You seen Yeezy’s new line?! That s%#t is ugly bro!
..says the guy trying to convince me while contradictly standing in a distressed sweater from a popular Euro brand. It’s insane how the same people who disrespect one’s art surprisingly have the audacity to purchase mimicry. Now, I’m not saying Kanye’s prices for Yeezy pieces aren’t outstandingly ridiculous, that’s another topic for another day. I guess what I’m trying to convey is, how does one depreciate his (Kanye’s) designs, then, with the same mouth, say to the cashier “Yeah, I want to buy this” while presenting a garment literally inspired by Yeezy. It’s okay, I will ask Yeezus to forgive them of their blasphemy, they know not what they do.
Here’s an interesting question; What about the individualistic stylish people who’ve been wearing distressed garments before Yeezy season?! To those I say, there are two things you can do in these times of abused trends. One, box up and store away all the pieces that are obvious participants of the “distress” trend. The only other thingone can do is separate themselves from the doppelgängers by staying true to the style before it became a trend. People who are trendy-chasers are like “wave surfers”… when the “wave” dies, so will their “surfing”. In other words, when the trend dies, the ones who were true to the “distress” style by it being their lifestyle (because there’s a difference – style v. lifestyle) will continue being… themselves!
Unfortunately it’s continuously growing, top fashion-retail companies, of affordable pricing for the majority of society, are producing Yeezy mimicry pieces and more and more people are absorbing the trend. So, will the abuse of the trend heat up so much that it ends Yeezy Season quicker than expected? Will you pack away your distressed garments until Yeezy season passes along with the creation of its disasters (people abusing the trend)? Or will you stay genuine and fight through the disasters Yeezy season has involuntarily created? These aren’t jabs at Kanye West for the awesome creative direction behind this season of Yeezy, but definitely stabs at those who trend-surf and don’t have a life-style which kills fashion as quick as it’s launched. Choose your fate and may Yeezus be with you.
Okay, you got us. This is pure speculation, but why else would NONE of Netflix be working the Saturday after the release of the highly anticipated series, Luke Cage? Lucky for us, we binged watched it before Netflix glitched.
** LUKE CAGE SPOILER ALERT **
Reading beyond this point without having watched all 13 episodes of the most Blackity Black series in years is all on you…
We watched proudly as a strong Black Man, who refused to be called nigga, came to grips with his unexpected abilities. If you’re a comic junky, you’ll enjoy it for purely that. If you’ve seen any of the news surrounding the Black community since 2014, you’ll be mmhmm-ing and uhhhuhh-ing for 13 straight episodes. The not so underlying tone is a Black man in a (usually Black) hoodie, framed for charges/crimes he didn’t commit, who is constantly being shot at. Aka. Ode to Trayvon Martin.
Luke Cage, played by Mike Colter, sees the dirtbags that rule Harlem and eventually decides, with the push of barber shop owner Pops, to do something about it. The show taking place in Harlem is gold gem #2, #1 obviously being the BEAUTIFUL predominately Black cast. The vernacular is real and relatable enough, where you don’t feel like anyone is stereotyping. It felt like a family reunion with all of the colorful family members most of us can relate to in some form or fashion. The interpersonal relations were also real. For a fictional series, everything felt real enough to the point where you get wrapped up in it and almost forget you’re watching a scifi show. That is until he punches someone into a wall.
Yes, Luke Cage whips a lot of ass and it feels like vindication for all of us. Backstory (based on the show): Luke went to prison due to a frame job. His CO convinced him into joining the prison fight club. All the while, the doctors of the prison were watching him and other potential prisoners closely for an experiment they were conducting. Luke got injured badly and the doctors placed him into the tank that was meant to rapidly heal, but of course something goes wrong and electricity surges everywhere and by the time he woke up he had super strength and his skin was impenetrable. Essentially, he was “bulletproof.” They broke down the science, but we won’t give everything away…
He broke himself out of prison in Georgia as Carl Lucas, swam to shore, and resurfaced as Luke Cage in Harlem. He worked a day job as the janitor at Pops barber shop, and a night job as the dish washer/substitute bartender at Harlem’s Paradise. His day job and his night job eventually both come colliding and he could no longer hide in the shadows. Since we want those who said “eff yo spoiler alert” to form their own conclusions we’ll stop here, but the ins and out and plot twists make this series an amazing roller coaster. The villains are as fun as heroes. To see how little loyalty there is among villains and to watch the community come together (eventually) in support of their hero, all mixed in with musical cameos, Black women with natural hair styles, and life lessons dropped on EVERY episode, makes this is proud moment in Black history.
#RepresentationMatters. Luke Cage and Misty Knight are as important characters as Black Panther and the whole Wakanda nation. Although Taji is ALWAYS here for stories about us created by us, we’re also here for when the larger platforms represent the community as close as possible. There were some notions we could have done without, but we won’t let that 7% outweigh the 93% of dope Blackity Blackness. So hop on your Netflix, or borrow someone’s password, and clear your calendar for 13 hours. Thank us later 😉
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