My Cosmo Story (better late than never)
So about two years ago, my friend (Gleveen Mcbeth, @Afro.vogue) and I set out to create a set of images that we could use to celebrate the beginning of the fall NBA season, as well as add to both of our portfolios. While the images came out better than I expected, I never thought that they would receive the attention that they have garnered to this point. The reason why I believe it's important to talk about this is because recently one of the images from the set was used by Cosmopolitan magazine on Instagram, and I was not credited as the photographer. Now, in the past, this has happened to me as well as countless other creatives and regularly we give up because the odds seem insurmountable. We say to ourselves, these organizations are big and my voice will never be heard, so what's the point? I'm tired of seeing this continue to be the norm—young creatives are being taken advantage of every day and in many cases that is the very thing that can destroy what could be a very bright career.
This is important now more than ever because we currently find ourselves in a time where media is oversaturated with so many great ideas and so little recognition. It seems to be a regular occurrence for black creatives (whether they be painters, graphic designers, photographers, or videographers) to be seen as great, but not "great enough" to be given the acknowledgment that they deserve. I by no means am well-known, but I feel that since this continues to be a trend, who better to speak on it than me? I don’t expect everything to be better, or for things to change overnight, but I want to see publications & organizations like Cosmopolitan held responsible for giving credit where it is due.
Regularly, stories like mine don’t have a happy ending. In this case, I am happy to be able to report that Cosmopolitan not only rectified the situation, they also apologized to me. However, something that I’ve felt the need to comment on is this: while I really appreciated every bit of the support that I was sent my way in this situation, what I did not see as necessary was the personal acts that I witnessed being sent in the way of the model. I understood that people were passionate, and to some she was seen as part of the problem. The thing that bothered me about this whole thing was that it seemed as though a few lost sight of the reason why we were coming together. Our goal was never to tear an individual down, it was always to grab the attention of a major organization and get them to fix the problem. In this case, I'm glad to be able to say Cosmopolitan has fixed the issue and they have gone above and beyond.
Even though this series of images is so old, I figured there was no greater time than now to share some more from this series. This series had two separate goals: the first was to welcome back the NBA season in the fall of 2015, and the second was to hopefully reach out to Christina Milian’s clothing brand "We Are Pop Culture" to hopefully create some sort of a partnership. Ultimately, Gleveen and I just wanted to create some dope images. I think it's awesome to be able to create an image that many believe is timeless. Anyway, here’s your chance to see more of the series, and let me know which image is your favorite. Once again I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. I have a ton of new work that I'm getting prepared to share with you very soon.
How many of you would be interested in purchasing a poster of the original image?