All Articles Tagged "model"
Calling: Founder of “Black Girls Rock!”
Why we’re saluting her:
How could the woman behind “Black Girls Rock” not rock? Beverly Bond is a renowned DJ and model who became known for more than her spins around the NYC nightclub arena when she founded the movement, “Black Girls Rock!,” in 2006.
Though Bond always had a passion for music, she delayed her entry into the New York club scene because she felt is was too big of a responsibility to keep people dancing and having a good time all night as a DJ. So instead, Bond pursued the word of modeling at the age of 17 and immediately landed contracts with Elite New Faces and Wilhemina.
Bond posed for major brands like Diesel Jeans, Guess, and Nike in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and as the money came rolling in, so did the number of records she owned. When Bond’s regular record player broke, she bought a turntable just to have something to player her vinyl on, but when she actually gave mixing and scratching a try, she told Contemporary Black Biography she found out she was “kinda nice.”
Still running from her calling, Bond decided to pursue acting after her modeling career died down some, but rather than go the Hollywood route she seemed destined for, she finally admitted in 1999 she wanted to be a DJ, and a year later she became known as DJ Beverly Bond.
In just a year, Bond became an A-lister, spinning for Diddy and even Prince, traveling worldwide and making appearances with Musiq Soulchild and Erykah Badu, and landing spots on BET’s Rap City and NBC’s Weekend Vibe. A few years later, she began to not only play music, but also produce it. She also took to producing something else: award shows for Black girls.
Sensing that there were not enough positive Black role models for girls to look up to, Bond began a mentoring program to try to balance the scales. In 2006, that effort formerly became “Black Girls Rock,” and now the network she used to DJ for is broadcasting her award show on their station every year, with the support of star players like Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King. For pursuing her true calling and giving back to Black girls around the world at the same time, we salute Beverly Bond.
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Well, it looks like some prime meat is still on the market.
According to TMZ, singer Ray-J is not engaged to his model girlfriend, Mia Milano. There had been reports that “she said yes” a few days ago after pictures surfaced of her wearing an engagement ring. But friends – or sources – told TMZ that Ray-J is not engaged to her and is still very upset over the death of Whitney Houston. That sounds about right considering how he’s been vocal about being heartbroken over losing her.
So where did that ring come from? That’s anyone’s guess. There is a chance that Ray-J did give Mia a ring but it wasn’t supposed to be “like that.” It could be that Mia, who we don’t know too much about besides the fact that she’s pretty, bought her own diamond ring and was wearing it on her ring finger. We’re sure you know someone who’s done that. Last option? They really are engaged but Ray-J didn’t think the news would get out so quickly about it.
TMZ also noted that their source said he’s not making any relationship plans so as we’ve seen in his past relationships, Ray could still be playing the field.
This season Real Housewives of Atlanta stars Cynthia Bailey and Kenya Moore have let it be repeatedly known they’re not interested in being BFF’s. Early in the season Bailey and Moore get into a war of words during a casting call at Bailey’s modeling agency. “I felt like she came in and disrespected me,” says Bailey. “I was really trying to bring her in and welcome her to the group and she just did too much.”
Check out how the two former models really feel about each other away from the Housewives camera. It just might surprise you. ESSENCE has the video.
The silhouette of the 1950s pin-up has come to represent the golden era of American sex appeal. Curvaceous models forever frozen in naughty-yet-demure poses have taught generations of women how to find that sweet spot between hot and classy.
K.C. Washington, a San Jose, CA transplant that has called Brooklyn, NY home for 20 years, spotted a void among the pin-up genre’s ivory-skinned images. The beauty of Black women had been erased from history.
Noir A-Go-Go was born in January 2011 to fill that void. The online store offers black pin-up girl-themed gifts and accessories, with grinning models featured on everything from greeting cards to tote bags.
I sat down with Washington to learn how she turned an idea for a cheeky holiday card into a business, and how she juggles her passion project with her two other gigs as a published novelist and bartender.
Madame Noire: What makes your product unique among the many gift products out there?
KC Washington: I am a huge fan of the 1940s and 50s. I love the style and glamour, and I collect a lot of pin-up girl memorabilia. Every time I bought something I would think, “I love this but I wish they made black versions.” The pin-up girl genre is extremely popular and most women I know instinctively gravitate towards the fashion as well as the hot strength of the women of that time period, be it Lana Turner or Dorothy Dandridge. But, unless the woman was a famous actress and you actively sought out old Jets or Ebonys, you never see black pin-up girls.
MN: What impact do you hope your products will have?
KC: Everyone knows about the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle, but rarely is the glamorous side of black life and black women from that time period highlighted. As I was thinking about the design for my 2010 Christmas card it occurred to me that it would be really cool if I started my own line of black pin-up girl greeting cards and postcards. My slogan is “Noir A-Go Go puts the black in the magic that is 50s Americana!”
MN: Was there something specific that pushed you to turn your idea into a business?
KC: There are two things actually. I am a bartender, and two years ago when I turned 40 I was looking for a way to change my life. I wanted to do something creative but that also gave me the autonomy that I was used to. Although I didn’t have any experience in the stationary/gift industry, I love novelty gifts and love to make my own Christmas cards and bookmarks. I’m also big on manners and going that extra mile. I’m that girl who sends thank you cards after a party. So, basically I decided to combine my nerdy love of crafting and nostalgia with a need to change jobs (eventually) and Noir A-Go Go was born.
MN: How did you accommodate for your lack of experience in product development and production?
KC: I learned and continue to learn about it by reading both magazines and books as well as going online. I also attend tradeshows and expos like The New York International Gift Fair, the National Stationery Show, and general Chamber of Commerce meetings. When my novel was released, I did a lot of readings and learned how to put together press releases and information packets which has helped me tremendously with the company.
MN: What challenges did you encounter launching your business?
KC: The biggest challenge/surprise, which in retrospect was more challenge than surprise, is how many hidden costs there are. For example, all of the website companies that say how easy it is to setup a site fail to mention in the bold print that you can set one up for say $9.99 a month, but you can’t sell anything on that site without an SSL certificate which insures that your customer’s credit card information is safe. The certificate can run you over a hundred dollars annually.
It’s super easy to setup a pretty site, but it won’t matter if you don’t invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which helps your ranking on the search engines like Google and Yahoo. Otherwise, your company may not appear in a search until the fifth page, if you’re lucky. So the cost of setting up that “1-2-3” website suddenly goes from $9.99 to $1,000 once you’ve added your shopping cart, domain name, SSL certificates, SEO, etc. Thankfully I’ve never met a budget I didn’t like and always overestimate the cost of things.
MN: What accomplishment are you most proud of since launching?
KC: One, creating a product that I am still in love with two years later; two, getting into several NYC stores my first year; and three, teaching myself design. I had never used PowerPoint or Photoshop until two years ago when I started the company. I am still learning, of course, but I taught myself everything by taking tutorials online, reading books, hunting and pecking, and asking questions. My biggest lesson is always back up and never work from the original, both of which I learned as a writer.
MN: How do you come up with the concepts for your products?
KC: Classic pin-up girls like Betty Grable and Betty Page inspire some of my images. Others come from old movies and magazines. The thing about the pin-up genre is that it is very specific. It’s all about the “Victory Roll,” which is the classic hairstyle with the thick curled bang and long wave in the back, the pencil skirt, and the angora sweater, as well as all things polka dot. One of the aspects I love most about Noir A-Go Go is the homage to black culture. That’s why a lot of my sayings like “Trust Me Sugar, I’ve Overcome” are a play on common black expressions and/or history.
The Buffalo Bills safety that is George Wilson might not be as well known as a Reggie Bush or your Michael Vick when it comes to hotties in the NFL, but he should be! With his light eyes, slick bald head and delicious lips (don’t forget about that beard), he could be a model. Maybe that’s why he’s been showing up in so many fashion editorials and music videos (“Hood Love” with Mary J Blige, “Late Nights & Early Mornings” with Marsha Ambrosius). So what exactly is this hunk of a man working with? Let’s take a look why don’t we?
Although the fashion industry continues to be dominated by Anglo-Saxon ideals of beauty, these seven black fashionistas turned the industry on its head. Displaying the splendor of diversity in color and size, they broke racial barriers and used their modeling and fashion platforms to pursue other business opportunities, support their favorite causes and open the world’s eyes to the beauty of black women.
Donyale Luna was the first black cover girl. Born Peggy Ann Freeman in 1945, this Detroit native enjoyed success in front of both still and motion cameras. In 1965, her sketch was featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. The following year, Luna became the first black model to be featured on the cover of Vogue; it was the British version of the magazine.
The New York Times proclaimed 1966 “The Luna Year” and stated that at the age of 20, she was the hottest model in Europe. She appeared in several Andy Warhol movies, starred in an Otto Preminger movie alongside Groucho Marx, and was the title character in Salome, an Italian movie made in 1972. The Sunday Times Magazine of London, described Luna as “the completely new image of the Negro woman. Fashion finds itself in an instrumental position for changing history, however slightly, for it is about to bring out into the open the veneration, the adoration, the idolization of the Negro.”
I don’t know about you, but after looking at this man, I’m certain that I need more chocolate in my diet and in my life. BJ Williams is beautiful! This brotha with his light eyes and sparkling smile is the type of model we need more of in the magazines, and his abs are extra proof of that! The model hailing from Las Vegas is on the come-up, appearing in ads for the likes of Sean John, Levis, and doing spreads for GQ, Ebony and more over the years. If you’re trying to see what he’s working with, you’re welcome to click through this slideshow (though I know how you all are about slideshows…). We promise you won’t be disappointed by this delectable piece of man meat!
I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this scrumptious piece of eye candy before, especially if you’re a follower of Tyler Perry’s films and stage plays. Gentles, a model and actor, has shown up in the films, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Family Reunion in small roles. He’s also had larger roles in Perry’s stage plays, playing Nate in Madea Goes to Jail and Nick Lovett in What’s Done in the Dark. You can also check him out in Jennifer Hudson’s video for “Spotlight.” (That was the jam!) But no matter how serious he wanted us to take him in those scenarios, I have to say, I don’t think I was paying attention to anything other than that gorgeous skin, that banging body, and those beautiful locs! I haven’t seen him in a minute though *sad face* So let’s reminisce on the fine-ness that is Ryan Gentles from some of our favorite photographs, and here’s to hoping he’ll come back on the scene ASAP.
More, more, more! That’s what I think when I look at this brotha doing his thing in front of the camera. Los Angeles raised model Broderick Hunter is tall (6″2), dark (think smooth Godiva chocolate) and definitely handsome, and we’re excited at the prospect of seeing more of this body and face around. If Hunter is new to you, it’s about time you get acquainted with him and his good looks. Baby’s got it going on! Check him out…
The journey to super model status is a long and windy road. Being discovered, signed and added to a popular agencies roster, doesn’t guarantee your success—luck, timing and the relevancy of your look do. And for colored faces, the odds of winning are even slimmer. But there’s something about the silhouette of a lithe brown beauty cascading down a designer runway, decorated in couture fashion, that certifies why we deserve a permanent spot on the catwalk.
We applaud designers like Hermès, Bottega Veneta and Naeem Khan for sprinkling their F/W 2012 presentations with brown and yellow faces—the runway has not seen this much diversity since the seventies—hopefully the multicultural trend is here to stay.
Veterans like Veronica Webb, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks and Alek Wek, paved the way for the new brown girls to shine.
For all the fab photos, visit StyleBlazer.com.
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