You probably saw Fred Sands IV’s tribute to Beyoncé a few years ago, when he presented the Queen in a reimagining of the classic Michelangelo painting The Creation of Adam from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Sands, often simply called IV, is a graphic designer from Atlanta in demand from brands like Neiman Marcus, HBO, SKYY, and Netflix. But the Black gay man is also an incredibly talented and inventive artist, best known for his collages of famous women. Here, Sands turns his sights on three powerful Black creatives.
DJ Jash Jay, known for creating distinctive, genre-defying sounds, got his start interning with CBS Radio and Ryan Seacrest Studios, then refined his musical skills at the late Jam Master Jay’s Scratch DJ Academy. Since then, the San Diego native, who was raised in New Orleans, has become one of the hottest DJs in the industry, and is currently singer Ciara’s official mix-master.
Jay made a name for himself supplying his skills to some of the world’s largest music festivals, including BET’s Summer Fan Front tour, the Propel Fitness Festival, and Essence Music Festival.
“Social distancing has been a mix of creativity, productivity, self-reflection, and — if we’re being honest — frustration and confusion,” Jay admits. “But most importantly, social distancing has allowed me to reconnect with aspects of myself that I feel were lost in the noise of constantly being in motion.”
Jay recently partnered with Jameson Whiskey as a culture manager, helping to curate a virtual DJ festival from which all proceeds will benefit the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. He also just launched his own channel, Jash Radio, on Soundcloud. “It’s my newborn,” he says. “I’m extremely excited to deliver new content in the coming months.”
— Desirée Guerrero
On Pose, Ricky blows into people’s lives like a hurricane, leaving a swath of destruction right through people’s hearts. Dyllón Burnside, the actor who plays Ricky, is currently blowing through the parts of the Deep South. But unlike Ricky, Burnside is leaving something regenerative in his wake.
Although Burnside hails from Pensacola, Fla., he says he was “completely shocked” when he learned that one-third of all adult LGBTQ+ Americans live below the Mason-Dixon Line. That’s a lot of queers living in what some might call enemy territory.
Prideland sets out to meet some of those LGBTQ+ Southerners. A six episodes series—and an hour-long special premiering June 12—Prideland is available on PBS’s YouTube Channel, PBS Voices.
Prideland reveals that many of those who stay in the South “feel a deep connection to their hometowns,” Burnside says. “There are so many phenomenal people making change across this country and having a real impact on their communities.” — Jacob Anderson-Minshall
Sean Bankhead has been dancing since his feet first hit the floor nearly three decades ago, but the choreographer to the stars got his big break at 17, dancing beside Beyoncé on national television. The flawless special performance of “Single Ladies” on The Tyra Banks Show in 2008 propelled him into the spotlight. Today, the Atlanta-based artist is one of the most influential and sought-after choreographers having worked with many of music’s major players—including Missy Elliott, Britney Spears, Drake, Miley Cyrus, Ciara, and Normani. Most recently, Bankhead supplied sick choreography for the uplifting and unabashedly queer video for Sam Smith and Demi Lovato’s “I’m Ready,” a shoo-in to become the Pride anthem of the summer. Working with Smith on the Jora Frantzis-directed video was “liberating and freeing,” he says. “One of the most memorable parts was having one of my dancers come up to me after wrap with tears in his eyes thanking me. He never in a million years…thought he would be in a Sam Smith music video dancing, wrestling, and living his best life in a pair of 7-inch stripper heels.” —DG