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A shot of black girl magic

AIMING TO INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE: An image from the Dare To Be More calendar

"YOU ARE a diamond, made under extreme pressure, precious and unbreakable.”

This is one of west London-based artist Kai’s favourite quotes from her new motivational calendar, Dare To Be More, which aims to celebrate black beauty and inspire women throughout 2017. The calendar is a collection of stunning images of Kai shot by photographer Kylie Lyseight and accompanied by bold monthly mantras.

Self-confidence and mindfulness are themes that run through Dare To Be More and according to Kai, the calendar is aimed at being a daily pick-me-up.

The singer-songwriter, said:

“I think a calendar is great because it is something you can take with you. Whether you’re at home or at work, you can take this motivational calendar and it will serve as a daily reminder but also a piece of art.”

The two creative entrepreneurs worked together throughout the production process, from creating the mood board that featured images of black celebrities, icons and family members, to narrowing down the pictures from the shoot.

“Whittling down the images was such a challenge because we had about 500 that were good,” said Kai.

“The whole creative process was inspiring, from developing the mood board and looking at beautiful images of black women to starring in the campaign and compiling the quotes.

“We’d never worked together before, but Kylie was someone I knew and felt would be able to capture innocence and beauty in very simple shots.

“It was inspiring and motivating to be a part of and I hope that people will be inspired by what we’ve created.”

Kai wanted to focus on the simplicity of the images and to not be distracted by things that often accompany a photo shoot. She said:

“I think sometimes you can get lost with needing to find a location, and the perfect make-up, etcetera, but essentially we wanted some simplistic shots.

“In fact, the majority of images that we liked the best ended up being the most spontaneous ones.”

Dare To Be More is not Kai’s first attempt at producing a motivational calendar.

“I previously did a breast cancer awareness calendar in support of Breast Cancer Care Charity, which was really inspiring,” she said.

“This year, I really wanted to create something that displayed positive representations of black women because there are so many negative stereotypes out there.”

While embracing black culture and celebrating black beauty is the inspiration behind the calendar, Kai said that Dare To Be More is truly for anyone who loves beauty.

“If you like beauty or motivational quotes, you can appreciate this calendar.

“It is inspired by black beauty but I feel like it represents diversity and positivity, and you can appreciate that whatever your race.”

As female entrepreneurs, Kai and Lyseight empathise with the everyday struggles that young black women face. However, Kai said they were determined not to let negative or stereotypical views deflect from the historic and cultural triumphs of black women and wanted to reflect this in the photography and positive affirmations.

“Essentially, this is an inspiring collection of photos that will give you empowerment on a daily, weekly, monthly basis,” she said.

Dare To Be More 2017 Calendar is available to purchase on Amazon or here

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