Melanin Magic! These Two Creatives are Reshaping the Media’s Perception of Beauty

Abesi Manyando
5 min readMay 19, 2018
Moshoodat, Islandboi photography

What is beauty? Where is beauty? How do we define beauty in an ever-changing world that is at times dictated and skewed by Aryan beliefs? When magazine covers and television shows are centered around a concept that is far from inclusive in its regard of beauty it can be difficult to appreciate, embrace or define what is truly beautiful and who is beautiful. In the past few years Bethann Hardison Naomi Campbell , and Constance C. White have advanced the conversation about the importance of diversity and inclusion in fashion and beauty. Through their work the fashion industry’s struggle to be inclusive has not gone un-noticed. From runways to print magazines and advertising the lack of diversity is very real and creatives are now taking control of shaping the perception of beauty.

Moshoodat, Island Boi Photography

Social media is creating an equilibrium that is empowering many people to create and present their artistry on platforms that have a massive reach. We are no longer limited to a few people controlling the images that define beauty. Eradicating the ills of the beauty industry one photo at a time while highlighting the beauty of Black women is exactly what make-up artist, Moshoodat Sanni and photographer, Joey Rosado are doing. The duo are visually executing this like no one else. Sanni and Rosado are powerful creatives supplying the world with consistent visuals that celebrate the natural beauty of women of color and specifically the women who are erased the most in various mediums, darker toned women. No matter how difficult this conversation may be the truth is the truth.

Our global society has not graduated from racism or colorism. Actress, Zendaya addressed this in an interview in which she said, there must be a wider representation of Black girls and women in film and television adding that her look (a biracial young women) can not continue to be the protype and only acceptable representation.

Zendaya discusses colorism

While elements of beauty have relatively changed through the years those who are in control of the images released to our social atmosphere have somewhat remained stagnant in their thinking. When Gigi Hadid and other models are recreated to look like Yara Shahidi or other Brown or Black women this contributes to continuing the cycle of erasing women of color from even owning their own looks. It seems the features of women of color are at times most celebrated on non-women of color. We’ve seen the influx of non-women of color get lip, cheekbone and butt implants to look like the very women who are often criticized for their natural Black features, natural hair and facial structure.

Moshoodat: Island Boi Photography

Moshoodat thinks beauty is evolving. “I think beauty is in a very new place and a lot of people are learning and transitioning! And I love how powerful the internet has been.I think it’s amazing how we can influence and shape the narrative and I believe we’re doing our best to continuously creating content that celebrates women of color.”

Check out their Q & A below

Name: Joey Rosado and Moshoodat

Title: Photographer , Makeup Artist

Company: Islandboi photography , Moshoodat

What is your purpose in life, in art?

Mo: My purpose in life is to give and Celebrate every inch of me and everyone else around me. I think it reflects in my art a great deal and I always try to give women of color the freedom to appreciation and have new reasons to love themselves especially since self love is a serious constant battle I have.

What made you decide to work together?

Joey: About 3 years ago I believe, I had a photo shoot with a client and on that day minutes after my client arrived, my makeup artist called out. I contacted Moshoodat to see if she would be available to do the client’s makeup. She was available but before she left her home she was researching/working on becoming a flight attendant. It shocked me because she had a huge passion for makeup. Come to find out that she wanted to be more creative with her artistry and the people she was reaching out to weren’t interested in working with her vision. After the client shoot, I told Moshoodat whatever she had in mind that she wanted to bring to reality, I’ll photograph it. The next few days, she started painting various color lines on herself. After a few creative sessions, she began using models. It really started picking up on social media. It was different, it was colorful, it was vibrant, it was Black Girl Magic. Ever since then, she never looked back.

Describe your art? Define your art?

Joey: My art is colorful, vibrant and very afrocentric. Each photo is unique and magical in their own way.

Mo: Art is love , its freedom and its expression

What separates you from other Creative Directors, Make-up Artists and Photographers

Joey: Since working with Moshoodat, my work is more creative, out of the box, more Avant Garde. More different than the norm you would see in beauty in my opinion.

Mo: I think working from my heart makes me different. Some of our best projects are from daydreams

How did the images you saw growing up influence you today

Joey: They inspired me to be more creative. No matter how crazy or weird it was, It motivated me to surpass my limits. For example, most of Grace Jones’s iconic images inspired me to do what I love to do today.

Who do you look up to?

Joey: I look up to my parents. If it wasn’t for them supporting me, I wouldn’t be where I am today

Mo: Everyone .. Every single person we meet has a story and is strong in some way shape or form.

Finish the sentence. Beauty is…….

Mo: Love