When you consider the idea of the perfect girl group, the crème de la crème of our time have become symbols of diverse beauty and talent in pop culture and beyond.
It’s the reason EnVogue, Destiny’s Child, SWV, Salt N Pepa, and TLC have become iconic. Yet nowadays black girl bands are almost non existent.
Enter JCKSN Avenue, a vibrant group of millennials who blend genres like R&B to Urban Pop, to mold their very own sound. Asking the quintet to list their musical influences is like opening the floodgates to the names of some of the most amazing artists of all time: Nina Simone, Janelle Monae, the Pointer Sisters, and Carly Simon to name a few.
For their recently released tune, “All These Dreams,” Madi, Mo, Hannah, Kris, and Jess, biological sisters from Memphis, seek to inspire listeners to work towards achieving their goals as they affirm their mission to continue chasing their own.
“It’s our mantra. It’s just a universal encouragement for everyone to keep going no matter your situation or your circumstances, no matter what people are telling you whether people believe or not,” Mo explained of the track produced and co written by Maroon 5 keyboardist and R&B singer, PJ Morton. “People can’t always see the vision that the visionary has first.”
The group met Morton after interacting with him at one of his shows. He was immediately taken by their style.
“He was like, man you guys dress really cool,” said Kris. “We had a single out at the time, a new single, our first one called, “If you believe in love.” Like a month later, he followed us on IG. Later on that day he messaged one of us and said have your mom or dad contact me. Later on that year we recorded all these dreams in L.A.”
While it might seem like a random career boost, the ladies credit their progress to their faith in God. But they’re also aware of the typical industry pressures to conform to narrow beauty standards.
“I think we are aware of the pressure that is put on women and it’s so common. It’s a presence that you feel,” said Mo. “But I think that the way that we were raised and how we support each other, It’s not pressure on us. We don’t accept the pressure. We focus on our process, our goals, and our message.
We asked the ladies of JCKSN Avenue to break down their style influences.
My fashion inspiration has to be Kanye West or…Kanye West.
My fashion inspiration is a twist between 90s fashion mixed with 70s hippie. I also love the femininity of women in the 60s and 50s. Like, I love the femininity and the spirit behind it—not just wearing pumps and heels but the attitude they had. The way they carried themselves.
Seriously, I didn’t think I had style. I literally would watch my sisters. I know within the past 2 years I’ve started to feel like I have an established sense of style now. I would watch them as they grew. I started with Jess because she just makes everything look cute and then all of them started developing their style and I was like, oh my God, I’m the odd man out.
My influence, it ranges. It’s kind of weird. Like maybe whatever I’m feeling that day. It could be street wear, it could be the 90s Clueless look, it could be a photo out of a Vogue Magazine, it could be a photo on Tumblr. Like today I have on high-waist blue jeans and the 90s, baggy mock turtle neck. It just depends. I just love clothes a lot and shoes a lot.
My style is just very street inspired but it’s also just whatever I feel. I heard someone say that fashion is kind of what society creates, but style is you taking that and making it ‘you.’
Michael Jackson is my inspiration in every way, musically and so many other ways. He would create different things, and come up with different styles, and wouldn’t be concerned about what people thought. So I always have that in mind. Like, this is what I’m feeling so I’m going to rock with it. My sisters inspire me too.
My inspiration comes from Solange, she inspires me. I have a blog that I’ve had for years but the things that I see on my feed, just random things I see inspire me when it comes to fashion. Also, vintage Oscar De La Renta style, like Breakfast At Tiffany’s, very feminine, Chanel—old vintage Chanel. High waist trousers, with a blouse tucked in—just really clean.
As for my hair, nothing made me go natural, I was just kind of like, ‘let’s see how this goes.’ I hadn’t had a perm in a while so I was like, if I wash my hair it will curl up so let’s see how this goes. It was a curiosity thing. We all go through that awkward stage so I wore protective styles for a year. Then now I’m just comfortable with wearing it like this in hopes that it’ll grow longer. It’s easy to me. I have my regimen and I just stick with it. I straighten it sometimes. I can do what I want with it.