Creative Direction & Styling: Damilola Ayo-Vaughan. Photographer: Benedict Santos-Pearcy. Inspired by: Eamen Molloy, Helen Sharp, Maddy Johnston, Natasha Kifwamba, Stephanie Amata & Lanaire Aderemi. Models: Eamen Molloy, Beth Molloy, Laura Bowes, Maddy Johnston, Femi Adesina, Natasha Kifwamba, Mayowa Odukoya, Jason Tse, Moyo Adio & Emmy Sheard.
"The world is going up in flames and nobody wants to take the blame" cried Charles Bradley on his song ‘The World (Is Going Up In Flames)’. This song was released in 2011; looking at the world today, his words could never be more relevant.
"The world is going up in flames and nobody wants to take the blame…" Bradley’s words played in my mind while I held interviews with people who grew up in different decades, ranging from the 60s to the 00s about life growing up in those times. A prevalent theme in all the interviews I held was discrimination. Discrimination faced by either them or members of their family on the basis of gender, race and religion. Hearing their stories inspired me to create this line:
Why were racism, misogyny and discrimination prevalent in the past decades and why are they still prevalent today?
Although discrimination still exists, there have been increasingly positive attitudes and social support to those who campaign against discrimination.
There have been moments that show that humanity is trying to forge a better future: from the election of Obama as the first black president of the USA in 2008 to the world coming together to celebrate athleticism in the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. From Malala Yousafzai advocacy which raised awareness about how Pakistani girls are denied formal education to Moonlight, a movie about a gay black man’s experience whilst growing up which won the Academy award for Best Movie: there have been great moments.
Yet the events of the past 18 months have reminded us that we still have a long way to go in ridding ourselves of the sins of past and present. To quote the great Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe: “Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform."
I believe our generation has been designated a huge task by history but must rise to the challenge. We have to stand up and put out the flames that threaten to engulf the world and ensure that we leave our children and grandchildren with a fairer and more equal world. A world where no-one is treated unfairly because of their race, gender or religious beliefs.
The world is going up in flames… but it’s not too late.
Fix the machine.
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