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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Remember your name...

After meeting a beautiful Russian soul, who happened to identify as queer, who lives in Moscow, a world where his love is deemed unworthy meaning a world of hostility and constant uncomfortable chaos, I had to ask myself: what really matters? 

I used to believe in living a life of passion, only doing what makes me happy or near content. I worked in culture and fashion up until 2018. A zombie of sorts, the fashion world I entered into in 2007 wasn’t streetwear savvy, pro black or anywhere near as woke as it is today. It was openly racist, ageist, classist, elitist and ableist etc as the list goes on. 

As a naive 17 year old I endured but at 28 I can no longer simply swallow that pill. I’m an activist, I’m black and I’m from a lower working class background, I shouldn’t have to grovel to exist in these spaces where so often one vision, one view largely from one race is promoted. I don’t want to be a token or trend, I want to be accepted, appreciated and acknowledged for my talent, what I do is create from my experiences but that doesn’t mean its automatically ‘black art’ ‘black fashion’ ‘black writing’, I’m more than tired of being reduced to a colour. 

At any point I will no longer run from who I am - an artist. I deserve like any other to be able to create without filter, to be seen, heard and read. That’s my new year declaration, reclaiming my creative self and unpoligetically saying what I want to say when I need to say it via what either medium I deem worthy. 

It took me a long time to get to this place and admit that I was burned out. I’m currently recovering from from creative burnout that lasted 4 years. From 17-23 I worked on the label Jaiden rVa James, praised by the style press from dazed to I-D and worn by Gaga and Scissors sisters. Then I also launched a magazine Re-bel,  I was 20 and honestly I can say on reflection it was launched in admiration of those I loved - interview under Glenn O’Brien and fabien baron, Dazed under Nicola Formechetti and I-D, but did it have a loud enough unique voice? Nonetheless 
the magazine went on to profile everyone from Hedi Slimane, Juergen Teller, JW Anderson and had fashion imagery and styling form Daniel Sannwald, Rankin, Matt Irwin, Robbie Spencer and Simon Foxton. But what was I really saying? 

In any sense after being too fragile for high fashion I took a creative role at a fashion high street reTailer, doing marketing for their menswear for 2.5 years, a comfortably uncomfortable position and then moved on to a leading streetwear publication, a fit that wasn’t right with an audience that was openly homophobic. In any case both roles required creativity yet still something wasn’t right I wasn’t serving my creative self. 

Thankfully somehow and someway in the past few months I’ve been coming back to myself. Blogging about topics I care about that are honest to my being, launching an Instagram to promote my poetry with no shame in putting my words into the world. Now I’m thinking of relaunching Re-bel to be that place that bridges the gap on the things I hated in fashion above, I also want to build a queer community online platform and promote artists that are often ignored in places across the world. I guess this is a self declaration to be kind to myself and do what I love with no apologises.