Fashion Week Whitewashed Fashion Week Whitewashed

Still Whitewashed? A Look at Black Influence During Fashion Week

There's a well-dressed elephant in the room for any person of color attending Fashion Week. No matter how beautiful the models or exquisite the clothes, the question remains: Are Black people being represented in these collections? Many times, that answer is negative.

Purveyors of style are hard-pressed to see a model of color grace the catwalk. It's even less likely that the designs presented are the brainchild of Black artisans. Among the rows of spectators privileged enough to view a collection at its debut, it’s a rarity to see a group of black or brown faces. Much has been said about the whitewash at Fashion Week, but years later, progress remains elusive.
Bethann Hardison

New York Fashion Week sets the tone for the upcoming shopping season. Editors and buyers descend on Lincoln Center in their best-dressed to discover new collections and dictate which looks end up in magazines, advertisements and ultimately, in the marketplace. Since women of color make up a sizable and dedicated consumer base, it's crucial that brown and black faces are present from the design room to the department store. But it's often the case that people of color are underrepresented and ignored.

There are luminaries whose life's work has helped expand the African-American presence in fashion. Bethann Hardison is one such agent of change. She single-handedly embraces models of color, consults with designers and invests in media that celebrates Black talent.

Designers like Tracy Reese, Stephen Burrows, Lois Samuels, LaQuan Smith, Carly Cushnie of Cushnie et Ochs and Edwing D'Angelo make up a distinguished few that have the resources necessary to present at New York Fashion Week.

Of the myriad of journalists that trickle in and out of Lincoln Center, there are a handful of exceptional editors--Essence Magazine's Constance White, Teen Vogue's Shiona Turini, The New York Times' Simone Oliver, W Magazine's Edward Enninful, Michaela Angela Davis, Agnes Cammock and The Daily Beast's Robin Givhan--that wield extraordinary power in giving media exposure to Black models and designers.
June AmbroseBlogging, which is a rising phenomenon in the fashion industry, has opened doors for Black faces like LoveBrownSugar's Christina Brown, Glamazonsblog's Andrea Arterbery and Afrobella's Patrice Yursik. However, there are many editors and bloggers who cite racism as the reason they’re shut out of shows and denied invitations. The fashion community does not see the value in a niche, race-specific audience, so mainstream bloggers and publications get priority.

While these industry heavyweights help diversify the white-dominated fashion landscape, Harlem's Fashion Row stands out as an isolated beacon of Black influence. Founded by Brandice Henderson, HFR offers a memorable presentation of regalia created by Black designers and worn by Black models at the close of New York Fashion Week. Last year's Harlem's Fashion Row honored Essence Magazine's Emil Wilbekin and accomplished stylist June Ambrose, while introducing designs by talented artists like Kellia Kebero.

It is a testament to the unbridled potential of Blacks in fashion, still untapped by the fashion industry at large.--Jessica Andrews

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Melody Thornton Provides Power Vocals To Stirring Solo Single "Love Will Return"

There's a romantic and mysterious aura that seeps into Melody Thornton's solo single, "Love Will Return." From the big band production to Thornton's riveting vocals, it's almost shocking that a gem so bright was hiding in plain sight.

The recent release is the lead single for her forthcoming EP expected to be released next year. Formerly a member of the pop group The Pussycat Dolls, Thornton has shown off her singing chops over the years through the group's most popular tracks like "Buttons," "I Don't Need A Man" and her 2012 solo project, POYBL. With "Love Will Return," Thornton pays homage to inspirations like Eartha Kitt and her Arizona roots. Co-producing the track with Eric Zayne, the singer shared with VIBE how cinematic the creative process was.

“The entire evolution of the song was magic,” she explained. “There’s just something spiritual about it. It moves me in a way like no other song I’ve written before.” The track is a strong introduction to her vocal abilities that appeared to be gravely overlooked during her PCD days.

Last week, The Pussycat Dolls reunited without Thornton, leaving many wondering why. "What I want for myself and for my bandmates are for them is to really enjoy their lives," she told Chart Show TV in January when rumors began to surface of a possible reunion. "When I was in the group, I was a kid...I'm primarily a vocalist. Nicole had been signed twice so it only made sense for her to sing the majority of the leads. But then, I kept being asked to wait my turn and it never came– and we only released two albums. So it's this mistaken identity that I've kind of had to unravel. For me, there's really nothing to go back to."

The ladies are all on good terms with Thornton as Nicole Sherzinger and the rest of the ladies wished her well wishes on her solo endeavors. "It just didn't align [with] where she is in her life right now," Sherzinger said. "She's doing a lot and doing her own music and we totally respect and understand and support her."

Nonetheless, we're thrilled about Thornton's new journey.

Listen to "Love Will Return" below.

 

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Ashanti Douglas attends "It's a Wonderful Lifetime” first holiday party of the year at STK Los Angeles on October 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Lifetime

Ashanti Joins Omarion's Millennium Tour

Our prayers for a female presence on Omarion's Millenium Tour have been answered with one of the most talented singers in R&B.

On Thursday (Dec. 5), Omarion announced singer-songwriter Ashanti as a special guest for the upcoming tour. "So excited to announce that Ashanti will be joining The Millennium Tour lineup!" he said in an Instagram post. The singer announced the follow-up show last week to what was perceived as a B2K reunion tour featuring Mario, Lloyd, Pretty Ricky, Chingy, Bobby Valentino and the Ying Yang Twins earlier this year.

Hailed as The "Millenium Tour 2020," the new bill features Soulja Boy and Sammie, with the Ying Yang Twins, Pretty Ricky and Lloyd returning to the mix. The tour will also include Bow Wow, who has several jams (and an album) with Omarion like "Let Me Hold You" and "Girlfriend."

Before joining the tour, Ashanti was a special guest during Lloyd's performances of their 2004 hit, "Southside." With such a large and memorable discography, fans will be thrilled to hear some of the Grammy-winner's biggest hits like "Foolish," "Only U," and recent releases like "Say Less" featuring Ty Dolla $ign and "Pretty Little Thing" featuring Afro B.

This will more than likely be a another big financial boost to the tour. The inaugural Millennium Tour grossed $6.7 million from its first eight reports, according to Billboard and set a career-high for B2K. They also went on to earn $5 million from three additional dates at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. (April 13-14), State Farm Arena in Atlanta (April 4-5), and Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (April 12).

 

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A post shared by ⚡️Omarion ⚡️ (@omarion) on Dec 5, 2019 at 5:57am PST

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Comedian B.Simone attends day 1 of REVOLT Summit x AT&T Summit on September 12, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Revolt

Boss Goals: B. Simone Earns $100K In Two Months With Beauty Line

Renaissance woman B. Simone is wrapping up her year in a big way. The comedienne, rapper and businesswoman scored a major win after raking up $100K in sales of her beauty line.

B. Simone Beauty was announced over the summer but has been in the making for over a year. Vegan and cruelty-free, her line supplies colorful lip liners, bold lipsticks, makeup bags and accessories. Simone officially launched a site for her products just two months ago with a plan to make $100K. The goal was met ironically on the last day of November, leaving her speechless.

B. Simone shared the moment in an emotional Instagram post Monday (Dec. 2). "This is bigger than me it has NOTHING to do with me," she captioned the video. "It has EVERYTHING to do with God and showing people Him by the way I act and spread LOVE. Even on every tube of lip gloss it says “FAITH OVER FEAR” on the back! I live by that ... God won’t let you down you just have to believe even when you can’t see the outcome. The sky is the limit when it comes to me I swear I’m a monster and I’ll never quit! Manifestation at its finest ... God favors me because he trusts me.

Simone also opened up about her doubts but continued to have faith in meeting her goal. "I had one more day to meet my goal and I started thinking, 'Maybe you aimed too high! Let’s just do a 100k$ goal for December.'  THAT WAS THE ENEMY y’all !!! When I woke up this is what happened... I do none of this alone I keep God-fearing people around me who love me, believe in me and see my vision. Thank you to my manager, my team, all of you and God. None of this is about money it’s all about walking in your purpose and changing the world around you to a more comfortable better place."

 

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A post shared by B. SIMONE (@thebsimone2) on Nov 30, 2019 at 10:49am PST

B. Simone has experienced plenty of other wins with her other talents. As XONecole reports, she hosted Will Smith's birthday party, produced and starred in her own hilarious dating show, provided comedic relief on the VH1 series Girls Cruise with Mya, Lil Kim and Chilli, as well as sharing tips on monetizing in the social media space at the Revolt Summit.

Boss goals indeed. Check out B. Simone's stunning beauty line here.

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