Oktober 6, 2018
As I am waiting for my friend to get ready and go out for lunch, I browse through all her favorite magazines spread out on the table — all issues from September 2018.
What strikes me the most is the cover of Elle, featuring Slick Woods, the face of Rihanna’s brand Fenty. I realize that she is one of the several black women to be featured on the front covers of many of the top fashion magazines in September. I have seen Rihanna on British Vogue, Lupita Nyong’o on Porter magazine, and Ruth Neggads on Marie Claire UK. And it’s not just the UK! My friend also collects magazines from the US, Italy, France, and more.
Beyonce on the cover of US vogue. Naomi Camble on the cover of Paris Vogue, Ellis Ross on the cover of Elle Canada. Nicki Minaj made it to the front page of Vogue Arabia and Zendaya to the front page of Marie Claire US.
My first reaction was ‘wow,’ not because of my friend’s potentially unhealthy obsession with collecting all these magazines but because the presence of women of color in so many influential magazines has been unprecedented. I’m pleased to see more faces like mine appearing in international media.
Yet, there is a fine line between appreciation and fetishization. I remembered reading the book by Stuart Hall, “Representation”. He describes how the representation of black people throughout history had played a significant role in the shaping of their image in the mass media. So what does representation exactly mean, and how can it be used and abused?
After 10 minutes, I take a seat on her couch, wondering if she will ever get ready to go. I open up my Facebook account, scroll down, and come across a short article by Cherry Wilson, a Newsbeat reporter, entitled Black women on mags: A step forward or tokenism? I start reading it:
The magazine industries are moving toward increased diversity is a natural reflection of the way the world is changing. The success of films like Black Panther, and social media movements like #Blackgirlmagic – which celebrate the achievements of black women – have also helped bring about the change. Magazines reflect the culture, and our culture has changed, which is incredible, says Lucy Yeomans.
Fun fact about me: as a maker, when I create illustrations and jewelry, they both speak the same language; they are always concerned with the representation of identity. To identify how jewelry can have an empowering and symbolic role in representing black superheroes. I also got inspiration and answers on these questions after reading the book by Marian Unger, “Jewelry Matters”, which addresses, amongst other things, the relationship between jewelry and imagery, and the empowering function of jewelry over the ages.
I reach into my backpack and look around until I find the little notebook I bought yesterday. In this notebook, I will write down my thoughts and collect quotes and reflections related to my research on the empowering role of jewelry.
Topics I described in this notebook is how I learned that representation is a practice. How stereotypes, power, and symbolism can be used by the media to construct radicalized representations and how often these representational practices are still used today. Finally, I will consider how jewelry can play an empowering role in the representation of black people in comic books.
Because I’m want to leave a mark behind that goes further than a dream of fame. I wish to be effective. Effectively in many ways that will give new perspectives. And leave it so the new generation to build on.
I am a jewelry designer, an illustrator, and a creator in many other ways and you just read the first page out of my diary.
TheNEWtribe c/o Kalkidan Hoex is a Jewelry Brand rooted in the representational practice of black culture, exploring the meaning of identity at a taste level particular to now. With strong specific and opinions, not necessarily the same with a vision; To express work within one discipline.
The products presented by the brand also branch into other realms, such as Comic books and independent illustrations, goods that further reinforce the symbolical meaning of the Jewelry pieces.
All products are based on theNEWtribe concept that adapts and grows with its creator. Manufacturing in the Netherlands.
The outcome is a brand that sets statements that speaks out to its audience, Pushes the educational boundaries. Empowers and represents.
Connect with TheNEWtribe and Kalkidan Hoex at :