Rest in peace to legendary photographer Victor Skrebneski who passed away at the age of 90 years. He leaves behind an indelible archive of iconic images from launching the career of supermodel Cindy Crawford, Diana Ross, David Bowie, Iman, Bette Davis, Orson Welles Andy Warhol among so many others.
A few of my favorites with Ms. Ross –
I had to honor to work with him for an unprecedented 16 pages for the 1995 Saks Fifth Avenue Fall Catalog. Here are a few of the images, thank you Mr. Skrebneski – Rest Well.
Jody Watley: A Journey Into Sound rolled into Washington D.C.’s historic The Howard Theatre on Saturday February 8, 2020. The show begins with disco funk and soul, where I’m joined by SRL on a few of my Shalamar hits before we move on to our own releases (The Mood & The Passion) seamlessly transitioning the over 90 minute show into house, R&B, bossa nova jazz, a paired down funky rendition of “Friends”, a piano and vocal only “Everything” along hits from the 80’s, 90’s, Skin Deep from the just released ‘Winter Nights’ EP along with a the underground critically acclaimed aptly titled 2000 electronic opus “Saturday Night Experience.”
It’s all about L O V E!
Disco Fabulous with SRL to open the show “A Journey Into Sound” – they guys join me on Shalamar hits and SRL new music.
J O D Y W A T L E Y – Getting it in with the fellas ‘Some Kind of Lover’
“Friends are hard to find..”
Soulclap! Saturday Night Experience.
Photography by Sneakshot Photography All Rights Reserved. (c) 2020
Jody Watley. Blue Issey Miyake Plastic Body Mold. Performing on Soul Train 1988. I had red as well as black though I believe I had the red customized to black.
I originally wore the Issey Miyake plastic bodice on my U.K. solo single in 1984. The label didn’t believe in the project or my direction so things never got off the ground—until I returned to USA
In 1984 – London ironically not fitting their image and box of “R&B artist” the UK label wanted me to just be the girl from Shalamar and to do something similar .. I had other plans. “You have to have a vision and believe in it. It paid off for me ultimately” – Jody Watley
I was tagged in a post with the very fashion forward Zendaya rocking a Tom Ford plastic bodice this week. Gorgeous.
Jody Watley 1988 in May’s issue of Harper’s Bazaar photographed by Francesco Scavullo wearing Angel Estrada, hair by Jeff Woodley, make up by John Evans.
I’ve told the story before, but here it is again in a quick snapshot. When my publicist notified that Harper’s Bazaar wanted to feature me in the magazine with photo session in New York by the legendary fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo who has lensed some iconic images over the decades. They had no idea who he was or the additional significance.
this wasn’t a common occurrence in the music business at that time. My label did not agree to fly me to New York for this major opportunity asking me what did being in a fashion magazine have to do with selling records – forget the major exposure, the broadening of the audience, establishing me beyond music as a budding fashion icon and brand or however one wishes to look at things. I didn’t want to miss out and so I paid for my own flights and hotel to do this. Always invest in yourself if you have the means to do so.
Eventually of course major labels embraced the concept and additional prestigious PR and it became commonplace -and of course went even further with black superstar women in music like Rihanna, Beyonce, and more (Ciara, Alicia Keys) gracing the cover of high fashion magazines.
My solo debut was so monumental in a variety of ways beyond the Grammy nominations, winning Best New Artist, the hit singles and more. Always believe in yourself.
I’ve had many styles and looks over the years..no doubt my solo debut looks from the late 80’s are what many emulated back then and continue to with variations of it present day. My thing was black girls, Latin girls and other ethnicities could be edgy, funky and different too. Before it was a thing, vintage or thrift store pieces have always played a role in my personal style and pairing high end pieces with those others may consider as bargain bin. Sunglasses have also always been a staple in my wardrobe, not to mention the signature jumbo hoop earrings. In my in progress memoirs, I cover the politics of being a black girl who didn’t fit the box for the many in R&B, radio (why is she dressed like that?) and media and with some fans. It’s an interesting subject to reflect upon and to have pushed past and in my own way, broken through some of those obstacles.
Fast forward to 2019 and moving into the new decade it’s a good idea to continue to repurpose clothes, mend, buy second hand – it’s good for the environment and your wallet. Always donate, consign, mix it up and be you.
Working the skirt and handheld fan was inspired by flamenco dancers as a child and later the delicate use in Japanese culture. My collection is ever-growing from gifts to those I purchase in my travels..as well as custom.
Jody Watley – Ebony Magazine. Trendsetter. Soul Train…I even had a handheld fan brooch for extra detail.
A staple at my live shows. Often imitated over the years.
By always doing my own thing, keeping to myself, and just not being afraid to be different for the most part has always made me feel like a bit of an outcast – I’ve always been comfortable with that for the most part.
I’ve seen the popularity of the hand-held fan grow over the decades, and those who try to emulate or imitate me make use. It’s an art form if used properly.