As technology continues to evolve, education is close behind, taking full advantage of the developments that lead to outstanding breakthroughs. Through the internet, social platforms, VR, AR, and MR, we have a plethora of tools at our disposal, but our world can only progress if we listen to each other, empower one another, and fight for universal access to information.
For our cover, Justin French photographed Kelela, an Ethiopian-American singer who communicates through her music and opens the door for others to answer with their own creations. Coming from an underground club music culture, her sound is equal parts dance and R&B. An organic heart with digital armor, she chooses her collaborators carefully. It’s her dedication to her craft that allows her to zero in on her discoveries, yet see the power in sharing knowledge with her peers.
An ancient Japanese proverb says, “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
This issue spotlights visionaries who have turned imagination into something tangible, a communal, transferable perspective that impacts the community. They are in every industry and in every circle, from Nobel Peace Prize nominee Amanda Nguyen and epochal creative force Daphne Guinness to leading political voices Adebola Williams, Sara El-Amine and Van Jones. The future belongs to those who envision it.
Incremental change is hard to measure in the moment; it’s only later when history exposes the true heroes of the past. Through the inevitable pitfalls and setbacks, it is those who are relentless in fighting for what they believe in that pave the way forward.
Educator and activist Jane Elliott is no stranger to the marathon, to exhaustion, to gaining and losing ground. Since the 1960s, Elliott has been fearlessly challenging an unbalanced society. “You must question and you must protest,” she insists. Amidst the “dangerous times” Elliott says we live in, her work and resilience remind us that we cannot lose sight of the finish line. And that, we will not.
With social justice at the forefront of our collective mind, rocking a frayed political climate that grapples to understand an ever-evolving cerebral landscape, there’s no better time than now to devote ourselves to the importance of community. Undoubtedly, there is strength in numbers, and in inspiration drawn from unity.
No one knows this better than the multi-hyphenate visionaries that make up Ghetto Gastro, a culinary crew from the Bronx that’s shaking things up in the kitchen and, as Matthew Ismael Ruiz says in our cover story, “bringing the bodega to the bourgeoisie.” Clever wordsmiths as much as innovative chefs, Jon Gray, Lester Walker, Pierre Serrao, and Malcolm Livingston II can boil themselves down to one single expression—two syllables that carry the ethos of their efforts—and that’s “sturdy.” You’re only as strong as your foundation, the Ghetto Gastro guys insist, and we couldn’t agree more.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it is also something held deep within ourselves. Yet the fact that beauty cannot be defined has not stopped an industry from trying, not only in categorizing our differences but homogenizing them, too.
Our cover story, photographed by Nicholas Alan Cope, highlights Patricia Black, a woman who is unapologetically herself in embracing these differences. A curator and “stylist to the stylists,” she is in many ways the consummate insider, yet she remembers the feeling of being on the outside looking in, of wanting, as she puts it, to “belong in the room.” She has encouraged a much-needed realness in the industry, her dynamic energy a testament to a life lived true to herself. With this issue, we join Black in defining beauty on our own terms.
The individuals featured in our second issue cannot be easily categorized. Their work—in fashion, art, design, music, activism, and more—is, for each of them, a true expression of the Self.
Model, artist, and writer Myla DalBesio explores this concept of the Self for our cover story, photographed by Paul Jung. Her essay—a memoir of the body, a life’s history told in the flesh—reveals the essential connection between the inner and outer selves. By cataloging the physical she lays bare the emotional life within us all.
Our debut issue celebrates creative, independent thinkers that have charted their own paths in producing work that is at once inspired and inspirational. Working in a variety of media and genres, all live for the autonomy that results from superseding expectation.
Photographed by Paul Jung, our cover story features four women—Mari Malek, Mari Agory, Nykhor Paul and Atong Arjok—that exemplify this clarity of vision and strength of purpose. All are raising their voices to effect change in their home country of South Sudan. Passionately dedicated to the needs of others, they are opening up a dialogue not only among their fellow citizens but around the world.