One of the most gratifying feelings an artist or anyone can attain in life is freedom. It’s the goal behind our activism. Freedom to remorselessly express ourselves; freedom to be, without being judged; freedom to proudly identify as unique and different.
Our theme for this issue is Resilience. Inspired by the current political space both locally and globally, resilience can be defined in a variety of ways. It extends beyond the notion of only bouncing back from a difficulty merely to return to the same spot. It’s the ability to weather the inevitable volatile conditions while fighting for freedom. Every success story has themes of resilience and in this edition, we ask our artists and activists how they do it; how they get back up, dust off, and get back in the ring after being knocked down and blindsided again and again.
My vision for this issue was to draw a parallelism between an artist’s most difficult moments and our current cultural scene. There is an assault on truth and reason in Trump’s America. Families are living in visceral fear, people anxiously trying to discern policy from bluster. Things that were pushed to the corners of America’s history — xenophobia, anti-semitism, racism, sexism —are once again creeping to the center. Now, more than ever, is the time to be resilient and recognize that the grass is greener on the other side. Staying on the sidelines is no longer an option, because the decisions our leaders make affect us all.
We celebrate womanhood with an exclusive portfolio of FEMEN photographed by Bettina Rheims. It’s a defining moment in our publication’s history that reflects a women’s activism and experiences and how they remain resilient through it all. Those stories of a woman’s will and determination are also reflected in the poetic manifestations of Amelie Chabannes’ artistry while her compatriot Jerome Lagarrigue explores the force and nature of collisions as they relate to rebellion. Furthermore, there is the saga of Zolo Azania, a former death row inmate and US-held political prisoner whose wrongful conviction did little to undermine his fortitude and perseverance. These are testaments to the human spirit, reminders that we own our abilities to recover from misfortune and are emboldened to come out on the other side.
My sincere gratitude goes to the contributors who continue to work with me on issue after issue as we grow. I am also grateful to you – yes, you – for being an inspiration and a believer in bold thinking and brave artistry. It is my hope that you will continue to remain resilient in your activism and courageously set forth to find freedom.
Publisher and Founder Giannie Couji
Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director Giannie Couji
Design Director Louison Costes
Artistic Directors Giannie Couji and Warren Reich
Consultant at Large Irene Silvagni
Beauty Director Topolino
Contributing Fashion Editors:
Laurent Dombrowicz, Cynthia Lawrence-John, Jen Smith, Neil Stuart, Hanae Uwajima, Tamer Wilde
Contributing Casting Directors: Dai Araki, Barbara Blanchard, Caterina Matteucci, Julius Poole
Contributing Writers: Belinda Becker, Nana Blankson, Masha Calloway, Sophia Dawson, Dream Hampton, Mutale Kanyanta, Monique Long, Gary Robinson, Clark Sabbat, Steven Tate
Contributing Illustrator: Carlos Aponte
Christian Kilrain Carter Coleman, Alexis Chabala, Iñaki, Jermaine Francis, Minoru Kaburagi, Luis Monteiro, Søren Mørk, Maxim Northover, Bettina Rheims, Hugo Scott, Thierry Van Biesen, Sean Waltrous, Paul Westlake
Copy Editor: Warren Reich
Logo Design: Nexcreations
Special Thanks to: Isabel Costa, Louison Costes, Umindi Francis, Jamie Lopez, Chioma Nnadi, Gwénaelle Petit-Pierre, Natalie Posey, Warren Reich, Steven Tate, Sean Waltrous
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