Monthly Archives: April 2016

30Apr/16
SOWHAT

SOWHAT? African backpacks coming from Tanzania

SOWHATSOWHAT? backpacks combine the dopeness of African prints with modern designs. Based in Tanzania, Africa, Sam produces these cultural print bags made of Kitenge with a touch of denim for $20US.

Sam also produces sandals coveted in pure goat skin. He is representing Tanzania internationally! Be sure to follow him on IG @young_ambitious_empire and contact him via WhatsApp at +255655815132 to get yours.

 

SOWHAT
Photos | Peter makungu
Model | Winnie
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26Apr/16
ms. reign

Check out the new video by Ms. Reign for “Boom Boom Clap”

Recently Ms. Reign released a music video for her track “Boom Boom Clap”. The song focuses on political influence and how it affects the 99%.  Or, in layman’s terms, it’s about politics, prostitutes, education, and fighting the system. We encourage you to watch it, enjoy it, and feel free to share it! Check for more Ms. Reign on MissReignProductions.bandcamp.com.
“Boom Boom Clap” by Ms. Reign (prod. Miss Reign Productions)

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23Apr/16
624713ART

624713ART is Producing Beautiful Artwork for Everyone

624713ART624713ART is a collective that consists of two intellectual thinkers who sometimes collaborate with friends, family, and collectors with the intention of producing a multitude of beautiful artwork for everyone and anyone to own. They are based in Brooklyn, where it all started, with a group of about six artists who all continue to make art under their respective company names. Husband and wife duo, Carlesto & Jenevieve, met 19 years ago via skateboarding. They both like to shoot photography, skateboard, sightsee and live in love and peace. Jenevieve studied at Cooper Union and Carlesto studied at F.I.T. Their work is a mix between our original photography, decoupage and collage, skateboarding and life. Their website encompasses their accomplishments and ideas that they have brought to life with positive thought and hard work. To fill your place and your heart with their art, contact 624713ART here!

624713ART  624713ART

624713ART

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23Apr/16
prince

Prince Nelson Rogers: 1958 – Forever

At 1:05p I get a text from my longtime homie Shan that reads “WTF is up with these people saying my original Baby Daddy is dead!?!” I simply replied, “Nas??” half caring about internet rumors, especially when I’ve only been awake for 15 minutes. Awaiting her response I inadvertently check a facebook notification, hit the back button which led to my newsfeed, and lost all air from my body… No, God, Please… Not Prince…

I went to check the singular news source I rely on for death notices and they only confirmed “someone” died. Then, at 1:17p my King messaged me: “Hey baby. Prince died.” He was the first person to actually say it to me. A minute later my best friend called and whispered “Are you ok?” …”No…” We cried. Hung up. My King called, I was still crying, he just listened, only half understanding. I didn’t have the words to explain it to him at the time. I washed, briefly went to the gym, and cancelled the rest of my day.

I was too mentally numb to party like it’s 1999 alongside the rest of the Prince stans at the impromptu Spike Lee block party or with Quest Love at Brooklyn Bowl, so I stayed in bed. When I first realized it was official, I didn’t think being on facebook was a good idea, but I’m glad I hit the window accidentally. It was tough, but the out pour of love for Prince’s artistry has been so fulfilling. I’ve gotten to see a few clips I’ve never seen before and watched the globe bask in why I’ve loved him as far back as my memory travels… Throughout the day I received the messages I needed to use to explain why the loss of this particular icon crippled me.

 

0

@ElusiveJ explained it best!

 

2

It helped to know I wasn’t alone, like I so often felt when I spoke of Prince.

It also helped to laugh in between the blanket-soaking tears.

prince

prince

But of all, my heart was most moved by my King creating this piece for me… the tears burst through like a flood… The black and white version is in his Pan African coloring book, The Little Black Book. The colored piece is available as a print and t-shirt due to popular requests when he posted them.

prince theonewillfocus

prince theonewillfocus

My first facebook post read: “This sh*t is so unreal to me. I decided to go work more on [Taji] Mag to take my mind off of it and forgot I dedicated a page to him (it’s Vol 7, the theme is Afrofuturism, his Bday is June 7th and Vol 7 releases June 7th, etc), but now it has to be in memory of… I’m not ready.
Yesterday my old ipod finally died while I was listening to Insatiable (my fav song) and I was so momentarily pissed. If I only knew…”

I was devastated. I felt betrayed. But now… Now I’m listening to HITNRUN Phase One & Two imagining how his concerts would’ve been performing these songs so different from his 80s hits, yet still SO him.

prince

How I will remember him. Afro. Smiling. Protecting his 3rd eye. <3

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22Apr/16
Samuel L Jackson

That Time Samuel L Jackson Gave Me #BlackGirlMagic

In 1997 I was a skinny tomboy with a ghetto name at a predominantly white school in the midwest. I lived with my father – let’s call him Tom – and his white wife whose daily message to me was that my hair was unkempt. I was going through a somewhat punk\alternative phase because that’s what the other kids were going through, and I wanted to fit in. I wore those super wide leg pants with holes in them and a pocket chain. Revolutionary adult me would have been embarrassed by such fashion choices, but 90s awkward preteen me was just trying to make up for the fact that I was dark skinned. It was a lonely and depressing time.

And then there was Samuel L Jackson.

Wait
 the dude who yells in all his movies? The slave from Django? The ‘motherf—er’ man? Yes! The very same. I saw the film Eve’s Bayou, written by a Black woman named Kasi Lemmons (Caveman’s Valentine, 2001; Talk to Me, 2007). Set in the deep south, featuring an all-star Black cast (Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, Meagan Goode, Diahann Carroll, and, of course, Samuel L Jackson), the story was not centered specifically around the issue of race. Rather, it followed the experiences of Eve, a budding clairvoyant who could communicate with spirits. Eve was Black, and close to my age, so unlike my response to Shirley Temple, whose movies were pushed on me by my step-mother, I found myself moved by Eve’s character. The mother, father, aunt, and older sister all had darker skin like me. Eve was light skinned from a dark skinned mother. That had an impact on me because it meant that I was just as beautiful as a light skinned girl. Eve saw her mother as gorgeous and so did I. Every shade of Black was represented in the movie which made me feel like less of a pariah. Eve was curious and insightful. She cared deeply about her family and her heart was heavy with compassion. Those were qualities I felt trapped by as a child because I was oftrn described as ‘too sensitive’ or weird. I was captivated by both the literal and metaphorical presence of magic in the film.

A Black female director had little to no chance of having her film financed ny a major company in 1997. Knowing this, Samuel L. Jackson not only starred in the film, delivering what I still consider to be his best performance to this day, but he also produced it. In fact, this was the first film he produced. Younger me had no idea at the time, but a producer is basically the person who pays for the magic to happen. So, in many ways, Samuel L. Jackson is partly responsible for the ways in which Eve’s Bayou changed the trajectory of my self-image. I went from wanting to perm my hair to embracing my natural kinks (both Eve and her aunt had thick hair like mine). I felt more confident about my non-traditional spirituality. This was the first time I saw Afrocentric, non-Christian beliefs valued. Seeing Eve and her aunt as these women connected so closely to God and so comfortable in that connection was empowering. I learned the importance of patience and research when making decisions, after seeing Eve reflect on her own decisions towards the end of the film.

When I celebrate the Black artists in theater who influenced me – and cringe at fair-skinned, Zoe Saldana being cast as Blackface Nina Simone — I think back to the time Samuel L. Jackson and Kasi Lemmons brought me Black girl magic in Eve’s Bayou. So, instead of complaining that the beautiful and talented Uzo Aduba should have been cast to play one of the greatest musical activists of our time, I realized that we can, and should, make our own films. Samuel L. Jackson did it. Nate Parker did it. Love him or hate him, even the big homie Tyler Perry did it. We have everything we need to create our own magic. More than that, though, we have a responsibility as creative intellectuals to embrace and celebrate our natural shade. Some caramel colored girl will see Zoe Saldana in Blackface and think less of herself. I think about 1997 me being confused and turned off by Blackface Nina. Hopefully no Black children will see the film and will instead write, direct, and star in their own art that features them falling in love with their melanin, no matter the shade.

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15Apr/16
Lindi Roaming the Streets

Lindi Roaming the Streets of Johannesburg, South Africa

Lindi Roaming the StreetsIn this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi explores South Africa Fashion Week in Hyde Park Corner of Johannesburg.

“Only those who go too far can possibly know how far they can go.”

This for me goes hand-in-glove with fashion; better yet “freedom”.A form of expression, driven by the act of fearlessness
 To a point where ones’ story is told through their ageless soul of adventure, sparking the skills of simplicity, authenticity and serenity.

“As I strut my short long legs on the streets of JOZI.

2

”Happiness that derives from the hope that inner-peace as invincible as my imagination lives on. Nothing is more creative, nor destructive than a brilliant mind with a purpose.

3

That “misunderstood” old man, who wakes up in the morning just to play his keys on the corner of Juta and De Beer Street. Not because he wants anything from anyone, but because this misunderstood genius feels that he has more to offer, than the lads driving past him in big cars with flashy rims and a fat bank account.

5

I’m talking about “uMama” who wakes up with a smile knowing that the woodwork she sells at Braamfontein on a Saturday will be enough for a weeks’ meal. The same woman, that sold handmade spoons and dishes for her kid’s Varsity tuition. #FEESMUSTFALL

6

The term rĂ©tro has been in use since the 1970s to describe on the hand new artefacts that self-consciously refer to particular modes, motifs, techniques, and materials of the past. But on the other hand, some people (incorrectly) use the term to categorise styles that have been created in the past. Retro style refers to new things that display characteristics of the past. It is mostly the recent past retro seeks to recapitulate, focusing on the products, fashions and artistic styles produced since the Industrial Revolution, of Modernity. The word “retro” derives from the Latin prefix retro, meaning backwards, or in past times.

7

Well I would like to refer to this as the “New age Evolution”

“Imagination is the air in the mind”

8

Stepping out of the conformed definition of freedom is one of the most knotty challenges one can face, but for me this requires tact of some sort, merely because anyone who lives within their means, suffers from a lack of imagination.

“Live on Fashionista, Live on!!!”

 

 

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11Apr/16
Slave Stories

10 Reasons I Will Never Get Tired of ‘Slave Stories’

In the wake of WGN’s newest hit show ‘Underground’, which premiered last month starring Jurnee Smollett Bell and Aldis Hodge and follows a group of slaves attempting to escape a Georgia plantation through the Underground Railroad, I want to remind the nay sayers of the value these stories still have all these years later. Just because the ignorant choose to believe Black history started with slavery does not mean we cannot honor our foremothers and fathers by keeping their struggle alive through various art forms and reminding ourselves the stock from which we come. From soul food to head wraps the very fiber of our being, just like this country’s, was built on the backs of slaves and there is no shame in that. We should embrace our ‘slave stories’.

Here are 10 reasons I will never get tired of well crafted books, movies and television shows where the plot includes slavery.

10. I KNOW MY HISTORY

Some Black folks get wind of a movie about slavery coming out and immediately get upset. “Damn! Another slave movie!” And I get why. Slavery is not the beginning of the history of the African Diaspora nor is it the pinnacle of our existence in North America. Why can’t movies be made about our Kings and Queens? Why hasn’t a movie about Black Wall Street or The Move Organization been made? I agree with that sentiment. I do wish a wider range of our stories made it to the silver screen. HOWEVER- because I am a seeker of knowledge and information I don’t REQUIRE others to show me my people in a positive light and I don’t EXPECT them to. I do that for myself. And WE must do that for OURSELVES. For those who haven’t noticed, our images in the media will never be what we want them to be unless we are controlling them. And when we cannot control what someone else is passing off as ‘Blackness” we must provide the world with alternative interpretations of our multidimensional selves.

9. YALL STILL RACIST OUT HERE

How could I ever be upset about present day proof of the barbarism and hypocrisy of this country and where it all started? We still have men shooting down men, women and children in cold blood simply for being Brown skinned and getting away with murder because the system is rooted in the very thinking that made slavery acceptable for centuries. How could I not be a fan of knowing the truth? Plus it’s nice to be reminded how far we’ve come, but more crucially, how far we still need to go in order to achieve a truly equitable and accessible society.

8. SLAVE IS JUST A WORD

I think part of the aversion Black people have to movies about slavery is an association with slaves because they are Black. They don’t want to think of themselves in that situation and they don’t want to witness their people being subjugated. That is understandable. But what we have to understand about slaves is that they were people first. They belonged to their mothers, wives, tribes, and children long before outsiders deemed them property. It is just a word and no slave was ever “just a slave.” They were people like you and I and I am not ashamed of my ancestors. If anyone should feel shame it is the descendants of the slave holders, NOT the descendants of the slaves.

7. OUR PRESENT IS DIRECTLY EFFECTED BY OUR PAST

When you look at a slave movie, and you watch the interactions between slave master and slave, between the slaves from different African countries, between the dark skinned and bi-racial children born into slavery and treated differently because of their hair texture and complexion, you understand the root of a multitude of modern day ills effecting the Black community. There are many different types of slavery. Think of the woman with locs who had to cut them to keep her job because someone somewhere with bone straight hair decided dreads are “unprofessional” and it became unwritten law. Think of the youth killing each other in the streets because they can’t see eye to eye simply because they live in different housing developments. Think of how many times on social media you see the phrase team light skin or team dark skin. These are all modern day manifestations of century old foolishness meant to keep us separated from each other while trying to assimilate into a culture that wants nothing to do with our authentic selves.

6. THEY’RE TRYING TO ERASE SLAVERY FROM HISTORY

Did you hear about the board of education in Texas changing the name of slavery to ‘the transatlantic triangular trade’ in its text books in the first of many steps toward erasing US slave trade from the history books altogether? Cause it happened in 2012. And its happening all over America. In addition to white-washing our characters in film, excluding us all but completely in history, misrepresenting and/or continually trying to discredit our leaders in the public sphere and picking and choosing whom to celebrate based on who posed the slightest threat to the status quo, they are straight up trying to erase slavery from the collective conscious of America.

5. I WILL NEVER FORGET AND YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER

The erasure of slavery from American history would not only be an insult to the memory of the millions of slaves who were bought, sold, starved, raped, beaten and dehumanized before our time, but it would also make the current situation of Blacks in America a mystery. If you understand that Africans were deemed only 3/5 of a human being at the very same time the U.S of A was fighting for freedom and autonomy from Great Britain than you can comprehend why the Trayvons, Jordans, and Rekias of the present day cannot receive justice.

4. NO FORM OF SLAVERY WAS AS BARBARIC AS THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE

When discussing the brutality of the TransAtlantic slave trade people often argue that slavery was everywhere, since the beginning of time, and that some Africans sold their own people into slavery. Since this is true, some believe what happened to the Africans traveling through the middle passage and arriving in the colonies can be lumped into all the other forms of slavery throughout history. That is a cop out and an insult, not only to the memory of the human beings who lived through slavery, but also to those after them who lived through the Jim Crow era, lynch mobs, the KKK, and those after them who were beaten, jailed, attacked by dogs and sprayed with high power water hoses during the Civil Rights era not even 50 years ago. If you take a good hard look at not just slavery, but its short and long term ramifications, there is no way a comparison to anything else could be legit.

3. HISTORICAL FILMS ARE IMPORTANT

Film and literature enable us to travel to places and times we may never get to actually experience. In the case of films about slavery I think it’s important to relive that pain and anguish. Not to be overcome by it but to understand the greatness from which we come. We survived this. The strength, determination and resilience of our people is showcased by the simple fact that we are still here. After centuries of subjugation we are still fighting to be seen as human beings by some members of society, and yet we live as students, artists, doctors, lawyers, entertainers, educators, politicians, engineers, authors, athletes, and the list goes on. Knowing our history helps many of us strive for excellence in the present as a way to pay homage to those before us.

2. YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE UPDATES

If you ask someone under the age of 15 whether or not they have seen ‘Roots’ the answer will most likely be no, but if you ask them whether or not they’ve seen ’12 Years a Slave’ you might be surprised how many of them would be able to discuss it with you. It’s very important for young people to stay current and they often shy away from anything deemed ‘old (with the exception of vintage/thrift clothing which is now trendy.) Contemporary films about slavery keep dialogue on the subject open and give young people the option of simply watching a movie to learn more about the time period.

1. I HAVE MY OWN BRAIN

Black people are often made to feel as though they are wrong, rude, sensitive or delusional when they take a stance on racial issues. Some have opted out of having an opinion altogether and simply keep quiet in the wake of blatant racism or they will purposely take a self destructive stance so they don’t seem ‘butthurt.’ I think that kind of thinking has a lot to do with the sharp rise in numbers of people who are all of a sudden tired of slave movies and being very vocal about it. Part of my pride in being who I am comes from knowing where I’ve been and how people like me have persevered so I don’t mind being reminded of one particular part of our long, glorious and GLOBAL history of ingenuity, courage and uniqueness.

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10Apr/16
Black Woman Business Grant

BFABW is Granting $250 via the Black Woman Business Grant

Buy from a Black WomanBuy from a Black Woman (BFABW) is currently accepting applications for their Black Woman Business Grant. The Black Woman Business Grant is a small $250 grant that will be awarded to a black woman who is in the beginning phase of starting her business. This grant is to help with start up costs, legal form fees, supplies, or any other minuscule items that appear when starting a business. BFABW is a supportive movement to help bring awareness to Black Women business owners. Black Women are the least socially supported yet, the highest-ranking group of entrepreneurs in this country. BFABW wants to change the narrative for those Black Women who own businesses.

BFABW’s Mission: To educate, empower and inspire Black Women by providing the tools and resources that will allow them to be successful and socially supported.

 BFABW Vision: To be a trusted resource that helps educate, empower and inspire Black Women in business.

The Black Woman Business Grant is awarded once a quarter. This round’s winner will be announced April 19. Applications close 15 April at 5 pm EST. More information and applications can be found at www.buyfromablackwoman.com/#!black-woman-business-grant/k90k2!

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09Apr/16
Meridian Lights

Brooklyn Indie-Soul/Rock Band ‘Meridian Lights’ is Making Waves

Meridian LightsBrooklyn-based indie-soul/rock band Meridian Lights has been on the scene for about 3 years, constantly playing gigs around the U.S. Meridian Lights is the song writing team consisting of vocalist Bradley Valentin and guitarist Yohimbe Sampson. They have recently completed their “self titled” second release.

Bradley and Yohimbe both grew up with heavy musical and art influences in the home. Music was part of celebrating the greatest moments of life, maintaining optimism during its trials, and served as an outlet for self expression. Yohimbe, self-taught, started playing guitar as a teen and honed his skills studying the instrument while playing with various bands, one being popular Brooklyn based Rap/Rock band Game Rebellion. Bradley, writing since the age of 12, has penned everything from short stories to poetry. He started singing as a teen in his mother’s church choir.

After crossing paths several times while living in the BedStuy section of Brooklyn, it all came to head at a party where Yohimbe grabbed a guitar and nobody would sing. Brad stood up, they started rocking, and haven’t stopped.

 

Check out the sounds of Meridian Lights via the links below!

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05Apr/16
La Vérité

Christian Brandon: Cameroon Fashion Designer of La Vérité

Christian Brandon Sentinel is a young Cameroon based fashion designer and the founder and artistic director of maisonlavĂ©ritĂ©. ”La VĂ©ritĂ©” is a brand that was founded in 2012 deeply rooted in Christian’s religious beliefs. “For me fashion is the diversity of everyday experience through others,” Christian noted. “La VĂ©ritĂ© is a second life, a friend solace, a refuge on textiles. We do not create to create, but to mark the spirits and put his fingerprints on the textile.” The brand, since its inception, is operated by a team of friends who share their love for their ancestors and descendants via art, football, fashion, photography, dance, and music.

In 2016, La Vérité debuted STREET WEAR 1980s, a new line of ready to wear Womens and Mens apparel. To rock the latest in La Vérité and keep up with their movement, follow them at @laveritecameroun!

 La Vérité  La Vérité

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