It was really fun getting to meet Channing Hargrove at the offices of Refinery 29, where she covers fashion news. She has a bright and engaging personality and comes from a very honest perspective. This is probably extremely helpful when you have to cover breaking news. What is even more exciting is that, thanks to Refinery 29’s policy of encouragement of their writers to lean into their personality, Hargrove gets to bring her voice to her reporting. This allows her to cover the stories that she has to cover, but allows her to write about it from her point of view, which focuses on it from the intersection of pop culture and blackness.
When it comes to fashion and blackness, and inclusion in general, we all know there is still a long way to go. “There’s a lot of tokenism right now and people aren’t sure how to go about inclusion in a genuine way.” We discussed the recent Hilfiger show which was done in collaboration with Zendaya and was a bold show of inclusion. A conscious choice by a company that is historically known to not be inclusive during its original heyday with an influencer who is truly a beacon of aware and conscious progressiveness. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but with regards to blackness and fashion what more can we do to bring more voices into the picture?
Everyone has to be genuine to themselves: my lens is not your lens and it’s not another black person’s lens. When we share as many perspectives and stories as we can it normalizes that there is not one way to do one thing. Sometimes you have to write about it, there’s a rush to link things to high art or to explain to cultures that don’t get it. Sometimes it’s not for everybody and that’s fine. Just write about what you know because it’s going to resonate with the people that it’s supposed to resonate with. Not everything has to be through the lens of white people all the time.
This is true in a time when audiences can be segmented and voices can find appreciation amongst like-minded individuals. “If everyone is true to their perspective in their writing it will help push the conversation forward in a way that will do some good.”
So with that we got into some more specific questions and discussed what was on Hargrove’s radar currently in terms of fashion, art, music, and the city:
IG: What are you excited to write about right now?
Really excited to write about Solange and this cowboy-whatever resurgence that is happening. Excited about the way that people are exploring Americana and what it’s like to even exist in this space. Our current political climate is obviously depressing in a lot of ways, but I love the way that it has forced people to stand up in what they believe in and rally around causes that they believe in. And also everyone is making such beautiful art right now.
IG In terms of Americana and black Americana, is there anyone else that you think is speaking go that?
Telfar, with his show in February, with the mosh pit and the stage that was the tattered American flag, and redoing popular songs into country songs. All reminding everyone that we are a little bit country: whether in the foods we eat and the things we wear. There’s not one way. A lot of times things get lost in translation because demographics and the places people are located, there’s still an underlying thing we all relate to.
IG What art are you enjoying right now?
I don’t know if their names! I’m not someone who is super arty in an intellectual way, I just like to go to museums. I want to be one of those people and I’m working at that, even though I’m not someone that says so-and-so is curating something, I have to go. Also I don’t know if I’ve really honed what I like in terms of art yet to know what resonates with me and who I like yet. So I’m just drinking everything in, I’m like it’s all good.
IG: What are some takeaways from your journey that you would give to other people that are aspiring to write.
I think it’s really important to be flexible and adaptable. Media, in particular in New York, shifts so quickly. I’ve been laid off twice because companies have pivoted to something that doesn’t exist anymore. It feels like the end of the world at the time and it feels really hard but once you get through it, you’ve lived. You become a little bit more indestructible and also very clear on your work in terms of what you liked about your job and what you’re no longer willing to put up with. I think that as long as you’re true on your bottom line, what your intention is in what you’re writing about, you’ll be ok. But you need to be ready to pivot always.
IG: Do you write for yourself or for other outlets, or outside of R29?
I used to. My goal for this year is to get back into my personal website. I had a shopping newsletter / sample sale newsletter because I felt people still need this. And then I got caught up in adjusting here. So I think I’m going to bring that back. I also miss writing stories for my own website because it was like a journal almost. I was faithful to it because it was outward facing, where sometimes my personal journal I will journal but it’s not like someone is looking at me. I need to get back into writing for myself.
TS: Do you have a following?
I used to! When I moved to New York I had a blog for three years at that point, so people were excited to see me move here, because she was going to be Channing in the City and now she is Channing in the City. And some of those people are still there, but because I fell off with the thing that made me, me I may have lost some of them.
TS: Do you have other younger women that are wanting to move to the city or wanting to be writers reach out to you?
For example, girls in college will reach out saying I’m writing this paper on an article you did, can we meet? And I say yeah sure. I also wrote this piece a long time ago that was 100 things you need to know before moving to NYC. People say they stumbled upon this and I wanted to talk to you, so that’s cool. But you can’t prepare enough, just come.
IG: What are your favorite things to do in the city?
I love museums: This is basic but I like The Met - every time I go I try to go somewhere different. I don’t know how many exhibits there are between the rotating ones and the existing ones and I still haven’t seen them all. I love The Whitney, because it feels very chic, it feels very grown up to go there and have a drink on the roof. There’s a garden/conservatory across from The Museum of the City of New York on like 107th and 5th ave. I like to walk there from my apartment and sit. It’s so peaceful. You don’t feel like you’re in New York there, there are gilded gates. It makes me feel … I like to go there and goal set or when I decided I wanted to write for myself again I like to go sit there and think of things that I want to say for myself in my own voice.
I like to go to the nail salon, because someone has your hands. You can’t be doing a lot of things and you have to listen to your thoughts.
I like my friends’ apartments because that feels like home too. My actual immediate family is not here and I rely on my friends as my family and my network which is good because they’re supportive. So I like my friends’ apartments.
I like my own apartment too, because I feel like I’ve grown into who I’m supposed to be there. So it feels good to come home and take the day off.
IG/TS: What are you in support of?
I’m in support of doing the thing that makes your heart sing.
TS: Anything else you want people to know about you?
I think people think I shop a lot and I do not. I do not like to shop for things that are not 80% off or under $200 and covering sample sales has done that for me. Unless I have to have to have it, and very rarely do I feel like that.
IG: Who is your favorite black designer right now ?
I have a bunch!
Telfar: I’ve bought that bag in so many sizes, and colors, and every time he puts another one out I’m like oh my god I have to get it before it wait-lists.
Kerby at Pyer Moss: I’m not even a t-shirt person but that shit that said “stop calling 911 on the culture” I had to have that.
Recho Omondi: I can’t afford her pieces yet, but they are so aspirational - I just want to get there.
Fe Noel: A lifestyle brand where it’s like dynasty but like the old one, and they’re just sitting in their homes being luxurious.
Khiry: An amazing jewelry brand doing well, at Barneys