In early 2018 I was invited by the Drinking Partners, a podcast I guested on previously, and Black Brew Culture to be an official collaborator for the inaugural Fresh Fest 2018, the nation's first Black brewery festival. Over 40 Black-owned breweries and spirit brands were expected to commune in Pittsburgh on August 11, 2018 to celebrate Black ownership in an industry that is severely lacking proper marginalized representation. Due to the lack of Black-ownership in the craft industry in Pittsburgh specifically, and to directly involve the thriving Black arts community in the city, 25 Black artists and entrepreneurs were invited to directly collaborate on beverages with local breweries. An amazing opportunity.

I was partnered with Meg Evans, the head brewer at Rock Bottom Brewery in Homestead, PA and we had our first meeting, along with her assistant brewer Lauren, in May 2018. Although I've never been a beer fan (I'm a whiskey/bourbon girl), I was excited to partner with women for the fest and to create a customized craft beverage that would appeal to both avid beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. I was also eager to add packaging design to my repertoire and design art for the beer can that would champion my bold and colorful aesthetic. Meg and I agreed to make an Brut IPA because of its aroma, effervescence, and—most importantly to me—the lack of bitterness. My suggested infusions, honey and passion fruit, were also nailed down after a couple of taste tests between Meg and myself at Rock Bottom.

A few days ahead of Fresh Fest 2018 I released the name and can design (elaboration below), as well as the flavor profile on social media to build buzz. The reaction from the craft beer industry and beyond was instantaneous—THE WORLD IS OURS was about to be a hit. And, indeed, I had the time of my life at Fresh Fest. It was a magnificently affirming day. I don't often have the opportunity to directly experience the impact of my work; that made this experience all the more memorable.

All photos taken by me unless otherwise indicated

The tasting sessions

After Meg, Head Brewer at Rock Bottom, and I agreed on tackling a Brut IPA for our collaboration, I suggested we infuse the product with honey (honey...huny...get it?) and either honeysuckle nectar, elderflower, or passion fruit. Over subsequent weeks I traveled to Rock Bottom and conducted taste tests with some of the infusions and determined that passion fruit was the perfect marriage with the honey. My transition from "I don't really like beer" to creating and approving a flavor profile for my own beer was admittedly lightening quick.

The World is Ours: product design

The next step, after establishing the flavor profile, was coming up with a name. My early suggestions included QUEEN OF HEARTS, THAT BITCH (a callback to my very first website), and SPECIAL GIRL (REAL GOOD GIRL)—a reference to the Q-Tip song "Vivrant Thang." Meg pointed out that several craft beers were already named QUEEN OF HEARTS, so I axed that one. I was leaning heavily on THAT BITCH, but I wasn't 100% sold. I needed a name that would be iconic and, thus, dictate iconic pop-cultural imagery which is decidedly my lane. That's when the Al Pacino cult classic movie "Scarface" came to mind.

Toy companies and 3D fabricators alike have recreated the famous gold statue that guarded Scarface's pool many times. It's very recognizable, especially in the hip-hop community, and primarily the "THE WORLD IS YOURS" mantra that wraps around the globe. And nobody has ever recreated that statue with actual models that I've found, especially not with Black women, so it was intriguing, ambitious, and perfect. I slightly altered the words to read THE WORLD IS OURS to cement the celebratory theme of Black womanhood.

The World is Ours: photoshoot (BTS)

For the photoshoot, I enlisted model and designer Nami Bey, singer Clara Kent, and YouTube beauty guru Monique Hamlett to be my golden muses. Instead of relying on post-editing to make the three women look gold, I actually bronzed them with Mehron metallic body paint coupled with matching gold bodysuits and headscarves to achieve the proper effect. The models even painted themselves and each other when I had to keep stepping away to adjust the lighting or cut fabric. I also spray painted an oversized beach ball gold for the globe, but replaced it in post with a 3D rendered orb. The synergy and sisterhood that developed between me, my photo assistant Kimberly, and my three muses is just a much a highlight of this end product, to me, as the product itself.

After experimenting with more celestial backdrops intended as a nod towards Afrofuturism, I settled on a Miami-themed backdrop as an added visual references to "Scarface."

The World is Ours													Screenshots from the movie "Scarface"; life-sized bronze replica by sculptor Yoki Zhang (bottom left)
Fresh Fest 2018

Fresh Fest took place on August 11, 2018 on the Northside of Pittsburgh. Record numbers of attendees happily swarmed Nova Place the entire day to sip samples, enjoy the live performances (including one by THE WORLD IS OURS muse Clara Kent), and revel in a historic meet-up of Black artists, entrepreneurs, entertainers, and, of course, craft beer aficionados of all races.

The World is Ours													photo by Redd Vision

A stickler for presentation, I treated my table setup for Fresh Fest as an extension of the theme and brand. The setup included an Ankara-print tablecloth from Ujamma Collective, a framed poster displaying my name and social media information, a vase wrapped in gold fabric (a leftover from the photoshoot) overflowing with faux sunflowers and hops (the flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus that are used primarily as stability agent in beer), THE WORLD IS OURS buttons, and the star of the show: dozens of 4-packs of THE WORLD IS OURS cans.

Fresh Fest 2018: recap video (Redd Vision)
(catch a couple seconds of me, Monique, and Kimberly around 0:14)

I had the time of my life at Fresh Fest; I’ll never forget it. The overwhelming love for me and my work, the camaraderie amongst people in the beverage/brewing industry and the artist-collaborators, the support I received from my friends who served as volunteers and ambassadors for the day ("dressed in all Black like the Omen" - word to Lil' Kim) and the attendees—it was a magnificent, monumental, highly successful event. I was particularly touched by everyone who stopped by my table to gush over the design, the name, the taste, and the concept and grateful to everyone who interviewed me, snapped selfies with me, or just ran up to the table like kids in a candy store to take pics with the cans (and begged me to let them take a four-pack home). My most triumphant takeaway was all the Black women who told me how next level it was, and how dope it felt, to see women that look like them on this kind of packaging.

The World is Ours: buttons

I ordered 100 buttons to sell at Fresh Fest as a collector's item. They sold out two hours prior to the end of the event.

The World is Ours													left photo by Kimberly Andrews
Limited Edition metallic prints

A few days after Fresh Fest, 100 limited-edition silver halide prints went on sale online at either 11" x 17" or 24" x 36". I chose Kodak ENDURA Premier Metallic Paper for a glossy, highly saturated, stunningly vivid metallic appearance. Each print, which I sold exclusively online, was made-to-order and signed and numbered before shipping. A digital version of the print was also curated to VSCO Selects, "a showcase of exceptional content from around the globe" by Visual Supply Co (my third VSCO honor at the time, my fifth to date).

The World is Ours: Merch

THE WORLD IS OURS merchandise, including t-shirts, hoodies, shower curtains, beach towels, tote bags, and throw pillows are currently available at

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