Although Erykah Badu is no stranger to the fashion industry or setting trends,and this season she will be participating in New York Fashion Week alongside designer Kerby Jean-Raymond to style his label Pyer Moss’ AW16 show.
According to reports, Jean-Raymond reached out to Badu to assist him in the continuance of telling the story of how it is to be Black in America.
“The presentation is a meditation on the tension and mental anguish that exists when conflicting demands are placed on an individual, thereby resulting in confusion in thinking and communication,” Jean-Raymond said in a statement. “In the 1950s, anthropologist George Bateson coined the term ‘Double Bind’; which he found to be a common occurrence in the childhoods of adults patients diagnosed as schizophrenic.”
Badu, known for speaking out against social injustice through music and activism, states she is honored to work with Jean-Raymond and that the pairing feels like a “match made in Heaven.”
“(Kerby and I) were a match made in fashion heaven,” Badu said, “We share an eye for truth through art. Though risky at times, he stands in his truth. And the strength of that truth lies in the belief of his vision. I’m inspired by the bold statements he makes in this, sometimes, fickle industry.”
Jean-Raymond is not shy about conveying social issues through fashion either. Last season the designer brought the Black Lives Matter Movement to NYFW by showcasing a powerful short film at his event, which featured footage from the police killings of Eric Garner and Walter Scott. As for his collection, blood was splattered across the model’s shoes, along with Eric Garner’s last words “I can’t breathe.”
The Black experience in America is the ultimate double bind,” Jean-Raymond’s statement continued. “A place where natural born citizens live an immigrant experience in the only land they’ve known as home. A place where Black culture is praised, commodified, and appropriated, while Black people are criticized, vilified, and hunted for sport. A certain functional schizophrenia has to exist to cope with the dissonance of having a Black man in the White House while a Black body lies for four hours in the streets of Ferguson.”
In addition to Badu’s styling, Jean-Raymond is also collaborating with Baltimore native and Basement Rap artist Maurice Scarlet. Scarlet is said to be bringing his Baltimore’s Basement Rap, a collective of rappers, artists, photographers, videographers and graphic designers based in the city, influence to the runway. Several pieces in this season’s collection are said to “reflect his freehand style of artwork.”
The AW16 show is scheduled for February 13.