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Lala Abaddon Is The Cool New Artist You Need To Know

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Photographed by Erin Marie Miller.

We traveled to Detroit to talk about her latest projects

The following feature appears in the December/January 2017 issue of NYLON.

Lala Abaddon is the only person I’ve met who would enthusiastically respond to a Craigslist ad for a bunch of broken glass. “I just went and picked it up for free,” the 29-year-old multimedia artist says with a smile.

We’re standing in the studio space at Red Bull House of Art in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood, surrounded by the glass, as well as wire, cutout butterflies, woven images, and, most noticeably, a life-size cocoon made of layers of translucent materials, as she prepares to walk me through her current works-in-progress.

Click through the gallery to read the rest of this feature.

 

Established in 2011, Red Bull House of Art has given artists the chance to participate in three-month residencies that allow them to create and collaborate with other artists. There is no application process—artists are selected by the Red Bull team to partake in the program.

Although she calls Brooklyn home, Abaddon embraces such opportunities to travel and experience other cities. Before arriving in Detroit, she’d completed a residency at Long Road Projects in Jacksonville, Florida, and will be heading to Denver for the opening of her solo exhibition at the Knew Conscious Gallery on December 10.

“New York is the best of the best,” she says, tucking a strand of her electric green hair behind her ear, “but I think some of its systemic foundations are outdated. Here in Detroit it’s fun—there are a ton of outsider artists who don’t get enough recognition, but who probably wouldn’t be able to make their work without the space they have here and the materials they source.” 

 

Abaddon directs my attention to a sculpture with a white, crystalline base that has wires emerging from it, and tells me that she is currently working on several more just like it. “The sculptures are based on the topography of Detroit, because the first thing I fell in love with here was how the weeds are everywhere,” she says, pointing out that weeds tend to appear between abandoned buildings in the city.

“It’s sad, but it’s also really beautiful—like the earth is taking back over. The weeds are very sturdy and thorny. I liked those elements, and now I’m morphing them into my own style.”

It doesn’t take long to get a pulse on Abaddon’s artistic style: She embraces color, uses unconventional materials, and is not afraid to dive into a work headfirst...or crawl out of it.

“Here’s where I squeezed out,” she says when we return to the giant cocoon, tugging at a small hole in the base. The work is the result of her Jacksonville residency meta-performance, Always in Never, which took 27 consecutive hours to craft.

“When I was inside of it, the sun was coming up and I also had an LED suit on,” she recalls. “I had all of these lights reflecting in there. It was amazing.” She streamed the performance online, and considers the internet a comfortable place to share her work. “I see a lot of positives in social media,” she says. “It’s about being together—you’re experiencing something, you’re making something.”  

 

Transparency is fundamental to Abaddon’s work, both because of the materials that she uses and because of her personal nature.

“I’m brutally honest,” she says. “The first piece I ever made was about being an open book. And that’s kind of saved me in a lot of ways. I almost feel like the demons would eat me alive inside if I wasn’t honest about things.”

She continues, “I really want to talk about the personal stuff that’s gone on in my life, because I think that it’s important to talk about it as a woman, and just show how I’ve gotten out of these situations where I was not in control and taken my life, and my power, back.” From seeing the beauty in broken glass to staging her own metamorphosis, Abaddon is well equipped to do just that.

Screenshot via Youtube

While the song should serve as a reminder to your exes

Just a day after dropping new single "Nunya," featuring Dom Kennedy, Kehlani has released the winter-wonderland visuals to go along with. The singer, NYLON November cover star, and mother-to-be rocks some of the best winter 'fits I've seen in a while, including a glorious puffer jacket that could double as a down comforter that I absolutely need in my life right now.

Kehlani is clearly living her best life up in some snow-filled forest hideaway, vibing on the beach at sunset and sipping on something bubbly as she coolly reminds nosy exes that who she's with is "nunya business." There's not much of a story line (unlike her recent "Nights Like This" video); the main takeaway is that Kehlani is busy dancing through a forest, missing no one and chilling amongst people who are clearly not the subjects of the song.

Kehlani is only two short months away from bringing baby Adeya into the world, who she thanked for helping her get through the video process. "Shot that 7 months pregnant in da snow..." Kehlani wrote on Twitter, adding, "thank u baby for da motivation, mommy was FROZE."

Even from the womb, Adeya has been hustling hard alongside her momma. Twitter user @ODtheMC pointed out that this is already her second music video appearance, and she's not even been born.

Get some mulled wine ready and escape into Kehlani's winter getaway, below. Stay tuned for her forthcoming mixtape, While We Wait, out on February 22.

Kehlani - Nunya (feat. Dom Kennedy) [Official Music Video] www.youtube.com

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Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images.

As in Black Panther Political Party leader

It's been a running joke that the Black parents/grandparents of millennials were really confused about all of the Black Panther hoopla ahead of its 2018 release. Many of them were anticipating a movie about members of the Black Panther Political Party and didn't know who the hell T'Challa was. Well, those people are about to have their moment, and we're about to have another one.

Variety is reporting that Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader at the center of the upcoming biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy, could be played by none other than Daniel Kaluuya. Apparently, he is in negotiations for the role. And he's not the only Black Panther alum in the mix. The Warner Bros. project is being produced by Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler. The same article reports that the forever swoon-worthy Lakeith Stanfield—who appeared with Kaluuya in Jordan Peele's Get Out—is also in negotiations, to play William O'Neal, an FBI informant who infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

Coogler and Charles King are putting together a dream cast to tell a difficult story. Hampton was killed by the Chicago Police Department, while his pregnant girlfriend lay next to him, thanks in part to information they received from O'Neal. Whenever it's out, I strongly recommend having Black Panther queued up as a palate cleanser.

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