By: Neecole Cockerham
The moon has a gravitational pull that is so powerful it causes what is know as a tidal force. A tidal force causes the earth and its water to swell; These actions are what determine if the level of ocean’s tide is high or low. Either way once this occurs the water, no matter how still, has a ripple effect, a shift; a change; Today, Goldenvoice’s newly formed Gvblack an AEG subsidiary along with Coachella announced several new inclusivity, progressive social initiatives. The buzz trend hype is about the new Coachella and Black lives matter merchandise that is on sale today. The Gvblack employees are proud to introduce is a socially influenced project powered by a new initiative as a direct impact of the murder of George Floyd to recognize the inequity of people of color in the info structure of Coachella. The objective is to bridge the gap with minority entrepreneurs and companies to infuse into the workforce.
The new Coachella x BLM merchandise exposes the creations of four Black designers Bricks and Wood, Nicholas Mayfield, Supervision & The newly introduced designer Diana Boardley who notably becomes the first Black Woman to do design merchandise for Coachella since the inception of the music and arts festival in 1999.
The half Liberian, Baltimore born visionary is a single mother who loves the joys of Motherhood. Diana is fueled by her work ethic to instill qualities of excellence in her children just as her Mother, Grandmother and Aunt poured into her. She freely admits that her process to be the full- time sole provider for her children after ending a fifteen-year marriage has been a struggle. “I want my children to know the truth about life, that includes the ups and the downs. The tides are ever changing depending on the time of year. Timing is always key in every life situation.” I was a full-time student when I attended John Hopkins University for my MBA. I have spent the last decade working full-time at the renowned Kennedy Kreiger Institute in Neuropsychology.” “Everything I’ve ever done was fast pace and full-time. I have place myself last for so long, I am just now clearing space for me.
The self-proclaimed women entrepreneur began designing as her passion on the side fifteen years ago. Diana has worked along side legendary merchandise brands. She is the original designer of the iconic Maestro character for JDilla. Mostly known as an industry insider favorite, she has remained behind the scenes quietly designing and manufacturing, until now. The current shift is high tide the moon is full, and it must renew.
Coachella x Black Lives Matter Merchandise. What does it all mean to you?
It’s a historic project for me to be a part of as a designer. Coachella is its own monumental platform with its own subculture and Black lives matter are the Black injustice advocates. I am honored I had the opportunity to work on the project. Once we discussed the brand collaboration, I read the statement Coachella released written a Goldenvoice V.P Rhea Roberts-Johnson and I was completely inspired. I started sketching that day.
I love the Design. What is your interpretation of it?
“I thought of the inequality in the world. The fist represents strength, the words Coachella dance from thumb to wrist and the BLM in red for lives lost & love needed. “My contribution is the love & Unity T-shirt. The collaboration of Coachella x BLM is powerful I had to represent the fist. I initially set my intention to spread Love with my design. I also wanted to create a piece that all people would feel comfortable wearing. I was specific about my color ways because its conscious apparel, so it has meaning as well.
At this time in your life what is the best part of this project and how has the experience been for you? Also has the project been impacted by the pandemic?
“The introduction as a designer is great. However, the most exciting element of the project is being able to give back. Each designer was able to select a 501c3 nonprofit organization to donate proceeds to. I selected a pilot program Sole Folks from the Non-Profit Organization Black Owned and Operated. Sole Folks is a young incubator program that pairs Mentors with youth ages 13-23 years old, they learn to design and manufacture T-Shirts. They also learn how to start a business. I take pride in knowing to the kids will benefit.” I love to help kids I plan on mentoring in the program”.
Yes, we have safety gloves and mask in place at our manufacturing facility due to Covid-19. The pandemic has had a significant effect, I actually met Rhea (V.P of Goldenvoice and the Gv Black team over a zoom meeting.
I was in the office the day Diana and Rhea met. I was in the middle of me interviewing Rhea; Diana was dropping off shirts and I’d made reference to whom I was interviewing and the two had a moment to introduce themselves. The earth has shifted. The two Black women were uniquely connected by the unification of the recent Civil unrest as opposed to the precedent that plagues us as Black women and a culture; The crabs in the barrel mentality. The renewal of this moment was inspired by creativity and a relentless effort to effect change. Diana was happy to extend her appreciation for the words Rhea penned as the Coachella statement of inclusiveness which adorn the back of the T-shirt she designed. I was internally ecstatic because it was at that moment, I realized that the cataclysmic event of the pandemic was not in vain and its purpose was change of ourselves and how we receive one another.
What is important as you move forward this journey? What would you like you share with anyone who is your mirror but is still struggling?
“I am allowing myself to take time for myself. I have the support of my two best friends, one reminded me to just breath. My other best friend sends me custom prayers and my Mom send me encouraging quotes. I am just in a forgiving space and I am pushing forward. As I understand myself more, I know that education is key and its something no one can take from you. I am grateful to tap into my passion which is design”.
What are you working on now? What’s next for you?
The project I am currently working on is Brand Collaboration that I can’t divulge. I am still working on Merchandise for Maimouna Youssef she and I collaborate for her line. I also, am launching my brand True That Merch under the Parent Co. The Boardley Brand. The best is yet to come…
The shift is complete. A Black Butterfly is transformed. The Black Butterfly represents longevity and a shift in power.
We as a people have been divided. We had been complacent and comfortable with the day to day monotony of our lives. Our cellphones and computers have become our livelihood, text has become our way to talk to one another. We have become excepting of unacceptable behaviors. We no longer know our neighbors. The entire world is affected by the Covid-19. When we thought nothing else could happen. The world all watched as George Floyd Gasp for his last breath with white police officers’ knee in his neck.
I once read there can be no forgiveness unless blood is shed. Forgiveness is a process of learning to let go. As much as we would like to be able to change the legal aspects of policing, Black Americans continue to be murdered at alarming disproportionate rates followed by protest and Civil unrest. One initiative we are all capable of is the change that begins within ourselves. As a society living with one another we can be a more considerate, more patient and understanding with one another. We are all capable of effecting change starting with accountability. We can be inspired by designer Boardley Boardley and never give up, never be complacent always continue to stretch and reach beyond our own capacity in the pursuit of excellence. We have entered a new day, filled with Trailblazers, Black Phoenixes and now Black Butterflies. If you have not felt the shift of today’s tide, its high. As the world changes and has its ripple effect, when the goodness comes your way grab a piece and be apart of the change for the better. Like the power of the Coachella x Black Lives Matter apparel designed by Diana there is greatness in the details even if you cannot see it.