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 Kione Grandison, the nail artist on set for Lady Leshurr’s ‘Queen’s Speech Ep.7’.
Kione is a recent graduate from Wimbledon College of Arts with a BA in Fine Art painting. Throughout her art practice she explores ideas surrounding Black culture, the black beauty industry and the significance within it. Kione sees nail art as a creative outlet which can be directly linked to her art work.
What is the best part of your job, day to day?
Having creative freedom and the fact that I’m always working on something new. Being around other driven, talented creatives uplifts and inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing.
What woman would you want to do hair / make up / nails (as applicable) the most?
Rihanna, Spice, Erykah Badu.
What was the best part of having an all-female team?
Feeling understood, appreciated and empowered. Everyone was so lovely to work with and I know or had worked with a lot of the girls before, so it was a very calm friendly environment.
What’s the biggest difference between being on set with men and being on an all-woman set?
As all women on set we empower and support one another, and also feel super comfortable in each others company.
I think being on set with men there is often a feeling of slight dominance, in my position as a nail artist I feel that it’s not something that men particularly often know (or care) about and so it is given little importance- there is rarely a shared feeling that we are all equally talented creatives coming together to make a product.
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 have been on a set where I was the only women there, but I’ve also been on many sets where it has been a real mix, and sometimes predominantly women. I definitely think it affects the product being made because if men alone are creating an image, the image is only going to show a male perspective. I think it’s important to have an equal male and female eye, especially when the product is primarily aimed at women as it often is.
What can men be doing more of to support women in video/image production?
I suppose just paying more attention to and caring more about how much of an equal male/female contribution has been made to produce an end product.
Celebrating women creatives and diverse creatives is very ‘trendy’, how can the industry – on a big level and small level – work to keep that momentum going?
I hope that although it’s ‘trendy’, the brands initial intention comes from a genuine honest desire to make a change by supporting female creatives and making this a norm in the industry. As long as it’s genuine I think that the momentum should naturally keep going if brands continue to support past the ‘trend’.
I think this is also happening a lot with black culture and the fashion industry (brands that have used only white models in the past) using black models in their recent campaigns etc, I really hope that it’s something long lasting and genuine. But everything in the industry comes down to being a money making ‘trend’. I can only hope it is the start of a permanent change.
Have you ever experienced sexism on set?
No, luckily I haven’t. And I hope that this is something most women don’t have to worry about day to day on set.
The Nike Air Force 1 ’07 collection is now available in women’s sizing on the Nike App, nike.com and at select retailers