My SZA Cover Story for Flaunt

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SZA’s Flaunt New Fantasy Issue Cover | image by Amanda Charchian

 


Can’t really explain why I didn’t post this cover story I did for Flaunt on here months ago. But this is a goodie. The interview happened just before SZA began prepping for her Coachella weekends. I met her on set for the cover shoot and from the start, I knew—at least—that she’d be warm and kind.

SZA | A Secret Garden at Wilshire and Park View

Her publicist guided her over to me. “This is Brad,” I heard her tell the singer as they approached. I extended my hand for a shake and for a split second I thought she was going to leave me hanging. SZA looked right past it. We all know that anxious feeling when you think you’re about to be made to look like a fool. It consumed me. Then, boom. She walked right into my chest for a hug. There was an awkward relief. “Oh!” I thought. “This is going be good and different.”

From there, she was pretty open and just the unique blend of quirky and cool that anyone who’s listened to her debut album Ctrl would expect her to be. We talked about insecurities, depression, and fantasies as she munched on her Shake Shack chicken burger.

 

SZA’s had a roller coaster existence as of late. On the high side, she just dropped her earthy “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” video, where she and Donald Glover get close in the forest. She can also be found making a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in Childish Gambino’s “This is America” video, shooting a coy look our way before Glover gets loose on a car roof.

On the low end, she has reportedly run her voice ragged. When I saw her in May at the Forum performing during her set at TDE’s Championship Tour, she sounded solid. But her pipes, she said recently on Twitter, are busted. “My voice is permanently injured,” SZA wrote. She can be a bit dramatic at times, I notice. Top Dawg  CEO Anthony Tiffith just told fans, “ I will get her with the best doctors and she will be fine.” I believe him.

When SZA and I spoke, she said she’s anxious to get started on her sophomore album. Obviously, it’ll probably be a while before she’s at full strength in the studio. But if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the Jersey hugger, read my cover story here.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Mom put me on to Queen. She spent a good bit of time in London during her formative years in the ’80s. When I was a kid in the ’90s, we’d clean the crib while listening to Queen: Greatest Hits I & II. I can still see her dancing to “Radio Ga Ga” in our Silver Spring Towers apartment’s living room. “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Bicycle Race” used to be my jams!

Rami Malek’s looking good as Freddie. For a while, I was a bit bummed that Sacha Baron Cohen left this role behind. This trailer’s easing my nerves, though.

Maybe I’ll see it with Mom this fall.

TDE’s Nike Collab for The Championship Tour at a Tour Stop Near You

 

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TDE’s Championship Tour merch | images c/o Nike

 


 

Last week I hit the Forum in Los Angeles for the Championship Tour, which features Kendrick Lamar, SZA Schoolboy Q and the rest of Top Dawg Entertainment’s roster. I’ve seen both Lamar and SZA in the last year. But this trek was a refreshed, abbreviated version of their 2017 tours and it was an added treat to see Q, Isaiah Rashad and Jay Rock for a bit.

I was hanging with buds from Nike, who were introducing their collab line with TDE via the SNKRS Stash experience. Concert attendees with the SNKRS app were alerted around 9:30pm through push notifications that Lamar’s Cortez Kenny III available for purchase. Of course, they sold out in minutes. But Nike’s move adds a nice touch, beyond exclusivity. Not only do you have to have the Internet and quick fingers, but also be at the specific location your favorite rapper is to get clothes and kicks that rep his team.

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This weekend the SNKRS Stash app returns for the Championship Tour’s Houston stop. Look at the dates below to find out where else you can be a part of the action:

Houston, TX at Social Status – May 19-20
New York, NY at Concepts – May 26-30
Boston, MA at Bodega – June 4-5
Toronto, ON at Livestock – June 11-12
Chicago, IL at Notre – June 14-15

Louis Vuitton’s Time Capsule | My Visit to Their Past

 

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Louis Vuitton’s Time Capsule Exhibit | all images c/o Louis Vuitton/BFA.com


 

If you saw a picture of Louis Vuitton, would you recognize the subject of the image? I’m not referring to a dress, a pair of shoes, or piece of luggage. I mean the man. For those of us who consider ourselves in the know when it comes to fashion, or even care a little about today’s trends, it’s easy to follow your favorite designer on social media or by frequenting sites like Vogue and BoF.

[PRIVATE FOREVER] LV TIME CAPSULE OPENING COCKTAIL

But on Thursday (May 17), when I hit the U.S. debut of Louis Vuitton’s Time Capsule exhibition in Los Angeles at the Westfield Century City atrium, I got a chance to not only be educated a bit about the Frenchman whose LV logo is synonymous with excellence, but to actually see his face and learn about his couture house’s history.

[PRIVATE FOREVER] LV TIME CAPSULE

I didn’t know LV was the first to put wheels on luggage, or that the brand was among the first to make flat-topped trunks that could be stacked upon (curved tops are great for rainwater run-off, but that’s about it). I didn’t know that Vuitton was born in 1821 and grew a gnarly mustache. I didn’t know the depth LV has dug trying to beautify so many parts of our day-to-day lives.

 

 

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You a traveler? Here’s a sexy-ass duffle bag. Tuckered out from brutal travels, but there’s no spot to rest your weary body in sight? Peep a vintage trunk with a built-in bed. Did you love music in the early ‘80s? LV had a fresh monogrammed box that stored 10 cassettes. Need a gown for a huge party? No prob’. Here’s the one-shoulder, embroidered lace evening look Emma Stone wore to the Golden Globes earlier this year, expertly crafted by current Women’s Artistic Director Nicolas Ghesquière’s gifted hands.

[PRIVATE FOREVER] LV TIME CAPSULE

Love art? Both Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami have shared and paired their aesthetics with LV. Speaking of coveted collaborations, pieces from punk icon Stephen Sprouse and streetwear brand Supreme also hold spots at the showing.

Louis Vuitton has accomplished a lot since its 1854 start. That’s over 160 years of sartorial excellence. The Time Capsule exhibition officially opens today (May 18) and runs through June 10, 2018. I suggest you make that trip and witness the glory. As LV prepares for its next era with newly appointed Men’s Director Virgil Abloh at the helm (his first show is weeks away in June), it’s a good idea to see where they’ve been before finding out where they’re going.

Bravo, “This is America”

Within the first 24 hours of this video dropping, I peeped several creatives of note singing their praise of it. Takashi Murakami, Ava Duvernay, Virgil Abloh, A$AP Rocky and many, many more love it.

I always enjoy these occasions, when we can all gather around a something and appreciate every bit of it. In this case, it’s the music, lyrics, dances, symbolism, ad-libs from southern Hip-Hop’s all-stars, artistic direction, and cinemetography. Childish’s Gambino’s “This is America” music video is the best clip of 2018 so far. It has inspired a collection of think pieces on its cultural, racial, and political impliations and impact and It’s fun reading the different interpretations folks have of it.

Thinking Back to When Childish Gambino Wasn’t Black Enough

It’s rare, I think, that things in the African American ethos–with such subject matter and heavy content–go viral. The last “Hey, did you see XYZ? Let’s talk deeply about it.” moment we’ve had on the positive side on things was Jordan Peele’s Get Out at the top of 2017. Glover’s video has about 42 million YouTube views as of 4pm here in Los Angeles. Big numbers in general, but especially for something only three days old.

Let’s keep spreading this fire. Donald is right on time with this one. Well done.