Behind The Scenes of Wu Tang Clan x Milk Makeup
Creating the world of the Wu Warrior was a definite labor of love, the result of a long history shared between two New York cultural institutions. “Wu-Tang and Milk Makeup share so much of the same spirit of self-reinvention, of the drive and ambition of New York, of self-empowerment,” explains Milk Makeup co-founder Georgie Greville, who directed the campaign video featuring Teyana Taylor. But now, she explains, “We’re creating this modern persona for the Wu Warrior.” To find out more about how the campaign came to life, we sat down with Georgie to get an inside look into the world of Wu x MMU. Enter the realm.
The Skyline:We wanted to create this tough, menacing energy to the city. We got super lucky with the cloudy weather because we wanted a moody, gritty New York skyline. The idea that we’re creating this new persona for the Wu Warrior against the backdrop of the city skyline is an homage to Wu-Tang being from across the river in Staten Island. They grew up having New York always in view as this tough spirit within them and were able to make their own reality out of it.
The Choreography:Our amazing choreographers Ebony Williams, who was in Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video, and Jason Rodriguez, showed Teyana a bunch of marks to hit and then she ad-libbed within that. She was down to do kicks, punches, all of these incredible flips. She even got aerial on us; she was doing jumps and flips in platform Docs which is not easy to do.
The Lip Colors:I feel like a unique trait to women is this power to connect things, to empathize, and to push out energy because we take in so much. Our sensitivity and ability to emote are basically superpowers, and I loved this idea of Teyana summoning her armor-of-choice, the Lip Color, with her mind.We were able to capture Teyana in all eight of the Lip Colors and they were all stunning on her; they popped so nicely on screen, too.
Teyana Taylor as Wu Warrior:
Teyana tapped into the warrior spirit immediately. She was super into the character and totally embodied it from the beginning of the day.In the video, she stands within the elements of the earth and is suddenly able to summon her powers, embodied by the Lip Color in the shade Chi. That true red shade represents the ultimate life force that she’s able to balance.
Working With RZA:RZA was very hands-on in concepting the shoot. He helped me come up with shot ideas and frames.
He was also really into the ceremonial aspect of the Lip Colors and was instrumental in creating the I Ching alter. It was originally going to be a much smaller alter, but it turned into this key element in Teyana’s journey; it’s where she first grabs her sword and experiences this kind of alchemical shift in getting her powers.
Incorporating Wu Symbolism:I knew that I wanted to end the piece with the Wu symbol, but RZA came up with this idea of pushing it outwards from the heart. He had this choreography that I didn’t even know existed. It’s so cool because it captures this idea of pushing energy outwards and again celebrating that very feminine power.
New York At Its Roots:
I live for things that don’t make sense, and I think most people would think that Wu-Tang doing a makeup collaboration wouldn’t make immediate sense, but we realized that we share so much of this spirit of self-reinvention, of the drive and ambition of New York, of self-empowerment.
Summoning The Warrior Spirit:
This article originally appeared on Vibes
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