As most of my projects these days, my most recent project (outside of 50 SHADES OF BLACK) was a collaboration. It started off as an idea of a husband who contracted us to do an "Alter Ego" shoot with his wife. With the help of a talented make up artist, Chevon Dominique and my wife's (Kari Mackey) debut as a stylist, we embarked on a mission to bring this idea to fruition.
There is so much more that I can say about this project, but for now I'd just like to acknowledge that it has taken on multiple forms very quickly. Initially, it wasn't intended to be featured on 50 SHADES at all, but after reviewing the conversation thread below I have reconsidered.
A couple of months ago, one of my great friends and active 50 SHADES OF BLACK participants, Olaseni Ajibade, made this observation about the 50 SHADES cover image:
OA:To be Honest with you, I’d like to see some historical Icons as well from both the far past and recent present. UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, Bishop Tutu and President Mandela come to mind. But also Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth are exceedingly worthy.
CM: Thank you. Would you consider the people you mention, ie General Kofi Anan, Bishop Tutu, President Mandela, to be sex symbols?
OA: That is true I didn’t necessarily consider them for their intellect when I first posted it but I certainly do find theirs very very sexy. What I was more thinking of was a different aspect of sexiness. Consider the clout and therefore power that these people have. That is very sexy in and of itself. In Robert Greene’s “The Art of Seduction” he discusses how charismatic people have a seductive quality that is only rivaled by religious icons. That allows them to come to power which is historically one of the key markers of sexiness as in many past societies it translated to an ability to spread one’s genes (not that these men made a habit of seeding the earth with the frivolity that people in their position have done historically). And let’s be honest they have all this and are pretty good looking too…
With this being said, I present one of the images from my most recent series titled HERSTORY. It is based on an iconic image of Malcolm X. Taking Olaseni's comments about leadership and power as it's own form of sexiness (in terms of key 'historical icons' that he wished were included on the original cover) and taking it even further by adding gender to the discussion, I present this initial image from my latest series HERSTORY and pose these questions to you:
What if some of the most iconic images of MALE civil rights leaders, musicians, and athletes were recreated featuring them as females instead of males? What would they look like? How would you respond?