When you go to concerts to see your favorite artists, what you often get is the polished and rehearsed presence of the individual, right down to their performance commentary. So, doing cover shoots for ro is a great opportunity to experience some of the stars with their “hair down,” literally and figuratively.
You’d be amazed by some of the personality nuances of entertainment professionals when they’re not “on.” While shooting dynamic vocalist Ledisi at Keith Majors’ studio in New York, along with her down-home comedic edge, she showed a side of herself that I was rather surprised by: gratitude. But I’m not going with this where you might think.
When you see Ledisi perform, she comes off as that strong black sista, who knows who she is and works what God gave her — that incredible voice — to the nth degree. Although she is that sista, she demonstrated sincere, yet alarming, gratitude for the fact that we deemed her cover-worthy.
“I’m on someone’s cover, finally! ” she shouted.
That comment quickened in my spirit. I’m not certain if, in her mind, she was coming from this angle, but do our real, black sisters, who’ve clearly demonstrated their allegiance to being black as Ledisi has, really have to beg for a cover? Really? How have we devolved to the point of defining beauty as exclusive of what a beautiful and talented black woman like Ledisi has to offer? “Our” publications have some “splaining” to do. Some redefining may need to occur to include the spectrum of blackness in its entirety versus lingering at just one end.
Ledisi has been that go-to girl for every tribute you can think of in recent years. She’s been nominated for four Grammys, released six albums, and, when she couldn’t get in the doors of conventional record labels for the first few, she became an entrepreneur. So, why not present the awe-inspiring story that lies behind the voice. Enter rolling out.
It’s equal opportunity at ro, no begging…er, affirmative action necessary. We love our sisters, light and dark alike, and we’re excited about our Ledisi cover, which will appropriately hit newstands during Black Music month.
“I’m a woman, a black woman, too, with thighs and stuff,” she gushed while reviewing some of the images.
Music to my ears… –gerald radford