Happy #MCM everyone! This week, Taji Mag sat down with the talented brother Alan King, author of the new book POINT BLANK. Alan King has worked with the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper. King has also been an outspoken housing rights advocate. He has also served as a researcher with the Center for Public Integrity. In addition to his impressive resume, he is a devoted husband and father. Mr. King has an upcoming book tour, and took a break to talk to us about his work, love, and the perseverance it takes to be an artist.
Africa Jackson: What do you love most about being a Black man?
Alan King:I love being another line in the legacy of Black people. I’m juggling two legacies as a Caribbean American. I’m inspired by the writers that come before me. Writers who are ancestors now like John A. Williams, Clarence Cooper Jr. and Chester Himes. Oh yeah, and Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Let me throw some women in the mix: Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Wanda Coleman, Octavia Butler.I also love Black culture.
poet, husband, father, visionary
AJ: You mentioned ‘legacy’. What does that word mean to you? In what ways have you seen that manifest in your career and/or personal life?
AK: There’s a heritage that connects us to the diaspora. There [is] rhythm, history. There’s a beauty in our culture. Being a husband and father allows me to pass on the best of myself.I was a teacher. That role allowed me to be an example to my students. I taught a class, where I was the first married black men the young women encountered. This was middle school. They kept staring at my wedding band asking about what it’s like to be married.
AJ: The “wicker” reference from the latest Point blank trailer is indicative of Black culture. Have you ever been discouraged from being too Black? If so, by who? How did you respond?
AK: I had a higher up, during my work study placement, who asked me to read poems, but then said “Don’t get too back with it.” That came from a Black man.I wasn’t sure if I should still read poems. It was for an office party.
But my writer friends encouraged me to do it. They said by me going through with it, it would show him that his biases are wrong.As a writer, I don’t worry about being too black in my work. White writers aren’t asked not to be too white. I feel I should have that same freedom to explore various types of blackness in my work. In Point Blank, more of my Caribbean heritage comes through. Rereading the poems, I was surprised how present it is.
AJ: What advice can you offer to other artists struggling with double consciousness?
AK: My advice to other artists is to be true to yourself.
AJ: Did you ever seriously consider another career?
AK: I’m a Communications Specialist for a living. I’ve always been a writer at heart. There was one time, in college, when I considered being a programmer. I later found out from my mom that she thought I was making a mistake. She knew my passion is writing. My dad kept pushing me to do something that makes moneyThat’s why I went the programming route.But I don’t regret my decision. I’m also open to learning other skills that might mesh with my writing.
AJ: Switching gears, there is this belief that Black men don’t love Black women. What are your thoughts about that?
AK: I know there are some brothers who date outside the race, but so do some black women. It’s touchy to assume why those folks do it without knowing the whole story. I know for me, it was important to be open to however love presented herself. I had no idea that I’d meet my wife, a passionate Nigerian woman, the way I did. I think it’s important to be open to love, whatever way it presents itself. I don’t think someone should be with someone because the community feels that way.
AJ: Audre Lorde taught us that self-care is revolutionary. As an artist, father, husband, and Black man has self care been part of your life?
AK: My family is part of my self care. I draw strength from my wife and my daughter. I hit the gym when I can and go for walks to clear my head. The important part of self care is having friends, people you can vent to when needed.
AJ: If someone were to choose between your new book and Starbucks, what would make them pick up POINT BLANK over a Frappuccino?
AK: The image of the young man on the cover.I purposely chose it because he embodies what people of color are going through in this country. The picture is powerful. He’s on his way somewhere.Depending on the point of view , he could be up to no good or just minding his business. I thought it was powerful how the photographer, Ewholomeyovwi Jeroro, captured him. The young man is in the photographer’s scope much like how people of color are in the scope of law enforcement.
CLICK HERE to purchase his book of poetry and learn more about why we love this Black man!
1. Redifining African Music.
2. Promoting African languages and culture through music.
3. Unifying all Africans together with a common knowledge of ONESS
4. Using his voice as an entertainer to reach out to the less privileged.
5. To make a remarkable impact that becomes a Legacy.
6. To satisfy your soul with undiluted sound and using music as a tool
7. To remain there for you
Through the Swazzilians (his fans), Swazzi is bringing Africa to the world. Signed to label Thugluvin Records, Swazzi is highlighting his newly released record after the release of his smash hit “Elele” produced by Dj Coublon. His new song is titled “Skolo”. It’s also produced by Dj Coublon. The video is directed by UK base Nigerian, Director Q. Check out the video below and be sure to follow him on social media at @OfficialSwazzi.
In her memory, The Lebo Mathosa Foundation was launched July 28th at Hard Rock Cafe, Mandela Square. The founders, Lebo’s family and friends, introduced The Lebo Mathosa Foundation to the guests, explaining their vision to celebrate Lebo’s life, music, and inspiration.
The Mathosa family expressed how proud they were to celebrate Lebo’s lasting influence. Solly Mathosa, Chairman, shared their desire to motivate young people to be tenacious & bold in their pursuits. The Foundation is based in Daveyton, Gauteng, where Mathosa was raised from her teenage years.
The Mathosa Family (Founders)
Soul and pop singer and actor Moneoa Moshesh, was also there to honour Lebo. She recounted how Mathosa inspired her and looked forward to the motivation the young musicians would receive from the work of the Foundation.
An array of new talent currently pushing their way towards their dreams, entertained the guests & supporters of the Foundation, many incorporating a tribute to the queen legend. The depth and variation of the rising musical talent the Foundation aims to nurture, was showcased by guitar and vocal duo TOES, Hip Hop artists K9, GovenderzEmpire, SbuMathosa, Magzin, as well as solo artist Lynol. Hard Rock Cafe, Nelson Mandela Square, was a fitting venue with memorabilia displayed from various musical legends, giving some of these new artists a first taste of performing in an upmarket venue.
@LOVE TOES SESSIONS
In October, a musical experience concert will take place to commemorate the day the nation mourned Lebo Mathosa’s loss. The Mathosa family and Showbizafrika (the creative agency supporting the Foundation) promise to celebrate “The Madonna of the Townships” in style.
Thulani Mbatha, Co-Founder
@AFRICAN RHYTHM PRODUCTIONS
Many thanks to: Anna-Marie, Kasi FM, HardRock Café and everyone who came to support this initiative.
Evaluate, Educate and Express the dynamic lineage of Ancient African Royalty!!! Who is Kearabetswe Setlhare?
She refers to herself as the girl next door, who loved dressing her dolls and playing in her mom’s closet. Staying true to that today, “I am an accessible, affordable, qualified fashion designer.”
After completing her fashion design studies at LISOF, she decided to go straight into creating “House of Khalid” which is a family brand founded by herself, co-owned by her sister and mother. They focus mostly on the administrative photography and sales side of the business, while she manages the creative direction as the head designer.
“When I initially started, the brand only had one label, Khalid Couture, that was in 2011, and today, House of Khalid is a fashion brand that houses three labels namely Khalid Couture, Bow & Arrow Accessories, and Khalid Kids.”
The name House of Khalid means House of “Eternity” in Ancient Egyptian.
The concept behind the label is to promote everything that distinguishes us as Africans be it textured fabrics, loud print, bold and bright colours and the beautiful lushness of the African continent, and its people. “We intend to bring uniqueness and individuality to a world otherwise ruled by fashion clones.”
The 12 performance run of The Diary of An Afro Goddess, a fresh, new unapologetic, dynamic one-woman show in NYC, started July 21 and runs until August 5, 2016. Cherie Danielle created and stars in a cutting edge play.
Isis, the Afro Goddess is not only a Goddess, but she is also the main source of entertainment at “The Goddess Lounge”, a special place between heaven and earth, for those who need an extra boost of self-transitioning to the next dimension. But the only person who seems to need an extra boost is Isis herself, which leaves her audience questioning, how did she become an Afro Goddess? Experience her journey from her hair to her career as an artist; from her beginnings of being born in 1950s Birmingham, Alabama to falling in love; to self love. Witness her transformation as it unfolds through text, humor, drama, poetry, song and multiple characters.
10% of all ticket sales and contributions will be donated to Blackdiaries.org
Written & Performed by Cherie Danielle
Directed by Mariska Phillips
Shows & times:
Sunday July 24th @3pm
Weds July 27th @8pm
Thurs July 28th @8pm
Friday July 29th @8pm
Saturday July 30th @8pm
Sunday July 31st @3pm
Weds August 3rd @8pm
Thurs August 4th @8pm
Friday August 5th @8pm
Note that a limited amount of tickets are available online. Tickets are also available at the door.
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.
In this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi highlights South African Band “African Rhythm.”
Celebrating our Youth…
“When you hit a wrong note, it’s the next note that makes it good or bad.”
African Rhythm is a percussion band that performs a combination of Afro Soul and Tribal House music. This young band chose to make a good note…
“We are from Krugersdorp, South Africa and a fresh approach to the healing properties of African Music”
They find this very appropriate as their main aim is to Unite and Heal through music. This team has been friends for 10 years, and decided at some point to start a group that fused music, fashion and dance. “Music was not always readily available, so we started playing African instruments to make our own rhythms to dance to. This led to the formation of our band.”
*Bongane “Bongs” Vuso
*Thabang “Nikki Nak” Motsoahae (Shakers)
*Kamogelo “Youngman” Tshabangu (Percussionist)
*Tebogo “T.B.Z” Mabe (Percussionist)
*Katlego “K.Tee” Mathakeng (Xylophone)
* Vusi “Mavara” Mathule (Percussionist)
*Letlhogonolo “Mafa” Motshetshedi (Percussionist)
*Nthabiseng ”Nthabie” Sentso(Vocalist)
*Kutlwano ”Kaytee” Lubeko(Dj&Fashion
*Tshepo “Jozi” Mokgosi (Percussionist, Leader)
Their achievements include being featured in big music festivals such as:
Go West Festival in the Westrand
Jazz on the Lake at Zoo Lake
99% Local Music in Randfontein
Donaldson Dam Annual Picnic Explosion in Westonaria
“We spent Earth Hour 2016 performing for the mayor of Pretoria, Kgosientso Ramokgopa and various other dignitaries.
We have also been featured on “Skyroom Live” on SABC1 and won Brenda Fassie’s 10year Legacy Competition in 2014.
Thus far our biggest highlight has been performing at Dr Yusuf Dadoo Hospital in Krugersdorp, for World AIDS Day in 2014 and 2015. These performances solidified our belief in the healing power of our music as even the bedridden patients at the hospital got up to dance.
We have always believed in our talent but this became more apparent when our Facebook video went viral on 3 April 2016. Having achieved more than 900,000 views in 1 week, we have decided to dedicate the next few months to satisfying the overwhelming local demand for our live performances.
We are currently based in Pretoria and have been booked for events in Gauteng and the surrounding provinces, namely North West, Free State and Limpopo (MP, we are ready for you).”
“In the future, we want to elevate South African music by touring abroad and establishing fashion, music, and dance schools in under privileged areas in South Africa.”
This man is a living testament of what a father is.
“When I met African Rhythm they had been staying with Katlego’s Uncle for about 2 weeks.
About a week later they called that they needed to see me. Jozi, Nik Nak and Katlego came to see me and explained that their families were not too happy about them leaving home. Their Uncle approved and was willing to continue accommodating them but they didn’t want to be the cause of a rift between the Uncle and the rest of the families. So they asked if they could stay with me.
It was nearly month end and I thought we would be able to find a place for them before the end of the month but that proved to be a very difficult task.
No agency would allow 10 people to move into one place so we had to find a place being rented directly by the owner. We eventually managed to find a place 2 months later.
Finances come from multiple sources:
– Some of their parents send them a little money monthly.
– The money they get from performing and sometimes busking (when things get really bad)
– I handle the shortfalls
“I have an agreement with them to get a certain percentage of their performance fees but I haven’t taken a single cent yet. They just can’t afford it. Feeding, housing, and transporting 11 people is very costly.
What we need to resolve this is more gigs. They have been getting a lot of publicity and requests but very few gigs (averaging a gig a week).”
We were introduced to vENv at the always dope Sehiii (“Pronounced Say-Hi, don’t forget the third eye”) in Brooklyn, NY. “Simply put, Victor ‘vENv’ Arumemi is a creator. A multi-hyphenate (I promise, it’s a real word) who believes in the power and purpose of bringing the things that lie within the imagination to life. Whatever the medium may be, art is all around us and it should be embraced and experienced by every soul, starting with yours.” Watch the videos below for a sneak peek into vENv’s artistry. Check out his instagram @venvthetrbldhrt and soundcloud for whole shebang!
Recently Ms. Reign released a music video for her track “Boom Boom Clap”. The song focuses on political influence and how it affects the 99%. Or, in layman’s terms, it’s about politics, prostitutes, education, and fighting the system. We encourage you to watch it, enjoy it, and feel free to share it! Check for more Ms. Reign on MissReignProductions.bandcamp.com.