Prince Gyasi and an all-Black cast capture ‘timelessness’ for the 2024 Pirelli calendar

The first Black photographer in Pirelli calendar history, Prince Gyasi, collaborated with a roster of Black luminaries for its 50th edition.

For the first time in the Pirelli calendar’s history, a Black photographer helmed the production. And the 50th edition features only Black icons. This year’s photographer, 28-year-old Ghanaian visual artist Prince Gyasi, showcases “timelessness” with the all-Black cast that includes luminaries Naomi Campbell, Angela Bassett, Amanda Gorman and polymath Jeymes Samuel, among others. Through Gyasi’s lens, the talent captivates the calendar’s pages with vibrant colors and powerful imagery. 

Pirelli Calendar, 2024 Pirelli calendar, Prince Gyasi, Naomi Campbell, Amanda Gorman, Jeymes Samuels, Black photographers,
Naomi Campbell for the 2024 Pirelli Calendar (Photo: Prince Gyasi for the Pirelli Calendar)

Gyasi landed on this year’s theme by pondering the meaning and misconception of time and timelessness. “To me, it means something that is quality,” he told theGrio. “It doesn’t matter if it’s been [there for] 20 minutes, as long as it’s quality and it can stand the test of time and any obstacles that come its way.” 

With individuals he felt fully embodied the theme, his artistic vision led him to London and his home country of Ghana. From actress and singer Teyana Taylor to “Hidden Figures” author, Margot Lee Shetterly, Gyasi crafted scenes that spoke to each person’s essence. Shetterly and Taylor, along with the other cast members, were honored to be picked for this iteration of the calendar and excited to help bring Gyasi’s vision to life. 

“I’ve always been a fan of the calendar, but I would have never thought in a million years that I would have been handpicked to do it,” Taylor told theGrio. “It was not only amazing to be a part of it, but to actually go all the way to Africa and shoot it in a garden filled with roses [and to have] all of the things that really represented me really made me feel even more special.”

For those featured in the 2024 Pirelli calendar, the experience of working with Gyasi and the other members was invaluable. Shetterly fully embraced the opportunity by observing and learning from her fellow collaborators, especially those who express themselves in different mediums. For Samuel, typically the visionary mind in the director’s chair for films like 2021’s “The Harder They Fall,” posing for the calendar was a change of pace. As he told theGrio, he leaned totally into the theme, allowing Gyasi’s vision to be embodied through him.

“It was the most beautiful thing — living in that moment and bringing this all to life,” Samuel said. “There was a newfound freedom in that … I was just being a part of [Prince Gyasi’s] world. It is so beautiful being directed.”

Credit: Pirelli/YouTube

Although Gyasi is not a stranger to breaking barriers and being “first,” he said that the Pirelli calendar is an opportunity of a lifetime that he doesn’t take for granted. The creative described it as a “humbling experience” that “doesn’t feel real.” 

Significantly, Gyasi shared that the process of creating the calendar allowed him to connect with people whose careers had long inspired him. The full list of 2024 Pirelli calendar participants includes Angela Bassett, Naomi Campbell, Idris Elba, Margot Lee Shetterly, poet Amanda Gorman, Jeymes Samuel, Nigerian singer Tiwa Savage, Ashanti Empire monarch King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Teyana Taylor, Ghanian painter Amoako Boafo and French former soccer player Marcel Desailly. Together, they helped the photographer understand it’s not just about being “the first” to do something; instead, they encouraged him to ensure he isn’t the last. Feeling energized by the power of reaching back and helping others, Gyasi sees this role as a chance to educate others, open doors for subsequent generations of creatives and encourage them to articulate their visions.

Prince Gyasi (Photo: Courtesy of Pirelli)

“[With this calendar], I want them to see that fear is not love. Perfect love casts out fear, and community is the way to help people grow,” he said. “I believe that it will encourage people to stay consistent and find their own voice.”

Kayla Grant

Kayla Grant is a multimedia journalist with bylines in Business Insider, Shondaland, Oz Magazine, Prism, Rolling Out and more. She writes about culture, books and entertainment news. Follow her on Twitter: @TheKaylaGrant  

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