Category Archives: Creative

22Mar/19
Celebration Of Our Queens

Lindi Roaming The Streets In Celebration Of Our Queens

‘Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’ (you strike the women, you strike the rock)

These words from the famous resistance song have come to symbolize the courage and strength expressed at the Women’s March of 1956 as South African women refused to give into increasing oppression without some form of protest.

Before the 1950s, only Black men were required to carry passes. This gave them permission to be in an urban area. Only people who could find work were given a pass. This allowed the government to control the influx of Black men into the cities. The passed law was one of the most hated of the apartheid laws. Men were repeatedly arrested under this law and it had the effect of turning the majority of the population into criminals.

In 1952, the government announced that Black women would also have to carry passes. Women actively resisted this. The idea began in 1955 at a meeting of FSAW, where a suggestion was made: “Let us go to Pretoria ourselves and protest to the Government against laws that oppress us.”

On the 9th of August 1956, over 20,000 women of all races marched in unison to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over a petition to, the then South African prime minister, Hans (JG) Strijdom.

This was a significant turning point in the struggle against unjust apartheid laws. Though the march was against the restrictive pass laws, it led to significant changes towards the emancipation of women

‘Nelisiwe Mwase’, better known as “Nells”, optimizes the word “Imbokoto” (rock)! She’s a scriptwriter, content creator, music video producer, and actively manages Ofentse Mwase Flims, “OM Films”. The company was officially launched in 2017 as a comedy skit brand.

In that short space of time, Ofentse Mwase has been able to secure 1million views on two of their short film videos. While they don’t have a properly set up training program as yet, they take in a new intern from film school every three months.

They scout natural talent from underprivileged individuals who can’t afford tertiary education, and are passionate about film… encouraging them to start creating content with what they have, to develop consistency and discipline.

‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN MYSELF.’

“I couldn’t believe my own words. I could think of 10,000 different ways and things that anyone in public could say to discredit me. In my heart, I knew without any dim light of doubt; that I am great. I am gifted. I am good for it. This is my life.  But I was negative.”

-Nells

“I’m here to inspire”

Radical Creative Entrepreneurs

“My name is Ennock Mlangeni, a self-taught visual art artist based in Sasolburg, Zamdela SA. I specialize in various mediums from pens, paints, fabrics and pencil works.” His work is mostly influenced and inspired by women, as he has seen the strength that lies behind their beauty. Ennock started drawing in grade six and still remains loyal to the same resources he used when he began. He believes he stands a chance to compete with the new age technology material and artists, as he has refined and mastered his craft over the years using just basic tools… basic tools such as ballpoint pens, wax crayons, bottle caps, fabric etc.

     

“Black has never looked this good, bathed in the sun with pure sheer glow, black has never looked this beautiful. Dressed in the colours of my ancestors walking like the greatness of my past, I am not my scars but I am my heritage. Proudly reaping the presence of my heritage… black don’t crack, don’t crack, black don’t crack, as it oozes out of me cause kenna, it’s me, ndim dizibiqele ngoba ndim, black don’t crack. It simply draws the path on the palm of my hand…YES, black don’t crack! I am who I am because of my ancestors. My head wrapped in the presence of men to show respect, head bowed and knees bent to signify the presence of the man

Instika yesizwe

Black don’t crack black don’t crack black don’t crack because I am Instika Yesizwe.”

IG @mandy

Amanda Limpho Mboyi

21Feb/19
Growing Up Immigrant

Series, Growing Up Immigrant, Explores the Dynamics of a First-Gen Ghanaian-American

Growing Up Immigrant is a 6-episode cultural comedy and web series that explores the dynamics of first-generation, Ghanaian-American millennial, Nicholas Aajayi, as he navigates his career and romantic life while adjusting to living with his more “traditional” aunty. This series travels through so many cultural stigmas, most that people are silent about or choose to turn a blind eye towards.

Growing Up ImmigrantGrowing Up Immigrant’s creator, writer, co-director, and lead actor, Nathaniel Kweku, is American born but grew up going to Ghana every few years and recognized some strong cultural misunderstandings between Africans and African-Americans. As a first-generation Ghanaian-American, he understood the dynamics of both sides and became passionate about helping to spread cultural healing. Inspired by legendary African leaders and activists such as Kwame Nkrumah, Fela Kuti, Jomo Kenyatta, and Steven Biko, Nathaniel believes that more holistic African stories are needed to heal the wounds of colonialism and slavery.

The series takes a comedic approach, in the beginning, joking about who makes better Jollof between Ghana and Nigeria but eventually leads us straight into the unjustified murders of unarmed Black men in America. Along the journey, we experience what it’s like to be an undocumented immigrant, an elder African woman who is interested in dating but fears she is no longer desired, a millennial African woman who can’t find a man (particularly not an African one) to match her success who isn’t loving a white woman (Sidebar: she needs some restitution in a spin-off series), a Black man with a record from crimes he didn’t commit who cannot find a decent job due to said criminal record, dating a white partner who doesn’t understand… well… anything, and so much more. Watch it for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.

19Feb/19
High-End Black Designer

50+ High-End Black Designer Brands Across the Diaspora to Support Instead of…

High-end Black designer brands have existed for decades, yet we often look to the colonizers to flex our style. No more. Here are some extremely amazing brands with high-quality products to fill your closet listed in alphabetical order. Let us know your favs!

High-End Black Designer

Adele Dejak | AdeleDejak.com | @AdeleDejak
Adele Dejak The Brand is home to luxurious African inspired jewelry handcrafted in the heart of Kenya. Everything comes from materials that different African tribes would use to make their ornaments and trinkets. We have contemporary, artistic and wearable bags, necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets not forgetting some exclusive home decor items. If you consider yourself sophisticated, edgy, trendy and fashionable, Adele Dejak is the brand for you.

High-End Black Designer

Adoni MMVII | AdoniNYC.com | @AdoniNYC
Signature products, apparel, and accessories.

High-End Black Designer Brands

Ainsley & Troupe | AinsleyAndTroupe.com | @AinsleyAndTroupe
Ainsley & Troupe believes there aren’t many things in life (aside from a strong spiritual foundation) that gives a man confidence and a sense of purpose quite like being well-dressed does. Their aim is to equip men with the sartorial tools they need to exude confidence and remain purpose-filled throughout their everyday lives.

High-End Black Designer

Andrea IyamahAndreaIyamah.com | @AndreaIyamah 
Andrea Iyamah, owned by Nigerian fashion designer Dumebi Iyamah, is a clothing line strongly inspired by color and ethnic cultures. Although Andrea Iyamah is popularly recognized for its eccentric and unique take on swimwear, using vibrant colors and cuts inspired by an array of African cultures, the brand also specializes in ready-to-wear and custom made special event dresses.

High-End Black Designer

Armando Cabral | Armando-Cabral.com | @armando_cabral
Founded in 2008 by Portuguese model and designer Armando Cabral, Armando Cabral was established to offer premium footwear and accessories that reflect and support modern living. Inspired by timeless design, easy elegance and luxurious comfort, the brand merges minimalism with intricate details and innovative technical construction. From loafers and derby shoes, to boots and sneakers, each style is crafted from premium leather and made by Italy’s finest artisans, creating new classics designed for every occasion.

High-End Black Designer

ASHYA | Ashya.Co | @Ashya.Co
ASHYA is a Brooklyn-based design label featuring exclusively belt bags and travel-friendly accessories made for the modern day explorer. The brand aims to unify function and style through its purposeful designs. The contemporary design label reinvents a staple style by offering an unconventional and reimagined look on luxury belt bags. The brand emerged as an “ode to exploration” and pays homage to effortless movement. The thoughtfully crafted accessories are designed to fill the gap in the traveler of today’s arsenal of timeless pieces.

High-End Black Designer

Brother Vellies | BrotherVellies.com | @BrotherVellies
Brother Vellies was founded by Aurora James with the goal of introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs within Africa. Handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco, Brother Vellies creates boots, shoes, and sandals in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts.

High-End Black Designer

Christie Brown | ChristieBrownOnline.com | @ChristieBrown 
Luxury Ghanian fashion brand.

High-End Black Designer

Claude Lavie Kameni | LavieByCK.com | @LavieByCK
The Life of Fashion and Beauty. Celebrity Designer, originally from Cameroon, currently based in the D(M)V and Los Angeles.

High-End Black Designer

CUSHNIE | Cushnie.com | @Cushnie
CUSHNIE is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear and accessories brand designed by Carly Cushnie. At the helm of her namesake label as CEO and Creative Director, Carly Cushnie sets forth with a mission to empower women, and to celebrate diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the business.

High-End Black Designer

Dleak Leather Bowties | DleakLeatherBowties.com | @dleakbowties
Dleak Leather Bow-ties is a NewYork-based brand with a collection of handmade leather bow-ties and accessories. Each bow-tie is customized for each individual.

High-End Black Designer

Fe Noel | FeNoel.com | @FeNoel
“Eat well, travel often, and dress to inspire!”…In other words, make life beautiful. This is the philosophy behind the Brooklyn based, womenswear brand Fe Noel. The label’s founder, Felisha “Fe” Noel, is deeply influenced by her Grenadian heritage and has mastered the ability to bottle up culture and glamour infused with sensibility and sensuality.

High-End Black Designer

FEAR OF GODfearofgod.com | @fearofgod.com
American Luxury.

High-End Black Designer

Felix Asuquo | @Fai_World
Bespoke fashion brand based in Lagos.

High-End Black Designer

FemiHandbags | FemiHandbags.com | @FemiHandBags
Colourful. Eclectic. These are the trademarks of FemiHandbags, an African handbags and accessories brand that embodies the exuberant approach to life of its founder, Femi Olayebi.

High-End Black Designer

FRÈRE | FrereNY.com | @MusikaFrere
FRÈRE is the new voice of modern fashion. With an obsessive focus on fit and fabrication, the FRÈRE brand elevates classic silhouettes with extensive experience in bespoke suiting. FRÈRE brings the expertise forward to express a continuation of this vision of an expansion into a fashion house with the offerings of ready-to-wear collections and accessories with a global presence. All of FRÈRE’s garments are hand-made by the finest artisans in the world using the most luxurious materials.

High-End Black Designer

Hanifa | Hanifa.co | @HanifaOfficial
Hanifa is a Ready-to-Wear (RTW) designer line which features contemporary apparel for women. Feminine with chic simplicity, Hanifa features an array of styles, colors, textures, and exclusive patterns that cater to a woman’s body. Hanifa targets your everyday hardworking, bold and beautiful woman who embodies class and a subtle edge.

High-End Black Designer Brands

Haus of Falenci’ago | HausofFalenciago.schedulista.com | @HausOfFalenciago
Specializing in Red Carpet Fashion.

High-End Black Designer

Hideoki Bespoke | HideokiBespoke.com
Born of traditional craftsmanship, infused with an innovative style, and personalized to express the client’s individuality, a Hideoki Bespoke garment enhances every client’s lifestyle.

High-End Black Designer

Ites International | ItesInternational.com | @ItesInt
Caribbean-born, but raised in New York, Sequoia’s journey to Jamaica and her exposure to Reggae, Rastafari, and the African culture inspired her to launch the ITES INTERNATIONAL label.

High-End Black Designer

John Ashford Shoes | AuthenticByJohnAshford.com | @JohnAshfordShoes
John Ashford is a New York Shoe designer and published visual artist and photographer who hand makes his shoes.

High-End Black Designer

LaQuan Smith | LaQuanSmith.com | @LaQuanSmith
LaQuan Smith, born in Queens, New York, has cultivated an equally dynamic private order clientele which spans the globe from Lagos to London. Smith’s unapologetically glamorous aesthetic has also been tapped by world­ recognized brands.

High-End Black Designer

Laurence Basse | LaurenceBasse.com | @laurencebasse
Project Runway Finalist with an excellent aesthetic.

High-End Black Designer

lemlemlemlem.com | @lemlemofficial
lemlem is an artisan-driven collection of women’s, men’s, children’s and home goods made entirely in Africa. Supermodel Liya Kebede was inspired to launch the brand following a trip to her native Ethiopia where she met a group of traditional weavers who no longer had a market for their craft.

High-End Black Designer

Made Leather Co. | MadeLeatherCo.com
A leather goods brand that inspired the avid traveler and stylish business person to create a brand for the same. Handcrafted bags for any occasion or no occasion at all.

High-End Black Designer

Mantsho | Mantsho.co | @PalesaMokubung
Mantsho” is a Sesotho name meaning “A Beautiful Complexion” a clothing label that was established by Palesa Mokubung in 2004. Palesa zooms in on African materials and cleverly transforms them into modern and edgy designs incorporating fine silks and woven fabrics to end up with a 100% Mantsho garment.

High-End Black Designer

Mifland | Mifland.com | @MiflandBrand
Mifland Leather Goods is an American based mixed accessory goods company with a modern utilitarian approach. The collections are defined by Mifland’s signature architectural inspired bold design and attention to detail, with an emphasis on durability and unique use of colors and heavyweight leather.

Milano Di Rouge | MilanoDiRouge.com | @MilanoDiRouge
Milano Di Rouge, LLC is an apparel brand that focuses on providing luxury to the fashion enthusiast. Owned, operated and founded by Milan Rouge, the message the brand promotes is Making Dreams Reality.

High-End Black Designer

MWR Collection | MWRCollection.com | @MWRCollection
MWR Collection is a luxury lifestyle brand that is bold, distinctive, and connected. The masterful hands of our Creative Director, Mia Wright-Ross, and our experienced artisans work to massage a true connection of design, creation, and human kinship within each customizable work. The brand seeks to bring back a sense of human nature and character to each individual product.

High-End Black Designer

Negash | Negash83.com | @Negash83
The name Negash is of African Amharic and Tigrinya origin. The meaning of Negash is “in line to be king”. Negash is generally used as a boy’s name. It consists of 6 letters and 2 syllables and is pronounced Ne-gash.

High-End Black Designer

Nene-YayaNene-Yaya.afrikrea.com/en | @neneyayahb
Stylish Clothing, Accessories, and Home Decor from Senegal

High-End Black Designer

No Tribe Clothing | NoTribeClothing.com | @notribeclothing 
LA Based, print-inspired brand.

High-End Black Designer

Nubian SkinNubianSkin.com | @NubianSkin
A nude bra and skin tone hosiery are the basics of every woman’s wardrobe, at least in theory. For many women of colour, finding suitable skin-tone hosiery and lingerie has not been an option. Frustrated by the lack of skin-tone choices to go with her ever-expanding wardrobe, Nubian Skin founder, Ade Hassan, decided it was time for ‘a different kind of nude’.

High-End Black Designer

Off-WhiteOff—White.com | @off____white
This luxury streetwear label was founded by Abloh in 2012. The range of items includes markers, leather goods, shoes, purses, belts, and pants.

High-End Black Designer

Olori | BeOlori.com | @beolori
Olori means “Queen” in the Yoruba language, which symbolizes every girl’s inherent worth and power. We make handbags that make women feel strong, confident, and secure. We work with artisans and women-owned businesses to help preserve unique craftsmanship and regain influence in a woman-driven industry. Every product sold provides tuition fees for an underprivileged girl.

High-End Black Designer

Orijin Culture | OrijinStore.com | @orijinculture
Orijinal’ Design, Culturally inspired. A brand creating a unique culture lifestyle through African inspired fashion. Although Orijin is Afro-centric in nature, our themes are universal. An Eclectic brand fusing creative, modern, ambitious and “orijinality”.

High-End Black Designer

Oudyk | Oudyk.com | @oudyk_
Offers a garment that is an extension of your personality. Cuts minimalist and sophisticated outfits that will enhance you. Garments made in Mali.

High-End Black Designer

Ozwald Boateng | OzwaldBoateng.co.uk | @Ozwald_Boateng
Ozwald Boateng’s design evokes the essence of a man’s spirituality and character through the enhancement of the physical being. The acknowledgment that style is an extension of one’s self culminates in the wearer having their own voice. The quintessential cut. A thought, a revolution, detail, concentration, pushing the craft of bespoke tailoring further. Crisp and structured, exquisite artistry, innovative classicism. Our secret, uniquely Boateng.

High-End Black Designer

Paul Elle | PaulElle.com | @paulelle
Celebrating African Craft. Shoes, Bags,
Dakar – Paris -Montreal – Worldwide Shipping

High-End Black Designer

Pyer Moss | PyerMoss.com | @PyerMoss
Pyer Moss was founded in 2013 by Kerby Jean-Raymond. Jean-Raymond describes the brand as an “art project” or “a timely social experiment” at times. Pyer Moss aims to use its voice and platform to challenge social narratives and evoke dialogue. Pyer Moss continues to redefine itself every season with collections and runways that combine storytelling, activism, debate, theatre, and social commentary; all while using collaboration with artists and brands as a medium to further the dialogue around seasonal themes.

High-End Black Designer

Romeo Hunte | RomeoHunte.com | @RomeoHunte
Romeo Hunte New York is a definitive lifestyle brand created for all women who appreciate intricate details. Designed in New York City, the line embodies an aesthetic that is cool, conservative and intricate with a balance of feminine and masculine. The brand emphasizes on impeccable outerwear that is practical such as the signature cashmere shearling hood shawl that is one of the core elements of Romeo Hunte the brand.

High-End Black Designer

Southern Gents | S-Gents.com | @S_Gents
We strongly believe the characteristics of a true Gent, Southern or otherwise, include but also expand beyond the execution of style and eloquence alone. Through the delivery of a wide array of enlightening information, contemporary yet classic style accessories, along with hosting of dynamic & inspiring events, an ambition to unite Gents around the world regardless of age, ethnicity, religion or disability has begun. The intent of such efforts consists of bringing about the re-emergence of strong positive community leaders, responsible for administering the common good in all aspects of life.

High-End Black Designer

T-Michael | T-Michael.com | @tmichael_bergen
T-MICHAEL is a bespoke tailor/ designer /artist with a conceptual approach to men’s tailoring inspired by his love of sartorial traditions and his passionate quest for a different narrative within tailoring, design and creativity, to celebrate stylistic and cultural diversities present in today’s zeitgeist. He is known for his meticulous attention to detail and for his garments’ impeccable construction.

High-End Black Designer

Talley & Twine | TalleyAndTwine.com | @TalleAndTwine 
Talley & Twine was created after realizing that most watch companies just emulated the most popular brands. Their goal was to create a quality, detailed, attention-grabbing timepiece. They like to operate outside of the “norms” and away from the long-standing gatekeepers of the watch industry.

High-End Black Designer

Tsemaye Binitie | TsemayeBinitie.com@TsemayeBinitie
Tsemaye Binitie is a contemporary fashion label characterized by exquisite clothing encapsulating a love of luxury and innovative design, specialising in cutting edge advanced contemporary ladies-wear that combines functionality with high design content. Meticulous cut, indulgent fabrics and sartorial construction permeate the delivery of sharp, refined and timeless pieces. The pieces will feature dynamic, draped and body conscious silhouettes with a deep desire to communicate a new sense of elegance and modern glamour.

High-End Black Designer

Undra CelesteUndraCelesteNY.com | @Love_UCNY
Contemporary Clothing for the Modern Woman.

High-End Black Designer

Uniquelywiredm | Uniquelywiredm.com | @Uniquelywiredm
Uniquely Wired M. jewelry is essential to every King and Queen’s trove of fine pieces. From rings to bracelets, crowns to vests, everything is designed to revitalize and re-imagine the feeling of individual strength and style.

High-End Black Designer

Wales Bonner | WalesBonner.net
Informed by broad research that encompasses critical theory, composition, literature, and historical sources, WALES BONNER explores a distinctive notion of luxury via a hybrid of European and African approaches.

High-End Black Designer

Waraire BoswellWaraireBoswell.com | @WaraireBoswell
The WARAIRE BOSWELL brand has been synonymous with attention to detail, proper fit, style, taste level, and innovation.

High-End Black Designer

Vitae London | VitaeLondon.com | @VitaeLondon
Vitae London is a watch brand based in London, England. Vitae combines classic and beautiful design with social justice. Pairing minimalist concepts with stylish modernity, their watches are subtle, yet slim, sophisticated timepieces suited to everyone.

High-End Black Designer

Yvonne Jewnell New York | YvonneJewnellDesigns.com | @YvonneJewnellNY
Yvonne Jewnell New York is an award-winning women’s wear company that creates clothing that promotes women empowerment and celebrates culture from across the globe. Owned by a mother-daughter team, YJNY creates garments with an ethnically inspired message of overcoming obstacles and revitalizing strength.

High-End Black Designer

ZAAF® | ZaafCollection.com | @ZaafCollection
ZAAF is a collection of premium leather goods and accessories handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia. ZAAF is a word that means “tree” in the ancient and noble Amharic language. We offer a broad range of fashion accessories for women and men including handbags, weekend and travel accessories, scarves, leather jackets and more.

Post others in the comments and we’ll add them! Many thanks to @NewVisionAfro for making us aware of most of these brands!

15Feb/19

Mercy Baez Embraces Women Empowerment This Black History Month

Mercy Baez is a women’s advocate for domestic violence and, through her artistry of performing and motivational speaking, she tells her stories of woman empowerment and survival. She’s a freestyle dancer, spoken word artist, actress, and model. Creating her own concepts for her projects allows Mercy to help uplift and motivate women.
Photo: Royal | Mercy Baez @Lordda_mercy; Photographer | @ukayhip_photography;
MUA | @Iamlee__; Styling | @Eldiorsodeckdesign
Mercy Baez Mercy Baez Mercy Baez Mercy Baez Mercy Baez Mercy Baez
30Jan/19
Taji Mag Vol 18 Embrace the Black

Taji Vol18: Embrace the Black

Release Mar 7 2019 | Vol18 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling its theme of Embrace the Black! This volume’s cover features the #SlayBells of model Jennifer “Milk” Laloi. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick on The Laya Center, a Plant-Based Preventative & Rehabilitation Center; our Community Spotlight; our highlighted Hair Feature; “Solo Travel: What Does Your Travel Say About You?” by D. Carrie; “Everyday Spiritual Teknowledge Everyday” by Jashua Sa’Ra; “Representation in Education” by Janelle Naomi; Our Vol 18 theme “Embrace the Black;” Fitness Feature on Athlete, Actress, Wife, and Mom, Gillian White; Vegan Fun with Delliz the Chef; Black Business Grant Winner: The Unique Foodie Witchery; “#BlackLoveConvo: “Fennell Adventures: A Family of Authors” by Dapper Dr. Feel;” Featured art piece by Will Focus; Must Have Graphic Novel: “Cypher Team i01” by Tyrone Jackson/SoveReign Comics; Black Business Highlights; Taji Mag Model Contest Winners; and more!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Shop Taji’!

Taji Mag Vol 18 Embrace the Black

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 18

Taji Mag is the epitome of the positive Black experience. Our brand embodies the traditional and modern royalty of Pan-African people via our quarterly digital and print publication and live events.

01Jan/19
That Suits You

That Suits You has Suited 8000 Black Men For Success

That Suits YouFirst impressions can be vital in this life and have a major influence on our journey in the career world. We live during a time when individuals are judged on the basis of their outward appearance, especially young Black men, which is why it is important that we are given tools to break any stereotypes and show our talents. That Suits You does just that — provides information, training, and clothing to Black boys and men to increase their odds of success.

That Suits You is a Black-owned organization based in Brooklyn, NY that focuses on not only providing suits for Black men from high school students to the elderly but gives them the training and tools required to compete in the fields of their choosing. I had the opportunity to speak with Brooklyn native and brainchild of the That Suits You organization, PK Kearsy, to receive more insight about the program.

Dapper Dr. Feel: How did That Suits You originate?

PK Kearsy:  That Suits You formed while I worked as a manager for the Department of Motor Vehicles. It was there that I noticed that some of the young men that I interviewed were not dressed properly and they didn’t have the tools needed to give an impressionable job interview. After doing these interviews for so long and seeing so many men not get hired, I wanted to do something about it. I started working with my brother, Jamel Thompson.

With his 12 years of experience in banking and my experience working with the government, we decided to put our resources to good use. We started to get our old suits and prepared young men for their job interviews. As a result, they started getting hired and developing more self-confidence and positive changes started to occur.

DDF: What do young men have to look forward to when entering the program?

PKK: We have a workshop called Choices where we focus on change, habits, options, image, communication, and effort which all equal success. We talk about networking, relationships, interviewing, social media, building solid relationships and not just using people on their resources. We talk about anger issues and how to manage them because some of these young men have anger issues that hinder their overall growth so we help with that.

That Suits You

DDF: What impact has the organization had and how long has it been helping the community?

PKK: We started in 2013 and so far we have helped over 8,000 men. We have seen them get jobs, develop important/professional relationships. We have made many connections and relationships as we continue to meet our goals. We have great working relationships with HBO, New York City government, Verizon, Red Bull, Via Comm, Banana Republic and many more organizations that have community outreach.

We teach a lot about self-building in these classes that many of the young men thank us for. We teach about the 7/11 rule where within the first seven seconds of meeting a person, we develop 11 judgments about what we see and those judgments don’t even have to be true.

DDF: Have the men you’ve helped come back to be apart of the program or volunteer?

PKK: A good number of them come back to help out providing mentorship or to volunteer. We had a special event, Fundraising February, where a few guys came out and spoke about their progress. It’s really been a blessing to see the cycle, to see what men do after they receive help, to see them take the lessons and blessings they have received and to pass them on to someone else.  We love to work with the guys that have been through our program because they understand the process.

DDF: What are the goals for That Suits You?

PKK:  The short-term goal for That Suits You is to continue to get our book out, Suited For Success. The book has about 25 Black authors and what it took for them to succeed in whatever field they are in (Television, Doctor, Fireman, etc.). Some of these men have had terrible beginnings but have had much success. We want to get the book out and continue to have it within our program for the men in the program to read.

Our long-term goal is to continue to build and form relationships with other organizations. We just formed a relationship with an organization, Dress for Success: Worldwide. We want to learn from them and model them since they are doing so well for women. We want to do the same on the men side. Our goal is to grow and expand, taking our organization from New York to all over the country.

That Suits You

DDF: What is the age range of the men that you help?

PKK: Originally we started with men coming home from prison, that age range is 18 and up. Then we gained a partnership with AARP so we started working with men that were at least 60 years old. Then we wanted to be more proactive with youth so then we went on to help juniors and seniors in high school. Next, we decided to go even younger and help middle school boys. Teaching them to tie ties and providing them with information, even though we don’t have suits for them yet. Sometimes we participate in Career Day in grade schools.

We are also helping men in homeless shelters and provide our services there. They may be living in a homeless shelter but have job interviews coming up. We noticed there are a lot of men living in these homeless shelters. Some of these men may have children that may be around or even in the shelter with them, so it’s important that we help them. When you can empower a man and teach him, not just tell him, suit him up and give him something, it does wonders to his self-confidence. These are the things that can help push him to success.

That Suits You is continuing to grow but looking to connect and form partnerships with other organizations. If you are looking help or become part of the That Suits You movement, email [email protected] or they be contacted here. For more information, visit their website, ThatSuitsYou.org.

That Suits You

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25Nov/18
Diaja at X Gallery

Diaja Presents: We Are Our Ancestors

X Gallery Presents Photo Artist Diaja! In the “We Are Our Ancestors” exhibit, each portrait has a specific meaning and embodies rich African culture. Pairing each capture with modern African art,  she  produced a blend of traditional portraits with abstract sensitivity.

Exhibit Details:
X Gallery @ 163 Malcolm X Boulevard at 118th Street
Viewing November 29th to December 22nd 2018
Opening Reception is November 29th, 6 to 9pm

Click here to Register for free!

Ceres Henry, known artistically as Diaja, is recognized for storytelling though various photographic series which are often inspired by current events, Black and African culture,  and social disparities. Her work has caught the attention of various publications including Vogue Italia, Huffington Post, and recently Black Enterprise to name a few. Diaja prides herself on not only creating photos appealing to the eyes of her audience but thought provoking and educational photos that raise awareness of the world around her.

x galleryX Gallery is dedicated to participating in the cultural development of Harlem through the exhibition of  Art and Photography. They strive to create an environment where local people and foreigners of every background can be touched by the beauty of art. They are committed to exhibitions and programs that will strengthen and sustain our community. Lisa DuBois, curator.

Press Contact:  [email protected]
Text: 504 – 577- 1268
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.xgallery.nyc
PRESS INQUIRIES CONTACT [email protected]

Diaja at X Gallery

03Nov/18

Born Again: D.C.’s Own Crank LuKongo Releases First Album

DC-based Music Collective Crank LuKongo has gotten the ball rolling in a major way. Their new album Born Again is the jam session and history lesson you’ve been missing in your life. As your head nods and sways to the beat of each song, years of experience effortlessly pour into you. With both the group and the album produced and composed by D.C. Native, Matt ‘Swamp Guinee’ Miller, very few stones are left unturned. Master Drummer, Vocalist, Percussionist, Songwriter, Historian, and Renegade Realist, Swamp calls on his fellow artists within Crank LuKongo to create as a sacred art.

Briefly, the group itself includes vocals and drums by Swamp Guinee, the likes of Junior Marvin of ‘Bob Marley and The Wailers’ on electric guitar, plus vocals and acoustic guitar by songwriter David Blackwell of ‘Charles Road’. In actuality, the list of greatness of members and featured artists on the album goes on. The group consists of several hyper-talented individuals who each bring a unique and irreplaceable component to the overall sound. And boy, does it mesh. Spearheading their own genre, Swamp Guinee has distinctly named their sound ‘Afro-GoGo-Roots’. Make no mistake about the fact that each compositional influence holds equal weight in the recipe of the band. Afro for the unmistakable Jazz, Soul and Rock’n’Roll undertones throughout the entire project. GoGo for the don’t-leave-home-without-it attitude of their crankin’ native D.C. sound. Roots speaking to the revolutionary nature of their cause and the messages within their music, delivered in a way that you can’t help but jam or rock. Therein lies the perfect makeup for music that remains in the body and mind but aims for the heart.

Crank LuKongo’s sound stands as a testament to how our very existence relies on the existence of all that has come before us and also has the potential to shape what will follow. First single and video, ‘Ghosts of Anacostia‘, speaks directly to the extent of that history, especially regarding the guarantee of it repeating itself under the guise of willful ignorance. ‘After the Revolution’ touches on the future, asking of us what part we will play in the shaping of the world for ourselves– come hell or high water. Reaching back to the present, the album also touches greatly on Washingtonian pride, which is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. ‘The Legend of Petey’ is a sonnet of Funk dedicated to beloved Shock-Jock Petey Greene, while ‘Mayor 4 Life’, featuring D.C. rap artist, Head Roc, expresses the town’s widespread and undying allegiance to the late Mayor Marion Barry. The range of sound and subject on this project makes for a truly artistic journey.

Aware that we live a multi-dimensional existence, Crank LuKongo’s album “Born Again” stands as the perfect embodiment of just that. From pre-colonial history to current issues intertwined with songs about life and love, the project is undeniably a classic. Grown from the fertile soils of Chocolate City, Crank LuKongo is a clear benchmark for musical excellence and possesses a special brand of Soul that is unique unto itself. The album serves to give you a chef’s table sampling of a richness you may have not been lucky enough to experience yet. Be sure to hear it for yourself.

Requests regarding booking information for Crank LuKongo, Swamp Guinee, along with album purchases, can be found here.

Subscribe to my blog for upcoming profiles on members of Crank LuKongo.

01Nov/18
Taji Mag Vol 17 Prints²

Taji Vol17 Anniversary Issue: Prints²

Release Dec 7 2018 | Vol17 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling its theme of Prints² (Prints Squared)! This volume’s cover features the #SlayBells of model Windela Hall. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick on Proud Black Fathers Founder, Kenneth L. Womack; Community Spotlight: Instagram Recommended apparel line “NuvaAfricWear”; our highlighted Hair Feature; “Solo Travel: Choosing a Destination” by D. Carrie; “People as Drugs” by Jashua Sa’Ra; RB20Denim is Revitalizing Jeans; Our Vol 17 Anniversary Issue theme “Prints²;” Fitness Feature on Jean Titus aka Fit Grandpa of TitusUnlimited; Vegan Fun with Delliz the Chef; Black Business Grant Winner: Werds of Art Photography; “#BlackLoveConvo: “How to Make Friends in Your 30s” by Dapper Dr. Feel & Africa Jackson;” Featured art piece by Will Focus; Must Have Graphic Novel: Marassa; Black Business Highlights; Taji Mag Model Contest Winners; and more!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Shop Taji’!

Taji Mag Vol 17 Prints²

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 17

Taji Mag is the epitome of the positive Black experience. Our brand embodies the traditional and modern royalty of Pan-African people via our quarterly digital and print publication and live events.

30Oct/18
Sprinter Film

Storm Saulter’s “Sprinter” is a Guide to Black Mental Health

Director/Writer Storm Saulter

The Jamaican born director, Storm Saulter, put together a masterful film entitled Sprinter. The film has received tons of positive critiques for both its acting and content. Without giving too much away, the film follows the lead character, Akeem Sharp, a Jamaican sprinter who has aspirations of becoming the best sprinter in the world and using the sport of racing to escape poverty and unite his family since his mother resides in the U.S.

The film consists of elements that explore some of the struggles of the emotional and mental health plaguing Black men. It’s extremely relatable considering all of the current issues that Black men face every day. Furthermore, the film lets its viewers know that these issues are global for Black men. How does Sprinter accomplish this?

 

3 Ways Sprinter Explores the Mental Health of Black Men

It’s in the Culture

During the film, there are issues that the lead character Akeem, played by actor Dale Elliot, struggles with. They include both mental and emotional health. Given that both his father and older brother deal with their issues negatively at the beginning of the film, Akeem goes into a downward spiral once a family secret is revealed to him. Acknowledging that Akeem had some fragility in these areas and needed help is pivotal. The lack of exemplary male role models displaying how to deal with mental health can lead to horrible results.  This is a universal issue that most black families suffer from which leads to men harboring emotions and not dealing directly with those issues.

Akeem, played by Dale Elliot, winning a race in the film.

Ego is Thy Enemy 

To quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, “If your ego starts out, ‘I am important, I am big, I am special,’ you’re in for some disappointments…” Many Black men have fallen victim to their egos and have lost due to it. When he starts dominating at his craft, we see Akeem begin to become popular. Just as in real life, many celebrate him and want to be in his presence to benefit from his success and this further feeds his ego.  This is short-lived as Akeem’s declined humbleness begins to cost him relationships and more. His actions while his ego is inflated is resemblant to some of the Black male celebrities we see today that struggle with success and have fallen off.

It Takes Support to Get Through

Although Akeem and his family struggle coping with their mental health, we see that, once help and support are available, he is able to better combat his issues. This is something that Black men are doing better with as many are fighting the stigma and receiving treatment for mental imbalances. The examples can be seen in some of the most influential sports in the United States like professional basketball and other male-dominated sports all over the world. NBA athletes are revealing their issues with mental health and discussing the ways they are treating it, being positive reinforcements that Black men shouldn’t be ashamed of admitting their issue and finding positive solutions to treat it.

“Sprinter” is a great film and does an excellent job of evoking an emotional response. This Overbrook Entertainment (Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s production company) produced film will not only win more awards but also the hearts of many moviewatchers.