It’s not every weekend that Kerri Gristina, a schoolteacher living in the Bronx, manages to round up her three daughters and load them into the car for a Manhattan outing. When she does, she’ll take them to a Broadway play, to a museum or just to frolic around Central Park. But no matter what else they do that day, the busy mom always manages to carve out some time for one special stop along the way.
“They have natural options, organic options,” Ms. Gristina, who writes a blog called Raising Three Savvy Ladies, told The New York Observer of her favorite place to buy beauty products in NYC. “It’s like a designer store. Maybe it costs more, but having more variety is worth it.”
No, it’s not the Laura Mercier or Bobbi Brown counter at Bergdorf’s. Ms. Gristina’s guilty primping pleasure is Duane Reade.
Over the summer, Steve Stoute, the CEO of the brand-marketing firm Translation, went to Wimbledon with his friend and business partner, the rapper Jay-Z, to cheer on Rafael Nadal during the Spaniard’s fourth-round battle with Juan Martín Del Potro. With the match tied in the third set, BBC cameras spotted them. “The man is still here,” said BBC tennis analyst Boris Becker in his heavy German accent. “The Jigga Man, that’s what they call him—Shawn Carter.”
Where most viewers saw a star-sighting. Mr. Stoute saw a “tanning moment.”
Mr. Stoute, in his recent book The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy (2011, Gotham Books), defined “tanning” as “the catalytic force majeure that went beyond musical boundaries and into the psyche of young America.” That’s a pretty thick slice of marketing-speak, but the gist of it is simple: hip-hop has radically changed culture and corporate America.
And Mr. Stoute has had a central role in the transformation.
For anyone who lives in the city, the iconic “I Love New York” logo usually brings to mind millions of tourists streaming into Times Square like so many locusts descending on a neon crop field. There are entire stores in the city dedicated to selling products featuring the image of a heart where the l-word should be. (For a visual example, look at the image to your left.)