ComplexCon, the annual event that brings together the hottest artists, designers, and tastemakers, is back this year with an all-star lineup and a strong focus on environmental sustainability. This highly anticipated event is not only a celebration of culture but also a platform to promote sustainable practices that are crucial for the long-term growth and development of our economy. The brand also makes a note to include conversations surrounding art, music, fashion, and other facets of the entertainment industry that help push the culture forward. Not to mention huge brand collaborations between art, designers, and celebrities.
One of the key highlights of ComplexCon was “The Marathon Clothing” store activation. Ermias Joseph Asghedom, commonly known as Nipsey Hussle, was a pillar to his community in Los Angeles. The rapper, activist, and entrepreneur created “The Marathon Clothing” store located in South Central LA on Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue, and it has been around since 2017. Subsequently, he was fatally shot in front of his store two years later. His girlfriend at the time, Lauren London, was seen at the ComplexCon activation. The actress has been vocal about how hard the passing of her beloved partner Nipsey was and how it has shifted her life. “My loyalty and devotion is to you”, she said, reciting a text message she sent him while he was asleep. She shared this message at Nipsey's funeral, holding back tears. It was an absolute pleasure seeing her smile and continue to support the “love of her life” and commemorate his memory.
We got a chance to speak to some influencers and stars about their ComplexCon experience and what “culture” meant to them. Those among many who joined the conversation included the cast of Netflix’s hit show Love is Blind. Newlywed Brent Brown, a prominent figure in the fashion industry, emphasizes the importance of embracing differences and bringing people from diverse backgrounds together. He states, "It's like a constant thing that can bring people from all over different backgrounds together. This feels like the epicenter of Culture."
Marshall Glaze, a strong advocate for street culture, believes that there is no better culture than street culture. This mindset reflects the power of authenticity and staying true to oneself. Kwame Appiah, another influential figure, sees culture as a reflection of one's internal state. He finds it beautiful to witness the self-expression and creativity at ComplexCon, stating, "It's like bringing Ghana with me."
Photo courtesy of Complex
Luka Sabbat, a renowned fashion influencer, actor, and model, believes that culture is whatever people make it. He lives in his own world and does not conform to societal norms. This individualistic approach showcases the diversity and uniqueness of the cultural landscape at ComplexCon. He was there exhibiting a recreation of the living room from his hotel room in the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.
Sustainable brands like Murd333r.FM, owned by Tate M. and Bloody Osiris, are actively participating in ComplexCon once again. They prioritize sustainability by reusing old pieces and working with a women-owned operation in Turkey. Tate explains, "We source these hoodies from Turkey, it's 100% organic Turkish cotton. We don't source our stuff from China, it's all coming from Turkey and other places that have sustainable systems in place and pay a living wage." This commitment to sustainability is evident even in their pricing strategy, as they cap their prices at $333 to ensure affordability for consumers and to provide brand consistency.
ComplexCon is not just about fashion and sneakers (though anybody who knows anything about sneakers and fashion was in the building) but also a hub for art and food culture. The event showcases an array of creative and innovative artwork and installations, including cover artist Nicky Chulo, and exhibits that cater to the diverse interests of attendees. From eye-catching paintings and sculptures to interactive digital installations, ComplexCon aims to provide a platform for art that pushes boundaries and sparks conversations.
When it comes to food, ComplexCon offers a unique culinary experience by inviting some of the most sought-after eateries and food vendors. From trendy food trucks to famous restaurants, attendees can indulge in a wide variety of cuisines, ranging from gourmet burgers and tacos to exotic fusion dishes. One food highlight was Hot One's collaboration with Hot Pocket, debuting four new incredible spicy flavors. Hot Ones is a talk show hosted by Sean Evans, produced by First We Feast, and Complex Media, created by Chris Schonberger. Hot Pockets is a cultural classic.
Photo by @hercshotthat
Additionally, ComplexCon has become known for its brand collaborations, particularly between designers and celebrity guests. This year, renowned artists and musicians like Chris Brown and Jim Jones joined forces with notable fashion brands to create limited-edition collections exclusively available at the event. Chris Brown with The Auracles, and after 20 years, Dipset reunited with B.B. Simon. These collaborations not only demonstrate the intersection of fashion and music but also give fans and attendees the opportunity to own one-of-a-kind pieces that combine the artistic visions of their favorite celebrities and designers.
ComplexCon is not just about celebrating culture and sustainability; it also serves as a platform for influential voices to share their messages. T.I., a highly respected Grammy-nominated rapper, emphasizes the importance of authenticity and sharing one's lifestyle organically. He states, "Being authentic to how you live and sharing that lifestyle, that mindset, that perspective with others organically. Sharing it by being the example of how you live your life." T.I. has made groundbreaking moves in the music and entertainment industry and he's currently promoting his new independent film Da’Partments, which stars himself, Lil Duvall, DC Young Fly, and his son King Harris.
In a lighthearted conversation between Funny Marco and Speedy Morman, the importance of not chasing money is highlighted. Funny Marco shares the valuable lesson he learned from his former manager, Ray, stating, "Do not chase money." He believes that true success lies in waking up every day and doing what you love, rather than focusing on material possessions. He gave himself flowers during the interview but also gave fans a hint that he might be changing his name from Funny Marco to his real name Marco Summers, but he has to earn that right.
Many of your favorite celebrities were simply walking around buying and ingesting the environment, like Luh Tyler, Xzibit, YG, Swaggy P, Russell Westbrook, who was spotted with his son, social media star La’Ron Hines, Kid Cudi, who headline Sunday night, and millennial childhood favorite Barney, made an appearance.
As ComplexCon continues to grow and evolve, it remains a symbol of cultural expression, sustainability, and economic growth. Speedy Morman expresses his excitement about being a part of ComplexCon, stating, "Feels incredible, happy to be here, dream come true." He envisions an even brighter future for the event, saying, "ComplexCon 2023... movie. And if you're not here this year, come next year. It will be even more lit."
Speedy has had some of the most entertaining and informative interviews in the last few years, including his recent sit-down with Rick Ross and Meek Mill. And who can forget his hilarious moment with Ray J and his Raycon glasses? Speedy Morman is one of the voices pushing the culture as it stands and one of Complex’s star players.
In conclusion, ComplexCon 2023 promises to be a cultural phenomenon that merges art, design, sustainability, and star power. This event serves as a testament to the importance of embracing diversity, staying true to oneself, and prioritizing sustainability. By doing so, we can create a brighter future for our economy, environment, and quality of life.
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Feature image by @hercshotthat
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
The internet was set ablaze in the last weeks of December 2023 when Simone Biles' husband, Jonathan Owens, was interviewed by The Pivot Podcast, explaining how he and his wife met. A safety for the Green Bay Packers, Owens stated he had no idea who his seven-time Olympic gold medalist wife was when they initially matched on an online dating app. The most decorated gymnast in American history connected with her now husband in 2020 after sliding into his DMs while he was in a football training camp.
Driving 45 minutes to meet Owens for their first date, Simone saw something she couldn’t resist. “I know what I like and I know what I want,” she stated confidently about their relationship in the past. When asked how an unknown football player managed to bag a woman as accomplished as Simone Biles, Owens stated on the podcast, “I always say the man is the catch.”
If that wasn’t enough to agitate women around the world, he continued to reminisce on how love found him unexpectedly. “I was fighting it. At the time, I was afraid to commit.”
Simone Biles' Husband Jonathan Owens Says He's the 'Catch' Over HerSimone Biles and her husband, Green Bay Packers safety Jonathan Owens, stopped by 'The Pivot' podcast and opened up about ...
Owens, being in his third year as a professional athlete, was apprehensive, to say the least, but says the connection was instant. “If she didn’t message me, chances are my mind would have gone somewhere else,” he continued. “She messaged me, and she wasn’t scared.”
Unsurprisingly, the interview quickly went viral, with women sharing the same sentiments across cultures. How could an unknown athlete feel as though he’s the catch in comparison to his superstar wife?
What Makes Someone a "Catch"?
A "catch" is typically an ideal partner, however, this term isn’t gender specific. One who is kind, intelligent, financially secure, attractive, and on a mission to live a wholesome and happy life. On the contrary, women with valued traits are often referred to as "a prize." According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a prize is "something offered or striven for in competition or in contests of chance," "something exceptionally desirable," or "a contest for a reward." Synonyms of the word "prize" include "treasure," "gem," "jewel," "gold," and even "catch."
In today’s society, men and women seem to have conflicting opinions on what is and who is indeed the catch within a relationship, especially one as high profile as Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens. Recognizing how tiring it can be to constantly analyze relationship dynamics on the internet, especially in the Black community, it’s still a hot topic that's important and worthy of a healthy conversation.
The modern feminine mentally has been shaped to be independent, self-sustaining, smart, and hard-working whilst maintaining her beauty and physique. Single women who are perceived to balance those attributes are typically looking for a valuable man to settle down with who can offer similar traits if not more, also known as “a good catch.”
Whether we believe this to be true or false about Jonathan Owens in regards to him being “the catch” in comparison to his gold medalist wife, Simone saw an opportunity and seized it.
Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens pose on the field prior to Game One of the 2022 World Series.
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
The interview shattered the internet and sparked a larger debate about modern dating, relationships, and labels. Like many, something about the conversation initially made me feel uneasy. Regardless of my personal bias towards whether a woman should pursue a man, it was how Owens arrogantly referred to himself as “a catch” and admitted to seemingly having no interest in having a relationship with his now wife and that there was no attraction from his end.
To get a better understanding of his perspective, I spoke with five single men in their 30s on their definition of a good catch and why they believe women from across cultural spectrums are upset at Owens for labeling himself as such.
A man can definitely be the catch. Women are often upset on the internet about this because they think it’s impossible for a man to be a catch. If a man is a provider, if he makes a certain amount of money with a certain amount of status, he can be the catch. In [Jonathan Owens'] situation as Simone Biles' husband, he may not be the catch because his wife is more accomplished and decorated than him.
"If he was an NFL player dating a regular girl, he would be the catch because he has a certain level of financial and social status, but since he’s dating a decorated gymnast, I think he’s not the catch. Being a good catch could be a multitude of things like who’s the better-looking one, who’s the most financially stable, who has the better job. It could be a combination of things.” - Brandon, 31
“I think people were overreacting. I don’t think it’s a problem for a man to feel like the catch or sometimes even being the prize. You’re one of the top athletes in the world and a multi-millionaire. As a Black man, you’re in a very small percentage. If you also have amazing qualities as a man, you’re definitely a catch (laughs). I think I’m a catch. I make great money, a family man, an amazing father, a gentleman, a model. I don’t think it’s many like me walking around, and I say that humbly. I think that makes me a catch. I shouldn’t have to feel less than in the dating game because I’m not a woman.” - Corey, 31
“Most of these discussions are aimed at fanning the flames of this internet 'gender war' keeping us on opposing sides rather than coming together. Especially in the Black community. What I appreciate about the Jonathan Owens interview is the genuine honesty he displayed. What I loved about what Simone did is that she saw what she wanted and went after it! She jumped in his DMs, she took the initiative and drove to the city to come see him while he was in training camp, and saw for herself if this was a man she could see herself with long term, and if this was a man that could lead her and their potential family. She determined all of that with confidence and grace. She did it without ego and other societal pressures.
"I believe women will have much better outcomes in dating if they focus more on the men they actually want versus only dealing with the men that speak to them or are in close proximity. Men are more focused on achieving and building a foundation for themselves and their future family. Women should focus on aligning themselves with a strong man who is being led by a higher power in pursuit of their goals and purpose. A man that is seeing success or showing signs of success and discipline in his life. Because as we all know every male isn’t a husband, and a female isn’t a wife!
"A woman who finds herself a husband, he is her prize. She shows him off, she takes on his name, she beats out all the other women, and she was 'the one' that got him to settle down. A man who finds a wife has found himself a treasure. He protects and cherishes her because that is the most precious, beautiful, and important thing to him. She shines bright, and he will always handle her with care and keep her shielded so other men won’t try to take her.” - Brandon, 36
"A man being a catch is certainly a flip of what we are usually used to (the woman being the catch). It actually shines a small light on the fact that there is and isn’t a lot of men that women can choose from these days. Part of that reasoning is how the system is set up to stop the growth of Black families, the prison system, social media, etc. I think a man being a catch is a good concept. It shows that we are needed in this world. It puts good pressure on us to be the best version of ourselves. Being a catch is important.
"To me, it means becoming the best version of yourself. Becoming suitable and mature enough to lead a woman and a family. To lead the next generation of you. Being spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially fit to take on all that life can throw at us. Not too many good quality men around for women to choose from, so, yes I support men aiming and carrying themselves as the catch. The woman is the catch just as much. It can literally apply to both sexes." - Vik, 31
“There are more women than men. You can find beautiful women just about anywhere. A grocery store, laundry mat, walking down the street, sporting events, etc. It’s harder to find a good looking respectable, respectful, financially stable man.” - Kamron, 34
Over the years, there’s been a clear shift in dating and gender roles. Men, who seemingly have more options, have grown accustomed to women putting in more work for a chance at a committed relationship. In this case, Owens feels he’s the prize because Simone Biles led him to believe so by pursuing him from the start, regardless of her all-star status. While he may be a good catch, there was no mention of him seeing his wife as such when asked how he landed the seven-time Olympic champion.
While successful men should be acknowledged for what they’ve worked hard for, it’s important to recognize an amazing woman when they see one. Women who have it all: success, money, and fame can seek a good catch while allowing a man to take the lead in his pursuits of a wife, a lover, and a best friend, which is the ultimate prize.
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Featured image by gruizza/Getty Images