(AllHipHop News) Kendrick Lamar further stamped his name as one of the leading voices in Hip Hop with his show-stealing performance at this year’s Grammy awards. The Top Dawg Entertainment emcee’s presentation was an artistic statement about prison reform, police brutality, and black pride. But was there more secret gems to the “Alright” rhymer’s set?
Billboard spoke with Kendrick’s friend and stylist Dianne Garcia about the Grammy night performance. The Los Angeles native addressed how involved K. Dot was in the creative process.
“He was involved in the sense that he knew exactly what he wanted. He showed me a photo of the prisoners and was like ‘This is my inspiration’. There were these guys walking in a chain gang and he said ‘I want them to look like this,'” said Garcia. “And I knew that he wanted the African guys to glow in the dark because they were going to go into a sequence where everything was going to be dark and they were going be lit with UV lights.”
The African themed portion of the performance featuring body paint was inspired by Maasai warriors. The Nilotic ethnic group inhabits Kenya and Tanzania. Another African culture served as a reference for the female dancers as well.
“You can’t really see it onstage but the girls, the dancers, they have red paint painted all over their body and that’s inspired specifically by the Himba tribe in Northern Namibia. They wear this red paint that’s supposed to represent the color of the earth and the blood,” explained Garcia. “And we picked the Himba tribe basically because [they are] really strong women who do all the labor work while taking care of their own homes and all this stuff while the men are out herding cattle and doing politics.”
As for the prisoner part of the set, Lamar and Garcia embedded layers of symbolism into the outfits worn by the dancers. TDE was written on the back of each performer in reflective 3M Paint. In addition, the inmates’ prison numbers represented Nat Turner’s famous slave revolt which took place August 21-23, 1831 in Southampton County, Virginia.