This week’s person of power is Ziggy Mack-Johnson, who wants people to remember that “Black is excellence — period!”

The 24-year-old multi-hyphenate stylist-model-designer-influencer has worked with a variety of fashion brands, and celebrities such as SZA, the Clermont Twins, Ebonee Davis, and more.

Although he’s been wildly successful, Ziggy still dreams of one day getting the opportunity to style one fashion icon in particular, who he often tries to channel when styling women. “Rihanna, I need to work with you,” he exclaimed. “She literally helped shape what fashion is to me today.”

Ziggy has dabbled in music, too. Last year, he released his debut single “BBN,” a rap-pop song is a celebration of success and self-confidence — Ziggy knows his worth, and it’s high. He’s currently working on an EP as well. His musical vibe is inspired by the queen of rap, Nicki Minaj. “ I was heavily obsessed with Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Biggie,” he says. “But Nicki Minaj I just feel like as a young Black male, gay, she literally helped shape what Ziggy is,” he says.

He’s a modern creative in every way, and treats fashion as an outward expression of his personality: he can’t live without a steamer to straighten out any unsightly wrinkles in his outfits. “I no longer use an iron because it's not the 1990s anymore,” he says.

He knows he can do whatever he puts his mind to, and can inspire others in the process. “This generation is so driven. I'm 24 years old — there’s 14 year olds that are literally doing the same thing I'm doing. It just keeps me on top of my toes,” he says.

“I think that especially during this time of Black excellence, I just wake up every morning happy to be Black, happy to create. Every day, I just try to inspire more and more people to keep creating, just like how I was inspired by people before me,” he says. He’s inspired by Black designers and brands like Kollin Carter, Pyer Moss, Telfar, and Daily Paper.

It has not been an easy year to be a Black creative. The news cycle has been depressing. Holding onto joy and inspiration is a challenge during hard times, but Ziggy held tight to his beliefs within all the darkness.

“This whole 2020 year had its ups and downs, but I feel that Black people have had a good chance to be seen,” he says. “Our art has been put on the forefront. That's the most beautiful thing about Black people — we take our struggles and turn them into art.”

Despite all the chaos, Ziggy is soon to launch his own clothing line. His brand, aptly named ZGY, will showcase his bold personality through fashionable pieces. Fans of his work will be able to buy fun clothes from him, like his “stackenbillz” cargo pants, which are both utilitarian and unisex in vibe. “This time was a specifically good time for Black designers. I got to see other Black designers be recognized that have been trying for years,” he says.

Black people and their art could always use more recognition, and while it’s been a good year for Black art, there’s still a long way to go before Ziggy and other Black designers get their due respect in the mainstream.

“We're not nowhere near where we need to be. But I think that the BLM movement definitely helped with highlighting our art,” he says. “We're still working towards where we need to be, but I definitely think that we are a few steps closer.”

Still, Ziggy wants those who aren’t with the BLM movement to understand the gravity of what the community is facing. “It is not just a movement. No, this is our lives. This is literally our livelihood, our families, our lifestyles, our God-given lives.”

And while he believes Black creatives are thriving like never before, he urges that people should be cautious. In his career, he’s learned that it’s never good to be the only Black person in the room. “It's not always good to be the token Black person in your community. Sometimes you're put in a certain place just for the views of it,” he says. “Whenever you walk into a room, and you're the only Black person, I encourage my brothers and sisters to bring other Black people in.”

His best advice, though, is his recommendation that Black people don’t tie themselves to a single employer. Instead, they should focus on making themselves their own business, and synonymous with quality work.

“I don't like having a title to my name. I like being Ziggy Mack-Johnson, because I am capable of a lot of things. I host, I style, I created a clothing line, I rap. I cook, I'm an entertainer, I'm a personality,” he says.

“So what I've learned is that when you are creating something, make sure that you are creating your own brand. They can take away your jobs, they can take away your titles, but no one can take away your name and your brand.”

There are so many avenues open to Ziggy, it’s clear he can do anything next. But right now, he’s working on creating an agency for Black stylists, so he can share the opportunities he’s gotten with others.

“I think I'm gonna leave behind a couple of legacies. As far as music, I want to be the first gay male to kind of cross over into the dominantly hetero male industry,” he says. “As far as in the fashion industry, I would love my legacy to be left behind as just like someone who's just completely androgynous. I would like male, female and trans people to just look at me and be like, ‘oh, I want to dress like that.”

Shop his carefully curated tattoo picks and showcase how multifaceted your personal brand is, too. For every tattoo sold, the independent artist who created it makes money.

Author: Melinda Faukuade
Photo: Zabel Castillo
Video: Ben Hype
Creative Director: Becky Brown
Creative Producer: Rasheem Jamar
Senior Designer: Kelsey Cadenas
Casting Director: Jacqueline Rosa

This week’s person of power is Ziggy Mack-Johnson, who wants people to remember that “Black is excellence — period!”

The 24-year-old multi-hyphenate stylist-model-designer-influencer has worked with a variety of fashion brands, and celebrities such as SZA, the Clermont Twins, Ebonee Davis, and more.

Although he’s been wildly successful, Ziggy still dreams of one day getting the opportunity to style one fashion icon in particular, who he often tries to channel when styling women. “Rihanna, I need to work with you,” he exclaimed. “She literally helped shape what fashion is to me today.”

Ziggy has dabbled in music, too. Last year, he released his debut single “BBN,” a rap-pop song is a celebration of success and self-confidence — Ziggy knows his worth, and it’s high. He’s currently working on an EP as well. His musical vibe is inspired by the queen of rap, Nicki Minaj. “ I was heavily obsessed with Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Biggie,” he says. “But Nicki Minaj I just feel like as a young Black male, gay, she literally helped shape what Ziggy is,” he says.

He’s a modern creative in every way, and treats fashion as an outward expression of his personality: he can’t live without a steamer to straighten out any unsightly wrinkles in his outfits. “I no longer use an iron because it's not the 1990s anymore,” he says.

He knows he can do whatever he puts his mind to, and can inspire others in the process. “This generation is so driven. I'm 24 years old — there’s 14 year olds that are literally doing the same thing I'm doing. It just keeps me on top of my toes,” he says.

“I think that especially during this time of Black excellence, I just wake up every morning happy to be Black, happy to create. Every day, I just try to inspire more and more people to keep creating, just like how I was inspired by people before me,” he says. He’s inspired by Black designers and brands like Kollin Carter, Pyer Moss, Telfar, and Daily Paper.

It has not been an easy year to be a Black creative. The news cycle has been depressing. Holding onto joy and inspiration is a challenge during hard times, but Ziggy held tight to his beliefs within all the darkness.

“This whole 2020 year had its ups and downs, but I feel that Black people have had a good chance to be seen,” he says. “Our art has been put on the forefront. That's the most beautiful thing about Black people — we take our struggles and turn them into art.”

Despite all the chaos, Ziggy is soon to launch his own clothing line. His brand, aptly named ZGY, will showcase his bold personality through fashionable pieces. Fans of his work will be able to buy fun clothes from him, like his “stackenbillz” cargo pants, which are both utilitarian and unisex in vibe. “This time was a specifically good time for Black designers. I got to see other Black designers be recognized that have been trying for years,” he says.

Black people and their art could always use more recognition, and while it’s been a good year for Black art, there’s still a long way to go before Ziggy and other Black designers get their due respect in the mainstream.

“We're not nowhere near where we need to be. But I think that the BLM movement definitely helped with highlighting our art,” he says. “We're still working towards where we need to be, but I definitely think that we are a few steps closer.”

Still, Ziggy wants those who aren’t with the BLM movement to understand the gravity of what the community is facing. “It is not just a movement. No, this is our lives. This is literally our livelihood, our families, our lifestyles, our God-given lives.”

And while he believes Black creatives are thriving like never before, he urges that people should be cautious. In his career, he’s learned that it’s never good to be the only Black person in the room. “It's not always good to be the token Black person in your community. Sometimes you're put in a certain place just for the views of it,” he says. “Whenever you walk into a room, and you're the only Black person, I encourage my brothers and sisters to bring other Black people in.”

His best advice, though, is his recommendation that Black people don’t tie themselves to a single employer. Instead, they should focus on making themselves their own business, and synonymous with quality work.

“I don't like having a title to my name. I like being Ziggy Mack-Johnson, because I am capable of a lot of things. I host, I style, I created a clothing line, I rap. I cook, I'm an entertainer, I'm a personality,” he says.

“So what I've learned is that when you are creating something, make sure that you are creating your own brand. They can take away your jobs, they can take away your titles, but no one can take away your name and your brand.”

There are so many avenues open to Ziggy, it’s clear he can do anything next. But right now, he’s working on creating an agency for Black stylists, so he can share the opportunities he’s gotten with others.

“I think I'm gonna leave behind a couple of legacies. As far as music, I want to be the first gay male to kind of cross over into the dominantly hetero male industry,” he says. “As far as in the fashion industry, I would love my legacy to be left behind as just like someone who's just completely androgynous. I would like male, female and trans people to just look at me and be like, ‘oh, I want to dress like that.”

Shop his carefully curated tattoo picks and showcase how multifaceted your personal brand is, too. For every tattoo sold, the independent artist who created it makes money.

Author: Melinda Faukuade
Photo: Zabel Castillo
Video: Ben Hype
Creative Director: Becky Brown
Creative Producer: Rasheem Jamar
Senior Designer: Kelsey Cadenas
Casting Director: Jacqueline Rosa