At 1:05p I get a text from my longtime homie Shan that reads “WTF is up with these people saying my original Baby Daddy is dead!?!” I simply replied, “Nas??” half caring about internet rumors, especially when I’ve only been awake for 15 minutes. Awaiting her response I inadvertently check a facebook notification, hit the back button which led to my newsfeed, and lost all air from my body… No, God, Please… Not Prince…
I went to check the singular news source I rely on for death notices and they only confirmed “someone” died. Then, at 1:17p my King messaged me: “Hey baby. Prince died.” He was the first person to actually say it to me. A minute later my best friend called and whispered “Are you ok?” …”No…” We cried. Hung up. My King called, I was still crying, he just listened, only half understanding. I didn’t have the words to explain it to him at the time. I washed, briefly went to the gym, and cancelled the rest of my day.
I was too mentally numb to party like it’s 1999 alongside the rest of the Prince stans at the impromptu Spike Lee block party or with Quest Love at Brooklyn Bowl, so I stayed in bed. When I first realized it was official, I didn’t think being on facebook was a good idea, but I’m glad I hit the window accidentally. It was tough, but the out pour of love for Prince’s artistry has been so fulfilling. I’ve gotten to see a few clips I’ve never seen before and watched the globe bask in why I’ve loved him as far back as my memory travels… Throughout the day I received the messages I needed to use to explain why the loss of this particular icon crippled me.
It helped to know I wasn’t alone, like I so often felt when I spoke of Prince.
It also helped to laugh in between the blanket-soaking tears.
But of all, my heart was most moved by my King creating this piece for me… the tears burst through like a flood… The black and white version is in his Pan African coloring book, The Little Black Book. The colored piece is available as a print and t-shirt due to popular requests when he posted them.
My first facebook post read: “This sh*t is so unreal to me. I decided to go work more on [Taji] Mag to take my mind off of it and forgot I dedicated a page to him (it’s Vol 7, the theme is Afrofuturism, his Bday is June 7th and Vol 7 releases June 7th, etc), but now it has to be in memory of… I’m not ready.
Yesterday my old ipod finally died while I was listening to Insatiable (my fav song) and I was so momentarily pissed. If I only knew…”
I was devastated. I felt betrayed. But now… Now I’m listening to HITNRUN Phase One & Two imagining how his concerts would’ve been performing these songs so different from his 80s hits, yet still SO him.
Brooklyn-based indie-soul/rock band Meridian Lights has been on the scene for about 3 years, constantly playing gigs around the U.S. Meridian Lights is the song writing team consisting of vocalist Bradley Valentin and guitarist Yohimbe Sampson. They have recently completed their “self titled” second release.
Bradley and Yohimbe both grew up with heavy musical and art influences in the home. Music was part of celebrating the greatest moments of life, maintaining optimism during its trials, and served as an outlet for self expression. Yohimbe, self-taught, started playing guitar as a teen and honed his skills studying the instrument while playing with various bands, one being popular Brooklyn based Rap/Rock band Game Rebellion. Bradley, writing since the age of 12, has penned everything from short stories to poetry. He started singing as a teen in his mother’s church choir.
After crossing paths several times while living in the BedStuy section of Brooklyn, it all came to head at a party where Yohimbe grabbed a guitar and nobody would sing. Brad stood up, they started rocking, and haven’t stopped.
Live Performance: https://www.
New Video: https://www.youtube.com
Roaring ‘20s Party During New York Fashion Week Benefits Polished Pebbles
New York, NY: This NYFW event/benefit showcased local artists, musicians and performers while raising awareness and funds for Polished Pebbles — a not-for-profit organization that mentors girls between the ages of 7 and 17.
Winston Wise, Exquisite Events NY & Beautique hosted and sponsored the 1920s themed extravaganza and benefit on Friday, February 12, 2016 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. The celebration took place at Beautique, 8 West 58th Street near 5th Avenue. The event was open to the public with no admission fee. Guest attire was Gatsbyesque and flapper inspired, or “dress to impress.”
About Polished Pebbles: The mission of the Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program is to provide girls with the opportunity of learning the vital life skill of effective communication. Our Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring program instills confidence in girls to face the challenges of daily life by substituting aggressive forms of communicating and problem solving with new strategies that allow them to gain a solid reputation and respect without retaliating.
“Girls have adopted a “street code”, as a means for survival, to protect their reputation and retaliate when they believe their reputation is threatened. Sadly, we’ve all witnessed how many young women are only equipped to use fighting and aggression as the primary means to protect their personal respect and security, as well as to gain status.” – Kelly Fair (Founder of Polished Pebbles).
Acute Inflections is a chic duo of an innovative vocalist, Elasea Douglas, and a captivating upright bassist, Sadiki Pierre. Although their instrumentation is minimal, they deliver an intoxicating jazzy, funky and sultry sound.
Atomic Entertainment is a member of ISES (International Special Events Society) and APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters).
To learn more contact Jodi Isha Bisasor at [email protected]
Live jazz music by Acute Inflections with performances by Atomic Entertainment and art exhibitions by Ben Moon, Sarah Yi,James Stanhope, and Eddy Bogaert.
Jewelry by Soul BY Tapti Tapan
Photography coverage by Neil Tandy
Why are millions discussing the new video for Tarica June’s politically-charged song “But Anyway”? … see for yourself and click here to follow her 🙂
International R&B/Pop Songstress Morrisa Jeanine just released a beautiful and refreshing piece of art that reminds us of how simple love can be in a time that’s often far too complicated. Real Simple is available for streaming and free download for a limited time at https://soundcloud.com/
We “have never been in love before”… like we are with this track! Olutayo smashed this one… listen for yourself and tell us what you think!
Written/Arranged by Olutayo
Produced by Healing Fyah (Rashaun Stewart)
Co-arrangement and live keys by Kala
Live bass by Trevor P Allen
The Twenty-First Century has indeed been full of trying times. Despite tons of intentional division and propaganda imagery, there has also been a banding together and a notion that we, as a people, must foster our own growth and progression. It is said that in the midst of turmoil, the air is ripe for the likes of a prophet; one who can ingest the struggle and obstacles of the time, and in return paint a portrait of a prosperous future. It is no easy task to be able to rise from police brutality, genocide and institutionalized racism, while still being able to see Nirvana and rouse others to do so as well. Insert: Messiah Ramkissoon.
A spoken word artist by way of Trinidad, this young man has accepted elevating the collective as his life calling. He started writing as a young child, and with the support of his family he has honed his skills. Idolizing the likes of Muhammad Ali, he has chosen to also use his skills to improve the world we live in. Thrice a ‘champion’ of Showtime at the Apollo, he contributes his successes to consistency. Much as his name suggests, his efforts truly reflect his desire to enlighten and uplift.
En lieu of enlightenment, he has gifted us with his latest work, a mixtape named ‘The Reminder’. A grail of sorts, Messiah intends for his work to ‘restore awareness’ to where we have been, where we are, and where we need to focus our efforts for the future. He addresses everything from recalling the loss of our civil rights heroes to rallying pride and unity in combat of recurring oppressive forces. In his own words from the mixtape, “As a collective, we are much more effective/ Kill the social contraceptive/ To live and let live is the ultimate incentive.”
When it comes to uplifting the collective, Messiah takes an approach even more personal. He has dedicated much of the past 8 years to prison outreach in Washington, DC, Baltimore and NYC. Coming face to face with our incarcerated males, he chooses to stand in where, often enough, there has been no one. A major part of the process is in fact within his ability to articulate conversation. In giving the young men a platform to express and reflect upon all aspects of self, true progress is made. His worlds often tie together. On ‘The Reminder’ he has dedicated a track to the late 16 year old Kalief Browder, who took his own life following wrongful imprisonment. In another case, a young man by the name of Asad Giles spent two and a half years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Upon his release, Messiah continued to provide support and resources. Asad is now employed and due to start school in 2016. He says of his philanthropy, “My goal is to empower each young brother I encounter… not only making change but taking the… example back to our own to duplicate this process of progress.”
An Artist in his own right, Messiah has not only chosen a life of dedication, but it seems to have chosen him. “I would like to leave a legacy as someone who loved his people, was passionate about his work, exuded excellence with each opportunity and [was] fearless… Fearless enough to accept any challenge which may arise on the road to providing true liberation and a better lifestyle for the babies! That would suffice.” Ashe, Messiah, Ashe.
Written by Lola Valentine
Photo by NayMarie Photography