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Cover Story: The Secret Life Of Dutchess


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Former Black Ink Crew star, Dutchess Lattimore, has been very busy since she left the VH1 show. In fact, she describes her departure from Black Ink Crew as, “the beginning of [her] real life.” Since leaving, she has found success with her production company in connection with Hudson Valley, shooting the likes of Lil Baby, 42 Dugg, Future, and even NBA Youngboy’s “Outside Today” music video⸺which has since garnered over 206 million views.

“I don’t talk about it enough,” she told us. “It’s something that I hold close to my heart. It’s business for me. As long as we put out good work I don’t care if the world knows that it’s me or my company. I just want my clients to be happy.”

Indeed, since the inception of her production company back in 2018, Dutchess has been working nonstop paving a distinct path for herself within the industry. She co-wrote her first movie, False Advertisement, which was featured in the American Black Film Festival back in 2019. She has also forayed into radio, joining the show 92.7 The Block. There she broadcasts every Sunday. When asked how she feels about making the transition from reality TV to radio, she describes radio as a more intimate medium. “When you’re on TV you’re watched all over the world,” she explained. “When you’re on the radio it’s pretty much [just the] people…you see at the grocery store, the people that interact with my brand. So I actually appreciate radio a little bit more. I like being in touch with people in my community.”

Since her departure from Black Ink Crew, Dutchess has been very vocal about her hopes for the industry and the path she continues to pave for other black artists. She felt dismayed about her time working for Big Fish Productions⸺the production company behind Black Ink Crew. She explained, “I did 152 episodes on VH1 and none of the people who work for Big Fish look like us except for like one. The rest were all white. So for me, I felt [like] How can somebody white tell our story, the way that it should be told?’” This frustration catalyzed her journey into production. She understood that people like her needed to be in control of telling their own stories. “I want to be able to tell black stories the way that black people understand them and black people appreciate them,” she explained.

So for Dutchess, her foray into production was a lot more than just a business decision. It was a deeply personal commitment to changing a system from the inside out. However, with that being said, music had always been in her roots. And thus, music production became a natural next step in her career. Her entire family is musically inclined. Her grandfather was a founding member of the Southern Crusaders, a very well known gospel quartet based in North Carolina. All of her brothers and sisters are musically inclined as well. Her aunt plays the bass, and her uncle plays “every kind of guitar that you can think of.”

But much like other aspects of her career, Dutchess’ foray into music has been unconventional. When asked about her thoughts on the biggest misperception about music, she explained,

“They put me in a box.…No disrespect to any of the women in music, but I don’t fit in any of their boxes.”

Dutchess vehemently works to remain outside of the box, and is dedicated to carving out a career that doesn’t abide by contemporary trends in music. “I don’t oversexualize myself. I dont talk about sex in my music. I just talk about the things that women will appreciate, and [the things] men will appreciate in women,” she explained. “So it’s different from the trends that we have in music now, but it’s something that I feel…is necessary.”

In keeping with her own personal philosophy, Dutchess continues to vocally support other artists that are going against the grain, shouting out in particular artists such as Rhapsody and Mumu Fresh. Rhapsody is a Grammy nominated rapper out of Snow Hill North Carolina. Mumu Fresh is an award winning rapper whose songs discuss her Native American heritage ⸺her ancestral lineage’s connection to modern day struggles. Both women have paved their careers apart from the beaten path, a quality which Dutchess respects immensely. “Those are the women that I kinda draw my inspiration from because I love the underdog.” She continued, “I’ve been the underdog. So, I love the person who’s completely against what mainstream thinks is mainstream.”

When she’s not putting work into her company, Dutchess works on building up her charity, Beat Yourself Beautiful, which was founded so women and men can combat their insecurities. She also is looking forward to several upcoming projects in the works, including a new show she will begin shooting next August. While she couldn’t share too many details about the project, she did tell us it will be “reality based, but not a reality show [and it will] shine light on things that Melanin kings and queens will appreciate.” She is also gearing up to release the film,  False Advertisement on streaming platforms; however, she hasn’t decided which platform it will drop on yet. Overall, Dutchess, though extremely busy, is creating much needed ripples within the entertainment industries. No doubt, her ripples will grow into waves to affect the much needed change.  

Edition Credit:

Photography: Michael Lopez & Laurence Logan

Hair: Felicia Brown Hudson

Wardrobe: Five13 Studio, Nira Loves Fashion Boutique, Shop MGH ( Jewelry), Levi ( Jewelry) , Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton

MUA: April Hill

Long Designer Earrings Provided By Artist and Stylist: Mondavian Michquell ( Hous of Mikae’el)

Stylist and Creative Director : Tempestt Harris

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