Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be the mother of 4 children. 3 boys and 1 girl. A princess and the 3 black knights who would protect her and be adored by her. Time and infertility revealed that there would be obstacles, or dragons to slay before my dream family would be manifested. But God is so good (all the time) and after adopting 3 sons, here she is, my Neri, my dream come true.
Hence this article post on the cover. A big part of talking about this cover is so that I don’t forget what a thrill it was to create her. What I love most about being a graphic designer is the ability to visually communicate a message in the exact way that it’s conceived. It would be frustrating to not find a visual creator, or writer who really understands what you want to say and can say it. I liken it to finding a wife who gives birth to a child that is not yours. Getting the vision of Neri out of my mind and onto your screens has truly saved me from going mad.
And who better for the inaugural cover of NERI Magazine than the inaugural Super Model Canada herself Nini Amerlise. This wasn’t the 1st photo of her that stopped me in my tracks, but this photo illustrates the years of creative angst and pent up beauty that preceded this magazine’s launch. Our road to here as been ripe with conflicting emotion and contradictions. I never doubted NERI, only my abilities and whether I deserved the honour of bringing her to fruition. She’s the daughter I’ll never have and very much like me; vulnerable and powerful at the same time. Retro and modern, young and wise, primal yet futuristic. A wonder and an affirmation at the same time. Can’t see it? Don’t worry, you will.
EPIC on many levels., Nini and Neri are both the depictions of a strong hidden black beauty, that once revealed, can never be denied or restrained. Nini finally tells her personal story for the first time. Her article chronicles the abuse and extreme pressures of her upbringing that resulted in the formation of the black diamond that is Canada’s newest fashion sensation. The most amazing part is that she truly is humbled by all that has happened to her, you’ll have to read Black Cinderella to hear more about that.
And finally Black Future Month, my own commentary on the tidal shift that our commemorative February is making and what I feel it’s new purpose is. And with this year’s Black History Month feeling more like Black Panther Month, errbody (even white people) be on a very apologetically black tip and I’m pretty sure it’s not going away come March.
Nini’s pose, especially in this photo is opposing. She’s the opposite of what we would expect beauty to be yet undeniably, remarkably, and breathtakingly beautiful. Like our history, the story of those who came before us is filled with unexpected accounts of greatness. Everything about our African heritage is unanticipated and beautiful. The broken manikin is a symbol of her dismantling our society’s ordinarily whiter beauty standards. Finally, taking note of her pose and how it’s more angular, perpendicular and well… more African. This shot is ultra glamorous echoes the angles and fractured dispersing of our cultures and diaspora.
NERI is born! I’m so very proud to launch her into this New Era of Restored Innovation.