The Funk Boutique: New Curated Collabs for the Summer Season

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Issa Rae for Vanity Fair, Tracee Ellis Ross for Marie Claire
Issa Rae for Vanity Fair, Tracee Ellis Ross for Marie Claire

Tracee Ellis Ross has got it goin’ on. The award-winning actress, CEO and all-around cultural icon is unapologetically Black, sparks radical joy within the madness, and puts it out there for anyone who wants to enjoy her infectious energy. Though Black-ish and Mixed-ish are coming to an end, there will be no shortage of Tracee in our lives.

Ross is featured on the June cover of Marie Claire, where she spoke about her haircare brand, Pattern Beauty, her love of fashion and the next steps in her career.

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“[I] spent my formative years wrestling with her untamed curls, attempting to beat them into submission,” Ross states. She goes on to explain how her mother, Diana Ross, engaged in a weekly ritual of fighting frizz with a hot comb on Wednesday nights.

“Learning to love my hair in a world that doesn’t mirror that celebration has been a form of both resistance and the claiming of my identity, my selfhood, my legacy, my ancestral lines, the history that I come from.”

As for her fashion identity, she constantly exudes confidence and courage. The playfulness and joy are evident in this shoe-t. Yeah, I said shoe-t. According to stylist Shiona Turini’s Instagram post, Balenciaga sent over two left boots, yet Ross’s energy and excitement about the shoot never waivered.

The rest of the shoot went off without a hitch. She rocked a beautiful pair of white JW Anderson pants and a fuchsia feathered top that had movement, even when standing still. And in addition to the two left boots, Ross effortlessly pulls off a gold Hanifa blouse and pants set with a pair of brown leather Hermès sneakers.

So yes, Tracee Ellis Ross—best friend, girlfriend, an icon of joy and force to be reckoned with—is out here doing the damn thing.

Issa Rae Never Sleeps

ROYAL AF A regal Issa Rae, photographed March 28 in Beverly Hills. Clothing by Robert Wun; earrings by Ana Khouri
ROYAL AF A regal Issa Rae, photographed March 28 in Beverly Hills. Clothing by Robert Wun; earrings by Ana Khouri

Issa Rae is the definition of “the ultimate glow up,” and Vanity Fair seems to agree. Rae graces the June cover and speaks on the wrapping of Insecure and the upcoming reboot of Project Greenlight. The issue features her power posing in haute couture against a tropical backdrop in a few different looks—a Givenchy suit and Cartier choker, a lavender sequined Valentino Haute Couture turtleneck (that I would absolutely kill for) and looking regal in a baby blue Robert Wun pleated set.

With Insecure ending, Issa has many upcoming projects on her roster. HBO Max announced an Issa-fied version of Project Greenlight, a series following the next generation of talented female filmmakers who are each given the opportunity to direct a feature film. Warner Studios also announced a new series Sweet Life: Los Angeles, an unscripted program about what it means to be young, Black and constantly chasing one’s dreams in South Los Angeles, set to debut this summer.

Halle Partners Across the Pond

Halle Berry’s debut lifestyle and wellness brand Re-spin is launching an activewear collection with Britain’s Sweaty Betty, according to WWD. The 22-piece capsule collection mergesSweaty Betty’s signature melding of design and technology with Berry’s expert and to-die-for style. The collection is made from high-performing fabrics with a luxe feel and unique stitching, sculptural silhouettes, detailed straps and slits, all presented in a neutral palette consisting of black, shaded greys and cream. The sizes range from XXS to XXL with a varying degree of price points.

The best part? You can wear a tribute to Berry’s role in the 2001 film “Monster’s Ball” with the boxing motifs on some of the clothes—or even wearing the “Leticia” shorts.

And the Table Award Goes to...

This year, The New School’s Parsons School of Design celebrates the school’s 125th anniversary with a virtual and in-person 2021 Parsons Benefit. Three of the biggest names in Black culture and creativity will be presented with the Parsons Table Award, awarded to individuals who have made waves in the design industry and inspired Parsons students. Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, Grammy-nominated artist Travis Scott and contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems will also be honored at the June 15th event.

Valentino is Fall-ing for Zendaya… Again

Once again, Zendaya, singer, actress and overall style inspiration, is partnering with Valentino for its fall ad campaign. Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli is aiming to present the superstar as the person she is, rather than a model or someone completely unattainable.

“I think it’s fundamental to pass strong messages through the identity of a person and Zendaya perfectly represents the values that I want Valentino to stand for, such as equality and inclusivity. I chose Zendaya as a person, for what she stands for, and not as a model,” Piccioli tells WWD. The black and white campaign features photos of Zendaya lounging on different industrial pieces and short videos showcasing her work ethic throughout the shoot.

Over $1 Million for Melanin-Rich Beauty

After finding the shade inclusivity at Sephora seriously lacking and spending time as a Glossier employee, Diarrha N’Diaye decided it was time to branch out. This June, N’Diaye will launch Ami Colé, a “no-makeup makeup brand for melanin-rich skin.” From Skin-Enhancing Tints to Lip Treatment Oil and Eye-Catching Highlighter, N’Diaye has taken her personal experiences with makeup and her knowledge behind the production to create a makeup that those blessed with melanin will highly benefit from. Over the course of a year, N’Diaye raised more than $1 million in funding for Ami Colé from media influences, Glossier backers and other investment firms. It’s clear that her vision is something needed across the board and the importance of a Black woman making these visions a reality.

HBCU and Wakati Haircare Collaboration

Wakati Hair
Wakati Hair

Wakati, a haircare brand for natural, textured hair, has launched its four-product line through a collaboration with students from FAMU. The collection, which is now available at Target, Walgreens and Walmart, was developed alongside business students from the university as they worked together with the team on product development, branding and marketing rollout. The importance of the collaboration goes deeper than giving the students the opportunity to work with a large brand, also providing the HBCU representation in spaces it might not have otherwise reached.

I mean, the FAMU logo is even on the packaging now. You can shop the brand online here.