i would love to see vaccarello honor the diversity of the brand, especially in representing women of color, which slimane was largely criticized for overlooking. saint laurent is credited as affording naomi campbell the title of being the first black model on the cover of french vogue, after he historically threatened to pull all advertising and uses of the YSL brand if they did not cooperate with his choice to outfit her and feature her. in honor of this series, a campaign image of iman, shot by giampaolo barbieri (1980).

the brand DNA series will recount house heritage
style signatures and cultural influence of selected labels
campaign image colorized for reinterpretation



chapter four. opportunities come in as many dimensions as those who guide us to said destinations. the range of such vary from a needed push, a need to sit back, to surrender control and demand it. in life, we can be lead astray by misguided advice, lack of awareness or intuition; and disabled measures of trust in ourselves, and the higher power that lights our pathways. for a while, i kept looking for opportunities in doors, and advanced through many in my life. understanding that the method of navigation was all up to me; i looked down every hall, and walked into every building to find as many doors as i could, as advised by those who wanted to see me win. but as i walked through each door, the decor never seemed right. i felt myself arranging everything, and tailoring each space, through each door way, into the space i envisioned in my mind; but could never find. feeling like i needed air, i began to crave light and air.

dark spaces, with elevated temperature; each door contained bodies and minds, opinions and mindsets that didn’t agree with mine. whenever that would happen, i would exit that door and find the next one. getting progressively agitated, bothered and combating the feeling of being trapped; i took the leap of faith that brought me to new york city. i’ve been here for over a year now. guided by love and my own desire to be understood and connected; to function on a higher level. i dedicate so much time to information, to communicate about development. to connect everyone through beauty, through a common understanding that creates light and power. through each door, i understood more of beauty, more of light, and more of love. in this figurative, and rigorous journey of impasses; i found more of myself, more of others and collected insight through each entry and exit.

i kept looking at the windows; and cracked them for air, eventually closing them. and exiting through the next door. i repeated this pattern for several years, even into this year. and now, i’ve closed all doors, and jumped out the window. leading to a action of flight that i could have taken earlier, but wasn’t quite ready to see or ready to take action to fulfill. purposefully fragmented, something is coming. from meetings and options to my level of awareness and geographic location, i am humbled by the divine support that guides me and the real ones who can see me, in a real way, for my instincts and vision. I’m functioning on a level that is so elevated past bullshit, i am unchained, unrestricted by in a very intentional way that keeps me locked into the vision of it all. it’s about responsibility and unity in flight. togetherness and community being unified by beauty and execution. escaping a painted doorway to jump. not knowing, but trusting.