From Where We Are

Meet the ‘Two Tens’ behind Anderson .Paak’s new cover art

USC students shot and modeled for the artist’s latest single

Last week artists Cordae and Anderson .Paak released a new song titled “Two Tens.” The song, produced by J.Cole features an album cover of two young Black models both strategically placed across a colorful blanket, wearing matching outfits as they fully encompass the songs title. Many may not know that it was shot and modeled by team of three Black female creators from USC.

Junior Brianna Brothers is a psychology major with a passion for photography that stemmed from her modeling career. Brothers explains how she became the cover photographer and the importance of Black artists in the entertainment industry.

BRIANNA BROTHERS: One of my best friends, her cousin owns a production company, and his production company works with quite a few different artists and they typically do music videos. He reached out to me back in December and said, Hey, Bri, I need a photographer for this project. Do you want to shoot the project? He needs a cover with two girls with afros.

Brothers hopes to uplift the Black community through her work and inspire other young Black creatives to fully immerse themselves in their passions.

BROTHERS: Yeah, I think it’s extremely important to have Black artists and Black models. I think specifically for me, as a Black female photographer, I’m able to make sure that what I put out there is elevating our culture rather than tearing it down in any way.

After reaching out to sophomore Anya Ball about modeling the project, Ball immediately jumped at the opportunity to work with Brothers.

ANYA BALL: But it was a very comfortable setting. I really like that. It was a USC student, a Black girl that was able to shoot it and just kind of working in that space was it was nice to see. I think when Brianna was like, “Oh, like the song title is two tens,” I was like, Oh that makes me happy that it’s Black women, but looking for afros, looking for just like that, authentic, like big hair. That was like one of my favorite parts of it.

Amid the reactions, Ball was overwhelmed with support from her friends and family although surprised that the album cover had reached such a large audience.

BALL: I knew it was going to be used for the song cover, but I think seeing it, like scrolling through music and seeing my face there was like, wow. I have just had a lot of friends send me screenshots and been like, “Is this you?” I would hope that the creative industry opens up a little bit more to give younger, especially Black women opportunities to do things like that.

As of right now, the song has been streamed on Spotify more than three million times within the first week of its release on January 25th.

For Annenberg Media, I’m Isa Johnson.