4 more

For the April 2018 issue of British GQ magazine, UK-based grime artist Skepta and iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell grace the cover, as the appearance of both stars together has fueled speculations about their secret relationship. The duo is also highlighted in the publication’s featured interview for April, during which they both discuss racism, politics, black power and more.

…on the significance of two black figureheads coming together in this way, gracing the front cover of British GQ.

NC: “Yes, it’s great that we’re a black man and a black woman on the cover of British GQ in 2018. This is the new way; this is what it should be and how it should stay. We’re not a trend. And this year, if you look at fashion ad campaigns, there’s a person of colour in every campaign – and that’s a big deal.”

…on thoughts on the increase of more black models in campaigns.

NC: “This season will be the first time so many women of color will star in major brand campaigns. What’s left to do now is [the] beauty [industry]. But this is not an attack – we’re just making you aware. Sometimes, people are so involved in their business that they’ve got no idea what the casting person is doing. So you have to give them a little nudge and say, “This is just a friendly reminder.” Then after a few friendly reminders, yes, it’s more of a statement.”

…on the importance of big media statements concerning color, such as this magazine cover, the Black Panther film and more.

NC: “I’ve seen so many people sacrifice their lives: Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela… Now, more than ever, when I do a job, I don’t care about fame. I think, “What does it do for my people?” We’ve had to make these statements to remind you when you’re not being diverse. But when you choose, you should make your decision with diversity and balance.”

S: “These magazines are such big deals because they shape how society sees beauty. So thank you to everybody who helped us get here and thank you for acknowledging us. But we’re still always going to do us. I don’t want to make a big thing out of things like this. It’s supposed to be like this.”

…on thoughts about Donald Trump and his comment calling immigrants’ origins “shithole countries.”

NC: “It’s disgraceful. It’s disgusting. Where is the etiquette? Things are tense and they’re tense worldwide. Ignorant people now feel they can come out and openly show their ignorance because the leader of the free world is showing his.”

S: “[Laughs.] I shouldn’t laugh, but with the presidents and people we have in power, who am I to take it seriously? This is hilarious. This is The Sims. This is a game of The Sims.”

…on their reaction when people are racially ignorant to them personally.

NC: “I don’t react openly. I go back and get what I want. You say I can’t have it? Well, I’m going to get it another way. I’ve never used it as an excuse to fall down on as a victim. It drove me.”

S: “Everyone knows their wrong from right, so when people are being racist they know they’re being ignorant. I don’t engage with ignorance. My mother always told me, “Never argue with a fool, because from afar you can’t tell who’s who.” I keep that in my head.”

…on thoughts about Nelson Mandela, who Campbell often refers to as her Grandad.

NC: “I remember getting the Blue Train with President Mandela in my twenties and at each station we would get off and greet each township. But then I remember realising it wasn’t everybody who loved Grandad. It wasn’t everybody who wanted him to be free. I heard people say horrible things…”

S: “He went to the forefront and changed it for black men. There’s a lot of pain that we’ve felt and that we need to churn out. It only takes one man to take himself out of the general mindset of a black man and [the mindset] moves on. When I was younger, he was the one who made me realise who I didn’t have to be.”

…on thoughts about Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement.

NC: “You can’t say that man’s name in the same breath [as Mandela’s]. Well, it affected my charity. [Weinstein] hasn’t honored any of the pledges he made last year, which is disgusting. Syrian and refugee children have lost out because he didn’t give the money. I stand with all women and with every woman who has been violated by that man.”

…on the allegations and if there were rumors about Weinstein’s behavior in the past.

NC: “I wasn’t surprised at all. He’s who he is. It’s awful. I don’t want to talk about him anymore. I’m done.”

…on defining sexual assault, and if a touch on the knee is considered sexual assault.

NC: “If anyone, man or woman, does not want to be touched and you force yourself on them, then it’s assault. There’s nothing to define. It’s wrong, period. I’m thinking of something more than a touch on the knee when you say the word assault to me. I’m thinking of something that’s against the person’s will.”

S: “I think it’s crazy that there are guidelines to “doing right”. It’s just simple. If someone doesn’t feel you like that, then you obviously know. And if they say it to you, then you know anything past that is just wrong.”

…on thoughts of having to be more careful with what to say and do around women, and being a feminist.

S: “For a long time, men were just running around taking the piss, but now the internet has given everyone a voice. Artists like Lil Peep – rest in peace – are talking [about these problems] openly now. And what we’re realising is that sex is it. It’s the reason [all these issues] exist. We have to respect sex. For a long time, men weren’t respecting women. They weren’t understanding mother earth, mother nature, the motherland, all the motherly stuff. And now we are…

I am for feminism. I stand up for women standing up for themselves in the same way I stand up for being black…”

…on the pressure on men to live up to a certain archetype of masculinity.

S: “I watch the National Geographic [Channel] a lot, even without the volume on. I just love watching animals. Because we are animals. Sex is an urge. We want to have sex. But now, people are just going to have to respect sex. If you don’t respect [sex] then we’re not respecting ourselves. I don’t rush into any stuff like that. I’ve got to get married…”

…on witnessing abuse of power in the music industry.

S: “I’ve seen it. But now women are understanding their power [in music], just like in every field of entertainment… Now, I think you’ll find a lot of rappers and artists are getting girl managers. It just makes sense. The guys in my team have learnt a lot from bringing girls in. Some men can’t do it, because they’re stuck in the past, but others are working it out.”

You can also learn more about the first time Skepta and Naomi Campbell met in the video below.

For the full interview, head on over to British GQ.

Now, check out Chadwick Boseman taking over ‘Rolling Stone’ to talk the impact of ‘Black Panther’ and more.

Words by Renz Ofiaza
Staff Writer

Renz Ofiaza is a Staff Writer at Highsnobiety and based in Brooklyn.

What To Read Next