Black Voices of The Standard

Black History Month is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the Black leaders who shape our world and culture. Throughout February, we’ll be launching exclusive content and collections that amplify the voices of Black creators, artists, and businesses, both within and outside our surrounding neighborhoods. While we use this time to honor their achievements and contributions, we will also honor the legacy of those who lost their lives in the fight for racial justice. Our commitment to uplifting Black voices, educating and improving ourselves and our communities, and recognizing the invaluable contributions of the Black community will be celebrated this month and well beyond.
An incredibly important part of this commitment is amplifying the Black voices of our own Standard Family. Across all our hotels, we have an incredibly dynamic, creative and inspiring team, all with different stories, backgrounds, and beliefs. While we love and value them as members of our staff, of course, we champion and celebrate our employees for their projects and passions that extend beyond the four walls of our hotels. It’s what makes your experience with them as a guest so wonderful and interesting – everyone who works at The Standard has so much depth beyond just their daily role, and we love to see it! Below, we spoke with five Black members of The Standard, to learn more about their background, what they’re up to outside of work, and what Black History Month means to them.

Jordan Stone

Guest Experience Manager, The Standard, Downtown LA

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name and where are you from? 
Jordan Stone from Norwich, CT. 

How long have you worked with The Standard?
Since 2014.

What are you working on right now?
Freelance work and commission pieces.

What inspires your creativity?
Many things, but mostly the female silhouette. I love drawing women because of the fluidity and angles and curves a woman carries. When you are using your choice medium (pen, ink brush, pencil, etc.) your hand moves much more freely and open. I like to play with the softness and thickness of the brush strokes and see where it takes me. 

What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month means pride. Growing up, I sometimes felt ashamed or uneducated for not knowing all there is to know about Black History. Although I am grateful that it exists, it was hard for me to grasp why years of information were being consolidated into a few short weeks. As I got older, I made it a point to educate myself, making sure to be aware and present all year long.

@thebestdressed @jstoneillustrations 

Jade X

Front Desk Manager, The Standard, High Line

Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your name and where are you from?
My name is Jade X, I'm 28 years old from Brooklyn born and Trinidad raised. I have always been a creative at heart, but never felt “ready” in terms of making art pieces myself, so I created a platform to promote other small artists and designers. During the summer of 2020, while The Standard was closed, I broke my arm and got a concussion gliding down the empty streets of Fort Greene on my skateboard. Between stressing about finding healthcare in the blink of an eye and trying to ignore the pain, I needed a distraction. I started doing a collage with one arm (the Nike swoosh below) and took it down to the Meatpacking to take a photo of it. I was approached by a man that was fascinated with the art and the broken arm. He bought the swoosh right in front of 35 Bethune, the art residency building in the Meatpacking, for $1000. I was grateful for the charity the man afforded to me but most of all, I loved the exchange of energy between the art that I made and how it emotionally moved someone else. That was priceless for me and has given me the momentum to keep producing tangible work and share my energy with others. That paid for my health costs, but the sale of my first art piece within a day of making it told me all I needed to know. I was meant for this!
How long have you been with The Standard?
I've worked at The Standard for five years. I started as a server at the Standard Grill and eventually working my way up to manager at the Front Desk. My journey at The Standard has been rewarding inside and out. I’ve reconnected with guests that I’ve checked in at the High Line in Tokyo, Fashion Week in London and Paris, Art Basel and Scope. It’s a reminder that the world is very small, not much is a coincidence, and we are all more alike than we are different. My art reflects these ideas as well. I’ve visited all properties at least twice (except for Maldives, feel free to ship me) and I’ve made meaningful lifelong connections with guests and staff there, keeping The Standard in my heart forever. 

What inspires your creativity?
My creativity is mainly inspired by my travels. I explore at least one new country every year, taking in the sights and sounds of the unknown. Traveling has expanded my creative horizons, allowing me to think beyond my parameters and tap into new mediums, subjects, and anything that is out of the ordinary. My art is high energy and chaotic but still carries a consistent dramatic and colorful aesthetic. Art has been surrounding me my entire life, it is my favorite romance because the journey is always rewarding in the end. I intentionally make art that is full of action and abstract ideas. My purpose is to create art that is thought provoking without influencing a particular view. When people look at my artwork I want them to see themselves, things they have experienced, or a connection to the world. I purposely do not write individual descriptions for the pieces in order to open the windows of interpretation and promote duality. The idea that multiple things can be true at once, everything does not have to be labeled, placed into a specific category  or the purpose you find in the art may not be as the creator intended. I want the presence in my art to feel foreign and familiar at the same time. 
What are you working on right now?
What’s happening in the near future? Expansion on my skills. I am working on mastering my art technique in order to create a cohesive portfolio. Opportunities are pouring in faster than I can produce, that fuels me to push myself to the limit but also preserve the quality of the work. I would also love to branch out into 3D Rendering and graphic design to expand my artistic umbrella. In the future I would love to create an online platform with Cargo Collective and Machine-A to promote emerging artists of all mediums to showcase their work, increase their exposure and reach, and creative consulting for brand and artist development. There are no limits or ceilings for those of us that practice gratitude and tap into their resources and push the limit. The outpouring of kindness and support from people I have met on this journey has inspired me to create a lane for more artists like myself that may be dismissing their talent and worth in fear of not making it in the art industry. There is room for all of us!

What does Black History Month mean to you?
On the topic of Black History Month, especially in this sensitive social climate that we are in today, I think it is imperative that we amplify accurate black history and promote black knowledge across the African diaspora. A lot of insensitive comments or racial ignorance stem from a lack of information. Thankfully, the rise of the tongue on social media and online platforms have spread important history and facts that benefit the black community and allies alike. In 2020, I think the majority of the online community have embraced their capacity to learn about things outside of what directly affects them. Knowledge is the foundation of change, and as facts and stories of Black pioneers and leaders unfold on social media this year, I want people to open themselves up to knowledge and embrace that Black history is OUR history. It's our responsibility to be culturally knowledgeable about the external world, so that we may connect internally. Knowledge is a vessel that brings us closer so that we may move forward in the future. 

@thenastypastor

Genevieve Scott

Host, The Standard, East Village

Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your name and where are you from?
My full name is Thandiwe Genevieve Scott, but I started going by Genevieve when I started college, mostly to give myself the freedom to start becoming my own person. I’m 19 and originally from Brooklyn. Right now I’m living on the Upper West Side to be closer to my university, but I’ve never really strayed too far from home geographically.
 
How long have you worked with The Standard?
I would say about nine months. I started working at Top of the Standard [at The Standard, High Line] in October of 2019 and I stayed there until the COVID shutdown. I’ve been hosting at the East Village location since November.  
 
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m on a semester off from school, which has given me time to reconnect with the many projects I’ve started over the last few years. Among them are the play I’ve been writing, as well as new episodes for my literature podcast. I’m also launching a personal styling business. I’ve already got a few clients, so I’m excited to see where I can take things. 
 
What side work or passion projects do you have?
I’m an artist through and through. I have mediums that I am pursuing more seriously such as acting, writing, and photography, but it is also really important to me that I have art forms that I can simply enjoy without the pressure of turning them into a career. I love to play guitar and make music, as well as paint and draw, but I appreciate that I don’t feel the pressure to share that work, or even be good at it—it’s just for me. 
What inspires your creativity?
Honestly, I think much of my best work is inspired by pain. My art has definitely served as an outlet through some of the most difficult moments in my personal life and in the larger world. I was in conversation with a friend the other day, and we were both grappling with the fact that suffering is part of life. It’s not some great enlightening discovery, but I think sometimes, especially in the US, we treat suffering as though it isn’t inevitable. We try to avoid it, and in doing that, ultimately enlarge our pain. Art is a great tool because it makes suffering bearable, even beautiful.  

What does Black history Month mean to you?
I have a love hate relationship with Black History Month. On the one hand it is this powerful time of the year where Black figures are celebrated for their many contributions which have so often been overlooked. Yet, at the same time it seems that this one month of celebration gives people permission to continue overlooking these contributions for the rest of the year. It is a time that recognizes Black people such as myself, as among the truest Americans—second only to the Indigenous peoples of the land, whose contributions and plights have also been continually overlooked. It is a time that recognizes us as individuals who often have no trace to another country because our ancestors were brought here against their will. Yet at the same time, Black History Month emphasizes the contradiction at the heart of American society, which is that we are still such an oppressed group, with so much less of a voice in political and economic systems than we should have for a population that quite literally built the country. The US has a tendency to put on a show of racial equality, when in reality, we are still extraordinarily divided. I think Black History Month is an empowering time, in so far that it is not used as a distraction from a seriously broken system.

@genvi0us
thandiwegenevievescott.squarespace.com 

Alex Lebon

Spa Experience Manager, The Standard Spa, Miami Beach

Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your name and where are you from?
My name is Alexandra Lebon and I’m from Haiti.

How long have you worked with The Standard?
Nine years. 

What are you working on right now?
For the past two years I’ve been promoting Black art with my sister, Vanessa Craan, who’s an artist.
What inspires your creativity?
I want to see how we can further leave a positive footprint in the world.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History is important to me every day. In Haiti, our history is filled with heroic African figures who are celebrated. So growing up in Haiti, I was always surrounded by the history and accomplishments of our great leaders. Celebrating Black History is weaved into my daily life. For me, it’s a time to remember to stand a bit taller as my ancestors have accomplished the impossible!

Where can we find out more about your work?
I manage Vanessa’s website, links to both below!

@vanessacraanart
vanessacraan.com

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