Just having “the voice” is not enough. This Black Music Month, get familiar with the minds who’ve helped our favorite Black artists serve looks that we’ve all admired or been envious of.
It’s no question that culture does not move forward without Black people as the primary archetype and when it comes to the music and fashion game, we are truly the OG innovators. Whatever we create overwhelmingly influences American society while also validating the complexities of our experiences as Black people. Our fashion, hand in hand with the music we’ve invented, reflects our identity, our creativity, and our history. Music is and has always been, integral to the soul of Black America. Negro spirituals guided our ancestors’ survival and taught us to communicate through strife. Today, Wade in the Water and Rocky My Soul remind us of the trouble we’ve seen while also reminding us of our strength to overcome all challenges. In the same regard, we’ve seen our style replicated on runways and city streets across the world without proper homage given to the original creators (but that is a story for another day).
Today, with the help of inventive fashion stylists, Black artists have more reach and influence than ever before. Fans, young and old, look to these artists to see what outfits will accompany performances to create an avant-garde experience to behold. From Teyana Taylor to Diana Ross to Michael Jackson to The Weeknd, the combination of vocal talent, high energy performances, and unique fashion looks have propelled Black artists into a legendary league of their own—untouchable, with an undeniable aesthetic that can only truly be felt by those in and of this culture.
In honor of Black Music Month, we are taking a look at a few iconic fashion stylists who have masterfully and artfully composed some of our most favorite artists’ best looks today.
Ever wondered who was behind Queen Bey’s most popping looks as of lately? Meet Zerina Akers. Akers made waves through her work on Beyoncé’s Black Is King visual album and serving as her personal stylist and wardrobe curator. Through merging style inspiration from the 70’s and 80’s with various brands,she has no doubt made her mark with her signature aesthetic.
One of the best ways to describe the aesthetic that Matthew Henson has developed for his clients' repertoire is simply "a vibe." His familial and career influences have molded his styling technique that has attracted the likes of fly guys such as The Weeknd to A$AP Rocky.
Law Roach is called the image architect for a reason-- he absolutely does not miss. His superpower is making the most daring and seemingly risque outfits look elegant and chic on whoever is privileged enough to work with him. Roach rose to public prominence through his efforts in transforming Zendaya from childhood sweetheart to grown woman bombshell. He has the Midas touch indeed.
Solange Franklin Reed
From Mary J. Blige to Solange Knowles to Janelle Monae, Solange Franklin Reed has created art with some of Black Hollywood’s biggest names in a way that is both sleek and timeless.In 2019 she was named a NEW WAVE creative by the British Fashion Council.
Over her 25+ year career, June Ambrose has solidified her place as a coveted stylist in the fashion industry through her dedication to storytelling through fashion, serving as a creative director for a variety of projects and her book Effortless Style. I mean, she is the mastermind behind Missy Elliott’s famous puffy black bodysuit for The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly). This year, she will release her first ever fashion line which will no doubt be as phenomenal as she is.
From starting his career selling clothing items he thrifted as a college student to his binge-worthy show Styling Hollywood that gives us behind the scenes insight into JSN Studio (co-founded with his hubby Adair Curtis), Bolden has truly been dedicated to “honoring past, present and future with the simple purpose of helping our clients + collaborators look + live well.” He has styled musical powerhouses in captivating looks such as Alicia Keys, Amber Riley, Cynthia Erivo, and Jaden Smith. Jason Bolden’s authenticity and commitment to bringing out the best out of his clients through their looks is evident in each and every piece they wear.
When Cardi B said “All these verses I done slayed, all these looks that I done gave” on Type Sh*t off the Migos’ new album Culture III, we felt that. Kollin Carter is who we can thank for giving us those looks as he is responsible for her fashion-forward ‘fits. Not only does he keep his clients looking right, but he consciously styles them in brands that respect and represent his clientele in their totality, and not just for the sake of performative activism. We stan.
Named The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Stylists in Hollywood and Stylist of the Year from New York’s Harlem’s Fashion Row, Rembert has utilized his craft and newest fashion line ALIÉTTE as a medium for bringing visibility to the varying identities of his clients. Lizzo, Anderson.Paak, and Erykah Badu are included in his lineup of artists who have donned his work which is proof of his stunning craftsmanship.
Billingsley has curated some of the most beautiful fashion moments for artists such as Tamar Braxton, CHIKA, and Kelly Rowland. Experimenting with color, shape and unique cuts, his clients instantly garner the attention of all who see them on any red carpet.
Fashion veteran Misa Hylton has kept a pulse on the hottest trends in fashion then and now. She knows the true definition of relevance and has worked with some of the biggest names of the 90’s such as Mase, Dru Hill, 50 Cent, Aaliyah (RIP) and many others over her three decade long career. Not only does she set the pace in fashion, she is committed to giving back and seeing to the success of up and coming fashion icons.