#KodeNow Exclusive Steve Aoki | #atKode

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From playing at all the top EDM music festivals, designing new collections for Dim Mak, to supporting humanitarian causes, the power of Steve Aoki is unstoppable.


Photo | Bridger Clements | @Bridger
Creative + Fashion Direction | AllanTroy | @allantroy_
Fashion Editor | Alexandra Mandelkorn| @mandelkorn
Talent Coordinator | Lauren A. Camp |@steveaoki
Grooming | Marley Gonzales | @marleythebarber
PR | Ryan Mitchell | @theslaygawd
Videographer |Sam Haskell | @TragicStreez

Kode | Your latest album, Kolony, features a lot of collaboration with hip hop artists like T-pain and Gucci Mane, what was it like working with these music heavy weights and what was your thought process in wanting to work with them?

I wasn’t sure where it was gonna go, if I was gonna be making music for them, or just jumping on future or a project. It was just kinda like winging it and having fun. And then, there was a really good flow happening with some of the artists. I was just in the studio with Lil Uzi Vert, and I would just jump in the studio with Migos, Lil Yachty and then the flow started getting created where it just made sense to do a whole new brand and finish off a project that ultimately became the album.

And now it’s bigger than the album, now I’m going to be making music underneath the Kolony moniker. Now it’s just it’s own vehicle, it’s own brand. And, I’m going to continue with the brand because it’s a pretty strong, solid concept. I’m very proud of it. A lot of these artists I’ve known for quite some time, whether I’ve played with them at festivals or we reached out to each other through social media. So, it was great to be able to kind of blend EDM and hip-hop in a way where it is very much indicative to American culture. And I get to see it, I’m in the UK, doing the Kolony tour out here and I love how all the fans have gravitated towards my new album, and singing along to the songs. And it’s different. It’s sing-a-long-able. Everyone’s kind of like joining in on the chants and joining in on that culture. It’s a life of its own.

Kode | Definitely. So, when it comes to releasing under the Kolony moniker, will you continue to do full albums or will it be singles that you drop? Like throughout the year? What will be the structure of it?

I’m always doing sessions with different artists, and then I gauge it on when I get enough music done, whether it’s going to be an EP or whether it’s an album or whatever. I don’t want to announce them yet because it puts pressure on me to release it. I’m still running on that Kolony train obviously. I’ve been on the road to Neon Future 3 for years, for a few years now, so I have songs banked and I’m ready to kind of start slicing off some of those songs for Neon Future 3, which I have already been doing. Singles like “All Night” and “Just Hold On” are like kind of precursors to Neon Future 3. But it’s pop-driven, it’s very much EDM and pop combined for Neon Future 3.

But last year was very much Kolony, this year is all about bringing back more of my EDM bangers and Neon Future 3. So, I’m dropping 5 Loki, which is my follow-up to 4 Loki and it’s all collars with different EDM artists, and we’re just making pure festival bangers. So, I have one song with Hardwell, one song with Laidback Luke, one song with Quintin one song with Loopers, and one song with Vini Vici. I’ve been testing them out, tooling them, reworking them, but they just work great. Hardwell already played out one of our songs; he says it banged out. Laidback Luke’s been playing our song. Quintin and I have been playing our song for quite some time because we made it like last year, and finishing that off. It’s gonna be a lot of bangers coming out. Slowly but surely I’ll be ready to drop Neon Future 3, and putting out singles, tons of my singles that are cross-collaborative, cross-genre.

Kode | That’s awesome. Seems like you’ve definitely got a lot of new music pumping, and the gears are definitely spinning. Seeing as you’ve been obviously like a pioneer in the world, world class DJ for well over a decade, and obviously categorized as a legend, what is your take on the current state of EDM and what the music culture is around that? What have you witnessed in your transition through the years of being within the industry?

Well, it’s funny because it’s like what you see … an analogy I would put with the EDM is what you see on TV and what’s real are two different things. When you think about EDM and you think about the term EDM in media or in conversations that we have online it’s almost like a bad word. You know, it’s almost like, “Oh, I’m not EDM. I don’t want to be known as that. I don’t want to be seen as that.” But then when you go to festivals and you’re raging with your audience, they want EDM. They want energy. They wanna go crazy. They wanna get lit. They wanna leave their skin, leave their body. They wanna just go nuts with you.

But then when you talk about it in the conversations like, “No, no, no. We can’t make EDM anymore.” It’s kind of like now, 2018, it’s all about reclaiming that word in a positive way. It’s been this kind of a bad word for the past few years now when it became so big, and now for me it’s all about reclaiming that word. For 2018, it’s all about EDM for me. So that’s why I made a big effort to team up with other EDM DJs and make pure EDM bangers for our world. To feed our world what they really want at the shows.

For me as an artist, I need to expand and involve and try new things and experiment and work with different genres. I find a lot of inspiration when I’m in the studio with someone from a completely different world and we make something completely different and surprise people. That challenge is exciting and it’s always going to provoke and find a new creative process that’s going to spark something brand new. And I love being able to do that. I love challenging myself, being uncomfortable in situations so I can learn. And, once again, the most important life lesson is that I know very little in life because I’m always a student.

You have to go into things thinking that you know nothing to very little, and you have so much to learn. And even though I’m 40 I’m still very much a student of life. And when you have that train of thought, you find yourself filled with inspiration and filled with so many more perspectives.The two things I wanna stay away from is being jaded and cynical.

Kode | I’ve always kind of said the same thing, being an eternal student of the universe. So that’s definitely right on the money. I definitely feel that vibe, and everyone’s kind of been on that wave of trying to find existential meaning in the past two years. With some of your recent collabs, can you tell us any one of your favorites? I know you just recently, like ‘All Night’ with Lauren.

Recently, I think the Backstreet Boys were pretty interesting to be in the studio with. I love those guys, they’re kind of like legends. However, to this day one of my favorite collaborations ever is Linkin Park. I haven’t been in the studio with them in a while, but I just started working on a couple songs with Mike Dashing for his new project. I’m not sure if it’s gonna be on his project or if we’re gonna like trade off. We’ll do one song for my album, one song for his. But I mean, literally you hear his stuff and you just wanna break down. It’s very emotional, very human and I love Mike to death. I love Linkin Park, I love Chester. So being able to work with him and get him through his pain, through music, I’m just like glad I can be a friend and do that.

I’ve also worked with Tom Morello and with Rage Against the Machine, one of my favorite bands in the universe. That was very, very exciting to work with Tom. And the singer of Rise Against is on the song. He recorded his vocals in the studio with Jim Atkins from Jim Eat World.

Kode | You definitely have a great list of favorites. You also just recently worked with BTS and you know they’re a huge K-Pop group kind of taking over America. What was that process like and being a big step for them and their American domination?

I absolutely love these guys. Beyond the music, we have a real and really good bond. Honestly, I remember just hanging out with Rap Monster or RM and the whole crew. I gave RM my sweater and he’s like, “Yo, I love your sweater and I gave him my sweater and he’s like take my jacket. We gave each other clothes. You don’t just do that with other artists. You know what I mean? They’re like my brothers. We really have a really great bond, and that changes the way we work together. You know, it’s just a different process.

My favorite collaborations are ones where you get inspired to work with people and you find really good friendship and a bond like that. Like working with Louis Tomlinson has been such a pleasant surprise. We just became really good friends over that song. I really feel a strong bond with BTS and with RM and when I hear their name I get all excited like they’re family. And I love how “Mic Drop” just blew up. That remix blew up. I love that I was part of that. And we got some really exciting stuff coming up. There’s no date yet and there’s not much I can say because we’re still working on it, but I know it’ll blow people’s minds. I know it’s not just for the fans. It’s definitely gonna be for the general public and they’re really gonna hear. People that don’t know who I am, people who don’t know who BTS are, they’re gonna know about this song. These songs that we’re working on are really, really good.Kode | Who would you say are your dream artists? Like on your major wish list to collaborate with, that you have not yet?

I’d say Eminem, he’s like the milestone. Eminem, for sure and also Drake. I’d put both of them at the top of my list for sure. Same with Kendrick, too. Kendrick and I were in the studio back in the day. We were really close on doing something, but nothing seemed to come out of that. Hm, and Kanye too, he would be on the list as well. You know what, this is pretty different, I also just like being in the studio that changed the game that influenced. So, doing a song with Elon Musk would be amazing too.

Kode | Interesting. That’s dope.

I would love to put him to the creative and just have him do some spoken word, you know? Collab on a musical idea. It’d be just really interesting to come up with melodies with him and then maybe like have him jump on the mic. So, I love having that kind of element in the studio.Kode | That’s super interesting. I love that idea. And you have Dim Mak, which is your independent brand, your own label. It also now features your own clothing line and everything. What’s kind of been the whole process behind having your own label, and where do you wanna take that. And your own fashion line. Where do you expect for those things to go? And how do you wanna grow the Dim Mak brand?

It’s kind of like an octopus brand. There’s a lot of different aspects, like we have a central nervous system, but then we have different organizations that come out of the community. So, just having a business in the music world for over twenty years is already like a testament to the community itself. So I’m very thankful for the community that supported the business and the ecosystem because we wouldn’t be where we are without our community. That’s for sure. And Artemis that have really supported us, and we’ve taken risks on supporting and they’ve taken risks on us. It’s definitely a copasetic relationship.

But the fashion angle has been a major responsibility. And it’s been something that’s been consuming a lot of my time as well. Outside of the studio, I’m working heavily on the fashion side and it’s such a different wheelhouse. It’s a different business, it’s a different infrastructure, different team. Absolutely, incredibly challenging. And it costs lot of money, it’s just really expensive and lots of risk involved. Where the music side of things it’s a self-sustainable business. It’s grounded and has a very solid foundation. Fashion is ever-changing and I’m new at it still. Even though I’ve been doing it for quite some time I feel like we have a lot more work to do.Kode | Definitely. So there’s obviously a lot of young, fresh talent within the music industry as a whole, but what are some advice that you would give to some of the younger artists in EDM, in Hip-Hop, in R&B like throughout the entire music scope? What’s something that, as a legend in the industry, what is something that you would give to them to help them get to the next step in their careers?

You know, whenever there’s a very popular genre there’s going to be a lot of artists trying to get into that field because it’s so exciting. It’s so exciting to see and you wanna participate. First of all, there’s room for everyone. There’s room for everyone to try. So don’t not think that you don’t have what it’s got to make it. When I first got into DJing, I definitely wasn’t thinking like, “OK, I’m gonna be one of the top guys.” I’m just gonna do my thing in a very small setting and do the best I can. And that’s the same approach that we could take.

Doesn’t matter what period of time you’re in when you start, no matter how saturated is. What you’ve gotta do is you’ve got to make whatever you do that’s in front of you, you’ve gotta make that special. The music or product that you put out there, you’ve got to make that unique to you and that tells your authentic life experience. There’s no one else that can tell your life experience but yourself. And that’s where you find your unique qualities. That’s where you start developing your signature sound is by going into your own life experience and bringing that out into the world.

Kode | That’s great, great advice. I fully believe in that 100%. So at the end of the day, you’re Steve Aoki. What would you say keeps you the most grounded in your humanity and in the realism of the world and the universe outside of the world of being a superstar DJ?

Going back to your roots. You’ve gotta go back to your roots. You need to really go back to the beginning. And you’ve gotta remember your history. You know? And then you realize the things you might complain about now, you definitely weren’t complaining about it in the beginning. You’re like, “Holy shit, if only I could be there.” You know what I mean? If only I could be on that stage or if only I could fly first class or only if I could be delivered in a car without my driving. Whatever it might be that you’re complaining about now, you definitely weren’t complaining about that in the beginning.

Kode | Yeah, it’s like they say, “Remember when you prayed for what you have now.”

Yep, exactly.

Kode | That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Steve. Those are definitely some great points. I really appreciate you taking the time out to chat with us. Thanks, man.

Alright, man. Thanks a lot.

Exclusive Olivia Culpo | #atKode

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Photo by Bradford Rogne


She took the crown as Miss Universe back in 2012 and now, Olivia Culpo has her eyes set on dominating the fashion industry and more.


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Photo | Hudson Taylor | @photobyhudson
Creative + Fashion Direction | AllanTroy | @allantroy_
Fashion Asst. | Gabriela Mershad + Anastasiia Znova| @mersheykisses @nastiaznova
Production Asst. | Jeanette Chiu |@jeanette.sc
Hair | Cesar Ramirez | @cesar4styles
Makeup | Anthony Nguyen | @anthonyhnguyenmakeup
Manicurist | Shigeko Taylor | @nailsbyshige
Art Direction | Tony Todd | @mediaenhancer

Kode | It takes real dedication and perseverance to participate in the pageant circuit. Let alone to actually take the top honor of Miss Universe like you did in 2012. Growing up did you always want to be a pageant girl or is it something you kind of just stumbled into?  

Being in pageants was definitely not something I thought I would ever see myself doing! I knew I wanted to get into the fashion world, so I did a lot of research, and now here we are! Entering into Miss Rhode Island was a huge step towards the career I knew I wanted for myself. I was certainly not a “girly girl” growing up, and I learned a lot from the other girls in the pageants. They taught me so much about fashion and beauty and I will forever be grateful for that experience. 

Kode | You’ve truly taken to fashion now that your pageant days are behind you and you are truly killing it with your style. How did you get into fashion and what do you think best describes your personal style? I love trying out different trends and styles.

I really love the idea of being able to express myself through fashion, and I think that is something a lot of people can get behind. My style is constantly evolving. Just like you change and evolve as you grow, so does your wardrobe! I love to try out different trends – Right now I am really into fanny packs and layering. I think there is something so vintage and fun about the fanny pack, and layering is such a fun way to turn a dress you’re getting tired of into a totally different outfit by adding a simple T-shirt or even a turtleneck underneath!   

Kode|You’re pretty much a permanent fixture on the fashion week scene. What is your favorite part of attending fashion week and are there any designers whose shows you consistently look forward to seeing?

During fashion month I especially love playing with street style fashion. There are no rules during this time and I get to be as creative as I want! I see the incredible looks the fashion editors are wearing, and it is so inspiring to me. I look to them for constant inspiration for my looks.  There are so many shows and designers who blow my mind during fashion month. Every year I look forward to seeing what designers like Dior, Saint Laurent, and Vauthier will reveal. This year especially I and am very intrigued with what Jacquemus, as well as Sally Le Pointe are doing. All of the shows remind me of art, and I am so excited to see what everyone will reveal!

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Kode| You’ve now got some acting credits under your belt, what is it that drew you to acting and what type of roles can we expect to see you play?

I started acting in college and completely fell in love.  It is such a great outlet self-expression and I am constantly trying to become a stronger actor.  I hope to play many different roles, as I believe being a great actor is being able to become so many different characters on screen. As far as movies being released this year, I have a small part in the new Amy Schumer movie “I Feel Pretty” coming out this summer. 

Kode| You also recently opened a restaurant with your family in Rhode Island, what has it been like working so closely with your relatives and have you learned any new skills along the process? I’m sure that has to be special for the city with you being former Miss Rhode Island.

Owning The Back 40 in RI with my dad has been such a fun adventure! I am so close with my family in the first place, so it was natural to go into business together. Going into the restaurant business just made sense for us. My dad actually owns other restaurants in Boston, and that has really made this venture so smooth. My whole family loves to cook, and we are just having such a great time with it! This past year we had Thanksgiving dinner at Back40 with all of our extended family and friends, and that just makes it so special. 

Kode|What are some lessons you feel you learned from your past relationships and do you have any advice or other young women looking to find love?

I know this sounds so cliché, but I really do believe it is so important to always follow your heart and stay true to yourself.  It is so important to know who you are, and to love yourself before even trying to find someone else to love! Find someone that brings out the best in you and supports you in everything you do. 

Kode| We recently saw the promo for your upcoming E! docuseries “Model Squad” featuring yourself Devon Windsor, Ashley Moore, Ping Hue, and a few more beautiful ladies. What was it like filming the show and can you give us a preview of what it is we’ll be seeing you all get into on the show?

Filming the show was so much fun! It was the first time I really had a camera crew with me for all times, so at first, it did take some getting used to! I really had such a great time filming this show, and it was such a great opportunity to get to know all of the other girls on the show so much better.  They are all powerful and inspiring women!

Kode| What’s the biggest motto you tend to live by in life?

I don’t have one motto, I think that at different times in your life, different saying speak to you. My favorite motto right now – What happens to you happens for you.

#GenerationNoir: Zendaya Cover Kode Magazine January

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From fashion to music to acting Zendaya is leading the chic charge for young black girls everywhere

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Photographer | Bradford Rogne

Creative Direction | AllanTroy

Contributing Fashion Editor | Law Roach

Hair | Kim Kimble

Makeup | Allan Avendaño

Article | Ricky Bennick

Zendaya Wears

Top + Skirt |

Shoes | Stuart Weitzman 

Ricky: Well, you know, like when nobody is looking maybe you’ll down a carton of ice cream…I don’t know – secret indulgences!

Zendaya: Well that’s, to me, nothing to be ashamed of. Like I personally will eat ice cream all day every day in front of everyone’s face and have no shame. That’s just like a known fact. All my weird, lazy tendencies I’m pretty public about. All my fans know that I’m a dork.

Ricky: Is there anyone who you would absolutely die to work with – producer, director, another actor, musician?

Zendaya: Of course! Like I’ve said multiple times, if Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp and/or Leonardo DiCaprio every need a daughter in a scene, I will take one line! I can say hi and then leave and be completely satisfied with life.

Ricky: Take a hi and do a little hair-flip.

Zendaya: You know what I’m saying? Hi and hair flip and call it a day.

Ricky: You play K.C. Cooper on the Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover. K.C. is really good at math. Do you and K.C. share this particular gift in common?

Zendaya: Aha! Well let’s just say that when I was in high school, I feel like I was good at math. I did well, but once the test was over, I mean I couldn’t tell you what the heck it was about. I feel like you just get to that point where you learn it, and then it just disappears! Which is the opposite of song lyrics, for example, you can bring up of song from the nineties and still remember every single lyric. It’s strange, but I’m sure there are a lot of teenagers who can identify with that.

Ricky: And adults, too! K.C. Undercover is back this February. Anything special you can tell us about what’s in store?

Zendaya: What’s really cool about this year is that I’ve stepped into the producer role. Now I can be even more hands-on. Also, I think every character is maturing and coming into their own, and the show is taking more form. It’s exciting to be in on everything and have so much of a voice in the making of the show.

Ricky: What do you enjoy most about producing?

Zendaya: It’s really cool to be a producer as well as an actor because you can make decisions from both sides. A lot of people make decisions as producers without the thoughts of the actor in mind. Or vice-versa. Actors make decisions without the thoughts of the producers and network in mind. So I like bridging the gap between actors and producers.

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Ricky: So actors can come to you because you’ve been there and they know you understand.

 Zendaya: Mmhmm. And also! I can be the voice of cool things. Because I’m the youngest producer on the show, so I’m kind of the voice of cool.

 Ricky: K.C. is a spy. What is the biggest difficulty she’s ever had to face on the job?

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 Zendaya: So she works for the government, or The Organization, as we call it on the show. She does craziness every single day. She is attacking bad guys and all this craziness, but I think her biggest challenge is finding the balance between living life and being a teenager without missing any of it. That’s cool, because I think a lot of young people can relate. Everybody has something that they want to do that they have to make sacrifices for, because – hey you have soccer practice today, or hey you made a commitment to be on a team. So it’s like that but kind of at an over-the-top level.

 Ricky: You rock really amazing, sometimes daring looks on the red carpet You seem to have fun and take risks with what you wear. Where does your love of fashion come from?

 Zendaya: I’ve always been into fashion. When I was younger, I would read a lot of fashion magazines, and kind of started to create my look for less. I had two teachers as parents, so we were ballin’ on a budget. I would try to make my own little jackets and try to embellish them myself. Cut old T-shirts, do the whole thing, be my own designer. I was tying to figure it out as a young twelve year old. I did finally hit a point when I got a little older where I just started to dress for myself. And that’s the best place to be.

Ricky: Could you see yourself having your own fashion line some day?

Zendaya: Of course! I have a shoe line that I’ve been working on coming out called Daya. It’s definitely for every woman. There’s that price point where it’s cheap enough for anyone to buy but not cheap shoes. I don’t want a woman to feel like she’s rocking the look for less. I want her to feel like she’s rocking the look.

 Ricky: Any favorite designers?

 Zendaya: I’m one of those people that likes a little bit of everything. So I don’t like to be biased in any way. I love Vivienne Westwood, though. I love that she marches to the beat of her own drum. I’ve been thankful to have designers who have reached out to me like Fausto Puglisi and Christian Siriano – these are just great people who not only are super talented people at what they do but also really cool people that I’ve been able to get to know and build relationships with.

 Ricky: Everything that you do in your career – whether it’s rocking a look on a red carpet or acting, singing, or hosting – all of it requires so much confidence. Where do you get your confidence from?

 Zendaya: I think I get my confidence mostly from the women in my life. I have a lot of very strong women in my life that have either faced or dealt with certain struggles specifically so that I didn’t have to. My mom right now is going through her, what I call butterfly metamorphosis. Being a teacher and a mom and now getting back to herself and do things for herself again – seeing her go through that transformation and really finding her own beauty – which I think that can happen at any age – but just seeing that happen to her is really cool. My oldest sister has been a great role model. She’s taught me little things like how to wrap my hair at night, how to keep my bathroom clean, how to make sure that my perfume is layered the right way. Teaching me not only that woman stuff – whatever you call it – but also teaching what it means to be a good person. My sister is one of those people that is like my mom – very giving, wants to make sure everyone else is ok and thinks of other people before herself. I learned my confidence them.

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Zendaya Wears

Suit | House of CB

Shoes | Christian Louboutin

Ricky: What is your favorite place in the world that you’ve ever been to and why?

Zandaya: My favorite place in the world that I’ve ever been to is definitely South Africa. That was an amazing trip. It’s so important I think for every young black person to travel to Africa at some point. There’s a lot of history there that I feel we need to be connected to and learn about. I was there with UNAIDS, and we did a lot of cool work. It was a very inspiring trip.

Ricky: How was your experience working with UNAIDS, and what sort of work did you do?

Zendaya: While we were out there, our main initiative was to launch ProTest HIV, which is a new campaign that’s geared toward young people. It was myself, Nico and Vinz. UNAIDS wanted to bring out young people to talk to fellow young people about about AIDS, getting tested and make it an open dialogue and not something that’s so awkward or taboo to talk about. I met a lot of families that were effected by HIV/AIDS and just kind of worked on understanding the epidemic. Over all, the numbers are going down, but they’re actually going up in young people.

Ricky: What did you learn about HIV/AIDS while in South Africa that most surprised you?

Zendaya: A lot, really. Just the amount of people who are affected. In America, we like to forget that it exists. We’d like to think it’s something distant, but it’s very close, and it’s closer than we think. Like I said, it effects young people more than it affects anyone else right now. We want young people to be the most aware, and have them have the lowest numbers. It’s all about educating people.

Ricky:You’ve been very outspoken about diversity in Hollywood, which is great. And necessary. It really takes young voices like yours to keep the conversation going. Even though we’ve made a lot of progress, there are a lot of people who are who are unwilling to talk about it. How close do you think we are to completely solving the problem of racism in the entertainment industry?

Zendaya: I can’t tell you. I don’t know the future. I will tell you there is a lot of work to be done. That’s just the truth of the matter. I’m not sure who posted it, but there was this post about the total number of lines read by a black person in movies in 2015. It was literally the shortest video you will ever see – it’s crazy. I think it’s a problem. As a young African American person, it is so important to be able to see yourself in someone in media. It’s so important to have that representation. It’s necessary. We’ve made some great strides, especially in TV. The number one shows we have are Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, with very strong black female leads that are killing primetime television – that’s Shonda Land, you know. It’s progress, but it will take time. It’s something still worth talking about, because people don’t really think about it. I think that’s why some people don’t understand why some things are as important to us as African American people – why we take a stance on certain issues.

Ricky: When you were a kid, was there anybody from the African American community whom you looked up to? Someone who could represent you in media?

Zendaya: Absolutely. I think it’s a known fact, but Beyonce was that for me when I was younger. Beyonce is someone I have always been obsessed with.

Ricky: Ever gotten to hang out with her?

Zendaya: Not really. I’m still waiting for that magical moment.

Ricky: Haha! You and everyone else.

Zendaya: Right? I love her because she’s in control of her career and what she’s created. You can definitely attribute her success to her hard work. You can tell that she works for what she has, and I think it’s really cool.

Ricky: You said earlier that it’s important for members of the African American community to connect with their roots. What kind of impact do you think having that connection with a place of origin would have on the African American community as a whole?

Zendaya: I think it would bring a lot of pride. I think it has done that already a little bit. I notice on social media little hash-tags, like when we have #BlackOutDay or #MelaninMonday or #BlackGirlmagic – however small a hash-tag may be, they mean a lot and are beautiful to see. When you scroll through and see people embracing their natural curls or their skin and being confident in it and feeling that it’s beautiful – that is something that’s really cool to see. Especially on social media, which is usually very negative. And all of that starts with having pride in who you are.

Ricky: Ain’t that the truth. Before we wrap this up, are there any future projects of yours that you would like to talk about?

Zendaya: Music is coming out very soon. I say that a lot, but it really is.

Ricky: When does your new music drop?

Zendaya: Within the next few months. I’ll just say that.

Ricky: Who are your musical influences?

Zendaya: I have old school influences, but I’m definitely into new old school – so like nineties – if I were to say that to my dad, he’d be like, “What the heck?! That ain’t old school.” But I do love listening to Old school Usher, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway. It’s a little bit of everything.

Ricky: We can’t wait to hear!

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