Teaming up with the ‘Queen of Grime’ herself, Lady Leshurr, Nike marks the release of the Force Is Female collection. Lady Leshurr, a former BEAT coverstar, and her all female team conceptualised the creative journey – from image making to styling to hair and nails, for the Birmingham born rapper’s seventh “Queen’s Speech”.
Two years ago, the opening shot of Lady Leshurr’s first “Queen’s Speech” was a close-up of a Nike Air Force 1 shoe – and number seven in the series of independently produced, honest and witty freestyle videos not only continues to establish her as a leading voice in UK culture, but highlights her continued love of the empowering shoe. Here we speak with Florence Adepoju, entrepreneur who provided Lady Leshurr’s make-up for ‘Queen’s Speech’.
Florence Adepoju “Flow” is the entrepreneur behind MDM Flow Beauty. The hip-hop inspired beauty brand was born from the frustration of not being able to find lipstick tones that suited her complexion. MDMflow are changing the face of the beauty industry with their products especially designed for black skin.
What is the best part of your job, day to day?
Product development: I love creating beauty solutions that make my customers feel confident and allow them to express themselves.
Which woman do you most want to do make-up for?
My beauty range is for the everyday woman, and I really love women like FKA Twigs, Mabel McVey and Lady Leshurr, who all represent British culture.
What was the best part of having an all-female team?
Women really know how to work together, it was great to be in a team where we are all looking out for each other. We had lots of laughs and positivity with no tension.
What’s the biggest difference between being on set with men and being on an all-woman set?
I’ve had great experiences on set working with guys, but there’s nothing like female energy. I think women can be more intuitive whereas men think out loud. So it’s more peaceful on set, like a quiet force.
Do you find that when crews are assembled, a lot of people making the decisions don’t think to include women? How does that affect the product being made?
I can’t tell you what goes through the minds of producers or creatives who exclude women. Frankly, I think if you do, though, you end up with a crap product. How can you create a fully representative product when you exclude women?
What can men be doing more of to support women in video/image production?
I don’t think a lot of men realise the privileges they have when it comes to representation in creative fields. I think men can support women by acknowledging their privilege and by making an effort to share their platforms with women.
Celebrating women creatives and diverse creatives is very ‘trendy’, how can the industry work to carry that momentum through?
I think a lot of brands empower women on a surface level, so shout out to Nike and Lady Leshurr for really bringing women into the process. There needs to be more depth to the diversity conversation: this isn’t a trend. It impacts women’s ability to have agency over their lives and careers.
Have you ever experienced sexism on set?
Luckily most of the sets I’ve worked on have had a good mix of men and women, who are all being respected.
The Nike Air Force 1 ’07 collection is now available in women’s sizing on the Nike App, nike.com and at select retailers