All posts by Dapper Dr Feel

About Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @dapperdrfel Dapper Dr. Feel is a burgeoning Southern gentleman looking for love in all the wrong places while applying to medical school. He volunteers with autism awareness projects and hopes to mentor other young Black men.

24Apr/18
Derrick Jaxn

“You Are Attractive, but Are You Good For My Mental Health?” with Derrick Jaxn

Derrick JaxnThere is a reason that the online dating industry makes over $3B each year since 2010 according to IBISWorld.com. Most of the population is looking to find a partner to share our lives with. Along with that comes the difficulty of learning people and what we can deal with. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in a relationship is the mental aspect of love and, in some cases, it’s difficult and, sometimes, scary. This is why oftentimes we ask ourselves “Are you good for my mental health?” whenever we find a possible suitor we deem attractive. Taji Mag interviewed author and self-love/relationship advocate Derrick Jaxn about his thoughts on love, dating, and mental health.

Taji Mag: There is a quote circulating on social media that says “You are attractive, but are you good for my mental health.” What does that mean to you?

Derrick Jaxn: I think it is adult and a mature way to look at it. While dating we focus so much on instant gratification that we forget what happens on the back end and we end up paying for it in the end in a lot of instances. A lot of people need to take that approach. It’s kinda like when you get food, it may look good, it may smell good,  but what is the nutritional makeup.

Taji Mag: In terms of maturity level, is there any noticeable development in judgment while dating that you have noticed with yourself?

Derrick Jaxn: It’s kind of like the bible verse (1 Corinthians 13:11) When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. In our youth, we are products of our environment but when you grow up, you no longer have that excuse and so now, as an older version of yourself, you are a product of your experiences. Now I have experienced women on a different level, more than what they can do for me sexually or whatever way I can use them. I know that’s a dark description of how we can objectify women, but we have to grow to see them as more valuable because society does not condition us that way.

Taji Mag: Can you give a good example of what you are talking about?

Derrick Jaxn: If you have a mom and dad that are both good influences, the media will inundate with images of women that are strictly for our consumption in the perspective of a man. On the other side of that attractive woman is a heart and a lot of trauma comes when you break that heart. It creates damage when you manipulate the mind and I have grown to know that especially now that I speak on behalf of relationships. A lot of times, it is women who are asking me to speak on their situations and it’s a sobering reality to hear about the things we put them through so casually.

Taji Mag: Sounds like you take to heart what women say and it’s very concerning what they go through.

Derrick Jaxn: I am very passionate about what I talk about because we have to change that culture. We can’t wait until our daughter is 16 about to go on a date to pull out a shotgun to care about women. We have to do our part now and shape things into the way we want them.

Taji Mag: How can you identify when you are in a mentally unhealthy relationship?

Derrick Jaxn: I have my bouts with mental health that I don’t play with. I am married now but, while I was dating, whenever situations blurred the line of toxicity or compromised my mental health, I made sure to nip it in the bud. I can’t afford to be played with because I already have a daily struggle. If you know anyone that struggles with mental health, they don’t always feel in control of their thoughts, moods, or emotions. You don’t need another opponent when you have that daily challenge. For me, I have never been in an unhealthy relationship, if there were situations where I felt whomever I was dating was playing with me or my emotions it got nipped in the bud real quick!

During the journey to find love it is important to listen to your heart and seek emotional tranquility than to fall ill to mental toxicity from another. It is easier said than done but that is the beauty of life, to learn as we go and discover what makes us happy.

“Unlike many other journeys, when it comes to finding self and matters of the heart you’ll swiftly find yourself lost if you follow someone else’s” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

26Mar/18

The Asa! Movement with Akosua Akoto

If Wakanda were real, Akosua Akoto (@akosua_asa) would no doubt lead the Dora Milage. Her peak physique, intelligence, and passion make her one of the talented leaders of the exercise world. Her motivation is not money or fame but to improve the quality of health for her clients. With Asa!, she is able to do just that, providing services that are beneficial to the health and well being of our community. The low impact workout that is a hybrid of fitness endurance and energetic dance movements allow participants to get fit, attack all body parts, and have fun in the process.

Akosua ’s love for fitness started at the age of 3 when she began to learn about dance. Her gift in dance granted her opportunities to perform in many of the highly praised programs around the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Akosua showed her ability to not only excel as a great student but also as a great teacher leading dance classes by the age of 15. She would continue her growth as a dancer through the choreography of different dance companies and events.

As her dance career continued to grow, so did her interest in health and fitness. Akosua’s interest led her to attend Howard University, where she completed her Bachelor’s in Sports Medicine followed by her Master’s in Human Performance & Injury Rehabilitation at the California University of Pennsylvania. Her intention was to use her degree to train and educate clients about health working for an organization, but life had better plans for her gifts, leading her into the extraordinary fitness entrepreneur that she is today.

Akosua in one her designed costume’s from the FUZE collection.

Not only is she a boss in the fitness and dance worlds, she is also the boss of her own businesses including Asa! and FUZE, where she serves as co-founder and designer. FUZE is not only a great company influenced by African and Antiguan culture, it is also a movement that is meant to encourage wellness, homemade body products, and dazzling costumes that can be worn for festival activities. In addition to Akosua running her many companies, she also finds time to train clients on-one-one. With her education and background, she is able to set up goals with her clients for them to achieve. Her training methods are effective because her focus is less based on the aesthetics. Akosua’s goal in fitness training is based on improving health through proper body mechanics and nutrition. 

Although Akosua has the moves and looks to lure audiences, she prefers to be behind the scenes developing choreography but is often asked to be in front of the camera to perform. Her latest work was in the video “Boomerang” by Jidenna where she and a long-time friend artfully dance through the whole video.  She has also performed on many huge platforms like the BET awards pre-show.

Although Akosua isn’t a protector of the King of Wakanda or can provide her clients the with heart-shaped herb from Black Panther, she can protect her clients from unhealthy habits, informative health/exercise education, and supportive nutrition advice. Her passion that she pours into her work will only lead her to greater success and improve any that are a part of her journey.

Be on the lookout for Asa and FUZE events near you!

 

21Feb/18

The Love of Hip Hop With DJ Dummy

DJ Dummy

DJ Dummy with Common (Left), Pharrell (Middle).

Black history month is a celebration of Black culture for centuries and one of the biggest links to Black culture is Hip Hop. Hip Hop has given artists the ability to express themselves or use Hip Hop as a commentary on social issues in the form of art. If Hip Hop is a canvas, DJ’s are like brushes that blend the colors of sound and voice to create beautiful portraits. DJ Dummy is one of those artists that brings an eclectic flair to his work; he is talented enough to masterfully capture the essence of a Henry Ossawa Tanner painting and recreate the artistic imaginings of a Faith Ringgold in his works of art. He is able to adapt and create in the world of Hip Hop sounds that are both palatable to ear and enriching to the soul. Taji Mag had the chance to interview the ageless, musical virtuoso to discuss his journey and his love of Hip Hop.

What influenced you to become a DJ?

DJ Dummy: “I was surrounded by DJ’s. My father is a DJ, my brother (DJ LS1) is a DJ. I also had uncles and three cousin’s that were also DJ’s. Going back to the 80’s, I used to go the park and DJ’s would have their equipment out and I am watching these guys, seeing that they were doing things that my father wasn’t doing. All my father did was mix two records together to continuously keep the beat going and now I’m seeing these guys in the park, they are scratching, making the record double. I was like, ‘this is something different!’ So that’s what made me want to get into it. I was 8 years old at the time and I knew I was going to DJ.”

You’ve performed at the White House, almost all of the late night shows, NBA All-Star games, and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. You cover pretty much everything! How are getting all of these nice gigs?

DJ Dummy: I’ve been with the right people and I can honestly say that. I’ve been with Common for the last 17 years and I can’t take anything away from that man. He has put me in such amazing places. I get to shine [and] walk away with people knowing my name. I owe a lot of those experiences to Common. Because of him, I have performed at the White House three times!

What are your top three favorite gigs?

DJ Dummy in action.

DJ Dummy: I change the order of them all the time but… When I got to perform at the White House it was out of this world. First of all, it was President Barack Obama’s first party at the White House, this was the biggest thing ever. The fact that the President and the First Lady were partying with us was great! Secret Service was there but they weren’t crowding them. Barrack was in the middle of the dance floor partying with his guests. You have to think, this was our first Black president, we didn’t think we would ever have a Black president. That’s what was going through our minds as guests as we partied with him.

 

The next big gig was the Dave Chappelle Block Party. I tell people that you may have seen the DVD but you weren’t there! It was amazing and so great! First of all, to be in Brooklyn and to have all those artists on one stage with artist like Kanye, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and the Fugees was awesome! I tell people that you don’t know what that meant for Hip Hop that night! There were so many other artists that jumped on stage that they didn’t put in the movie. It started at 10 am and didn’t end until midnight. It was like our Hip Hop Woodstock! It rained all day and we still rocked! I really, really loved that night! There were no fights or anything it was all about the music.

My next big event was the first time I performed at Madison Square Garden. That was a big moment for me. I never thought I would be performing there. Here I am, in my hometown, where I was born and raised. but there I was on the stage performing. I was doing the opening set with Common. During the set, I had a 5-minute solo and after I was done, the crowd went bananas and if I would’ve blinked I would’ve cried. It got no better than that!

Tell me about a few other famous artists that you have worked with?

DJ Dummy: Queen Latifah, every time she calls me I am always available. I love working with her. She is such an amazing person and she has a great personality. I respect her more than I respect Oprah, no discredit to Oprah because she isn’t my Hip Hop era. Latifah came straight out of Jersey and to be the woman that she is in Hollywood, you have to be proud of her.

DJ Dummy with Queen Latifah

J.Cole taught me about putting out great work, like whole albums and not just singles. Each of his albums are full stories. Like the album J.Cole: Sideline Story was about him trying to break into the music industry or his album Born Sinner which was about him making it big but making so many mistakes. His approach to music is if the radio picks it up as a single, OK, but if he is in the studio he is not trying to make a single because that is not what he is about.

With Alicia Keys, I felt like I was working with God’s angels. I just kept thinking, ‘Is this person really this nice?’ I had to keep asking myself because she is so amazing. As soon as she walks in a room, the whole room lights up. She just brings that energy with her. If you are in the studio and you make a mistake, she would look at you with an amazing smile and say ‘Oh it’s ok, let’s just do it again.’ She is just an amazing person.

Why do you love Hip Hop?

DJ Dummy: I grew up in Brooklyn, NY in the late 70’s and early 80’s. All I heard was disco music played by my parents. Like Motown from that era, I loved music from there. Then when I heard somebody rapping these words over one of my fathers’ old records, I was like ‘Hey that’s Good Times but they are actually doing some raps over it!’ It grabbed me like holy cow! I was thinking this is was something we could relate to. It wasn’t about shaking your booty or love, this rap was about how we were talking growing up in the streets. It was just something we could relate to. Not saying we couldn’t relate to disco, disco was just there at the time. Once I heard groups like Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and the Cold Crush Brothers rapping over my fathers’ old records, it was the best of both worlds. Then there used to be jams outside of the park where the DJ would bring out the big bottom bass speakers and he would have control of the crowd that consisted of break dancers and other people dancing. That was Hip Hop. The music wasn’t Hip Hop, the whole environment was Hip Hop. That is when and why I fell in love with Hip Hop.

When it comes to Hip Hop, DJ Dummy truly exemplifies the quote, “To find joy in work, is to discover the fountain of youth.”

Make sure to look check out DJ Dummy’s tour schedule for performances near you and pick up his collaborative hit album “Vintage Babies” with Maimouna Youssef.

17Jan/18
Black Lightning

Black Lightning Lights Up DC in DC 2018

This past weekend Warner Brothers hosted DC Comics in D.C. highlighting the upcoming tv show Black Lightning. It featured four different panels and premiered the first episode of Black Lightning. All of the panels were great and featured a lot of great talent and artists, but the panel that was most representative of the MLK weekend was the panel titled “The Many Shades of Heroism: DC Heroes Through the African American Lens”. This panel explained the creation of many of the popular Black characters of the DC television series world. The panel consisted of the show’s producers, Salim and Mara Akil, as well as actors Cress Williams (Black Lightning), Candice Patton (The Flash), Chris Chalk (Gotham), David Harewood (Supergirl), comic artist and producer Denys Cowan, writer John Ridley, and author and songwriter Alice Randall.

Black Characters on DC TV Series

Candice Patton portrays Iris West on the popular show The Flash. She discussed the importance of portraying an outstanding version of the character on television and how doing so has influenced creators to change the race of the character in the comics. Originally Iris West is portrayed as a white woman in DC comics. “I feel extremely honored first of all to be put in this position,” Patton explained.

“I am happy that a black woman is carrying the torch so generations after this will remember that Iris West was a black woman .” – Candice Patton on portraying Iris West.

Chris Chalk plays the intelligent and brilliant minded Lucius Fox on the show, Gotham. The show is based on a young Commissioner Gordon fighting crime against many of the developing iconic villains in the city of Gotham from the Batman series. “This character is great! I went to this STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program for Black youths and the kids would tell me they knew how I solved a problem on the show and I was like well tell me, ’cause I don’t know…” He emphasized the joy in playing a character that breaks racial stereotypes in television, saying “It is cool to have a Black character that is the smartest person in the series and he doesn’t fight.”

David Harewood plays Martian Manhunter on the show Supergirl. Being a native of London, he explained how important it is to have a Black lead character on a television show because, where he is from, there aren’t really any characters that look like him. He smiled as he proudly displayed his Black Lightning t-shirt. Harewood also discussed how happy he was to represent a person in of color in the media, making the audience aware that there are opportunities for all races and backgrounds to be represented.

Black Lightning: The Series For The Time

Black Lightning takes place in an urban, poverty and violence-stricken community where our hero, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), lives as a high school principal and family man. He has hung up the mantle of Black Lighting for 15 years because of the stress it was placing on his family but is forced to return to crime fighting when the local gang, The One Hundred, starts wreaking havoc on the neighborhood.

“It is a dream come true! After I put on the costume I was ready to run into the wall! I was ready to fight!” – Cress Williams on portraying Black Lighting

The show is produced by the power couple Salim and Mara Akil. They both have a successful history of producing great shows like the Soul Food TV series, Girlfriends, and Being Mary Jane. When asked about Black Lightning, they expressed the importance of the project and how great of a story it can tell about love, family, and community. “We are led by a vision and clearly this is Salim’s,” Mara explained about choosing the project to bring to life in television form. She explained the importance of giving people the perspective of a Black man that is positive, stating “July 2016, two Black men were killed after the long list of other Black men and we were in that moment of what was happening in our communities. When you look on television there were no Black men in the center of a television show, speaking on the issues that were about his life.” Salim Akil explored his vision of the project in-depth when quoting:

“We use that authenticity when it comes to other cultures but really we are talking about the nuance and Black folks are an integral part of American culture. What we will see with Black Lightning is that yes, we are getting culturally specific nuances of what it is going to be like being an African American man in the United States, but you will also see a man that loves his family and his community and wants what is best for his community. You can take the African American off that (character) and you have just a man that wants the best for his family. I hope everybody can identify wanting the best for their families and their community.”

DC Comics is continuing to evolve its characters that people from different backgrounds can relate to. Black Lightning debuted tonight, January 16th at 9pm, how’d you like it?

18Sep/17

WNBA Playoffs: Minnesota Lynx Hold Off Washington Mystics to Advance to WNBA Finals

The energy in the Capital One building in Washington, D.C. was filled with excitement as the Mystics fans prepared to cheer on their team to continue into the WNBA Playoffs. Little kids around the arena danced and laughed while hip hop tunes filled the air. Many of the adults were dancing like they were at a neighborhood block party. This painted scene of positivity and fun continued despite the outcome of the game.

The Mystics were down 2 games to 0 in a 5 game series. They needed a win and with the all-star caliber play of Elena Delle Donne (team-leading scorer and 2016 WNBA MVP) and Kristi Toliver, it would be possible. Even with the firepower of the Minnesota Lynx consisting of Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, and 2017 WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles, they stood a chance.

The first half started off with Maya Moore and the Lynx catching rhythm shooting 46.2% from the field and an incredible 57.1% from 3-pt range. Both Fowles (Lynx) and Delle Donne (Mystics) had 7 points at the half. With the Lynx’s great defensive play, they held the Mystics to 35.7% from the field and 33.3% from 3-pt range. Don’t be fooled by the numbers though, the Mystics were up by 1 point at the half, leading 39-38. They needed to be more consistent on their offense if they wanted to not allow the Lynx to pull ahead.

wnba playoffs mystics lynxDuring Half Time, the Mystics fans were still motivated and encouraged that their team would win. I talked with these beautiful ladies about how fun it was to attend the game and how they loved supporting the Mystics.

wnba playoffs mystics lynxAt the player’s entrance, little girls waited to greet the players into the second half. They were filled with joy as they hi-fived each player as they came out.

The 3rd quarter started out with Seimone Augustus hitting the first two shots for the Lynx, which would begin her great performance for the second half. The Mystics stayed within reach with others players, like Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, stepping up for them offensively. The Mystics managed to keep the lead three times and even kept the game close, but with Augustus and Fowles catching fire adding to the All-Star performance of Maya Moore, the Mystics would succumb to defeat 81-70.

Although the season ended for the Mystics, they still kept their heads high. They had played against a team that was offensively superior only due to the injuries that had plagued them this season. Yet in all, they still played hard and with much passion. The Mystics look forward to preparing for the offseason training, relaxing, and some are even heading overseas to play.

wnba playoffs mystics lynxElena Delle Donne looks forward to not just working out, but exploring Washington, D.C. With her first year on the team, she primarily stays in the routine of preparing for the season and just hanging out at home. Ivory Latta has a busy summer ahead of her. She stated, “I’m getting my body together, doing some book tours, doing some camps, and helping my mom take care of my father.” Latta has been acknowledged for doing community work and assisting foundations. Both her parents have Parkinson’s which is why she serves as an ambassador for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. WNBA athletes like Latta show how great and inspirational they are by motivating children to be the best versions of themselves and to give back. Their sportsmanship and fundamentals are something all that youth should witness, not only to become better athletes, but better people in the future.

wnba playoffs mystics lynxWNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx is looking forward to the WNBA finals, stating “Looking forward to a lot of physicality.”

Watch Fowles and the Minnesota Lynx as they take on Candace Parker the Los Angeles Sparks for the WNBA championship Sunday 3:30pm on ESPN.

Photos by: DapperDrFeel

16Aug/17
Bodybuilding Power Couple

Bodybuilding Power Couple Share Their Love For Fitness

There is nothing like sharing love with someone, but sharing the love of something you have in common is something even more special. That is the case with bodybuilder power couple Jeanitra Moore and Kevin Johnson. Their love for fitness has been heavily inspired by bodybuilding champion Kai Greene. Based out of Louisville, KY the couple has been competing for many years and has won several competitions, including Jeanitra being the 1st novice class A champion at the Kentucky state championship.

Kevin and Jeanitra both offer free health advice online because they love what they do and they want others to be healthy as well. They understand that many people need motivation and or cannot afford to get what they need to increase their health. They also have a family together that embodies love of life, love of fitness, and working together.

They train everyday as each other’s support and partner while taking on a growing number of clients that range from beginners to those that are amateur bodybuilding competitors. They train clients in person but also provide online training for those that live outside of the state or who are on the go out of the area. It’s nice to have some support when you’re on a business trip surrounded by unhealthy foods.

When asked about approaching fitness in life, Kevin explained his view stating, “In your 20’s you don’t care about drinking, partying, food,etc. because you are young. Then when you are in your 30’s you start looking at your health and your physical shape. When you look at some of the physical jobs out there, they require you be in shape to perform the jobs and if you can’t perform the job, you can’t work for them. You have to put things into perspective, how you want to look, and ultimately how do you want to feel for the rest of your life.” Jeanitra’s advice to all people is to just “Go for it! Love yourself. Be dedicated. Don’t worry about the results too soon and just go for it!”

They are well known on instagram with a combined following of over 35,000, including celebrities. Jeanitra was even acknowledged by Megan Fox on instagram and has been featured on other fitness websites. Kevin has been known for his work ethic and his powerful inspiration to others. In 2012 he had an well directed biographic documentary (directed by Antonio Pantojia) that would make Spike Lee shed a tear.

When questioned if they knew of any fitness couple out that they knew of, they both agreed that they had a unique system. “[Not] here in Louisville, KY. Not trying to sound cocky, there are not a lot of couples doing what we are doing. Not a lot of paired trainers in regards to nutrition, planning, exercise, etc.”

Kevin also added “There are a lot of people that struggle working together because of their ego and they have their own system that they are not willing to change. We have a system that works well for the both of us. Plus, we do this not for the money but the positive effects we have on people’s lives.”

The fitness star duo also raise three children together, ages 3, 7, 14, who they try to include in their healthy living, although Kevin mentioned “they eat the healthy stuff, but they also eat some of the unhealthy stuff like pizza rolls, but they are kids. They will learn and hopefully join us in healthy living one day.” Jeanitra stated that the kids sometimes keep her in check. “My 14 old will tell me sometimes that I need to not eat certain things or let me know it may not be a good idea to eat too much of something.”

When asked about their favorite bodybuilders, they both agreed that Kai Greene was their favorite. Jenitra mentioning that he reminds her of Kevin. I guess that’s one reason to like a bodybuilder, usually it’s the other way around. But they explained how humble and dedicated to fitness he is. Kai Greene was at one point homeless, a orphan, and a troubled youth, then made a turn around with the guidance of one of his teachers. He is now a world renowned star and multiple bodybuilder award winner. His popularity has his fans lining up at airports to greet him worldwide. Kevin and Jeanitra both explained how much of a great guy he is because you never really hear anything bad about him from anyone.

Bodybuilding Champion Kai Green

To show how much dedication they have for their clients when asked if they would take a celebrity client that was preparing for a movie over their current regular clients Jenitra said, “ I treat every client with respect. I would like to know their schedule because I also have a realtor business that my clients currently work around. Ultimately I wouldn’t bump my regular clients for a celebrity.”

Kevin stated “Let’s say that a celebrity did call about training for a movie in NY. I would have to be compensated for all the times I would take away from my clients. Then I need money to hire someone to train those clients, living expenses if I travel, etc. Once I break down all that’s needed to hire me, they probably wouldn’t want to… Now if it’s an opportunity to further my career, like it would be nationally televised, I would make arrangements, but I would make sure that my clients are taken care of.”

These two have used Kai’s passion for fitness to inspire them to be the healthiest that they can be and teach others how to do the same. Many can use their story of love and partnership to venture into a healthier lifestyle. Although you don’t need to be an award winning champion in body building like Kai Greene, you can be a champion of your health.

Kevin is next competing in the Amature Olympia and Jenitra will compete in the Kentucky Muscle.

Be sure to check out Kevin and Jenitra at www.1manstalent.com!

09Aug/17
Maimouna Youssef

Shine Your Light with Songstress Maimouna Youssef

Grammy nominated music artist Maimouna Youssef has just released a new hot single “Shine Your Light” with DJ Dummy. Bringing back the old flavor of fun fueled concept music that had blazed the air waves in the 70s. Talented and beautiful, Maimouna Youssef allows listeners to escape melodically to an acoustic utopia. Taji Mag had the opportunity to interview her about her new single, her influences, and her sage like wisdom on life.

Taji Mag: What sparked your influence for your new single?
Maimouna Youssef: I wanted to develop music to make people feel good about themselves. Being that I grew up informed about the struggle through my family, I have not been surprised by today’s hardships. I feel like people that didn’t have similar upbringing, don’t know how to deal with some of the issues of today. I hear people say that they don’t know what to do with all this negativity going on in the world and I want them to know that it is going to be ok. That they can keep moving forward because what we are going through is nothing new.
TM: How did you combine dance and concept music in your new single “Shine Your Light”?
MY: I took influence from the 70’s that fused concept and dance music together for people to enjoy. Music shouldn’t have to be really serious or just dance music, it can be both and the 70’s were good for that.
TM: Would you ever consider doing a socially conscious album similar to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?
MY: I would love to do a concept album like that. The beauty of being an independent artist is that you are able to put whatever you want to put out without any questions. I love making whatever music I feel moves me. Instead of having someone tell me I can’t put out certain types of work, that limits me as an artist.
TM: How did you learn to keep self love?
MY: My mother inspired me and taught me to love myself. She told me no one else is going to give me that love, so I needed to learn to give it to myself. Everybody should have that love for themselves. I think that it is important now especially with what is going on today that you really have to have that self love.
TM: What advice do you give to your son about life? Women? Society?
MY: I talk to him everyday about his experiences and dealing with emotions. That’s why I have him in boxing in Baltimore with his uncle. To teach him about discipline and dealing with his emotions. I feel like some men of color don’t have that. A way to let out their emotions and not have it bottled in. You see a lot of men with good careers, lots of degrees, money, and are able to function externally but internally they are dealing with a lot of anger and frustrations that they don’t know how to handle. I don’t sugar coat things with my son and keep it real with him. I homeschooled him because during his time in pre-school I felt he wasn’t learning some of the things I wanted him to learn. An Example, in kindergarten he had the daily lesson of differentiating similarities and differences between objects. One day the assignment was to circle all the clowns with red noses and put an X on the ones with different colored noses. I noticed that he had a positive attitude towards the clowns that he was circling because clowns with red noses are the norm but when he had to X out the clowns with different colored noses, I noticed his attitude towards those clowns were more aggressive and dismissive as he was X’ing them out. Then just as an experiment, I asked him instead of using X’s which in our society connote something negative to be excluded and Circles to be something positive to be included, I asked him to use triangles and rectangles which don’t have social connotations neither positive or negative. So, he began doing the assignment and his whole attitude changed. He was feeling positive to all the clowns no matter what color noses they had. I knew right then that that assignment he was being asked to do everyday was teaching social intolerance in the most subconscious and insidious way. Its also teaching self hate because as a boy or color in this society, he’s going to routinely be the one that is different that society will want to X out. If we don’t have self love we didn’t have anything.

TM: Which artist made you fall in love with music?
MY: My mother and grandmother both made me fall in love with music. Especially my grandmother having a gospel background. They kept me exposed to artists like Mahalia Jackson and Donny Hathaway. I wanted to listen to groups like Total back in the day and they kept me on artist like Ella Fitzgerald. Both of them kept me into old school good music, that helped shape the artist I am today.
TM: Which other Artist influenced you?
MY: I have done some background work Lalah Hathaway who inspires me because she is awesome! There have been times where I have not been able to focus on my part as background vocalist for Lalah because she was so great during the performance. I also worked with Cody Chesnutt and I love his work as well. I always try to pick his brain and seek his mentorship because I think he is so talented and has great musical skills. I love working with Eric Roberson, he is another gifted artist. All these great artist are my mentors and I’m always asking them for advice to make my skills better.

Maimouna Youssef’s newest album “Vintage Babies” will be out soon and she also has an album release tour coming. Follow her on twitter @maimounayoussef and @mumufresh on instagram.

28Jul/17
richard sherman

Richard Sherman Comments on His Locs at the ESPYs *Video*

richard shermanWhat is a great way to grab the attention of a NFL star on the red carpet at the ESPYs? Just take time to compliment them. That is what happened when Taji Mag stopped Richard Sherman to ask him about his locs. When asked how he keeps his locs well conditioned against the strenuous conditions of football he simply relies on lifestyle as mentioned in the video below.

Sherman showed much humility engaging with many around him and sporting an equality pin on his fashionable jacket for the ESPYs, expressing that he believes in allowing people to be themselves and not conform to what society thinks. He has spoken out against the NFL about taking away the individuality and the freedom of players, ultimately affecting the play of the players and the ratings of the NFL.

Richard Sherman is always a class act and a true display of being a positive Black man. Not only is he a pro bowl cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, but he is also a graduate from Stanford. His education and charismatic personality have helped him dispel any negativity placed on his character from the media. Most notably is the situation with Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, where he was called a “thug” after passionately asking Tom Brady “Are You Mad Bro?”. He let the media know how offended he was being labeled a thug and eloquently explained how it is comparable to the N-word.

There are other times that Sherman has been vilified but he finds ways to defy them and he also shows compassion with his acts of kindness. During a #BlackLoveConvo twitter chat, we discussed how he recently paid the tuition of a Virginia high school student. He met her at a charity dinner in Richmond, VA and made an agreement with her that if she was able to bring up her grades her senior, he would pay her tuition.

Hopefully Richard Sherman will continue to inspire and contribute to society, allowing for the Black community to have yet another positive role model.

Link to video