THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRE
Last week, I bragged about intentionally, and with extreme vigor, doing absolutely NOTHING for the entire Memorial Day holiday weekend. I’m usually the one grilling at every 70degree opportunity and extending an invitation to anyone who randomly walks by my back yard. Even after at least ten“You grilling?” inquiries, I was eagerly looking forward to my weekend of nothingness.
Giving my phone the last swipe before I unplugged, I was reminded that the fashion industry legend and African-American fashion hero, Andre Leon Talley’s documentary film was released and, well, I absolutely needed to support it.
I thought the cherry on top was that it was at the luxe and modern Landmark 57 theater with a full, upscale food menu, sleek bar and reserved seating. WHAT A WAY TO DO NOTHING! .....
But it wasn’t the cherry....
Talley himself would be there for a Q&A post screening!
He's the fashion industry veteran's veteran, I wanted to hear all that he had to share and, now, I get to sit under his tutelage as he recalls fashion history like folklore. Yup, sign me up for this kind of "nothing". Hosted by journalist Toure and also featuring the film's director, Kate Novak, the intimate setting would allow for engaging conversation with the legend about his distinguished career, his personal sacrifices, and his forecast for the future of fashion.
Andre speaks of growing up in the south and being raised by his grandmother who is clearly his first love and possbily his only. He explains how Vogue magazine helped shape his early vision of a career in fashion. Mr. Talley’s oratorical recount of his mentor - the divine Diana Vreeland, his fluent French vocabulary, and his casual knowledge of detailed fashion history is beyond riveting and admirable. His sacrifice of his personal joy, which he willingly gave to an industry that he loves but rarely loves back, is eerily familiar.
In response to a question from a young designer in the audience, Talley said that he always tried to “push Blackness forward” through "quietude and solitude and silence behind the scenes". Anyone who’s ever heard me speak or knows me, knows that I am a huge advocate for DOING THE WORK. I truly believe that “the work” screams louder than popularity, recognition, or thousands of likes.
No spoilers here....I encourage you to see the film for yourself.
“The Gospel According to Andre” was for me as riveting as it was honest. With a glaring look into his illustrious career journey and a slight peek into the legend’s personal life, I was intrigued, in awe, proud, and perhaps a little saddened.
I understand far too well how giving to an industry that is relentless and unforgiving to all and all of the time leaves you depleted. Being a woman of color in an industry where we are few and far between in positions of power, can be grueling, lonely and feel like a constant uphill climb.
What I will say, again, is that the fashion industry is brutal and unforgiving yet fabulous and exciting all at once. I say this often when I speak and in my digital products and when I mentor. This industry - so loved and revered - rarely loves back.
But so it is for the trailblazer, I guess.
I pray that this season of Mr. Talley’s life brings him joy, peace, financial abundance and finally the honor he is due.
Thank you Mr Talley. Well done.
Watch below as he responds with in his unique way to Toure's question re his thoughts about Kanye and Meghan Mar......I mean the Duchess of Sussex: