Put 70-year-old Grace Jones in a metallic leather jacket and gold mesh bodysuit on your runway and you’ve got yourself a hit. Tommy Hilfiger brought the pop star out at the end of his latest celebrity collaboration last night — with the actress and singer Zendaya — which toasted diversity, in race as well as age and size, with a cast that included Beverly Johnson, Pat Cleveland, and Veronica Webb.
For Zendaya, the Hilfiger platform — in the middle of Paris Fashion Week — was a great way to call attention to the general lack of diversity in the entertainment and fashion industries, not just on the catwalk but in power positions. And let’s hope that Hilfiger, 67, who has built his name and fortune by selling images of white privilege — with recent collections evoking the Ivy League, Mustique, and Savile Row — makes true diversity his business, because he hasn’t always in the past.
without such overt messaging, though, designers are making powerful
statements about feminine strength and self-representation.
At Hermès, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski opened with black leather, lots of it — hot pants, sharp coats, and little fanny purses emblazoned with an H. Given that the soundtrack had a hard, thumping beat, I wouldn’t have been surprised if one of the kohl-eyed models had suddenly produced a whip from her tiny purse. And I don’t mean the equestrian kind. Seriously, though, it was great to see Vanhee-Cybulski venture into more daring territory for classical Hèrmes. Designers should be free to explore and propose, and she has already demonstrated that she can do light, eclectic sportswear, as she did in her dazzling spring show. Apart from the hot pants, the mood of this collection was strict and rather buttoned-up, with pencil skirts in textured leather shown with matching boots and long-sleeve, mock-turtleneck tops in solid hues of orange and moss silk that were a novel treatment of the house’s famous scarves.
NYPD commander at a Brooklyn precinct is currently being investigated
after allegedly telling his group of officers to “shoot” 50 Cent “on sight” at a boxing match in the city last spring. Per People, deputy
inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez made the alleged remarks to his staff at a
roll call before the NYPD-sanctioned sporting event took place, which he
tried to pass off as a joke in the moment. However, the rapper became
aware of Gonzalez’s comments on Sunday morning after The New York Daily News broke the story,
and is considering legal action against the commander as a result. “Mr.
Jackson takes this threat very seriously and is consulting with his
legal counsel regarding his options going forward,” his spokesman said
in a statement. “He is concerned that he was not previously advised of
this threat by the NYPD and even more concerned that Gonzalez continues
to carry a badge and a gun.”
“This is how I wake up this morning,” 50 Cent added on Twitter. “This guy Emanuel Gonzales is a dirty cop abusing his power. The sad part is this man still has a badge and a gun. I take this threat very seriously and I’m consulting with my legal counsel regarding my options moving forward.” Peoplenotes that the duo previously crossed paths within the law. Gonzalez filed an aggravated harassment complaint against 50 Cent last spring, which stemmed from the rapper reportedly making threats against Gonzalez on social media after the commander shut down a popular Brooklyn strip club.
NEW YORK >> First-time documentary filmmakers Tina Brown and
Dyana Winkler lugged their cameras to Central Park in New York one day
to capture the last few people still passionate about roller skating.
Rinks across the country were gone. The activity seemed dead.
“We were shooting a piece about what we thought was the end of the
era of skating with what we thought were the last men standing,” said
Winkler. “We thought, ‘Who roller skates anymore?’”
They may have come for a funeral but they found something else entirely. Two young African-American skaters approached them and asked them what they were doing. “They said, ‘Skating’s not dead. It just went underground,’” Winkler recalled.
Winkler and Brown decided to go find it. Five years and 500 hours of
footage later, they’ve emerged with the HBO film “United Skates,” a
fascinating look at the rich African-American subculture of roller
skating, which is under threat.
“We hope that our viewers will learn something they didn’t know
about, fall in love with something they didn’t know about, and maybe be
compelled to care enough to protect it,” Winkler said.
The documentary explores how roller rinks were the sites of some of
the earliest fights of the civil-rights era and how they later became
the launching pads for hip-hop artists.
It shows how unofficial segregation lives on, with so-called “adult
nights” that feature metal detectors and masses of police, something not
used when whites come to skate. It also shows how rinks are being
closed as communities chase more revenue by rezoning for retail use.
“There’s a bigger story to tell and we can use the joyous beauty of
roller skating as the sugar to spoon-feed some of these bigger issues.
That’s when we started to peel back the layers,” Winkler said.
That day in Central Park changed the trajectory — and the lives — of
the filmmakers. The young skaters they met invited the women to come and
see what had happened to skating. And so they got on a night bus to
The duo — one Australian, one American — approached a roller rink at
midnight. It was far from funereal: There was a line down the block,
music was pumping, skaters were dressed to kill and everyone seemed to
know each other.
“We stepped into this world,” said Winkler.
They soon learned that each city had different skate dance styles —
Baltimore has “Snapping,” Atlanta has the “Jacknife” and in Texas you do
the “Slow Walk” — and how such a tight fellowship among skaters is
forged that they will fly across the country to get together.
Embraced by the community, Winkler and Brown never paid for a hotel
room or car rental or a meal while crisscrossing the country
interviewing some 100 skaters. The skaters themselves opened their homes
and drove them around.
The documentary features interviews with hip-hop legends like
Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio and Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature. John Legend is an
executive producer and the film received the Documentary Audience Award
at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The cameras also follow Reggie Brown, a roller-skating ambassador and
community advocate. In a phone interview, he explained that roller
skating teaches patience, athleticism, purpose, positive reinforcement,
determination — and getting up after a fall.
“Roller skating is a little bit more than going in circles on a
couple of wheels,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s an enjoyable exercise. It’s
healthy and there are a lot of great benefits. But the socioeconomics
benefits to roller skating are higher than anybody can think of.”
“Name me another activity that’s family-affordable, that you can go
to on a Saturday and take five members of your family and you can skate
for four hours and everybody can have a good time and exercise.”
“United Skates” is a documentary made partially by the subjects
themselves. Winkler and Brown, who began the project as beginner
skaters, enlisted skaters to shoot scenes and used their rink skills to
help capture footage.
“They would push us from behind at these high speeds and we would
just focus on the camera and just pray,” said Winkler. “It really was
collaboration. They like to say we taught them how to shoot and they
taught us how to skate.”
The cameras capture one suburban Chicago family-owned rink’s
gut-wrenching decision to shut its doors — among thousands that have
done so in the past decade — and the filmmakers are not shy about hoping
their film can stem the tide of closures.
“Obviously if we could save one rink, if we could have one rink
reopen because of this film, that’s a huge step forward for this
community and we hope that will have a ripple effect,” said Brown.
Of all New York City’s classic attractions, a stroll through Times Square may be the one that least appeals to people who live in New York, especially at rush hour. But on Thursday evening, there was reason to brave the crowds, the noise and the invitations to take a photo with Spiderman. Danspace Project, an East Village organization housed at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, had come to Midtown.In Danspace Project at Times Square, presented with Times Square Arts through Sunday, three new works — by Laurie Berg, Luciana Achugar and Full Circle Souljahs — allow even the most jaded New Yorker’s to see the city’s commercial epicenter through fresh lenses, sometimes literally.
Full Circle Souljahs presented “Behind the Groove — Times Square Edition,” a showcase of hip-hop styles.
Before watching Ms. Berg’s enchanting “scape,” in Duffy Square at 47th Street, viewers were encouraged to grab a pair of 3D glasses. As seven dancers appeared, walking calmly through the throngs with linked hands, you could see — but only through these frames — messages printed on their vibrant patterned costumes (the work of Liliana Dirks-Goodman, Jaime Shearn Coan and the designers at Print All Over Me). Some read as subtle calls to action (“Is it a show? Show up.”), others as checks on our scattered attention (“Look again.”).
For a long time, being online was where Aaron Philip felt most confident.
She began documenting her daily life on Tumblr when she was 11, writing about her love of anime and the experience of growing up in New York City with cerebral palsy. In those days, Aaron got online with a MacBook and a personal Wi-Fi hot spot at a homeless shelter in Manhattan, where she lived with her father after her medical bills became too expensive.
“I took to the internet to find community and build a space for myself where I could be loved and appreciated,” she said.
Despite her circumstances, Aaron projected a positive attitude online, once telling her followers: “Sometimes, it’s you who has to trigger your own happiness.”
Aaron, 17, now lives in an apartment in the Bronx. She doesn’t go anywhere without her iPad, which usually sits on a tray attached to her motorized wheelchair. She’s graduated from Tumblr to Twitter and Instagram, where she has become a champion of issues affecting gay, transgender and disabled youth.
Last fall, Aaron announced her ambition to become a model. “I bleached my hair, and I bought a new wardrobe with the intentions of going viral, which is crazy,” she said with a laugh.
Aaron’s confidence is no longer confined to the internet. To jump-start her modeling career, she used Instagram to send messages to fashion photographers and set up photo shoots, which landed her campaigns with brands such as ASOS and H&M. In July, she became the first black transgender model — and the first physically disabled model — to be signed to Elite Model Management.
The signing comes at a time when the fashion industry is starting to respond to decades of criticism for practices that made tall, thin, white women its standard for beauty.
Nearly 40 percent of the models at New York Fashion Week in February were models of color, up from 21 percent in 2015, according to an annual diversity report conducted by The Fashion Spot.
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It was past 1 a.m. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on Memorial Day weekend, on Fulton Street between Throop and Nostrand. A few bodegas and a fried chicken spot were open, supported by gaggles of hungry young people bubbling up from the subway every few minutes. Hip-hop from passing cars with windows open or tops down melted into the night. But for the most part, it was quiet. This strip of Fulton is dominated by 26 storefronts that specialize in black hair, but at this hour, most were dark, their gates down.
One shop, however, was open for business. It was a cavernous salon with a black tile floor and white walls, and its door was propped open. Black chairs ringed the room, and an island of hair dryers took up its center. This was Cherry’s Unisex Salon. Two barbers and four customers lounged in chairs. A short, muscular man wearing a black T-shirt and sweatpants, Cory Parker, took off his do-rag and sat in a barber chair, running a hand over short, curly hair as he consulted a chart of 30 men’s haircuts on a wall.
“I want between a 3, an 18 and a 27,” he said over his shoulder to a barber rummaging in a drawer.
“You’re not even looking at the chart! What did I say I want?”
The barber turned around and peered at the chart. “You said you want an 18, a 23 …” he started. They both laughed.
New York City’s stop-and-frisk program has exploded by 600 percent under Mayor Michael Bloomberg — garnering outrage from critics who believe that the practice forces Black and Latino residents to live under a separate-and-unequal police state, subject to random violations of their Fourth Amendment constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure. Though originally intended to curb gun violence, the program has become carte blanche for New York Police Department officers to racially profile young males in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods. With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, city residents sued the NYPD — seeking justice from those sworn to protect and defend them. In a case specifically focused on the Trespass Affidavit Program, or TAP, which allowed officers to stop and question residents both inside and outside private property (in residences dubbed “clean halls” buildings), plaintiffs argued that the NYPD “has a widespread practice of making unlawful stops on suspicion of trespass.” The lead plaintiff, Jaenean Ligon, filed suit after her 17-year-old son was stopped for no reason outside his apartment building during a trip to the store to purchase ketchup. Yes, ketchup. This week, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin issued an injunction prohibiting NYPD officers from engaging in stop and frisk outside buildings designated by TAP. The facts of the case reveal that patrolling officers never differentiated between potential criminals and citizens. Black and Latino residents were stopped on suspicion of being Black and Latino alone. In addition to Ligon, other plaintiffs included Charles Bradley, a 51-year-old African-American security guard, who was arrested while visiting his fiancee in the Bronx. Bradley was stopped, frisked, transported to a police station, strip-searched and fingerprinted — all while being asked questions about his potential involvement with guns and drugs.