- Created on 18 September 2013
Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP
NEW YORK (AP) — "Scandal" star Kerry Washington is the world's best-dressed woman, according to People magazine.
Washington, 36, has proved a red-carpet risk-taker, wearing up-and-coming designers and making atypical choices — such as a crystal-covered coral Miu Miu gown for the Oscars. At Tuesday's pre-Emmy reception, she wore a hot-pink cocktail frock.
Unlike her character on ABC's "Scandal," Washington says she doesn't wear many power-broker pantsuits.
Washington, selected by the magazine editors, works with stylist Erin Walsh.
People then tapped other tastemakers to pick their favorites, including Jennifer Lawrence for her high-fashion style, Jessica Chastain specifically for her red-carpet looks, Kate Bosworth for street style and Zoe Saldana for her denim style.
Photographer Nigel Barker picked It Girl Lily Collins for best up-and-coming style.
- Created on 17 September 2013
Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
NEW YORK (AP) — Kendrick Lamar is the top nominee for the Soul Train Awards.
The rapper is up for six awards, including album of the year for "good kid, m.A.A.d city" and song and video of the year for "Poetic Justice." R&B singers Justin Timberlake, Miguel, Robin Thicke, Chris Brown and Tamar Braxton follow with five nominations each.
The latest albums from Lamar, Timberlake and Miguel will battle efforts from Jay-Z, Rihanna and Fantasia for album of the year. Lamar's other nominations include best new artist, hip-hop song of the year and collaboration.
The Soul Train Awards will be presented Nov. 8 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The awards will air Dec. 1 on BET and Centric.
Actor-comedian Anthony Anderson will host the show.
- Created on 16 September 2013
New K-Ci And JoJo Album: One Half Of Dynamic Duo Reveals Details Of 'My Brother's Keeper' And Jodeci Reunion Details
Five years since releasing their last studio effort, "Love," K-Ci And JoJo return to the music scene with their latest offering, "My Brother's Keeper." Featuring the new lead single, "Knock It Off," the platinum-selling duo decided to tap into their signature of romantic story-telling for the 12-track opus, which is set to hit stores on September 30.
During an interview with the Huffington Post, K-Ci Hailey opened on recording the project and revealed details on a possible reunion with Jodeci.
What can fans expect from your new album, "My Brother's Keeper."
Basically, everyone can expect K-Ci & JoJo to pick up where we left off. Good feeling music. We got a couple of baby makers on there. But it's good man. We're excited.
In terms of production, did you work with any outside producers?
Nah, we didn't. This is all just K-Ci & JoJo. We used our own camp of producers. We could've got anybody to produce on it, but we gave brothers a shot this time. You don't have to use the Teddy Rileys, the DeVantes, the Babyfaces, and all those top names. There's cats out there that's waiting for a chance, and got heat. So we were like come on in.
A lot has changed in music since your last album in 2008. Were you guys concerned with adjusting to the current R&B scene?
Nah, not really. We don't really listen to the radio often. Can't knock what they're doing, but we're not worried. If it's not broke, don't fix it. So we just stuck to what we do.
What inspired the concept for your latest video, "Knock It Off"?
It's like a 40s theme. More like a "Harlem Nights." We just took it back and got our grown and sexy on, so people can relate to it. We just wanted to make something not too complicated, but just enough for people to go; "I like that, I like that." It's one of the best videos, by far, that I think we've done.
In addition to your new music, other artists have taken notice as well. More specifically, Drake and his track "Jodeci's Back." What were your thoughts when you first heard the song?
When I first heard that I bugged out. I was like, "whoa!" But it was a big honor from Drake. He's one of the hottest cats right now in hip hop. And what Drake did, he gave us a boost. Because he got an audience, I'm pretty sure, who don't know about Jodeci. Their parents do, but they don't. That was big lookout from Drake.
Can fans expect a Jodeci reunion album in the future?
We are not getting back together, simple reason is we never broke up. [Laughs] We have a vault of CDs that we could just put out at any moment. But just like when Jodeci first came out, nobody expected that. And we're just going to keep it that way. But for now, with the love from Dalvin and DeVante, they're pushing me and Jojo. They're like "do what you gotta do," DeVante said; "I'm going to let y'all know when I'm ready. But y'all continue doing what y'all doing." And actually, we're in the studio right now. We record new Jodeci material every chance we get... So we're just waiting on DeVante's call.
Are there any plans to reconnect with Puffy, musically?
You never know, you never know. When it comes down to production for Jodeci, we leave that in the hands of DeVante himself. Just tell us what to sing. We all have input, but we leave that production part on him. He can have that job. I couldn't handle it.
"My Brother's Keeper" hits stores and digital retailers on September 30.
- Created on 16 September 2013
In this Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, file photo, Model Naomi Campbell walks the runway in the Diane von Furstenburg Spring 2014 collection show during Fashion Week, in New York. Supermodel Iman has joined with Naomi Campbell and veteran modeling agent Bethann Hardison for an unusual effort they are calling Balance Diversity to bring more black models to the runway (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Supermodel Iman watched the runways like a hawk this Fashion Week - but she wasn't looking at the clothes.
Iman joined with Naomi Campbell and veteran modeling agent Bethann Hardison for an unusual effort they are calling Balance Diversity to bring more black models to the runway, and they called out designers who whitewash their runways in the process.
By all indications, their open letter made a difference, with an uptick in diversity at the previews that ended last week. All the top designers presenting in New York used at least one black model, and some who previously had no black models used as many as seven this season.
"I've always said runways and photos are important to shape our young girls," Iman said in an interview last week. "To see models of color on the runway is important to the self-esteem of our young girls. To see otherwise makes them feel like they can be 'in or out.'"
What remains to be seen: Is the greater black presence on runways a lasting trend - or just more fast fashion? If black models fall out of favor next season like a short hemline, is that racist?
Balance Diversity is part activist group, part blog, part watchdog. They posed a catwalk challenge just before the seasonal style previews were to begin in New York.
"Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches fashion design houses consistently use of one or no models of color. No matter the intention, the result is racism," said their open letter to the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
They called out by name some industry heavyweights, including Donna Karan, Proenza Schouler, The Row, Victoria Beckham and Calvin Klein - designers the group said used almost no black models in last February's shows. The website Jezebel calculated that 82.7 percent of that season's New York Fashion Week models were white, 9.1 percent were Asian, 6 percent were black and 2 percent Latina.
Iman and Hardison both note they aren't calling the designers or the casting agents themselves racist - but they say defining one's look with only white faces is a racist act. And they acknowledge that sometimes designers don't see the models until a day or two before a show, but say they are nonetheless ultimately responsible.
Their letter went to the heads of the London, Milan and Paris fashion councils. The European designers, according to Iman, are bigger offenders. (She makes an exception for Tom Ford and Jean Paul Gaultier, who are the old-school types of designers who cast a model for her personality instead of trying to jam her into a particular seasonal mold.)
Some black models remain in hot demand. Campbell is the favorite, even in a jaded industry that typically likes the next big thing. The crowd at Diane von Furstenberg gave her bigger cheers than the designer. Joan Smalls and Jourdan Dunn also are consistently booked in top-tier shows.
But Iman said it has to be about more than a token or two black models, and it has to be about more than the established names. Without a turn on the runway, younger black models don't get discovered and booked for advertising jobs.
Recently, shows moved toward a blonder, whiter cast, with a few minority model slots filled by Asians, she said, in an effort to appeal to the growing consumer economies in Asia. And even when big international brands put black models on their billboards, those same brands were holding out on the runway.
Designer Nanette Lepore, who was not targeted by Balance Diversity and whose runway featured a diverse group of models, said that she tries to cast a runway reflective of the world.
"The fashion world goes through these moments where people think that to get their message across they have to have one certain type of model," she said. "At one point everyone had to look like Kate Moss. Or it's Eastern European, or it's Brazilian."
Lepore also noted seeing more Asians, and, this season, more black models. "I think this will be the trend now," she said optimistically.
Things did change in New York: Calvin Klein, for example, increased its use of black womenswear models from zero to five this season, while The Row, the label helmed by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, used seven dark-skinned models, according to Modelinia, a modeling industry website.
"This season will be more fun to count," said Hardison. "Before it was a job. I think it's going to be a pleasure this season."
Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa said in a post-show interview that this collection, inspired by the patchwork of cultures in New York City, was a celebration of diversity. He said model diversity is something he thinks about.
"Casting for us - we take it very seriously," Costa said. Of this season's catwalk, he said, "The casting was very fantastic, it was very seamless ... but it was very worldly and very multicultural."
Reed Krakoff was also on the Balance Diversity list, but he said he thinks about the issue, too, and there was darker skin on his runway: "It's important to represent a broad cross-section of different types of women. We're really looking for that interesting mix."
Most designers certainly weren't pushing toward the microphones last week to talk about this issue. Most seemed as if they'd be happy to talk only about their clothes and inspiration. Rachel Zoe said discussions about diversity were like the ones about the age and weight of models. "It's always going to be an issue. I don't think there is a right and a wrong way," Zoe said. "I just think it's important that we keep everything mixed up and fair.
Zac Posen, however, brought up the issue of diversity during a backstage interview. He said he thinks his diverse runway makes his clothes look better, and it wins him the support of models, who have backed him even when retailers and editors didn't.
He does use a casting director, but the final say is his. He's looking for "physical beauty, star quality - who's the next Naomi, Coco Rocha or Lindsey Wixson?" Posen said. "They all look different. It's about who'll look good in the clothes."
Hardison and Iman did notice the improvement this season and are committed to making it last through the European shows this month and beyond to next season and next year.
"The public is very excited by the fact that this is happening. Not just black people care, people care, people who care about beautiful," she said. "The activism has to remain."