Thanks to publicist Biff Warren, Alicia Keys was my first cover of america magazine. At the time, my vision to bring together the best fashion photographers and stylists in the world with the most talented urban music artists was an idea that demanded a lot of convincing and persuading of everyone involved.
The photographers (gathered by my creative partner-in-amazing, Graham Rounthwaite) worried that the entertainers couldn’t possibly create a beautiful picture, and the celebrities were terrified that these high-end Euro glam teams totally wouldn’t respect their superstar image – the scenes would be too out there, the clothes would be too tight and the hair would be just plain wrong.
Everyone’s fears were realized on the penthouse of NYC’s Hudson Hotel in January 2004 when the hottest new artist on the scene walked in with her mom to promote her second album… and let’s just say the creative debates that ensued pulled in everything from who looks good in a prom dress, to Diana Ross’ Mahogony to does a beautiful interracial sister who decides to take her braids out look any less Black?
The results were amazing…
Seven years later, Alicia and I did it again.
Then three years after that, we did it again. “Smokey, you just loooove those messy hair close-ups!” she tells me. Yes, I do!