Meet The 21-Year-Old Who Shot Beyonce For 'British Vogue'

We're holding a door open currently, there’s going to be more of us.


Take a moment to stop and think about what you were up to at the age of 21. I know personally, I was somewhere down in Alabama, hanging on to graduating from college, and just content with finally being able to (legally) buy my own cheap vodka. Not that I was striving for the bare minimum, I was just clueless about the power of manifestation. Sure, aspirations and journeys happen for each of us at our own pace, but at that time, chiiiiiiile, somethings just weren't even on the menu for me.

But as for some 21-year-olds, some absolutely know the power of their own mind. Kennedi Carter, is a walking testimony to that because Carter, at the mere age of 21, is the youngest, and second black person ever, to photograph for Vogue.

And in case this isn't impressive enough for you, she shot, not one. Not two. But three covers...of Beyonce. Let that sink in.

Of the shoot, Carter said:

"It didn't feel like it was real. Some days it still doesn't feel like it actually happened. We're holding a door open currently because it's not going to be just me or [Mitchell] taking images and doing covers; it's going to be more of us."

Mitchell, being Tyler Mitchell, who was the first person who shot for Vogue in its 125-year history, and who also was chosen by Beyonce.

She continued:

"I was just going with the flow. I had done a lot of research into how she works, and I had underestimated how much she's willing to submit herself to a vision and truly become someone else's muse."

A follow-up assignment for Carter consisted of sis nagging a Rolling Stone cover, featuring Summer Walker and Erykah Badu. The image donned colorful imagery of the two crooners, for a feature interview.

"We shot it in Erykah's house. It was everything I thought it would have been when you're thinking about Erykah Badu."

Did sis just refer to Queen Badu on a first name basis? I stan.

Anyway, Carter, a Dallas transplant and college student at the University of North Carolina--Greensboro, has gone from taking pictures of fine art and all things black af, to literally shooting with some of the highest-profiled celebrities and publications in the world. It's mind-boggling and ultra-impressive how she has managed to pivot to her massive portfolio.

But how did Carter even get the opportunity to shoot for British Vogue? Well, luckily for her, she comes from a generation that believes in thinking big, shooting their shot, and putting themselves out there.

Beyoncé specifically requested a black woman for the shoot, and together with British Vogue's editor-in-chief, she found Kennedi, a young, ambitious, fine arts enthusiast who frequently gravitated toward "overlooked beauties of the Black experience." But it wasn't luck, sis was placing herself in rooms, manifesting the correct energies to be seen.

Another 20-something-year-old recently did the same when he promoted his work on Twitter, just for the one and only, Oprah Winfrey to notice. She went on to offer him a job at the relaunch of O Magazine, a monumental opportunity that would have never come his way had he not taken the time to believe in himself.




Today, Kennedi is taking in the aftermath of her historic shoots, living her best creative life and representing herself for the next opportunity that arises. But for now, she says her focus is to 'create timeless work that "echo[es] the South'.

"Working from the South, there are so many people that feel like they have to move to get a good opportunity or to get put on the radar. There are stories down here that are worth hearing."

She continued:

"I want people to look back on [my work] in 20 or 30 years and feel like there's some type of accurate depiction of what the mid-2000s was like."

We can't wait to see her journey take flight from here!

Feature image via Kennedi Carter/Instagram

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A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

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To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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