Category Archives: Creative

31Dec/16
Good Black Man x Africa Jackson

Good Black Man Profile: Nestle Snipes

A Good Black Man is Easy to FindGood Black Man x Collis Torrington

Today is bitter sweet. Bitter because this is our final #MustLoveBeards profile of 2016. Sweet because we are bringing back our Taji Mag crowd favorite: Nestle Snipes. This Good Black Man is the lead photographer of Made For a King Photography. A lot has happened since we last spoke with this bearded dapper gent.

Since our last encounter, Nestle Snipes recently shot 8-Time Olympic Track & Field Medalist & Fellow Jamaican Legend Veronica Campbell-Brown and Mr. Fly Malcolm X himself was once again featured in the Hunks 4 Hope calendar, and Made For a King photography has grown its client base. You might have caught a glimpse of our bearded brother on an episode of the breakout Netflix series Luke Cage.

We already know about his stunning portfolio and philanthropic work. This time, we want to look more closely at the man behind the lens.

Africa Jackson: Last time we spoke, it was such a meaningful conversation. It was great to learn about your work to stop domestic violence and your clearly superior artistic eye. We focused a lot on your business before, and now we want to focus more on you. What makes you happy?

Nestle Snipes: (smiles) A lot of things — a healthy bond with others, experiencing nature, laying in the grass, meditation, doing something meaningful with my hands. Giving gifts and seeing the recipient smile. Laughing — I love a good laugh. I enjoy partying. If people want to be jovial, I’m down. Spending time with my mom also makes me happy.

“Our potential is limitless.”

Good Black man x Tish Ferguson

AJ: Ok. You’re in film school, you volunteer, you’re an activist, you party, you run a successful business, you stay fly, and you let fans like me ask questions for 2 hours… but how do you take care of yourself?

Nes: Easy question. In the morning I have an hour of silence. Total hour of appreciation. Daily mantras are vital. I look at my vision board. When I come home, I listen to inspirational music with powerful frequencies: Afrobeat, electronica, jazz.

Taking care of myself also involves proper sleep. I want more people to realize that grown-ups are not exempt from naps.

AJ: Let mainstream media tell it, a good Black man is still hard to find. We know that is a myth, but in the midst of the negative energy thrown at yall, I want to know something. What is the greatest thing about being a Black man?

Nes: Our potential is limitless. We are often so revered and appropriated, but our resilience in uncanny. We convert sunlight into energy (metaphorically and literally).

AJ: So much of the miscommunication between Black men and Black women comes from lack of knowledge or lack of understanding. Black love is powerful and has the potential to grow even stronger. What is one thing you wish Black women knew about Black men to help cultivate that growth?

Nes: The Black man you interact with is only working with what he has at the moment. Don’t infringe on his freedoms based on your own desires. For example, getting work done is paramount for me at the moment. I don’t want to cheat myself or anyone else, so I may not pursue a woman. Please don’t say “all men” or “yall men”. We are trying. Don’t be disheartened by certain men who receive you wrong. Young Black boys deal with trauma that may stem from unresolved issues. Many of us had no clear definition of manhood.Photo Credit: Nestle Snipes + MFK Photography

“Little gestures mean a lot, yes, but I know it is not enough.”

AJ: What is one thing you wish you knew about Black women?

Nes: How can I be more of an ally beyond taking you out [to dinner]? How can we help? Little gestures mean a lot, yes, but I know it is not enough. We are at a loss without you telling us. The best way for Black women to communicate their needs to Black men is to do it without being condescending. Please don’t project the pain from other men onto us. In 2017 I want people to stop negative blaming and projecting insecurities. We have full autonomy. the transfer of energy matters.

“I want Black men to start protecting Black women.”

good Black men x Collis Torrington

Visit Made For a King Photography and Bearded Dapper Gents to learn more about the upcoming projects of this undeniably talented good Black man. You can also treat yourself by following him on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. His new blog “Simply Snipes” is set for an early 2017 release.

Congratulations on your recent and continued success, Black man. We look forward to your next great project.

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20Dec/16
Myke Archie, WorkForce Comics

#MustLoveBeards Profile: Myke Archie

Get to know a brilliant emerging artist named Myke Archie

Happy #MCM Taji readers! Taji Mag is happy to introduce Myke Archie because we love his work & now you will too.

First of all, we’ve been fans for years. Myke Archie is the Perfect Man to buy a holiday gift from If you’re looking for a unique option this season. Check out our #MustLoveBeards profile features a down to earth Southern brother with a knack for creating beautiful works of art. He is the creator of WorkForce Comics who has been stirring up controversy all over social media. Today’s #MCM is a comic prodigy with a lot to say. His work has beeJ. Dilla x Myke Archien featured by Polite Conversation, All Real Radio, and now Taji Mag. Especially relevant is his drive to make economic autonomy a stronger part of how his fans live.

Graphic designer Myke Archie is on the rise. He illustrates book covers, album art, posters, and logos. This Atlanta native earned his BFA from Georgia State University. Consequently, he is not the biggest fan of traditional education. He prefers to think critically rather than follow trends. Perfect Man Designs, his privately owned company, has lots of fans. The first volume of his critically acclaimed series WorkForce Comics was released 2014. It looks at the crazy ways we think about life, making money, and politics while scratching and surviving in a society that cares more about loot than love.

Art x Myke Archie

His work has a certain quality that is not the same as other designers. The style, the stroke, and the scope is different than any comics out there. Other influences for his work include classics like Ice Cube’s film Friday and another favorite: old school Sci-Fi thriller called They Live. Myke invites fans to listen to his playlist of artists like Isaiah Rashad, Yani Mo, Denmark Vessey, and Knxwledge. The man something special.

#MustLoveBeards feature Myke ArchieMyke is part of the #BlackBusinessSelfie campaign via Nay Marie’s Black Owned Business Collective. He showed off several businesses including: Freedom Paper Company, Rooted-N-Nature, Dash Motor Oil, The HXLM Collective, and of course Taji Magazine!

Support Black Owned Business – Buy WorkForce Comics

WorkForce Comics Volume 4 is set to be released this month. Until then, customers can buy copies of volume 1, 2, 3, or all three on his blog: Perfect Man Designs. Like his fan page for the latest news and exclusive content. In conclusion, respect the man’s grind.

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17Dec/16
yeezy

Is Yeezy Season Over?!

 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 thing one 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.

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02Dec/16
Wear All Black

Why Do People Wear All Black? – Trends vs Staples

“I’m about to wear all black for a year straight..” said Jay-Z on “Death of Autotune” which released in 2009 off of his Blueprint 3 album. So why is it that now, eight/nine years later, wearing all black has become so trendy throughout the entire world –especially New York City! Maybe it was Kanye West with his monochromatic looks he’d wear and inspire various celebrities to wear as well. Did Ye’ do it again? Is Kanye to credit for yet another trend swallowed by the fashion forwards? Or is it a lackadaisical effort for depicting ones mood of “I didn’t know what to wear.” Don’t get me wrong, the black monochrome look is pretty artistic when pieced in an artsy manner. But let’s be honest, not everyone who wears all black seems to be reflecting it in a form of fashion, which is also considered art. I wonder how the Gothic society feels that their “uniform color” is now looked at as trendy by larger society. There was once a time where you only wore all black if you were attending a funeral, working for a particular retail company, or considered yourself emo/goth. Well, that has all changed now hasn’t it.

Last week, I randomly stopped a woman wearing the monochromatic black look and I asked her “What about all-black do you like?” She explained how deeply she perceived the color, while also clarifying with me that “it’s a shade, not a color.” She then stated how all-black provides a sort of mirror for the observer. Further explaining how black allows the public to perceive however they feel, so if you feel their look is sad and depressing then that says more about yourself, same as if you perceive it as rich, said by the fashionable young lady awaiting her Uber. She then concluded, “It’s like a painting… I am fashion therefore I am walking art. There is no right or wrong when perceiving a piece. Either you have a vision of some form of the art or you see… nothing.” I’m not sure if everyone has the same cognitive likeness for wearing all-black but I can say, I definitely appreciated her creative way of thinking. It allowed me to then perceive the many other black outfits I later witnessed that day, and even now. All black has become a staple within fashion by being more than just a trend. I mean, it’s been what, nine years since Jay-Z rapped the lyric which is the epitome of today’s no. 1 trend. How will you wear it? Lackadaisicalness of “I didn’t know what to wear” or artistically allowing observers their own perception as “a piece of walking art”?

I’ve complied this look to give you an idea of how to put together an all-black look in an artistic manner:

img_5435

—Calvin Chandler

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14Nov/16

#MustLoveBeards Profile: ALAN KING

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.

POINT BLANK

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

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 money That’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!
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07Nov/16
Melonie

Black Royal: Melonie Torres in LES

Melonie Torres having fun being sexy in LES, NY.

Melonie

Model: Melonie Torres
Photographer: Gerald Deus
Stylist: Unconventional Labels Boutique
Set direction/Concept: LJE Model Agency
Agency: LJE Model Agency
IG/Twitter
Model: @Melonieeeeeee
Photographer: @GeraldDeus
Stylist: @UnconventionalLabels
Agency: @LJEModelAgency
Melonie Melonie
Melonie Melonie
IG/Twitter
Photographer: @fly_imagez
Make-up artist: @GlamMakeupDiva
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05Nov/16

Black Royal: Temitayo Agoro

Temitayo Agoro – “I just love teaching kids the positive notion of shooting with a camera, not with a gun.”

Temitayo Agoro

Temitayo A. Agoro
Morehouse College
CTEMS
African American Studies
NIH Published Researcher
CEO of AUCCAM LLC
Shoot with a Camera, Not a Gun! ™
The Running Punter
@agoronomics
@auccam
@therunningpunter
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08Oct/16
Am I Allowed

“Am I Allowed”

“Am I Allowed”

This lady walked pass me in Manhattan on a street that not too many ppl were clit-clatting… and grabbed her purse

At first… Yeah I was hurt

Then… the anger kicked in because I simultaneously realized what made her comfort divert

………………………………..

Shut up white boy!

Mannn, cops pulled up on me and I was in some B’Ball shorts

Not just any ol’ cops, these were D’z… not that local B’Boy force

Next to me, as I was walking pass, was a vehicle stripped to the tee that was clearly not mine

Long story short I saw the cop pull from his waist… wrapped with metal tape… around the handle said it was mine 

and if the car comes back stolen then they’ll pin me for grand theft and the glock nine

……………………………….

Shut up white boy!

We need to come together and kill all that blue and red 

…those be the same colors in the rear view behind yo head

But nahhh …you blue… and you red 

…cop says… 

…”both you black so both you dead!”

We need to organize

SHUT …UP …WHITE BOY!

See this is the thing!

Y’all side eye me… because my lighter mel-la-neen

… when we really on the same team!

Why the fuck I gotta fight my own people to fight with my own people?!

MY NIGGAH?! If they shoot you they shoot me too! If they shoot me they shoot you too!

You think I had an easy life just because my lighter pigment?!

MY NIGGA?? No… WE ARE NEGUS (as in Kings) …And my Black is just a lil different!”

—Cal

Am I Allowed

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07Oct/16
WrapCentury®

Black Royal: Welcome To The WrapCentury®

Welcome To The WrapCentury®

WrapCentury®

Centering around the idea of an Ancient Future while embodying the aura of Emperor Haile Selassie I & Empress Menen Asfaw. They’re showcasing the presence of our luxurious Regal lineage as Afrikans, and amplifying the importance of balance & unity between a wombman & a man.

Photographed by T.O.K.Y.O. Photography (@tizzy_tokyo)
Creative Team (Models, Headwraps, Wardrobe, Stylist): Nise (@EsinbyNise) & SA-RA (@YawSARA)
Follow them on IG at @WrapCentury
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01Oct/16
luke cage

Luke Cage Broke Netflix. All of It…

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…

luke cageWe 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 luke cageon 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.

luke cage#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 😉

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