a breakdown of DENZEL CURRY's tmrw cover story
For tmrw's October issue, I envisioned and produced a cover shoot inspired by two iconic movies: Kill Bill & Afro Samurai. The idea behind the visuals was to include Asian references as the issue delves into Asian culture and music.
Known for his passion for martial arts and Manga, Denzel's cover was a great opportunity to explore the cross-section between African-American culture and Asian culture that was first introduced through the Wu-Tang Clan.
They infused their music with their passion for Asian cinema, martial arts, and comic books. The group name originates from the 1981 kung fu film Shaolin and Wu Tang, and their iconic debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is titled after the 1978 Shaw Brothers classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. Not only are they pioneers, but RZA, who founded the Wu-Tang Clan, has been heavily involved in filmmaking, scoring a number of films, including Quentin Tarantino's two-volume Kill Bill films and the Japanese animation series Afro Samurai. In addition to Denzel Curry & Wu Tang Clan, the connection between Hip-Hop and Asian cinema has undeniably inspired other rappers, notably Kendrick Lamar (Kung Fu Kenny) and Nicki Minaj (Chun-Li).
The concept is divided by chapters, paying homage to one of our inspirations, Kill Bill
CHAPTER 1: SEEING RED
Suit: Givenchy | T-shirt: COS | Belt: Artists own | Chains: Renvi and Artists own | Shoes: Saint Laurent
R E D
The color of fire, blood, passion, desire, and love. Associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, and determination, red is very emotionally intense. It is very popular in Chinese culture, symbolizing luck, joy, happiness, celebration, and vitality. Visually, red is greatly important in Kung Fu movies (often used with yellow), so it was crucial that we include it as one of our five color moods.
Arguably the most powerful shade, it enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rates, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, bringing text and images to the foreground, making it ideal for a cover. If you have seen the movie Kill Bill, you've probably noticed the use of extreme close-ups. Filmmakers understand the powerful connection we make with our eyes, using ECU to express complex emotions. Inspired by the images below, the idea behind the cover was to include key details while staying true to Denzel's image.
CHAPTER 2: ICONIC YELLOW
Shirt: Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme | Pants: Jill sander | Shoes: Nike Air Force 1
When you first think of Kill Bill, the color yellow probably comes to mind. The second chapter was inspired by the iconic KB movie posters, as well as other Kung Fu Movies.
CHAPTER 3: OUT OF THE BLUE
Shirt: Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme | Pants: Versace | Shoes: Dr. Martens x UNDERCOVER
In keeping with this theme of using striking colours, the third chapter showcases shades of blue inspired by a few scenes, notably the fighting sequence of the Bride VS. Gogo and The Crazy 88's at the House of Blue Leaves.
CHAPTER 4: GREEN LIGHT
Suit: Fendi | T-Shirt: COS | Chains: Artists own | Shoes: Common Projects
Trench Coat: Comme Des Garcons Homme | Shirt: Givenchy | Pants: COS | Socks: Nike | Shoes: Converse
G R E E N
Spotted during the first fight of KB's Volume one between the Bride and Vernita Green - a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and the first name on the Death List Five - Green is obviously an important detail of this scene.
THE FINAL CHAPTER
Leather Blazer: Barneys New York | Turtle Neck: Barneys New York |Pants: Rick Owens | Shoes: Common Projects
Although some arguably think black-and-white is obsolete, it has played a great role in cinematography, delivering dazzling depth & contrast, beautiful framing, impeccable production design, and most importantly grace and glamour.
Quentin Tarantino used b&w as a homage to '70s and '80s US television airings of kung fu movies, but it also served a specific purpose when the MPAA demanded measures be taken to tone down some scenes. "Black and white (as well as black and red) were used to conceal the shedding of blood from television censors."
Photographer - Dana Trippe
Production - GLDN Productions
Creative Director - Mayillah
Stylist - Lucy Warren | TheOnly.Agency
Grooming - Nia Hicks
THE MUSIC BEHIND THE CREATIVE PROCESS