Brazilian Boys Have Big Dreams: Meet Kevin David
"I truly want Brazilian boys to feel like kings. I don't want our self-esteem to be stolen. I want Brazilian boys to dream big."
Take Off is a new series spotlighting a dynamic new wave of exceptional talent who are ‘taking off’ in their respective fields. First up is Kevid David.
Born in the favela of Sapé, Kevin is a creative entrepreneur, hailing from the West Zone of São Paulo. Self-taught from an early age, he's now the creative director of his own studio and co founder of MOOC, a Black-run creative agency which is spearheading creativity across Brazil. We sit down and chat to Kevin about how the favela's of Sape have informed his creative lens and his deep apprecication for his cultural roots. Describing nightlife in Sao Paulo as "the rave scene in Zion" he also gives us the tea on when we should arrive at the party and what he recommends wearing to the club.
Tell us about your studio… What inspired you to start it?
I created my studio after a long period of just playing a very administrative role in my creative agency. The studio for me has been a laboratory where I can explore my artistic vision and think about other things that don't involve working with brands or briefings. The inspiration also comes from a need to imagine how I would like black people, mostly black and/or gay people, to be seen. My proposal is to empower and potentialize the imagination of those who have always been on the sidelines, and help to naturalize the narrative of these people in every place, without a relationship of guilt or colonial debt.
How does where you’re from inspire your artistry?
The place I come from inspires 100% my creativity. I was born in the favela of Sapé, in the West Zone of São Paulo. In addition to my social background, I have always had a very strong relationship with my family's multicultural roots. Fashion was present in my grandmother's routine for being a seamstress, the nightlife in my mother's routine for being a stripper, music in my grandfather's / and stepfather's routine for being djs, and samba in my father's routine for being a sambista. I'm a result of a little bit of it all. My artistic vision is ghetto, hip hop and the desire to look for tools in every corner to make my mark. That's why my work, in addition to being something that values my cultural roots, it is also a possibility for the outside.
From redefining Black masculinity to celebrating Black identity, the work you have created draws from cultural dialogues and conversations across Brazil. Can you share a body of work that you are most proud of?
My favorite work that I developed with my studio recently, the biggest highlight goes to the cover of Bless at Bazaar Kidz. I think that shooting defines the message of possibilities that I want to leave for other Black boys, who, like me, had no references and today we have the chance to insert this imagery into their cultural repertoire. I truly want Brazilian boys to feel like kings. I don't want our self-esteem to be stolen. I want Brazilian boys to dream big. Not failing to dream big was very important for my creative process, and that's what opened so many doors for me. Because when we dream, we make it happen. And you can't spend your life just dreaming without making it happen.
This for me has a very magical importance, being able to see a child so young and at the same time so talented and full of will and dreams move the entire Brazil, a story that was only told under the spotlight of white boys.
How would you describe the energy of Sao Paulo?
São Paulo, at the same time it was my home, was also a refuge and a place where everything happened. During my process of discovering and understanding my identity, I had to flee to São Paulo, coming from the countryside, to be able to understand what I wanted and how my mind worked.
And São Paulo was that refuge for me. I found myself there: the energy of the night, the job opportunities, the desire I could share to grow alongside other people, the idea of the collective, the generation of makers, everything was there! I think São Paulo is a shortcut that is sometimes necessary when you want to grow. Everyone passes through São Paulo, as a starting point that takes you to other places. It's a place where I can be me.
How would you describe the nightlife in Sao Paulo? What are the best neighborhoods to go party in?
I describe the night in São Paulo as the rave scene in Zion (Matrix). Everything happens. The best neighborhoods to go to parties are certainly concentrated in the central ones: Brás, Barra Funda, República. Fabriketa is the best place to party in São Paulo, most of the parties I like are concentrated there: Batekoo, Selvagem, Gop Tun and so on.
What time should we arrive at the party? When does it stop? What should you wear?
I usually leave the house around midnight or later. Nightlife in São Paulo starts early and ends late, so in one night you can go to 3.4 parties. I had my "inimigo do fim" era so I used to spend 3 days on the street patching from party to party. Then I started being alone until the morning and now I try to stop in the middle of the night around 4 am because I don't have as much energy anymore. I've been living the nightlife of São Paulo since I was 12, when I was still falsifying my identity. In São Paulo there is a culture of wearing black at night. It works with everything.