Hello, my brown beauties!
It really has been a long time! The last couple of months were really busy with my MBA and I really had to get my head down…but I am back!
Whilst having some time to relax during the (spectacular 😮😮😮) summer that we have had so far, I have been catching up with all things social media and soon tapped into the buzz about the covers for the September issues of the fashion magazines – the most important issue of the publishing calendar. I had heard that Beyoncé was to not only garner the cover of US Vogue but was to have complete editorial control and led the way with a cover photo by 23-year-old black photographer Tyler Mitchell. Mitchell is the first Black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover in the magazine’s 125-year history….
….I had also seen that Rihanna was going to be the face of the September issue of British Vogue (edited by ‘Uncle’ Edward)…
…but the buzz certainly reached fever pitch as a it was revealed that black women will also feature on the covers of nine other magazines this September – in both the US and the UK!
THANK YOU QUEENS. #repost ・・・ #blackgirlmagic @beyonce for @voguemagazine @badgalriri for @britishvogue @lupitanyongo for @portermagazine @issarae for @ebonymagazine @yarashahidi for @hollywoodreporter @zendaya for @marieclairemag @ajanaomi_king for @shape @traceeellisross for @ellecanada @tiffanyhaddish for @glamourmag @slickwoods for @elleuk
Having recently seen Hamilton in the West End (💃🏽💃🏽which I LOVED!!!!!💃🏽💃🏽, more about this phenomenal piece of art another time)…
…there is a running motif of the importance of who ‘tells your story‘…
Black women are taking up this mantle in a major way as well with our stories, histories and experiences being told and owned by ourselves.
Last Saturday saw the award winning gal-dem magazine team take over the Guardian Weekend!
Who’s ready for some exciting news!? This weekend we are doing a takeover of the #guardianweekend magazine! THAT’S RIGHT you heard it here first. We had the absolute pleasure of working with The Guardian team to produce this incredible issue where ALL the content is produced by women of colour and non binary people of colour. Featuring @michaelacoel @dinatokio @theslumflower, Diane Abbott and many more…
It was a glorious read, with my favourite quote coming from Afua Hirsch, who profiled the team:
Gal-dem attracts the audience it does, and the brands desperate to work with the audience, because of what’s often described as “authenticity”. But the gal-dem team see it in less than grandiose terms as being true to their own experience.
Our experiences are as broad and diverse as we are and the it is heartening to see the many reflections of this being given agency and voice rights.
Another expression of authentic writing is being celebrated in author of the moment, Tomi Adeyemi. The 25 year old Nigerian-American struck a SEVEN figure book and movie deal in 2017 for her tale of fantasy, Children of Blood and Bone.
The story chronicles Zélie Adebola’s quest to restore magic to her homeland of Orïsha after a vicious king slaughtered many former maji and tried to strip Orïsha of its magic. Adeyemi drew from her time studying West African mythology for a post-graduate fellowship as well as a trip to Brazil where she first saw imaginary of the Orïsha in order to to pen the book.
I had the opportunity to attend an evening with Tomi, last Thursday, hosted by Waterstones Piccadilly. The effervescent wordsmith was interviewed by deputy editor of gal-dem Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (of course!), and delved into topics about the narrative of the book, the reclaiming and re-framing of culture, the power of representation and imagery, being political whilst remaining joyful and how to realise your dream(s).
The conversation was heart warming yet candid – no bars were held! The makeup of the audience was about 65% POC and 25% white, but the dialogue was pointed and addressed the issues, which seemed to have a profound impact on all.
Excited the hear @tomi_adeyemi talk about #ChildrenofBloodandBone at @WaterstonesPicc!
Probably one of the most diverse book events I’ve been to! #WeNeedDiverseBooks pic.twitter.com/mgLCvD4y4k
— Natalie Bunch (@MissPJane) August 9, 2018
Are we experiencing a black renaissance of sorts? I am optimistic yet circumspect – because we all know that many brand and companies want to cash in on the ‘Black Panther’ effect!
All in all though , I am confident that as we own our images and tell our stories, the wider impact on culture and society will be inevitable.