Tour Fashion: Jay-Z and Beyonce’s On the Run II | Drake and Migos


As the game changes and traditional reviews become less of a commodity (who wants to read a play-by-play of a concert when it’s being plastered by fans over social media, city-by-city?), I’ve had to find ways to cover shows and qualify my access to all the cool shit I get to go to. It’s a blessing to get a free pair of tix to see huge acts rock.

How Beyonce, JAY-Z, Migos And Drake Made Their Tour Stages Fashion Runways, Too

A decade in the biz and great relationships means that no-strings-attached assists happen all the time. Still, why not mix a little work in with play and get a good story off? So instead of doing a basic review of the Drake and The Three Migos and Jay-Z and Beyonce’s On the Run II tours, I stepped to it from a fashion perspective. What brands assisted these guys in looking like the icons they are? I ended up talking to Migos’ stylist Zoe Costello and designer LaQuan Smith for Vibe Magazine and learning about what goes into draping Jay, Bey’, Drake and the Atlanta amigos for the road.

Read it here.

Air Jordan Talk with DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled | Shot by Jerritt Clark / Getty Images for Epic Records

DJ Khaled’s a man for the people. I met up with him to talk about his new Air Jordans. Following the press conference of sorts that he held to debut the sneaks, fans who lined the block to see him were allowed inside. We were supposed to have a brief interview in a back room, but he insisted that we do it in the main area with the fans.

DJ Khaled opens up about Jay-Z and Beyoncé, his son Asahd and his recent Jordan Brand collaboration

So at the podium, he picked up his microphone as I sat next to him. “This is one of the big editors,” Khaled told the crowd jokingly, urging them to quiet down. His publicist had just told him that I was with the Los Angeles Times Fashion section. Then he slid me an ice cold water, in a motion that suggested I deserved it more than he. Comedically catering to me aside, we had a fun convo about his Air Jordan IIIs, how his Airness inspired him, and creating furniture. Head over to the LA Times to read it all here

 

 

Blood Orange and Touring Grief: Billboard Review

 

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Devonte “Blood Orange” Hynes | Photo c/o Instagram

 


 

I saw what maybe was my fourth Blood Orange show a few weeks back. I love his latest album, Negro Swan. As I mention in my Billboard piece about that Friday night at The Greek Theater here in L.A., Swan is a fragile collection of sad happenings in singer-songwriter Devonte Hynes’ life.

Blood Orange’s Negro Swan Tour Brings an Outcast’s Pain to a City Near You

His concert reflected that, which made me feel for him. There’s a victory in turning tough times into income and a viable connection with countless fans and followers. But still, after three mostly somber solo offerings, I’m about ready to hear a joy-filled Blood Orange album. I guess that means he’d have to live a happy life that inspires that sort of content and sound. I wish that for him, too.

Read the piece here.

How Daniel Caesar’s Feeling About the Love and Pressure

 


 

Daniel Caesar seems to be handling pressure well. With success comes expectations. Fans of the smooth singer wonder if he’ll be able to surpass his Freudian album’s gorgeous collection of songs and those in the industry have touted him “Next,” as in the next great R&B singer, the prince that will soon be king. Having so many believe in him is a gift and something to appreciate, sure. But it can also be stifling mentally.

Daniel Caesar | Next?

For Flaunt Magazine, Caesar and I spoke recently about what it means to be that guy and how he’s managing the new attention.

“When I’m in my room with my guitar,” he told me, “that’s definitely when I’m in my safest space.” He doesn’t get to spend much time there anymore.

Give it a read. Coincidentally, NPR just dropped Daniel Tiny Desk performance. Songstress H.E.R., who I’m a big fan of, also makes an appearance. Peep that, too.

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.

A Dinner For Nike

Flaunt Magazine Dinner with Nike and Revolve

Photos by Bianca Vazquez and Araya Diaz/Wire Image


 

One of the things that has been most exciting about my role at Flaunt Magazine is the ability to tell full stories here. For 10 years I’ve been interviewing creatives. Over the last four years, I’ve learned how to produce and edit video shorts. And since starting at Flaunt last July, I’ve not only been able to do exhibit the aforementioned skills, but I’ve been producing events that compliment the articles as well.

So far I’ve assisted on a celebration with Prada, led an art installation preview and 10-part video series for with The Broad Museum and recently, spearheaded a project with Nike. Back in November, Nike reached out to me to talk about how excited they were about their 1s Reimagined collection, a ladies-only line of remixed Air Jordan 1s and Air Force 1s. I sent a writer to their Portland HQ to get a sneak peak of the footwear and we shot all 10 pairs in-house here in LA. It was all pretty conventional journalism.

Flaunt Celebrates Nike’s 1 Reimagined with Revolve

Flaunt Magazine Dinner with Nike and Revolve

But the part that excited me most–outside of showcasing dope fashion–was the my pitch of putting together a dinner that celebrated a diverse collection of women in several facets of fashion, the arts, and entertainment. Collaborating to accomplish a goal is a winding road. Our ideas took many turns. Revolve entered the mix around January as the space (the roof) where we’d have it.

Long story short, it turned out swell. I had a hand in just about everything–from how we’d title the dishes on the menu to connect to theme of the shoes to flower arrangements on the tables to selecting guests to each person having a hand-drawn sketch to identify where they sit and take home.

To go from one phone call in November to looking at 40 attendees (art curators, designers, models, actresses, influencers…) enjoying themselves on a rooftop dinner in February because of great ideas and teamwork is pretty damn awesome. Looking forward to doing more things like this.

Me x Kobe Bryant x Dear Basketball

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Kobe Bryant | shot by Ian Morrison for Flaunt


 

Whenever I interview someone who’s incredibly well known and popular, my goal is an obvious one: Find something new out. Most people know this person’s general life story and highlights.

So my question for you—after you read this interview I had with Kobe Bryant for Flaunt Magazine—is did you learn anything new about him? I think I dug out about–hmmm–three intriguing nuggets. Each third of the story has one.

Talking to Kobe and Disney animation legend Glen Keane (he drew Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast!) about their Oscar-winning short Dear Basketball was a treat. I’m a huge Kobe fan. Players who entered the NBA in the mid-‘90s were the ones I watched bloom into stars and Kobe was my favorite. The skill, the passion, the talent, the Hip-Hop meets Air Jordan 2.0 vibes… He was dope. So much so that I wouldn’t play as anyone but the Lakers on NBA Live or 2K from about 1997 to maybe 2010 or so when I stopped being a consistent gamer.

It was difficult to keep my cool, but thankfully I don’t think they could tell. The interview  went well and writing the piece was a breeze. We rapped about Michael Jackson, storytelling, discovering your life’s purpose as a youth and more. Give it a read.


 

A story about the photo shoot for this Flaunt piece:

During the photo shoot for this interview, I was talking to his Dear Basketball publicist  about one of my goals for the new year. We were just days into 2018 and knowing that I closed ’17 eating wild and glorious amounts of food and sweet treats, my goal was to lose 15 pounds in January. Kobe overheard me. About 10 minutes later, he walked over and looked me up and down—sneakers to the longest strand of hair on my head.

“You’re trying to lose weight?” he asked. “Yeah,” I said. I told him that I’d looked up Dwyane Wade’s weight (we’re about the same height), saw that he’s 220-ish and thought I could get there with some discipline. Kobe asked how I was feeling so far. Cutting back on eating garbage is pretty easy, I explained. But the 4-5 gym workouts a week that I had picked up were making me sore and tired as hell.

A smirk crept onto his face as his shoulders shrugged, like a two-piece combo of indifference and hilarity just presented itself. “Your body will get used to it,” he said through a light chuckle. “Yeah,” I responded. “True.” We shook hands. He left. On my way home, I too laughed. That was such a Kobe response.

Kobe probably never complained about the temporary pain he endured during the thousands of hours he’d spent training in gyms, running on tracks and recovering from numerous injuries. He knew it was part of the process. A little work and pain now, a trophy later. That’s a fair exchange. I took it all in while sitting in the back of my Lyft headed home, grinning ear to ear. “Kobe didn’t give a fuck about my gym pain because he’s a bad-ass and bad-asses aren’t trying to hear that shit,” I thought. “That’s why I love that dude.” Then I snapped out of it. Haha, what a nerd I am sometimes.

By the way, I lost that 15 pounds. Again, go read my Kobe story.

 

-bw