As a kid, Alan Gray always loved comic books and anime. He adored reading comic books and the depth of the storytelling. His father used to watch anime with him and they would bond over it. Alan began drawing in kindergarten and hasn’t stopped since. 5 years ago, the direction of his art changed.
“With me coming into knowledge of self and learning whats been happening to my people, I wanted to use my art to represent my community through the medium I love so much. I never had access to digital resources, so I always focused on perfecting my craft the old fashion way. I’m hugely inspired by the comic book artist I saw as a child, but anime has really influenced my style and storytelling.”
Craig Carter, also known as Craig C. Tha’ Artist, is a self-taught mixed media visual artist from Houston, TX. He uses any and everything to create his art pieces from acrylic paints to different hues of coffee and tea. He’s always striving to find amazing and creative ways to express himself artistically and continue to grow as a visual artist. Most times he tends to go the extra mile when it comes to working on a piece. He always knew he loved art; watching the 80’s hip hop film called Beat Street is what solidified him into drawing. Seeing “Ramo” put those color combinations together on those graffiti pieces had him fascinated and he knew he wanted to do something with art. As a kid and teenager, it was just a hobby – something to pass time and stay out of trouble – but the more people kept complimenting him on it, the more he took it serious.
Everyday he wakes up passionate about art because it’s another day to create and learn another technique. “For me, it’s time to unwind and ponder about other things on my mind like music and traveling. I’m also passionate about doing live art events and getting the youth involved in the arts as well. Hopefully by them seeing me create, it inspires them.”
His work has been featured in different galleries and publications both nationally and internationally.
(The Queen) Mixed media on wood (4ft X 4ft)
(Let The music flow) Mixed media on canvas (20in X 20in)
Art 2 Activism, hosted by Nasir and Sassy of Art 2 Ink and presented by Art 2 Ink & The Shade Room, cultivated awareness of the problems plaguing our community. Art 2 Ink, a tattoo studio at it’s core, covered its walls with art from featured artists such as @TheOneWillFocus and @CocaineandCaviar. Live Performances were given by the powerful @Mal.Mero of @NYCUnity and energetic @_AlexPhoenix. Donations were collected at the door for the International Youth Leadership Institute. Throughout the evening, video clips of controversial, yet pertinent, discussions looped on the tv, including a special message from The Shade Room.
When we’re being slain in the the streets, it’s important for us to commune and heal. The energy was felt. We look forward to the next installment.
Flip through the photos for a glimpse of the magic that occurs when our people are in one space emitting positivity. Photos by NayMarie for Taji Mag and budding 11 year old artist, Sean Jaiden.
The Soweto Street Culture Arts Festival #SSCAFest2016 is proudly South African with authentic local street culture, live Contemporary Jazz & Hip Hop music, Literature, Art & Independent Film screenings.
Here, visitors can experience authentic street culture, fashion, music, stalls, gourmet, colour festival and so much more! The perfect way to experience Soweto and socialize with all of the artists.
VILAKAZI STREET in Soweto, South Africa is well-known for its rich history, particularly for its place in the struggle against apartheid. Given this, it is one of the main tourist attractions in Joburg, and the country.
‘Talent Over Everything Sessions’
‘TOES’ is a hip hop based duo consisting of musicians Thabiso Thabethe and Prodigenius. The band blends alternative folk music with rap to create a unique hip hop sound and style. Their music is influenced by artists such as HHP, Freshly Ground, and The Parlotones.
The band originated in Winterveld (Sgandi), South Africa in 2014, when this dynamic team started off by performing concerts in Prodigenius’ father’s backyard. This developed into door to door music sessions, music mobs on the streets, performing on trains in Winterveld, and around Pretoria. TOES is currently performing music from Thabiso Thabethe’s 9 track EP tiled “SHEBAH” and The Genius Touch’s 10 track EP titled “Kastom Kult,” both released in 2016 independently through hard copies and Soundcloud.
‘Zimbabwe Showing Flames’
This multi-talented young man born in Gweru Zimbabwe was named after legend Lionel Richie. He is an Afro Contemporary artist with a mixture of Pop and Afrisoul.
“Copying denies collaboration as it is a trade amongst artist. It also affects musicians and lead to them forgetting they are the product.” When he arrived in SA, he realised that he’s going to represent his identity and culture. His main aim was to send a clear, outspoken message understood by all.
“Copying kills the potency in the art.”
Ringo Madlingozi and Oliver Mtukuzi better watch out for the tremor approaching!!!
“You’ll never go anywhere nor be recognised if you do not want to learn. Team effort is success, and with our different skills the world is just an oyster. Learn to stand your ground and take yourself seriously in order for people to. Believe in your craft and be unapologetic about it, and most importantly give and receive.” His advice to people is to wait for your time, stick to what you do best and let it manifest as our fruits have different seasons.
“Happiness is what keeps me going.”
Many thanks to the @THEBOXSHOP for hosting this prestigious event…
“The more difficult the process to become whole again;
The pain may fade but scars serve as a reminder of our suffering, and make the bearer all the more resolved and never to be wounded again.
So as time moves along, we get lost in distractions, act out in frustration, and react with aggression giving into anger and all the while we plot and plan as we wait to grow stronger, and before we know it, the time passes. We are healed, ready to begin a new…”
BY MANTALA NKOATSE
A seed like myself only needs to develop into roots
Feel the breath of Mother Earth in my Habitat; give a Shelter to Bugs or Sparrows.
I need to feel Mother Earths tears in my habitat, Let her Sunshine nurture my lungs.
I need to grow, I need to be an example of strength, I need to be a firm stem.
I need to be like Green Leaves Clothed in Mamas Favourite Green dress, I need to be Chlorophyll.
I need to gain beauty from my petals, I the seed; want to become a Flower!
I want to make butterflies smile as I take my duties of Brightening the World.
For the World needs to be mothered before it turns an orphan.
Dear mama Africa; I need my Great Gran Children to Enjoy the Pleasures of your beauty like my ancestors did before they died.
I don’t want to fear War that will leave my habitat in draught, I don’t want to see my Petals wither, chasing butterflies away.
I don’t want to fear the Sparrows that will be left homeless. I don’t want to fear anything.
I want to be in nature, I want your picture to inspire me to emancipate my mind. I want to relish on your ground after I’ve turned an ancestor.
Mama Africa, I want your beauty to remain timeless
Now, Dear Mother! Hear my cry when I call upon your name. Forgive my sins for I have polluted your breath with smoke and I let the World disturb your music, created by birds and the Ocean.
Forgive me for I have demolished some of the habitats to gain the pleasures of my material self, I have realized that the World is not as Important as you are because you gave birth to the World.
Mother, without you there’s no more me, or birds or butterflies or trees or the ocean
Dear Mother Africa. Stay Strong and quench my strength with your mountains, inspire my beauty with all that you are, provoke my emotions with your ocean. Mama Africa, please keep clean for the sake of your legacy.
In this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi explores South Africa’s The Social Market Pretoria.
“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time” ~ Steve Bantu Biko’.
She labels herself as a socio-artist for the reason that she does her social work through art. This 23 year old was born in the dusty streets of Alexandra (Johannesburg, South Africa), a one square mile township filled with music, art, and the reality of nature’s life. She discovered a poet in herself at the age of fifteen, when she was introduced to Hip-Hop. In 2011 she became a part of a global girl activism movement; The V-girls and has been an art-activist since. She was inspired to host intellectual dialogues in her community as she saw the need for discussions in her community. Her highlight of 2012 was when she performed for an opening speech of the South African President, Mr. Jacob Zuma during the Alexandra Centenary Celebration. Her first book, published by Diaspora Publishers (2014), was titled “Psychological Cripple,” with the help from a beautiful soul named Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende.
Born of South African/Zambian decent and the influence of fine arts within the family, he started photography straight after high school. “Oh haha, did I mention that this was done with an iPhone?”
Ron Ndlovu’s passion for photography gradually became hunger, which led him to refrigeration and other odd jobs to save up for his dream. His first baby was a SONY NEX F3, a small entry level camera which did the job.
Through his regular posts on social media he was spotted, and did small gigs at kid’s parties and lifestyle shoots which later developed into a series of NOIR shots. This became his niche and led to the birth of GreyScale.
At an amateur stage, he did charity to large scale events, learning the ins and outs of the industry.
This multi-talented young man takes time to consult with up and coming musicians helping with song writing and production. “Secretly, I too can hold a note” he reckons…
“The world is black and white, but every story has a shade of grey”
Is that even possible in the conformed world we live in? Is it???
Well, these young geniuses from Venda (Limpopo Province) South Africa have flipped the stereotypes to what we call “CULTURE”. The Social Market Pretoria started in September 2014, whereby a platform for young entrepreneurs was created, to uplift and showcase their work in an inviting atmosphere of color, fashion, music, artistry and, most importantly, freedom of self-expression.
“We like everything about this movement, to us it’s like a beautiful African sunrise. One of the many signs of a very much alive African youth – the future not only looks beautiful, but also business minded and fierce in its expression.”
“We saw a demand for a space in Pretoria where people with the same artistic, creative mind set could meet up and enjoy good music and company while being themselves,” says co-founder Maitele Wawe. Creating a social economy in the capital city, the market provides a platform for budding entrepreneurs to sell their products in a fresh environment.
From thrift stores to the latest hair products and the tastiest gourmet food, it’s all there to be explored.
“The difference is the nonconformity of the fashionistas that gather every first Sunday of the month, rocking crazy beautiful outfits that left us feeling as though we were flipping pages from a 3D fashion catalogue.”
Before the Social Market, Pretoria had very limited spaces for creatives to come together and share ideas. Since its birth, word has been traveling across social media networks that the Social Market is the place to be.
Pretoria has always had an inscrutable nature about it, particularly where art and creativity is concerned. The social market is a brilliant concept thought of by a vibrant collective of creatives who want to not only build and preserve culture and fashion in Pretoria, but also want to empower other young people, creative or not.
Champions aren’t made in gyms. They are made from something they have deep down inside them – a desire, a dream, and a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.
This trio is what we refer to as the FASHION REBELS!
“The challenge about success is keeping quiet about it”
Blaise Djilo is a Cameroonian photographer who is capturing the true essence of Africa for us all to enjoy. Bask in both the beauty of traditional Africa and how Djilo captures it. Our stories, told and shared by us, are important for the preservation of our history and culture.
On March 5, 2016, Cameroon celebrated The Matakam festival held in the Alliance Franco Camerounaise Office in Garoua (Northern Cameroon). This celebration is held only once per year. These people live in the Mayo Tsanaga Division (the far north Cameroonian region). During this festive ceremony, the local tribes can be found eating and dancing all to commemorate their ancestors spirits.
“DITSUMA” means “JOY” in the MAFA language. It is one of the main tribes of the MAYO TSANAGA division, in the far northern regions along the Nigerian boundary of ADAMAWA State. Tsanaga division is a rocky, mountainous region and is mainly a rural area were people essentially live a life of agriculture. The main city of this division is MOKOLO but there are seven other subdivisions (Bourrha, Hina, Koza, Mogodé, Mokolo, Mayo-Moskota (Mozogo), and Soulédé-Roua). This part of Nigeria is crowded with more than 570,00 habitants and the area has a density of 131 habitants/km2. Interestingly there are also thirteen diverse ethnic groups (Mafa, Moufou, Mofouélé, Hidé, Kapsiki, Minéo, Zoulgo, Bana, Kola, Guiziga, Baytsawara, Roua, and Fulbes) as well. These African communities are hard-working and the region is generally viewed as a very poor area.
During harvesting season and the dry season, these African tribes traditionally hold annual ceremonies to celebrate prosperity of the villages. It’s also an opportunity for young people to learn their initiation rights and also to marry. During such seasons, some tribes also use the opportunity to give gifts to their ancestors by performing a dance which is concluded by killing a cow, which has been fattened in a dark room during two to three years in a narrow place. This practice is called Maraye. The initiation rights dance is called “ZOVOD” (“UNDER THE SHINING MOON”). During this particular ceremony each young person wears or handles something to show his skill (a skirt made of goat fur for a hunter, or a grass skirt for a farmer). During the dance of Maraye, the local villagers always wear traditional clothes, and use special sticks to see if the cow (which will be killed) will react in a good way.
624713ART 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!
These photos were based on up and coming/rising stars in the African American community, focusing on the youth of today and getting a glimpse of what they are capable of, in the future, if not today… they are already amazing!
Every so often, there comes one who embodies the likes of past legends and yet, is light years ahead of anything current. Those are the Muses, one whom life chooses. We as onlookers can only sit back and allow them to flourish, all the while taking it all in and be entertained, inspired and love through it all and only wish to become like they are, now.
Model: Sasha Plastyc
Make-up and photography: Gabriel Garcia for, Bio IMAGERY
WinC Con 2016 (Women in Comics Convention) was a great success again this year! With nearly 1000 attendees, dozens of vendors, and lots of panels and workshops, the Bronx Library Center was constantly buzzing! From gorgeous color poster illustrations to fun on-the-spot doodles, the vendors filled the main floor with an art lovers eye candy, while panels and workshops discussed the real and raw of the comic business. On top of all of this dopeness, admission was free to the public, welcoming all to come and feast.
We enjoyed the Women in Comic Cosplay Showcase that discussed the powerful role of women in cosplay, specifically women of color. They came dressed as characters from Star Trek to Super Girl, modeled, posed, and explained what goes into making their costumes and why they choose the characters they choose. It’s important to notate that race should never matter. They made it clear that they didn’t have to be Black Super Girl or Black Black Canary, just the character as they are since they are embodying the character’s spirit. There is also no need to over sexualize their cosplay and harassment of any sort is not tolerated. They have fun but stand strong.
The organization that put on the showcase, The NY Cosplayer Network, Inc., also does a lot of charity work with shelters and military bases. They show up fully dressed to cheer up children and brighten their day. They collect books and hand them out and chat up the kids about their favorite characters. They even do events and birthday parties so people knowledgeable about the characters can interact with the kids instead of regularly overpriced agency finds who aren’t as invested.
Cosplay, or Costume Play, refers specifically to dressing up as a character but there is also costuming which is creating your own costume/character to bring to life. We’d love to see more of this happen with Black cosplayers. It’s good to break the mold, but it’s even better to create your own!
Tuskegee Heirs, a futuristic sci-fi adventure from the minds of illustrator Marcus Williams (Hero Cats, Super Natural and D.M.C) and children’s book author Greg Burnham (Broken Glass and Grandpa’s Shoes), follows a small squad of young gifted aviators who are forced to become earth’s last line of defense against a menacing race of artificially intelligent villains bent on destroying civilization. Marcus and Greg look to pay homage to the historic Tuskegee Airmen, while bringing forth a new set of character rich young heroes. With a graphic novel set to release mid 2016, Marcus and Greg intend to push this project towards animation. Following in the Japanese animation genre’s age old practice of dropping unusually talented youths inside the cockpits of enormously powerful machines, the amazing pilots of this series will be no exception.
Tuskegee Heirs, Earth’s last line of defense…
The Tuskegee Heirs will be set 80 years in the future where a world sculpted by rapid progressing technology will come to ban human pilots from operating aircraft and go as far as to criminalize the act of even training pilots. Our young pilots, however, have found a secret training facility and refuge in the historical airfield once used by the fabled WWII War Heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen. Under the careful guidance of Col. Mars, a long retired veteran pilot, the team of young hopefuls are trained and educated about the strong ethics that made the classic airmen the formidable unit that they were. Not long into their training, a mysterious military force composed of highly advanced self-aware war machines fixated on destroying civilization as they know it, declares war on all societies. Suddenly the teens are thrust into the middle of a war for humanities’ right to exist. They will have to use their training as pilots, knowledge of history, and unique skill sets to defeat this fearsome enemy.
We appreciate the historical focus of Black legends being beautifully developed in a creative and educational environment. Currently in it’s Kickstarter phase, the series has already blown through it’s pledged goal of $10K and 2 stretch goals of $15K and $25K in just 4 days. Their other goals include development of Tuskegee Heirs T-Shirt line for Men, Women and Children, a family geared board game and sweet mobile game app, a full figurine lineup of all the Tuskegee Heirs Characters including the Jet and Mech, and a prototype toy of one of the characters and jets. Be apart of history in the making by becoming a backer of the project at www.kickstarter.com/projects/2120208298/tuskegee-heirso to achieve their ultimate stretch goal. $75K and UP will launch an ANIMATED PILOT (Short piece) to be enjoyed on monitors big and small. For gems and eye candy, follow their facebook page at www.facebook.com/tuskegeeheirs.