Pirelli's 2024 Calendar Marks 50th Year With Diversity At Its Core

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, actors Idris Elba and Angela Bassett, and writers Margot Lee Shetterly and Amanda Gorman appear in the famous calendar, captured for the first time by an African artist.

Ever wondered about life without a calendar? A calendar, by definition, measures the passage of time. The calendar we all know and use today isn’t very different from those used thousands of years ago.

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Pirelli's 2024 Calendar Marks 50th Year With Diversity At Its Core.
Prince Young/Photo via Pirelli Calendar’s official website

The Cal

Now, you may ask, what is a Pirelli calendar? I’ll cut to the chase. The Pirelli calendar, also known as “The Cal,” is an annual trade calendar published by the UK subsidiary of the Italian tire manufacturing company Pirelli since 1964.

Amoako Boafo/Photo via Pirelli Calendar’s official website

At that time, the company wanted to find a way for Pirelli to stand out from other similar companies.

They asked art director Derek Forsyth and famous British photographer Robert Freeman, known for taking pictures of the Beatles, to create a completely new project.

The calendar is famous for choosing great photographers and models, featuring fancy photos from the 1980s to the 2010s.

The calendar is made in a small quantity, with 20,000 copies printed every year. They don’t sell these copies; instead, they give them as gifts to celebrities and some special Pirelli customers. In 2017, it cost about US$2 million to make.

In the 1960s, during a time of scandalous magazines and ads, Pirelli was seen as a very attractive and exciting company. 

But nowadays, with movements like #BlackLivesMatter, big brands and magazines understand they need to show they care about important social issues to connect with younger audiences.

Now, the Pirelli calendar has joined the push for diversity. Its 2018 edition features an all-black model cast directed by Edward Enninful, who recently became British Vogue’s first black editor-in-chief.

Prince Gyasi

At 28, Gyasi attributes his passion for photography, in part, to supportive adults in his life from early childhood. His mother, a respected Ghanaian fashion designer, and a local photographer who ran a photo stand in the marketplace took Gyasi under their wings when he was a young apprentice.
Prince Gyasi/Photo via Pirelli Calendar’s official website

For years, The Cal has been creating waves with its exclusivity, glamor, and star-studded lineup, both in front of and behind the camera. 

To commemorate The Cal’s 50th anniversary, they selected visual artist Prince Gyasi to photograph and conceptualize the 2024 edition.

Hailing from Ghana, Gyasi injects a distinctive visual voice into his work. Vibrant colors offer viewers a glimpse into his otherworldly imagination, where a refreshing re-centering of Black subjects takes center stage.

At 28, Gyasi attributes his passion for photography, in part, to supportive adults in his life from early childhood. His mother, a respected Ghanaian fashion designer, and a local photographer who ran a photo stand in the marketplace took Gyasi under their wings when he was a young apprentice.

In a W Magazine interview, Gyasi expressed, “I used to play around with disposable cameras. I’d buy films. I would spend time in the darkroom [with the marketplace photographer] to see how he developed images. I’d try to recreate logos from places like McDonald’s and Lego on Microsoft Paint.”

“For me, it’s always been about where I’m from and how I’ll be able to project our culture and our traditions to the world,” he says. 

“It’s always a very good feeling to express myself in my country. I wanted some of the talent who’ve never been [to Ghana] to feel the place and understand why I am who I am.”

The Faces of the 50th Edition

This features A-listers including Naomi Campbell, Teyana Taylor, Angela Bassett, Idris Elba, award-winning writer and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history Amanda Gorman. 
Naomi Campbell/Photo via Pirelli Calendar’s official website

The 50th edition of the famed Pirelli calendar has been released. 

This features A-listers including Naomi Campbell, Teyana Taylor, Angela Bassett, Idris Elba, award-winning writer and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history Amanda Gorman. 

The lineup also includes Afrobeats superstar Tiwa Savage, Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly, and more.

While a calendar typically lasts for just one year, what makes the Pirelli 2024 calendar truly timeless?

The Timelessness of the Pirelli Calendar

The Pirelli 2024 calendar is timeless because it features inclusivity, diversity, and talent, all of which benefit everyone’s growth. From all the racism of the past, we must progress from there. In a way, we need to do better this time.

For Gyasi, “The best definition of ‘timeless’ is something that stands the test of time — and that is still quality,” he explained. “For me, it was to create something that if I look at it in 20 years, that I still love it … That it doesn’t look dated, right?”

Angela Bassett. Despite the Pirelli calendar's lavishness and million-dollar photoshoot cost, Gyasi hopes the 2024 calendar proves timeless.
Angela Bassett/Photo via Pirelli Calendar’s official website

Despite the Pirelli calendar’s lavishness and million-dollar photoshoot cost, Gyasi hopes the 2024 calendar proves timeless. With vibrant, thoughtful imagery celebrating cultural titans across the Black diaspora and the vitalness of community.

Gyasi’s theme mainly focuses on colors, and this is how we celebrate color, all year round.

Banner photo via Pirelli Calendar’s official website.

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