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Lentheus Chaney EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Chanan Kennedy GUEST CREATIVE DIRECTOR Will Kennedy GUEST DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Brandy Wells GUEST BEAUTY EDITOR CONTRIBUTORS: Bailey Brooks Jerell Gantt Nina Lano Leo Marshall

FOLLOW US EVERYWHERE! @urbanluxmag Š Urban Luxury Media, LLC 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher Urban Luxury Media. The views expressed in Urban Lux Magazine are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. The registered office of Urban Luxury Media is 6040 Dawson Blvd., Suite F, Norcross, GA 30093. All information contained in the magazine is for information only and is as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Urban Luxury Media cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such format. Readers are advised to contact manufactures and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this magazine. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Urban Luxury Media a license to publish your submission in whole, or in part, in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Urban Luxury Media nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage. Published four times a year by Urban Luxury Media, LLC





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The Revoluion Will Not Be Televised

14 STYLE Iris Van Herpen

18 FASHION American Slay

24 LUX CULTURE Lemonade Inspired Red Carpet Looks


28 LUX ACCESSORIES Throwing Shade

33 FEATURE Annie Ilonzeh: All Eyes On Her

42 SPOTLIGHT Jamal Woodard and Rita Mcghee

46 RISE & GRIND Kairo Whitfield

54 BEAUTY MUST HAVES 58 TWO FACED 66 CUISINE Chef Melody: A Tasteful Testimony





Photography: Will Kennedy Hair & Makeup: Brandy Wells Styling: Eric Burns




n 2016, funding for arts programs have dwindled to the lowest ever seen.

One of these talented artists is the New Orleans born, 24 year old, artist and athlete, Jon Moody.

Every year more schools cut the much needed programs that nurture talented young minds and leave them to develop their craft on their own.

Jon has been commissioned by stars like Trey Songz and Lil Wayne and has also and his work featured on the hit tv show, Empire.

This lack of funding is now combined with an alarming number of urban youth that witness, street violence, police brutality and social injustice on an almost daily basis. Their concern and pursuit for change can make idle hands lethal as these same young men and women who see their peers being wrongfully murdered or arrested are the same young men and women who painfully need their frustrations and voices heard. Some rally and march for justice and some create intense social media campaigns to bring awareness to the growing problems in society. Others display their exasperation on canvas and create works of art that dare to be ignored. In a world where the value of art is deprecating everyday, these gifted individuals speak their minds though their paintbrushes.


The message behind many of Jon’s beautiful paintings may be deeper than the average viewer can see. One of his pieces depicts a young African American girl draped with the iconic American flag. Some would feel combining those two images is an artistic oxymoron at it’s finest. Moody says he “feels it’s his responsibility as an artist to create art that provokes conversation.” And that he does. With bold colors and mind boggling references, his work starts conversations that might not take place otherwise. The artist, who attended Savannah College of Art and Design, feels compelled to produce more than “mere beautiful works of art. As an artist I have the power of creation with no limitations.” And with one glance at his work you can definitely see endless stimulation.



nother of these amazingly gifted minds is Charleton Palmer, also known as “CP THE ARTIST.”

CP uses his canvas as a tool to tell his personal life story and the Atlanta based artist makes sure that social injustice is poignant throughout several of his pieces. Palmer says, “It’s extremely important for me to speak for the disenfranchised and oppressed with my work.” Palmer says he saw plenty of friends he grew up with go on unfortunate paths, but he used talent to shield him from a destructive journey. Like, Moody, Palmer weighs heavily on social injustice and represents unheard voice with each stroke of his brush. “My work shows another platform the media and political figures shun away from”. Both artists have an amazing catalogue and a wide range of work. However they both share the sentiment that neither are immune to criticts and their views about the more controversial pieces. Moody states, “sometimes there’s a challenge with particular pieces galleries may want you to create because more socially conscience work may not sell as well.”


Palmer has experienced first hand the raw emotion a viewer displayed about his work. He explaines, “I was at a gallery and a woman who didn’t know I was the artist shared her disdain with one of my pieces. She was so outraged!” When asked how he responded to the patron’s actions, he stated that he didn’t resond at all. “My work is supposed to invoke emotion and the viewer has every right to their interpretation.” With millennials taking over every aspect of social media, and politicians threatened to take away civil liberties who will be the liaison between the two? Enraged youth are desperately seeking an outlet for what could possibly be a threat to a promising future. Moody and Palmer have found their answer. With creativity they paint from the soul and vocalize the woes of an ever changing society.



As an avid fashion lover and aficionado, I am constantly posing the question, “What is the future of fashion?” I envision us all wearing clothing that resemble the costumes worn by the cast members of Tron or The Fifth Element. As I continued to look further into what the future of fashion holds, I find that I am not too far off in my presumptions. You see, there are a few designers that come to mind when I visualize revolutionary lines that represent the ever changing direction of fashion. Alba Prat, Ara Jo, and Bleaq are just a few but there is one designer in particular that continuously commands the attention of fashion connoisseurs worldwide. Amid an array of metal textiles, 3D printing and acrylic-like structures, emerges a transcending fashion line by a designer deemed as “The Next Alexander McQueen.” Dutch designer, Iris Van Herpen, has set the bar high bar when it comes to the exploration of fine handwork techniques paired with digital technology. I recently had the chance to take a firsthand look at several collections from Van Herpen’s line while visiting the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. Immediately upon walking into the exhibit, you are engulfed in the beauty of natural light radiating from floor to ceiling windows. The lighting gives the pieces from Van Herpen’s Refinery Smoke collection a whimsical airy feel in the opening room. As I made my way up the elevator to the two additional floors of the exhibit, complicated, intriguing, forward thinking pieces lined long aisles. The theatre rooms played a documentary as well as videos from Van Herpen’s previous runway shows and clear acrylic cases enclosed some of the most surreal pairs of shoes I’ve ever seen. The shoes were too amazing to be left in a viewing case but also too amazing to be worn! To say the exhibit was spectacular would be an understatement. But you can enjoy a small piece of it for yourself through the lens of URBAN LUX MAG on the next page.










Not only does #QueenBey drop iconic albums, but her music sets fashion trends for every season. What perfect way to squeeze your flavor on fashion than with inspiration from the following citrus stirred red carpet looks.



Jennifer Lopez Golden Globes 2016 24


Jennifer Hudson 2016 Academy Awards 25





Nude rose skirt and top: Sanyae Demure @sanyaedemure Jewelry: @aeteedesigns @thearchshow Shoes: Melis yildiz IX.IV @melisyildizixiv





Top: Bellen Brand @bellenbrand Pants: M made in Italy @m_madeinitaly Shoes: Ami club wear @amiclubwear Jewelry: Per Lo jewelry @perlojewelry




Top: bellen brand @bellenbrand Jeans: Azul by moussy @azulbymoussyusa Shoes: Emmett Shoes @emmettshoes Jewelry: Nissa Jewelry @nissajewelry





any recognize him as one of the most “notorious” rappers of the 90’s... or so they think! Jamal Woodard or “Gravy” as known to those closest to him got his big break in the entertainment industry when he was casted as Christopher “ Notorious” Wallace in the biopic NOTORIOUS which details the rappers career, love life, and death. After a prolific performance in Notorious, it was only natural, he maintain the role in “All Eyes On Me”, rapper Tupac Shakur’s upcoming biopic which is set for release in 2017. Unknown to many, Jamal’s true passion is rapping, and not just for roles in motion pictures. We are excited to see what Jamal has planned next. As one of Hollywood’s rapidly rising thespians, Jamla Woolard is most certainly one to keep “All Eyes On.”

by Bailey Brooks




WITH so many riveting shows on television, it’s extremely hard for networks to create something out of the box and sure to keep viewers begging for more. In 2015 Fox’s breakout hit, Empire, made a permanent mark on the tube as a dramatic show about a musical dynasty and it’s cast of spellbinding characters. Most notably, the matriarch pf the family, Cookie Lyons, has the soul of Mary J. Blige and the wardrobe of Zsa Zsa Gabor. With characters this vivacious, it takes remarkable talent to make their wardrobe be an extension of their larger than life personalities. One such remarkable talent belongs to costume designer Rita McGhee. A native of Guam, McGhee has spent over 20 years creating the looks of some of your favorite characters and recently dished to Urban Lux about the joys, pains and everything in between in the magical world os costume design. Rita McGhee has been The Midas Touch to several television series and films including Martin, Zoe Ever After and Chiraq. When asked how does one develop complex characters through fashion, McGhee says, “starting from scratch, I take notes from the directors about how they see each character’s journey.” She adds, “I also talk to the actor and see where they envision the role going.” She then builds a color palette, shapes and textures and unique inspirations that embody each character.

McGhee started as an intern in wardrobe departments and with hard work and tenacity, she became one of Hollywood’s top costume designers. With ever changing trends, she says that studying your craft is a must. Although some newbies to the industry may only see the glitz and glamour of working with some of the world’s most famous stars, she assures us that some aspects of costume design can be quite grueling. “Some days I work from 6am to 11 pm, sewing, steaming and washing clothes.” McGhee considers her talents nurturing to each character and with this talent she was nominated for an Emmy this year for her costume creations on Empire. She equates persistence and God’s faithfulness to her nomination of such a prestigious award. Along with creating looks for today’s top television shows, Rita wants to take her fashion journey to a higher plateau. We asked, if given a choice, what actor would she like to work with next. “I’d much rather focus on working with talented directory and engaging stories than big names.” However, she confessed that Oprah Winfrey and Kerry Washington would be a few on her secret wish list. Next on the radar for the costume designer is the New Edition Biopic as told by the members of the legendary R&B group themselves. “I’. extremely excited to help tell the story of New Edition. It’s an ongoing love story we share with a group that has musically narrated the soundtrack to our lives.” McGhee believes she has been blessed in her career and wants to make it her mission to be a blessing to others 43

by Bailey Brooks

You may know his mother Sheree Whitfield for her infamous words, “Who gon’ chech me boo?”, on the Bravo show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta. You may have even see his father Bob Whitfield puttin’ them paws on opposing teams in the NFL but Kairo Whitfield is making his own way and his own name outside his famous parents. Aside from being a collegiate athlete, Kairo is on the grind to make his mark in the highly competitive industry of modeling. Take a look at he establishes himself as a young man on the RISE?




























FOODGASM: The stimulation of all 5 senses while consuming particular enticing foods. I don’t think there is a more accurate description of the experience you have while enjoying a meal prepared by Chef Melody Conner. Well into a career of education in 2012, and at the time enrolled in a doctoral program, the Philly native had reached a point where she knew that was time for change. 4 years ago, Melody Conner determined that she needed to follow her passion. Being a military veteran, she was afforded the opportunity to utilize the government funded program, VRAP (Veteran Retraining Assistance Program) which provided the means for her to enroll and complete culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. As we sat under the pavilion at her Buckhead home, the aromas of beef and fish hit my nose. I was immediately focused on the “get down” as I like to say, taking place on her outdoor grill. My foodgasm had officially begun. My senses of smell and sight had been aroused. I would compare the feelings of excitement and anticipation to that of preparing for a date with a new love interest. While Melody grilled, we sat and talked about her personal cooking style, her motivation to make a career change, and ultimately what she wants people to take away from her and her food encounters. Her inspiration in the kitchen comes from a mix of good ole down home traditional southern cooking passed down between generations, coupled with a modern elegant twist and play on pairings. Believe it or not Melody loves eating desert first, so with that being the first course of the meal, I had the chance to enjoy her whimsical play on homemade ice cream. Being raised by parents with Southern roots, I was used to having my grandfather and my dad prepare homemade ice cream during BBQ’s, where they had to sit and churn the milk and ice for what seemed like forever. The process always seemed so long to me, but the wait was well worth it once you put that cold creamy excellence in your mouth. I was instantly taken back to the nostalgia of my childhood when sampling Melody’s desert selection. 66

She made a blueberry lavender lemon sorbet w/ brown sugar and cinnamon glaze crumble and sprig of mint. The stewed blueberry’s in lavender syrup was trendy twist to traditional iced creams. As she plated the main courses, she explained to me that the goal of every meal she prepared was to have a spiritual connection with each person that eats her food. She wants people to taste the love that she puts into the dishes because that passion translates in to her food. Nourishing people and feeding the masses while keeping her food sexy is her mantra. Her versatility allows her to prepare and provide clients sustainable meals regardless of whether your budget is $175 or $17,500. After plating her 2nd course, Melody places braised beef short ribs, with saffron rice, Jamaican black beans and plantains in front of me.
It was accompanied by a coconut pineapple mojito, made with Coconut Rum, fresh pineapples and mint. And thus continues the foodgasm experience. The tenderness of the “fall off the bone” short rib with the sweet plantains were perfection on a plate. The final course Melody prepared was Blacken salmon with butter cream, a quinoa, kale, and sweet potato medley and grill romaine. It was paired with a refreshing peach punch sangria made with white wine and sweet and sour peach slices. Each dish was so delicately plated that they were almost too pretty to eat. After a full body experience from desert to the main courses, I think it is safe to say that, I had my first Chef Melody foodgasm. Before leaving Melody for the evening, she mentioned that she is currently working on a cook book based on traditional Gullah dishes that bring back heritage cooking; A lost art to according to the chef. I don’t know what delicacies she will come up with but I do know when she figures it out I’ll be first in line to get a taste!





Actress Annie Ilonzeh graces the cover Urban Lux Mag. Also inside lemonade inspired red carpet trends and inside the Iris Van Herpen Exibit.


Actress Annie Ilonzeh graces the cover Urban Lux Mag. Also inside lemonade inspired red carpet trends and inside the Iris Van Herpen Exibit.