As a community organizer, how do you think your style influences your message to the world?
As an artist and as an activist I think a lot about communication and believe in dressing for the occasion because presentation is very important. My style is variable and shifts depending on the spaces I’m entering in, the people I’ll be addressing, and my overall communication goals. I always retain an element of my own personal swag, but as a messenger I dress in ways that communicate myself and my message as best as possible. It’s all a part of the presentation. Life is a theater and we have to take our roles and audience seriously.
Would you encourage the Black Youth Project kids to pay attention to what they’re wearing?
I would recommend everyone engaged in the movement to take care of themselves and realize that the way they dress is an action, and thus a political statement. I won’t prescribe onto others how they must dress because that’s exactly what society does! I would just encourage people to take how they dress seriously by keeping in mind that their style impacts the way they are perceived and thus how their message is communicated. I always recommend people dress in a manner that makes them feel good primarily, but then I would ask anyone who is hoping to impact society—which hopefully we all are—to really consider the way their dress is communicated to others, and work on styling themselves in a way that helps to clearly get their message accomplished.
As a hip-hop artist, what do you like to convey with your image?
I like to convey many different things, primarily that I’m a loving person from the best city in the world, aware of my positive Afrocentric roots. I wear a lot of African power colors, like green, yellow, red and purple; black outfits with powerful messages about Blackness, Black Beauty and Black Power; African patterns/prints; and pieces of clothing that represent Chicago: hats, jerseys, or articles of clothing from Chicago brands. I like to wear things that are hip and show that I’m confident but not cocky. As a performer I take each event seriously and try to make everything about myself positively impact the audience’s experience with my message.
What importance does design have in your life?
Design is really important to me because I see the world as a canvas. The natural world is connected to a higher power, a universal design. We create everything about our reality and it is important to be aware of our role as artists and engineers in that sense. Keeping design in mind allows us to look at our world as changeable and connected to ourselves and our actions. All that exists in our world was designed. To change our world we must change designs. The world we live in is a system, and to change the way the world functions we must change the design of that system. Only by allowing our imagination to manifest itself outward, and by continuously reimagining and producing new realities for society do we truly live a fulfilled life. We must design the world we want future generations to live in, and the changes all start within ourselves.
Cameron’s band, Bad and Blue, has recorded a song aptly called “New City.” Listen to it at soundcloud.com/badandblue/new-city.
—Interview and photograph by Isa Giallorenzo
Journalist Isa Giallorenzo was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has elected Chicago as her beloved home since 2009. She runs the street-style blog Chicago Looks and wants to see this town become one of the fashion capitals of the world.