Tag: Rihanna

The World’s 1st Modeling Agency for People of Color Celebrates and Promotes Diversity in Fashion

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Looking at the models on Lorde Inc’s website, the first thing that strikes you is that these people are, to put it in Zoolander’s words, really, really good looking. Ornello has long plaits and a gap between her teeth. Mohammed is all chocolate eyes and wavy locks. And Urjii is cheekbones and expressive stare. The second thing? None of the models – about 60 in all – are white.

Nafisa Kaptownwala, founder of Lorde. (Photograph: Carly Bangs/Lorde)
Nafisa Kaptownwala, founder of Lorde. (Photograph: Carly Bangs/Lorde)

Lorde was set up in May 2014 as the first of its kind – an agency made up entirely of models of colour. It is the brainchild of Nafisa Kaptownwala, a 26-year-old Canadian art history graduate, who began to work on the fringes of fashion and noticed the lack of non-white models. Despite no experience in the modeling industry, she set up Lorde in London with a friend and “the next thing, people were contacting us”. A year on, and Lorde has worked with magazines including Dazed & Confused and i-D, and collaborated with London streetwear brand Cassette Playa. Despite these relative triumphs, Kaptownwala is pessimistic about diversity in modelling in 2015. “There’s still not a massive demand because this is still a radical idea and people in fashion are not really ready for it,” she says. “How does that make me feel? In general I think, as a person of colour, you internalize. Creating this agency is a way to channel those feelings.” If diversity – across age, race and size – is always a swirl of debate in fashion, there seems to be the signs of change, with Balmain’s Olivier Roustein (himself mixed race) championing a catwalk of all sorts of ethnicities, Rihanna becoming the first black woman in a Dior campaign and Lineisy Montero walking the Prada catwalk with a visible afro. “Things are changing but in a minimal way,” acknowledges Kaptownwala. “But there were more models of color on the catwalk in the 90s than there are now. It kind of goes in cycles.” She praises former model Bethan Hardison’s campaign to increase diversity on the catwalk at major brands but says “two models in a show of 30 models is not enough”.

One of Lorde’s male models. (Photograph: JM Stasiuk)
One of Lorde’s male models. (Photograph: JM Stasiuk)

The dominance of white faces in fashion means her job, compared to that of a model booker at a larger agency, is a lot harder. “They work with everyone and we are fulfilling a niche,” she says. “The beauty standards are that the European is the epitome of what’s marketable, and not just to European consumers. I have spoken to magazines in Japan who only use Japanese and European models.” Kaptownwala believes the internet – and the culture of selfies – has a role to play in broadening what we think beautiful is, and has made an entire generation comfortable in front of the camera. “People are posing in their own ways, creating their own photo shoots,” she says. “It redefines beauty, opens things up and allows people to say ‘I want to be part of this.’”

article by Lauren Cochrane via theguardian.com

Jay Z Launches Tidal, the First Artist-Owned Streaming-Music Service

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(JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES)

Music impresario Jay Z has launched Tidal — positioned as an ad-free, high-quality streaming-music subscription service priced starting at $10 per month — with the participation of numerous big-name artists including Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Kanye West and Madonna.

In January, Jay Z acquired Sweden-based Aspiro for $56 million. The artists announced onstage at the New York event Monday were introduced as co-owners of the company, representing the first artist-owned digital-music service — as opposed to companies like Spotify and Pandora.

“Our goal is simple: We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artitsts,” Alicia Keys said at the event. “We believe that it is in everyone’s interests — fans, artists and the industry as a whole — to preserve the value of music, and to ensure a healthy and robust industry for years to come.”

Tidal’s mobile launch partner is Sprint. Other artists participating in the service include Arcade Fire, Calvin Harris, Daft PunkJack White (formerly of the White Stripes) and Deadmau5. Tidal was launched with the hashtag “#TIDALforALL” — although, obviously, it’s only for those able or willing to pay at least $120 annually for audio and video content.

The Tidal service will compete with other subscription-music services including Spotify and Apple’s forthcoming music-streaming service, based on its acquisition of Beats Music, which is expected to launch this summer.

Tidal will not offer a free version of the service; the standard-audio version (Tidal Premium) will be $9.99 per month and the high-def audio version (Tidal HiFi) will be $19.99 per month. Both tiers are free to try out for 30 days, according to the company.

Tidal says it provides a library of more than 25 million tracks, 75,000 music videos and curated editorial articles. The service is available across iOS and Android devices, as well as in Web browsers and desktop players, available in the U.S. and 30 other countries at launch. Tidal provides streaming quality at more than four times the bit rate of competitive services, according to the startup.

article by Todd Spangler via Variety.com

Rihanna Becomes 1st Black Woman to Be Face of Dior

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The 27-year-old superstar will star in Dior’s fourth installment of their “Secret Garden” campaign — a series featuring models posing in the palace of Versailles, clad in Dior creations — the fashion house confirmed on Friday. She will be shot by famed photographer Steven Klein, with the film and print versions of the campaign scheduled to run this spring.

But as if being an official Dior girl wasn’t amazing enough, Rihanna’s highly-anticipated campaign also marks the first time a black woman has been chosen to front the French fashion brand. Other celebrity Dior spokeswomen include Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman and Marion Cotillard.

The Dior partnership particularly makes a lot of sense given that Rihanna is often a staple at the high-fashion brand’s shows, always flawlessly dressed of course.

Though perhaps Dior should be considered the lucky ones to land Rihanna. Aside from already having fronted a Balmain campaign and often being chosen to be the first to sport a new collection, it’s no secret that the “Four Five Seconds” singer is considered a huge deal in fashion. She was named last year’s Fashion Icon at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards — where she donned an unforgettable completely sheer Adam Selman dress — and in November, designer Tom Ford gushed about the Barbadian superstar in his very own blog post.

“I was at the CFDA awards as I was receiving a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ …. and I have to say that Rihanna was for me, that night, one of the most beautiful women that I have ever beheld,” Ford gushed. “As [my husband] Richard said plainly after the evening, ‘If you are as beautiful as Rihanna, you almost owe it to the world to appear in public almost nude’ and I have to say that I wholeheartedly concur.”

article by Antoinette Bueno via aol.com

Beyoncé Exhibit to Debut at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum

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In this Thursday, July 17, 2014 photo, from left, outfits from Beyonce’s 2013 Super Bowl performance, 2011″Sweet Dreams,” 2003 “Single Ladies” and 2003 “Dangerously in Love” are displayed in a new exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The Rock Hall announced Friday, July 18, 2014, that outfits from Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance and music videos will debut Tuesday in the Ahmet Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall in its Legends of Rock section next to iconic pieces from Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

NEW YORK (AP) – A fashion exhibit centered on Beyoncé will debut at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in a section previously featuring only Hall of Famers.  The Rock Hall announced today that outfits from Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance and music videos will debut Tuesday in the Ahmet Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall in its Legends of Rock section, next to iconic pieces from Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen.

The 32-year-old Beyoncé would be eligible for induction into the Rock Hall as a member of Destiny’s Child in 2022 and as a solo artist in 2027.  The exhibit in Cleveland, Ohio, will feature Beyonce’s ubiquitous black leotard from her “Single Ladies” music video, as well as her body suit, skirt and jacket from her Super Bowl performance last year in New Orleans.

Rock Hall curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger said they have been trying to court Beyonce “for a really long time.”  “When we looked at the depth of the amount of stuff that she was willing to send, we just thought, ‘The only way we can really showcase these items is to put them in the Legends of Rock area in the museum,’ which really is the spot that we have to pay tribute to legends of rock, which Beyonce has proven herself to be,” she said in an interview.

Lee Anne Callahan-Longo, the general manager of Beyonce’s production house, Parkwood Entertainment, said the singer was honored and humbled by the opportunity to have her personal items in the museum.

Continue reading “Beyoncé Exhibit to Debut at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum”

South Carolina Native Sergio Hudson wins Rihanna’s “Styled To Rock” Design Competition

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After ten weeks of cutting, sewing and styling, South Carolina native Sergio Hudson came out on top as the winner of Rihanna’s Styled To Rock design competition.  The pop star, along with judges/mentors Mel Ottenberg, Erin Wasson, and Pharrell Williams, chose the father of three over runner up Laura Petrielli-Pulice from Chicago, for his envelope-pushing aesthetic and strong structuring skills. Hudson walks away with a $100,000 cash prize, a fashion feature in Glamour magazine and a spot on Rihanna’s official design team.

Airing on Bravo, the music-meets-fashion competition series followed 12 up-and-coming coming designers, hand-picked by the pop-star, to create unique fashion pieces for some of the biggest names in entertainment. With celebrity guests such as Miley Cyrus and Kelly Osbourne, the designers experienced demanding real-life challenges, made to push their creative boundaries. Each week, with only a limited time frame, they were asked to create an innovative outfit and complete look based on the celebrities’ detailed brief.  In the final challenge, the final two designers had to create two editorial looks specifically for Rihanna. Sergio’s denim ball gown and high-cut denim shorts were the stand out pieces. Continue reading “South Carolina Native Sergio Hudson wins Rihanna’s “Styled To Rock” Design Competition”

Beyoncé Tops Bing Searches for 2013

beyonceSAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft is first out with its 2013 top search trends list, with pop star Beyoncé bumping Kim Kardashian as the most searched person on Bing this year.  Women dominated 2013 in Microsoft search world. The top five most searched people of the year were women (Kardashian was No. 2).

Justin Bieber — No. 6 — and President Barack Obama — 10th — were the only two men who made it into the top 10.

Also making Bing’s Top 10 list: Rihanna (3), Taylor Swift (4), Madonna (5), Nicki Minaj (7), Amanda Bynes (8) and Miley Cyrus (9)  Swift jumped from No. 10 last year, while Bynes, Madonna and Obama are all new to the list.

Microsoft’s take on top trends has a decidedly pop culture bent, but Bing also offers a look at top news stories of the year. The birth of the royal baby was the most searched story of the year followed by the Boston Marathon bombing in April.  You can read more about Bing’s top trends at www.bingtrends.com.

And now that we’re into December, look for Google, Twitter, Facebook and more to weigh in with the year’s top trends.

article by Nancy Blair via usatoday.com

From Rihanna to TLC: Top moments from the American Music Awards

Meanwhile, her hairdo, which was wrapped around her head and decorated with hair pins,  was another topic of discussion.Other unforgettable moments made jaws drop as Lady Gaga and R. Kelly took to the stage to sing their duet “Do What You Want” in a performance that was far from tame.  Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake‘s soulful rendition of his song “Drink You Away” had almost every audience member on their feet and clapping in tune with the beat.

Jennifer Lopez brought tons of Latin flavor with her performance tribute to the “Queen of Salsa,” Celia Cruz. Lopez rocked the stage and sashayed the night away.  Kendrick Lamar also showcased his talent last night when he performed his song “Swimming Pools.” He was nominated for the favorite rap/hip-hop album award but instead, it went to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for The Heist.

Upon accepting their award, Macklemore delivered a powerful speech in which he referenced  the late Trayvon Martin and Dr. Martin Luther King.

article by Lilly Workneh via thegrio.com

Rihanna to Receive First-Ever “AMA Icon Award”

rihannaRihanna will make history at the American Music Awards later this month.  The singer has been chosen to be the first-ever recipient of the “AMA Icon Award,” created to honor an artist whose body of work has made a profound influence over pop music on a global level.

“Rihanna’s iconic and innovative sound has enabled her to become one of the most influential and best-selling artists of all time,” said producer Larry Klein.  This month Rihanna scored her 25th top-10 hit on the Hot 100, with “The Monster,” her collaboration withEminem, a chart feat that ties her with Elvis Presley on the all-time list. “The Monster” is also Rihanna’s 45th Hot 100 entry, tying her with the output of Mariah Carey.

A six-time AMA winner, Rihanna will compete in four categories at this year’s show, including for artist of the year and favorite soul/R&B album, for “Unapologetic.”

RiRi will also perform during the ceremony, being held Nov. 24 on ABC. Other performers include Katy PerryJennifer LopezTLCLady GagaJustin TimberlakeOne DirectionFlorida Georgia LineMiley CyrusImagine Dragons and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Pitbull will host the ceremony and perform his new single “Timber” with Ke$ha.

article via eurweb.com

2013 Soul Train Awards: Kendrick Lamar Leads Nominations

2013 Soul Train Awards
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 31: Kendrick Lamar performs on stage during the Bumbershoot Music Festival at Seattle Center on August 31, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Kendrick Lamar is the top nominee for the Soul Train Awards.  The rapper is up for six awards, including album of the year for “good kid, m.A.A.d city” and song and video of the year for “Poetic Justice.” R&B singers Justin Timberlake, Miguel, Robin Thicke, Chris Brown and Tamar Braxton follow with five nominations each.  See a full list of nominees here.

The latest albums from Lamar, Timberlake and Miguel will battle efforts from Jay-Z, Rihanna and Fantasia for album of the year. Lamar’s other nominations include best new artist, hip-hop song of the year and collaboration.

The Soul Train Awards will be presented Nov. 8 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The awards will air Dec. 1 on BET and Centric.

Actor-comedian Anthony Anderson will host the show.

article via huffingtonpost.com

 

Pharrell Williams Talks Music, Fiancée and Fatherhood on “Today” Show

Even if Pharrell Williams isn’t a household name where you live, the music he’s had a hand in creating most likely is. He’s featured in this this year’s song of summer, “Blurred Lines,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” and he’s co-collaborated on songs such as Snoop Dogg’s “Drop it like it’s Hot” and Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.”

083013-music-pharrell-williams-today-showSixteen Grammy nominations (and three wins) later, the music producer-song writer-recording artist sat down with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie to talk about the path to getting to top of the Top 40. 

“I can write pretty much anywhere, but in the shower it’s, like, where it’s, like, really great,” Williams told Guthrie of where he’s come up with some of his best work, including “Hot in Herre” Nelly’s super-successful 1992 hit. 

But before he was sharing top billing with the likes of Nelly, Justin Timberlake and Ludacris, he was any other kid growing up in Virginia Beach, playing the drums and going to band camp. “Most of us were kinda nerdy,” Williams said. “Nobody sort of walked in, like, you know, Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl-cool.”  It was at that camp where Williams, then 12, met his producing partner Chad Hugo. By the time they were 19, the duo had helped write and produce the 1992 Wreckx-N-Effect hit song, “Rump Shaker.” 

Fast forward two decades and many successes, Williams says he can point to the singular best song he’s ever co-written. “My son,” he told Guthrie of Rocket, his little boy with new fiance Helen Lasichanh. “Every night’s like a sleepover,” he said of Lasichanh, who he calls his “bestie.”

So what else does the super-successful Williams hope to accomplish? “Honestly? It’s … more music,” he said.  That said, music isn’t the only thing on the artist’s plate: Beginning Nov. 5, Williams will appear as a mentor on Rihanna’s new fashion reality competition show “Styled to Rock” on the Style Network.

article by Courtney Hazlett via today.com