Increasing up in the 1990s and early 2000s, photographer Adrienne Raquel remembers the period of the video vixen perfectly. Hip Hop honeys like Melyssa Ford, Karrine Steffans, Buffie the Overall body, Bria Myles, Gloria Velez, Esther Baxter, and Rosa Acosta have been like lyrics of Wu Tang Clan’s “Ice Cream” appear to lifetime. Reworking eye sweet into a wonderful art, each and every vixen possessed her possess innate design and style and physicality, and became icons of femininity and stars in their own appropriate.
Raquel arrived of age at a time when analogue and electronic engineering 1st converged. “I grew up in a Black domestic in which at every single second we were being tapped into the lifestyle,” she states. “Both of my mom and dad liked new music, film, and Television set. I grew up feeding into all of it. My father employed to carry residence magazines like Jet, Ebony, Vibe, XXL, and The Resource. I would glimpse by people journals, tear out these awesome ads for Rocawear and Baby Phat, and scan them into our laptop to make my possess graphic artwork.”
On the cusp of adolescence, Raquel watched music video clips with more mature cousins, gazing on the vixens in awe. “What drew me to them as a kid and even now at 30, is that these gals were being crème de la crème, recognised as the superstars in their possess appropriate,” she suggests, “I was an only boy or girl, super introverted, very shy, a late bloomer, and quite sheltered. These ladies had self esteem in their sensuality, a sense of energy and attract that is some thing I always wished to have – regardless of whether escalating up, as a teenager, or now as a youthful lady.”
Whilst Raquel is a self-explained “wallflower,” she’s quickly in the blend photographing Travis Scott, Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion, Selena Gomez, manner, and attractiveness for T Magazine, Vainness Good, CR Fashion Guide, Dior, and Pat McGrath Labs. Just lately highlighted in Antwaun Sargent’s landmark reserve in The New Black Vanguard: Pictures Among Artwork and Manner (Aperture), Raquel now normally takes centre phase with ONYX, her initially solo museum exhibition, on April 22 at Fotografiska New York.
As a teen, Raquel moved to Houston and went to college there, creating her vision as a photographer in H-Town. For several years, she dreamed of photographing the dancers at Club Onyx, Houston’s most famed strip club, memorialised in songs by Drake, Travis Scott, and Megan Thee Stallion. “I was like, I want to go!” she remembers. “If you’ve never ever been to a strip club, it can be a little bit jarring. You have these girls walking all around, the guys, the cash – it is a whole lot to get employed to. After I acquired further than the original attract, I commenced to fork out interest to the dancers, their dynamics, and how they converse with one particular a further from throughout the place. I informed myself, 1 day when I make it I’m going to come back again and document this – and in this article we are in 2021.”
Roman philosopher Seneca wisely noticed, “Luck is what occurs when preparing meets possibility,” and Raquel embodies this mantra. When requested what operate she might like to create for an exhibition at Fotografiska, the young photographer recalls, “I was so all set and threw it out there with no hesitancy. I was like, The Strip Cluuuub!” Right here, Raquel takes us inside a mythic place, a planet where by women of all ages reign supreme, and shares the stories at the rear of the images that she designed.
Adrienne Raquel: ONYX is on view at Fotografiska New York via September 2021