Guillory’s 2020 collection, “EVERYTHING STARTS WITH A WISH,” is a reimagining of the classic Cinderella fairytale, a more accessible vision brought to reality where Blackness is centered. The collection was a thank you to the women in his family that span across five generations, giving him vision for a world that celebrates its darlings when their credit is due, instead of long after, hidden between the lines of a narrative that’s been to fit within dominant, conventional culture. The brand AJOVANG was a gift to these women, too, because of the way he’s learned to overcome odds stacked against him from their examples.
“I love the opulence and the grandness behind a ball gown. I wanted to create a brand that centered Black women, mainly but not exclusively, at the center of that idea — seeing a Black Cinderella, seeing a group of Black people twirling around at a ball. I wanted to see that world,” Guillory said.
There is a Civil War that has already ended, and there’s one that is still going on today. Tensions between Black and white squeezing the noose around my neck. The internal warfare ripped me from my own skin as I fought to erase what I was, from who I was. I walked back from the pod-style bathrooms into my college dorm room, water dewed my kinky curls. I was slowly becoming more comfortable with presenting my Black self — my Black hair — to society at large. I was on the cusp of no longer feeling the pressure to assimilate.
I’m not going to practice the kind of homogenous performance Kristen Warner critiques, “Swapping in and out racial groups with little adjustment to the parts themselves retains the original work as the primary driver and as a result marks the changes as superficial…As a consequence, the performances feel like hollow experiments produced in a laboratory; they feel plastic.”
I am not hollow. I am not an experiment—and so my time of plastic performance is over. And so is yours.
Transcending the familiar and curating a sick fusion of genre-bending sound, nine-piece Florida group seeyousoon cements their place in the music industry as a group to watch.
Who is the Black man as an entrepreneur? He is pure, creating value in the development of his roots and the relationships he fosters. He is Momodou N’jie.
Everything about Joshua Schiffman is full circle. From the way his eyes reflect the warmth of a hug to the smile that spreads like a hurricane, flooding your body with light and hope to be the best version of yourself that you can be.
A space of home and belonging is reimagined as we navigate the new normal and strive to liberate ourselves from the constraints of close-mindedness.
Elijah McKinnon and Kristen Kaza, the founders of Reunion Chicago (a queer sliding scale gallery, event space, and project incubator located in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood) speak with writer Nichole Shaw.
Jasmine Thompson reminds us of what it means to find comfort in vulnerability with chart-topping British singer-songwriter Calum Scott in a hit duet, where an intimate reclamation of self soars.
Amidst all the chaos, sorrow, grief, and existential moments of crisis, we can find moments in our daily lives to center us in our purpose and keep us moving on. With Jake Troth, that purpose is the creation of music that matters. It’s a spiraling journey, one that may lead you astray every once in a while as you wind through and around the overwhelming information and politics of everyday life in America.
WOMXN (noun): superior beings in the context of emotional intelligence, for they are love and life itself, vital to the existence of mortal creatures as we know them; persons that multiply everything they touch, unreal in nature, powerful in exteriority.
Comfortable in creation and secure in sensibility, a womxn creates a space for herself. She invites others in to experience the strength that comes from demanding to be heard. It is here that womxn learn to take control over their lives and their bodies, picking up where their mothers left off.
WOMXN (pl. noun): beings brought together by an inherent subjugation, flipping their status together in solidarity to connect with one another in brilliance and strength; spirits of soul who create life, spinning pièce de résistance.
WOMXN: (noun) a being free to make their own decisions, unconcerned with what anyone else is thinking, content with their self, looking like a bag of m$ney — Araba Ankuma
Black people hang from trees, shot dead in their own homes, suffocated on the street in front of crowds. We are assaulted on the daily, with our very lives being snatched away from us and captured in the pixels and drives of smartphones. That is why it is important we understand the resources we have to protect ourselves in the wake of this revolution.
Meet this Chicago lawyer from Bassfield, Mississippi.
Special Feature: from issue 004. Kori Coleman and Danielle Taylor are redefining the identity of classical music by uplifting the Black voice and refusing to accommodate racist systems in the process.
Special Feature: from issue 004. Singer-songwriter Taylor Gray makes music that naturally chronicles the exploration of his identity. He takes us into that journey.
Noah Chris is a 21-year-old artist making moves for himself in Chicago. He brings about the vibrancy of love we need so much right now as he finds solace in Chicago as a home and music as a way to connect with people and learn from one another.
What to the Black American is your Fourth of July, America?