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Michaela Coel Launches Hugo Blick Netflix Drama 'Black Earth Rising' About Rwandan Genocide

Michaela Coel wears Asai top and pants, and Georgiana Scott earrings. Photographed by Laura Coulson,  Vogue , February 2019. Styling by Charlotte Roberts.

Michaela Coel wears Asai top and pants, and Georgiana Scott earrings. Photographed by Laura Coulson, Vogue, February 2019. Styling by Charlotte Roberts.

The February 2019 issue of Vogue US touches base with writer and actor Michaela Coel in a small cafe near her London apartment. AOC first met up with the Bafta-winning actor Coel in the February issue of British Vogue. Her essay ‘Flight Or Fight: Michaela Coel On Why We Need To Talk About Race’ was calming, as she dug deeper into the topic of ‘white privilege’ and racial stereotypes than the usual talking heads. I can learn from Michaela Coel.

"We are not campaigning for you to hand over your money, job, Upper Class flights and land... rather it’s the freeing of your minds from history we want"

Coel, now 31, rose to fame in Britain in the “semiautobiographical and widkedly funny TV series ‘Chewing Gum’. After dropping out of university twice, Coel ended up in drama school. So totally disenchanted with the roles offered to her, she wrote her own one-woman theatrical show, one that eventually became ‘Chewing Gum’.

‘Black Earth Rising’

Her latest TV project ‘Black Earth Rising’ is an eight-part drama by Hugo Blick, in which Coel plays Kate Ashby, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. The series will debut on Netflix January 25.

Kate is raised as the adopted daughter of Eve (Harriet Walter), a British barrister, who joins forces with her colleague Michael (John Goodman) take on the prosecution of an African warlord who played a role in ending the genocide.

In the series, Kate has to reevaluate her ideas of right and wrong, which is perhaps why she wrote such an insightful essay on race a year ago. “This role changed me as a person,” she says.

Her next project is a twelve-part drama looking at sexual consent in the #MeToo era. Cole is the sole writer for the series, one that is inspired by her own experience of a 2016 sexual assault by strangers. “It was horrific,” Coel says about the attack. “I needed two and a half years away from the event to write about it.” Coel engages—on Instagram—with her fans, many of whom have shared with her their own experience of harassment. “I really wish to give this as a gift to them,” she says. Read on at Vogue US.

Actor Michael Coel photographed by Laura Coulson,  Vogue , February 2019  Styling by Charlotte Roberts.

Actor Michael Coel photographed by Laura Coulson, Vogue, February 2019 Styling by Charlotte Roberts.

Rising Photographer + Global Humanist Bibi Cornejo Borthwick Doesn't Buy Into 'Flawless'

Photographer activist Bibi Cornejo Borthwick by Vince Patti

Photographer activist Bibi Cornejo Borthwick by Vince Patti

Two words pop up in most narratives around the photography of Bibi Cornejo Borthwick: ‘intimate’ and ‘revealing’. Borthwick doesn’t shoot digital, preferring film. Her visual lens is not one of perfection. A quick survey of the Brooklyn-based daughter of fashion designer Maria Cornejo and photographer Mark Borthwick creates a defining image, one that resonates deeply with AOC.

Borthwick’s fashion photography career has moved into high gear in recent months. In the last six months, she’s shot three major editorials for Vogue US — including ‘Personal Best’ for the February 2019 issue, Victoria Beckham for Vogue Australia’s November issue and ‘Coolest Stales’ for WSJ Magazine’s December/January issue.

The activist appeared on the new Dazed 100 list. What got our attention is the Dazed reference to her Bellies project, cofounded with NBA player Wilson Chandler, the unisex sneakers for kids help America’s kids. For every pair of shoes sold, Bellies “feeds a belly”, working to nourish inner city areas while educating communities on the importance of nutrition in a bid to eliminate child hunger in America.

May Kwock (l), Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

May Kwock (l), Bibi Cornejo Borthwick

In 2015, Borthwick was found at an event in Manhattan’s Great Jones Space, committed to raising $25,000 with co-host model Mary Kwock. Artists including herself donated works to raise money Doctors Without Borders, and their work fighting the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria.

To fast-forward, just this week Cameroon forced “several thousand” refugees back to Nigeria, into the hands of Boko Haram. Global alarm bells rang, along with appeals from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. Cameroon has 370,000 refugees, about 100,00 of them Nigerians according to the UNHCR, writes The Guardian. Earlier in January, more than 9,000 people fled into Cameroon after an attack on a military base and aid buildings in the town of Rann in north-east Nigeria’s Borno state.

The young photographer has a grasp on the complexities of life, preferring to live in the ‘real’ world and not the artifice of digital photography. I suspect that ‘flawless’ is not a word in her vocab, as neither models nor life is flawless.

Interviewed in Another Magazine, Borthwick said: “"I have realised that the things I want in my life, they come through travel and experiences. It’s not about having a very contained life in one place." 

We shave the young photographer’s most recent work.

Bibi Cornejo Borthwick



Rihanna and LVMH Team UP With Potential To Create Dynamic, People-Centric, Global Luxury Brand

Rihanna at the Costume Institute Gala last year.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Rihanna at the Costume Institute Gala last year.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Vanessa Friedman asks for The New York Times: “Is Rihanna the Coco Chanel of the 21st century?” Can the multi-hyphenate talent, without an ounce of fashion training, launch a new powerhouse luxury brand?

Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH, thinks so and is in serious talks with Rihanna about launching a new global Fenty brand. Friedman writes that execs at Fenty Beauty and LVMH corporate were astonished over the runaway success of Fenty Beauty, launched in a diverse array of skin tones and with a fan base of 6.3 million Instagram followers. Fenty Beauty was named one of TIME magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017.

Robyn Rihanna Fenty IS a real, live heritage brand with a global reach. No ‘authentic’ story must be created around her image. Rihanna IS the story and she has created it — not with mood boards on Madison Avenues — but with her entire life.

Rihanna comes to the world of luxury brands having made them her canvas for a decade. Luxury fashion has brought her far beyond the limits of the music world. Styled by Mel Ottenberg since 2011, Rihanna has aligned herself with emerging designers and luxury brands like Lanvin and Ginvenchy. Rather than working with a luxury house exclusively, she used these same brands to suit her purposes.

In 2014, she was named fashion icon of the year at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, where she appeared in a sheer crystal-spangled Adam Selman dress and matching cap, a white fur wrap strategically draped around her body, setting off a so-called naked trend in red carpet dressing. The next year, at the Met Gala, she wore a giant yellow cape from the Chinese designer Guo Pei, and enshrined her skill at making an entrance.

Not mentioned in Friedman’s piece, but a key component in the forthcoming Rihanna/LVMH alliance is the social conscience of the new luxury brand. Here there is an opportunity to set a very high bar, and all my instincts say that Rihanna and Arnault understand well global politics and human suffering.

With governments in chaos worldwide, but Rihanna anchored deeply in the lives of everyday people, I fully expect a new paradigm to emerge with a Rihanna-led Fenty house that is an activist house, too. Rihanna is deeply embedded in the obligations that women leaders have assumed in creating real change in the world.

If LVMH is equally courageous and up to the task, we might see a new luxury brand DNA that moves beyond the rarified and exclusive vision of Coco Chanel to one that touches people in big and small ways worldwide. If anyone can jumpstart this new 21st century, luxury brand vision, it’s the combined prowess of Rihanna and LVMH’s Bernard Arnault.