Dawn Richard Talks “Second Line,” What Makes Her Strikingly Different and More

Dawn Richard is a one-woman show all on her own. She does everything from being an internationally known pop star to the creative director of Adult Swim. Versatility is the name of the game when thinking of the entertainer. There isn’t an avenue she is afraid to go down, and she has made that clear. Her last venture includes select performances at various arenas to promote her latest album, “Second Line.”

With it, she brings timeless pieces swimming in the upbeat dance genre of music guaranteed to keep audiences on their feet.

Richard stepped into the spotlight after joining pop group Danity Kane via Diddy’s “Making the Band” television series. He then took the young singer on another journey, placing her in the duo “Dirty Money.” Since then, she has expanded her wings and taken on the challenge of acting, appearing in films such as “5 Weddings” and “Kinky” with actor Robert Ri’chard.

As one of the serving creative directors of Adult Swim, there is no hesitation in seeing the parallels of her expressive endeavors. She sees the need for collaboration, budgeting, curation, and innovation in all fields.

Dawn Richard wearing Mugler styled by Oliver Brown.
Dawn Richard wearing Kim Mesches styled by Oliver Brown.

The superstar has taken to embracing her roots with her new album “Second Line.” The term refers to celebrating one’s life after one has passed, just as she celebrates the disintegration of old concepts and welcoming new ones. She even encourages others to create their sounds and embrace their inner visionary. Richard hopes to inspire other young Black women and girls by reminding them that only they are in control of their dreams and to go after them ferociously. She even encompasses Black pride when creating her stunning visuals paired with avant-garde fashions.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dawn Richard

Photography by Tyler Patrick Kenny. Styled by Oliver Brown.
Photography by Tyler Patrick Kenny. Styled by Oliver Brown.

Dawn hopes that she will leave an everlasting legacy with this new album, encompassing an electro vibe. Her shows have received numerous rave reviews across the board, no matter what stage she graces. She is unafraid to push boundaries, as being true to herself has always made her different. The star can be followed on social media @dawnrichard, and her music, including Second Line, can be streamed on all digital platforms.


Going from starting as an internationally known pop star to a creative director for Adult Swim had to be a massive change. What have you had to embrace creatively to make the change? It’s similar. It’s collaboration at the core. I’m working with incredible talents to curate projects on a major platform. Not too far from collaborating with producers to create music to push to the main stage. They both require attention to detail, budgeting, curation, and creative innovation. I feel like I was meant for the Adult swim job just like I was meant for the stage.

Can you explain to us what you mean by “Second Line: I am the genre”? Second Line is a term used in New Orleans to refer to the home-going ceremony. It’s our cultural way of sending off our loved ones. On the album, I’m sending off old ideas of what artists used to be. A funeral for old concepts and boxes. With that death comes a new idea. A new world. Where there aren’t boxes. Where artists create their own sounds. I am a genre. I am not one category. I am all-encompassing.

What incited you to become the owner and operator of Papa Ted’s vegan food truck in New Orleans? I wanted to take my message further than music. I want to create healthy spaces for creatives to network. Something that isn’t in New Orleans. Veganism is new in NOLA. Black vegans even more so. We are in the city. I want to be a part of that change. Bringing New Orleans to the future. With new ideas, healthy spaces for us to grow.

As a new-age Black woman who has made her destiny her own, what do you wish to inspire in other young Black entrepreneurs? That they create the doors and windows of their dreams. No one can stop what is meant for you. Attack your dreams ferociously. Be relentless.

You have had shows and enthralling reviews that promote your latest work, “Second Line: An Electro Revival.” What can your fans expect to hear with this new transition? Ascension. I’m building worlds. My legacy is to build something that will last past me.

All of your visuals have had an avant-garde twist. Do you feel you are sending a message behind the creative vision for your shots or wardrobe? If so, what would that message be? Yes. I’m creating a story of BLACK pride. Royalty and heritage. The Future of what we can be and have already been. The point is to show the possibilities. 

What is your philosophy in life? Find out who you are and do it on purpose.

The definition of Contrast is ‘to be strikingly different’ What makes you strikingly different? I’m me. That’s enough.

Produced + Styled by Oliver Brown.
Photography by Tyler Patrick Kenny.
Story by Lesley Logan.

Hair by Sheila Fisher.
Makeup by Chandra Rogers.
Fashion Assistant: Safa Haque.
BTS Photographer: Alfield Reeves Photography.

Dawn Richard wearing Lenshina Nchami styled by Oliver Brown.

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