Written by | Ray Cornelius

On Thursday night, Martell presented Iconic Blueprints honoring celebrity photographer, Derek Blanks. The VIP event was held at The Opera Nightclub in Midtown-Atlanta and was hosted by noted author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Rob Hill, Sr.

Martell Iconic Blueprints is an evening of networking and inspirational conversation around life, love and legacy. The Cognac brand honored four influencers between the Midwest and East Coast beginning with DJ Charlie Chan in St. Louis, Shala Akintunde in Chicago, Tommy Walker in Detroit and Derek Blanks in Atlanta. Hill says that each honoree embodies the spirit and mission of Martell.

Martell Cognac

Martell Iconic Blueprints recognizes four ‘”movers and shakers”

“We wanted to honor people who have influence. Individuals who we felt were touching the masses through whatever it is that they’re creating…art…music…particularly African-American men who are emerging and striving for more.”

Hill, affectionately known as the “Heart Healer,” further explained that he was “over the moon” when Martell asked him to host the Iconic Blueprint program and said that it lined up perfectly with his career as a motivational speaker.

Nicki Minaj

Derek Blanks is best known for this iconic alter ego photos

“They (Martell) represent the same things I represent. First of all, they have an enduring legacy that has been around for 300 years. Most people can’t keep $300 and I really respect that alone. But when you talk about defining and exceeding expectations that’s something I felt I was doing too,” explained Hill.

“I also love people. I love being able to look at people and tell the truth. I also like to hear and listen as well. I felt like this program was an awesome opportunity to do just that. The Martell brand talks about elevating not only yourself but the world around you and that’s what I aim to do. It was the perfect fit in my eyes.”

Rob Hill Sr. with Derek 2

Hill talking to Blanks about his career as a photographer and aspiring filmmaker

During the intimate conversation, Hill talked to Blanks about his career as a photographer that began as a painter and later shifted to graphic designing and then photography. Best known for his groundbreaking “alter ego” photos, Blank is one of the most sought after visual artists in the industry and has worked with everyone from Nicki Minaj to NeNe Leakes. He is currently focusing on his new production company that includes music videos and film projects. His goal is to become a “one stop shop” for rising music artists, actors and media personalities.

Check out a few photos below from Martell Iconic Blueprints honoring Derek Blanks:

Rob Hill Sr. Solo Crystal and Julian

Rob Hill, Sr. toasting the night/PR Maven, Christal Jordan with Kontrol Magazine’s Julian Lark

Derek Blanks and Football Guy

 Derek Blanks with Stevie Baggs, Jr.

RC with Rob Hill, Sr.

RC with Rob Hill, Sr.

Michelle Williams

Derek Blanks alter ego photo of Michelle Williams

RC with Rachel Neal

RC with actress Rachel Neal

Renee M. Palmer and Nicole Blount

Reneé M. Palmer and Nicole Blount of Blaque Book Concierge

RC with Ina Salsbury

RC with I’na Saulsberry of The Starfire Group

Rob Hill Sr. with Derek Blanks

 Rob Hill, Sr. listening to Derek Blanks talk about his career

Derek with music producer and guest

 Derek Blanks with “SWV Reunited” star Cory Taylor and guest

RC with Derek Blanks

RC with Derek Blanks

Photo Credits: MeganAlodie for RayCornelius.com