Nike Pays Homage to Vogue Icon Leiomy Maldonado

In another installment of their #BeTrue campaign, Nike continues to celebrate Pride month and push for equality by releasing a commercial that highlights and honors a voguing legend, Leiomy Maldonado.

Mother Leiomy, “The Wonder Woman of Vogue,” is an icon in the New York ballroom scene and was the first transgender woman to appear on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Drew as a member of Vogue Evolution Dance Crew in 2009.

The Nike ad displays Maldonado training other dancers in a studio and showing off her impressive skills on the city streets while featuring an emotional narration by artist Precious Angel Ramirez. Let us also not forget to point out that she's sporting Nike's LGBTQ-themed Air VaporMax occasionally throughout the commercial.

What did you do to make a mark on this world? What mountains did you climb?

This isn’t the major sportswear brand’s first time releasing work that features a trans athlete as they previously ran an ad that featured Team USA’s Chris Mosier (the first transgender man to earn a spot on the U.S. men’s national team). However, this ad is monumental because not only does it include and celebrate a transgender woman of color, but it also affirms that voguing is both an art AND a sport. Voguing is a dance that originated in the 1960s in Harlem in response to decades of racism in the ballroom scene going back as early as the 1930s when white gay men would not let gay men of color participate. Hence, the reasoning of why it is a dance predominantly performed by queer and transgender people of color.

Shine on, Mother Leiomy! 

Check out the incredible ad below: 

Katy Perry Not Allowed to Interact With Gay People as a Kid

A free-spirited pop star and LGBTQ+ advocate that we’ve all fallen in love with has an upbringing that is quite different than what you’d expect.

Katy Perry, born Katheryn Hudson, recently opened up about her strict childhood and why she considers herself to be the “black sheep” of her family to Vogue Magazine for their May 2017 issue. Perry, a native of Santa Barbara, California, was raised by evangelical Christian pastors that sheltered her from the world in what she calls a “bubble beyond the bubble with like-minded people.” While recalling that education was not a priority when she was growing up, she also mentioned that she was “not able to interact with gay people” and “there was some generational racism.” At the age of 15, she fell in love with her first imaginative perspective of what the world was like (led on by the 70s rock group Queen and their sexually provocative lead singer Freddie Mercury) so much that it made her feel accepted and free, and by the age of 17 that feeling motivated her to move to Los Angeles to pursue the career she really wanted. Perry considers her epic world tours as a means of “re-education” and attributes her curious nature for being where she is today.

Last month, the 32-year-old “I Kissed A Girl” singer continued to acknowledge the truth about her past while accepting the National Equality Award that recognized her work as an advocate for equal (especially for the LGBTQ+ community) rights at the Human Rights Campaign Gala.

“I’m just a singer-songwriter, honestly. I speak my truths and I paint my fantasies into these little bite-size pop songs. For instance, I kissed a girl and I liked it. Truth be told, I did more than that … How was I going to reconcile that with a gospel-singing girl raised in youth groups that were pro-conversion camps? What I did know is that I was curious and even then, I knew sexuality wasn’t as black and white as this dress.”

-       Katy Perry at Human Rights Campaign Gala

She proceeded to open up about her religious upbringing and her continuous battle of balancing her sexuality with religion by mentioning that homosexuality “was synonymous with the words abomination and hell” when she was growing up. She concluded her speech by calling the LGBTQ+ community, one in which she was taught to fear, the most “free, strong, kind, and inclusive people” that she has ever met while also calling them “magic” because “they are living in their truth.” After the gala, she tweeted in sparkly excitement, “I will never cease to be a champion, an ally, a spotlight, and a loving voice for all LGBTQ+ identifying people,” and as for her parents, she just agrees to disagree.

Check out a portion of her acceptance speech:

Read more about Katy Perry’s story and her conservative upbringing in the May 2017 issue of Vogue currently available in stores (April 25).

British Vogue Just Named Its First Gay Male Editor

On Monday, Jonathan Newhouse, the Chief Executive of British Vogue’s parent company, Condé Nast International, announced that Edward Kobina Enninful will be the new Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. Enninful will not only be the first male editor since its founding in 1916 but will also be the first African-American editor amongst the 22 global issues of Vogue.

“Edward is one of the most talented and accomplished fashion editors in the

world…by virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely

prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue.”

-       Jonathan Newhouse

Enninful, 45, was born in Ghana, raised in the Ladbroke Grove area of London with 5 siblings, and is currently working in New York. He calls modeling his “baptism into fashion” as he began his fashion career at the age of 16 as a model for i-D, a street style and youth culture British magazine, after being scouted while on the subway. 

                                                 Enninful as a model for  i-D  magazine at age 16. [Photo by Jason Evans]

                                                 Enninful as a model for i-D magazine at age 16. [Photo by Jason Evans]

At the age of 17 he was assisting with photo shoots for i-D with stylists Simon Foxton and Beth Summers, and at 18, he became one of the youngest-ever leaders of a major fashion publication when he took over as the Fashion Director. After working at i-D for 20 years, Enninful went on to work as a contributing editor for Vogue Italia where he spearheaded the magazine’s “Black Issue” (2008) that sold an extra 40,000 copies and only featured black models in an effort to end the “white-out that dominates the catwalks and magazines,” and American Vogue before he was named the Creative and Fashion Director of W, an American magazine where he increased advertising profits by 16% within his first year, in 2011 by its editor, Stefano Tonchi. In addition to his impressive magazine work, Enninful has styled many A-list clients like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, and has received a few awards along the way, including being named Fashion Creator of the Year in 2014 by the British Fashion Council and receiving an Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth II in June 2016 for his services to diversity in the fashion industry.

Enninful, who is openly gay, will be replacing Alexandra Shulman who announced in January that she would be stepping down from her role of 25 years. The well-experienced gentleman known for his cheerful demeanor will take over the role on August 1 and will be the magazine’s 11th editor in its 100-year history.

“I believe we live in a world of possibility, and my appointment is a testament to this.

The world is ever-changing, as are traditional roles of male and female. The outpouring

of support from people of all backgrounds has been humbling.”

-       Enninful to NY Times

                       Edward Enninful. [Photo by Kevin Trageser for Business of Fashion, BoF]

                       Edward Enninful. [Photo by Kevin Trageser for Business of Fashion, BoF]