Reebok Classics presents Jonathan Mannion
Reebok, Swizz Beatz, DJ Quik and Big Daddy Kane salute hip-hop photog Jonathan Mannion.
by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
Swizz Beatz took to the stage murdered out in all black attire: Bottega Veneta 145 sunglasses, denim pants, a Phillip Lim braided biker jacket and some fresh Reebok Basquiat kicks shining on his feet. The artist and worldwide Creative Director for Reebok praised the importance of art in life and gave a shout to his brand before introducing his friend Jonathan Mannion as one of the most influential photographers in hip-hop. And with that, DJ Quik took over and eased everyone into the party.
Reebok Classics made some noise during Grammy weekend in LA with a couple of great events that celebrated hip-hop, photography and of course some fresh kicks. On Friday evening, the brand hosted a party showcasing Mannion’s photographs with performances from DJ Quik and Big Daddy Kane. It was a dope event that featured scores of pretty L.A. girls dancing around in their black-framed glasses and verified hipster dudes flashing their latest streetwear.
Large framed shots of Mannion’s work were spread throughout Milk Studios, a wonderful venue to display his notorious photographs. While Quik rapped and stepped in as DJ, guests posed for pictures next to the portraits while enjoying the open bar sponsored by Bushmills Whiskey—the liquor brand produced some special napkins for the event: an artist’s rendition of Mannion’s face.
It was a cool atmosphere to take in Mannion’s lens of hip-hop icons. Some of his best work was on view: incredible shots of Biggie, Jay Z, Rakim, Aaliya, Weezy, Mos Def, Slick Rick and many more. Reebok also set up a gifting suite for celebrities and media (how did I miss out on this?), handing out Classic Leather joints, Kamikazes and Workout mids. Many people in attendance rocked sneakers Reebok created for their Basquiat line which was very cool to see—some really hot joints in cool colorways. Reebok also gave guests a glimpse of their Spring 2012 collection, including the Dibello Mid Stud. Swizz mentioned that the brand will continue to expand its Basquiat line and has also signed a deal to work with the estate of artist Keith Haring.
Big Daddy Kane closed out the evening with a couple of his jams for the crowd, like “Ain’t no half steppin.” It was cool to see the respect Kane and Mannion had for each other. Mannion introduced him as his “favorite MC” and one of the inspirations for his career and Kane reciprocated the love for his boy “JM” by proclaiming him a close friend and as an artist who has made a powerful impact on hip-hop. “I’m only here for one reason and that is to support my friend JM,” Kane exclaimed. Mannion stayed on stage during Kane’s set, singing along to verses and tossing some sweet T-shirts into the crowd.
VIPs in attendance included Rocsi Diaz, Omarion (in skin tight red tee, skinny jeans and blonde streaks in his hair—he joined an impromptu dance circle later in the night which was pretty cool), Teyana Taylor, Anwar Carrots, Josh Peas, Syrus Yarbrough (Real World 6!) and Rashad McCants. I had a chance to briefly speak with McCants, who was very nice and dressed up and accessorized in some suspenders. Rashad told me that he still hopes to get back to the NBA. “I’m going to bang the door down trying,” he said.
Reebok closed out the weekend at the gallery on Saturday with a one-on-one discussion with The Game. Amid an intimate group of friends, Mannion and Game discussed the rapper’s career and the photographs the duo have created together.