The great folks at TYPICAL MAG reached out to do a 2017 Black History Collaboration. The partnership was a 5-part series of designs based on songs of empowerment, love, and resistance related to black culture.
Nina Simone: Mississippi Goddam
Creatively 'Mississippi Goddam' has so many feelings, from the happy bounce of the instruments to some of the painful lyrics about what was happening in the south at that time. I wanted to create something that feels happy, but with earthly undertones. Even though this wasn't a happy time you can tell through Nina's sound that she used her music as healing to help the people. The bars represent both piano keys and the sign of equality – something my people died for in the south.
Marvin Gaye: Inner City Blues
For this one I remember closing my eyes and thinking of the type of scene I see when this song plays. I immediately envisioned someone in their detroit apartment reading a newspaper really frustrated with the ways of the world. When the person looks outside they see the things that are in the newspaper homeless, segregation – general pain. I wanted to capture the idea of that building and the vibe of an inner city.
Kendrick Lamar: Complexion (A Zulu Love)
This graphic is probably my favorite! From the title you know its obviously about complexion but Kendrick hits a lot of different points from embracing complexions to colorism that exists in the black community. Back in the day people would do a paper bag test which means if your skin was darker in than the bag you were not allowed in whatever space. For example certain sororities would apply that rule in their qualifications so if you didn't fit that mold you were not considered. This graphic is a celebration on complexion.
The Impressions: Keep on pushing
From the title you can tell this is a song about empowerment and keeping your head up. *Fun fact, this actually started as a gospel song! Since this song is a reaction to the black struggle I wanted to create something that represents that BUT also shows that color is fun and beautiful. The beauty lies in the struggle.
Solange: Where do we go from here
This song is so melodic and it can relate to so many things. I honestly think she's talking about two things: relationships and the black struggle. I see a lot of colors when I listen to Solo so I knew I wanted to something colorful and bold. When I think about the phase 'where do we go' the response it up. Of course the journey up won't be smooth but we can get there – which led to my rough line to the top. This one is my fav behind the Kendrick one.