The new digital series, Made From Scratch, gives viewers a taste of what music’s hottest artists are like when they step outside of the studio and into the kitchen. In the premiere episode, rapper Young M.A invites us into her home as she and her grandmother, G Mac, cook up the family favorites M.A misses when she’s on the road. With spice as the main ingredient, the two open up about Young M.A’s life before becoming a platinum-selling rapper, her introduction to music (queue 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying), M.A’s commitment to controlling her own identity and more. Young M.A also opens up about her recent weight loss and what prompted her to cut out the junk food on the road.
After 27 years of working as a casting director for famous music videos, TV, and films including Being Mary Jane, Fruitvale Station, and Southside With You, Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd releases her first film as a director, writer, and producer, The Counter: 1960. The Counter: 1960 is a short film inspired by and motivated to bridge all races, cultures, and generations. Co-written and co-produced by Ashley Jackson and produced by Kimberly L. Ogletree, The Counter: 1960 hopes to create a change within the film industry by bringing light to such less represented narratives.
The film has been selected for screening in the 26th Annual Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, as well as the 10th Annual Jaipur International Film Festival in India. In addition, it has received Gold and Silver Awards at the LA Shorts Awards and the NYC Indie Film Awards in 2017. Based off of a true story, the film begins with three North Caroline University students, Joseph (Jerod Haynes), Diane (Ashley Jackson), and Franklin (Etienne Maurice), who are completely frustrated by a constant string of police killing of the unarmed black youth. They decide to meet and think of what it is students like them can do to contribute to positive change. The film’s plotline unravels through a bridging between different temporal backgrounds and settings.
Screenings: Tue, February 13th @ 6:25PM
Thu, February 15th @ 3:30 PM
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Rave 15 Cinemas
3650 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90008
February 4th wrapped another successful Harlem Fashion Week season. Held at the Museum of the City of New York, Harlem Fashion Week combined the downtown fashion with the uptown culture and vibe, including an Emerging Designer’s competition show and a guest appearance by TV host, Creative Director, and makeup artist, Jay Manuel. The night featured 17 different designers including Styles of Imagination, Christy + You, and the Emerging Designer winner, XX. Premiere designers for this year’s show were Beast Mode by Marshawn Lynch and the Malcolm X Legacy Collection, designed by Yvonne Jewnell of Yvonne Jewnell New York.
“There are so many people who have no idea about Malcolm X beside what’s in our textbooks, and even then, it’s limited to one or two pages,” said Yvonne Jewnell, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Harlem Fashion Week. “It’s time that his [Malcolm X] legacy resurfaces for both new and old generations.”
Guests were treated to a four-level experience including a vendors market selling clothing from the designers, natural hair and beauty products, books, and a host of accessories. On the main level of the museum was the brand experience floor featuring other vendors, a media hub and interviews, and VIP red carpets.
Executive Producer and Co-Founder, Tandra Birkett recapped the evening by saying, “To have three sold out shows, on Super Bowl Sunday, facing the torrential rain, we could not have asked for a better night. We will continue to share the word about the richness of Harlem and all that it has to offer.”
The next Harlem Fashion Week event will be XX and guests can look forward to the S/S 2019 show in the fall.
Photos from the Malcolm X Legacy Collection:
Release Mar 7 2018 | Vol14 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling its theme of Copper and Gold! This volume’s cover features the #SlayBells of Sassy, Krystal Garner, and Shanice Thompson. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick on Glamourina’s newest athleisure line; Community Spotlight on Melanating.com, your Premier Source for Black Events; our highlighted Hair Feature by Ngone Sow; “Solo Travel: Deciding and Booking My Flight” by D. Carrie; “Spiritual Teknowledge: Openness” by Jashua Sa’Ra; Must Have Book: Authentically Rich by Khay Shepard; Knotable Designs providing Marketing for Emerging Brands; Black Youth Appreciation: Theirno Barry; “#BlackLoveConvo: “Greatness in Brotherly Love: Ali and Me” by Dapper Dr. Feel; “Who are Financial Systems Designated to Uplift? How Do We Take Control?” by Jatali Bellanton of Kids Who Bank, DTR360 Books; our Health & Fitness Advice Column with Trainer Clint & Vegan Fun with Delliz the Chef; Featured art piece by Will Focus; Must Have Graphic Novel: DayBlack by Keef Cross; Black Business Highlights; Taji Mag Model Contest Winners; and more!!
This past weekend Warner Brothers hosted DC Comics in D.C. highlighting the upcoming tv show Black Lightning. It featured four different panels and premiered the first episode of Black Lightning. All of the panels were great and featured a lot of great talent and artists, but the panel that was most representative of the MLK weekend was the panel titled “The Many Shades of Heroism: DC Heroes Through the African American Lens”. This panel explained the creation of many of the popular Black characters of the DC television series world. The panel consisted of the show’s producers, Salim and Mara Akil, as well as actors Cress Williams (Black Lightning), Candice Patton (The Flash), Chris Chalk (Gotham), David Harewood (Supergirl), comic artist and producer Denys Cowan, writer John Ridley, and author and songwriter Alice Randall.
Black Characters on DC TV Series
Candice Patton portrays Iris West on the popular show The Flash. She discussed the importance of portraying an outstanding version of the character on television and how doing so has influenced creators to change the race of the character in the comics. Originally Iris West is portrayed as a white woman in DC comics. “I feel extremely honored first of all to be put in this position,” Patton explained.
“I am happy that a black woman is carrying the torch so generations after this will remember that Iris West was a black woman .” – Candice Patton on portraying Iris West.
Chris Chalk plays the intelligent and brilliant minded Lucius Fox on the show, Gotham. The show is based on a young Commissioner Gordon fighting crime against many of the developing iconic villains in the city of Gotham from the Batman series. “This character is great! I went to this STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program for Black youths and the kids would tell me they knew how I solved a problem on the show and I was like well tell me, ’cause I don’t know…” He emphasized the joy in playing a character that breaks racial stereotypes in television, saying “It is cool to have a Black character that is the smartest person in the series and he doesn’t fight.”
David Harewood plays Martian Manhunter on the show Supergirl. Being a native of London, he explained how important it is to have a Black lead character on a television show because, where he is from, there aren’t really any characters that look like him. He smiled as he proudly displayed his Black Lightning t-shirt. Harewood also discussed how happy he was to represent a person in of color in the media, making the audience aware that there are opportunities for all races and backgrounds to be represented.
Black Lightning: The Series For The Time
Black Lightning takes place in an urban, poverty and violence-stricken community where our hero, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), lives as a high school principal and family man. He has hung up the mantle of Black Lighting for 15 years because of the stress it was placing on his family but is forced to return to crime fighting when the local gang, The One Hundred, starts wreaking havoc on the neighborhood.
“It is a dream come true! After I put on the costume I was ready to run into the wall! I was ready to fight!” – Cress Williams on portraying Black Lighting
The show is produced by the power couple Salim and Mara Akil. They both have a successful history of producing great shows like the Soul Food TV series, Girlfriends, and Being Mary Jane. When asked about Black Lightning, they expressed the importance of the project and how great of a story it can tell about love, family, and community. “We are led by a vision and clearly this is Salim’s,” Mara explained about choosing the project to bring to life in television form. She explained the importance of giving people the perspective of a Black man that is positive, stating “July 2016, two Black men were killed after the long list of other Black men and we were in that moment of what was happening in our communities. When you look on television there were no Black men in the center of a television show, speaking on the issues that were about his life.” Salim Akil explored his vision of the project in-depth when quoting:
“We use that authenticity when it comes to other cultures but really we are talking about the nuance and Black folks are an integral part of American culture. What we will see with Black Lightning is that yes, we are getting culturally specific nuances of what it is going to be like being an African American man in the United States, but you will also see a man that loves his family and his community and wants what is best for his community. You can take the African American off that (character) and you have just a man that wants the best for his family. I hope everybody can identify wanting the best for their families and their community.”
DC Comics is continuing to evolve its characters that people from different backgrounds can relate to. Black Lightning debuted tonight, January 16th at 9pm, how’d you like it?
Distinct And Curvy Models are Serving SlayBells. Distinct Eye Photography Captures Every Magical Moment!
IG | @Distinct_eye_photography @distinctandcurvymodels
Designer Chuks Collins has combined social causes and bold fashion on the runway during New York Fashion Week. After a second lease on life, the designer founded a nonprofit and for the past several years has presented his latest collections within a fundraising event. Last year’s soiree, The Dream: Fall 2017 Benefit Fashion Show and Silent Auction was in collaboration with Oando Foundation U.S. held at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in the Lower East Side.
Event hosts Claudia Jordan (RHOA, celebrity apprentice) and Hadiiya Barbel (celebrity wigologist and transformation artist) welcomed attendees and introduced Sony music artist SUMMER Williams who performed new music from her EP.
The Chuks Collins collection offers ready to wear fashions for men and women that appreciate sophisticated style and last season the ensembles ranged from modern elegance to casual chic in a handsome array of bold colors. The presentation also included sharing with guests how funds raised would be used in the Adopt-A-School initiative for children in Collins’ home country of Nigeria. The silent auction, courtesy of Charity Grow, provided an opportunity for making a tax-deductible donation in addition to a portion of proceeds from tickets.
Special guest attendees included rapper Peter Gunz, Orange Is the New Black actress Adrienne Moore, Kim Mastroddi, Taneka Bowles, Actor Marc John Jefferies, pop singer Chelley, celebrity stylists TY Hunter and Kidear Youmans.
Black White Beautiful | Black and white fashion has never left the style scene, but the powerful combination has been thrust back in the spotlight in a major way with graphic houndstooth. Virlé Cole, an online vintage fashion boutique, takes a bite out of the trend with retro clothing and accessories featuring a bold, oversize version of the unisex print splayed on distinctly ladylike pieces and silhouettes.
Discover the intrigue of the two-tone print in this photo series featuring a powerful trio of stunning black models showcasing the diverse ways to wear houndstooth. The young women in the images prove a vintage garment can produce a lifetime of glamour. Although some articles were designed before the models were born, they worked the designs in a way that appears modern, relevant and at their peak of chic.
You too can wear houndstooth or simply black and white in a number of ways. Don’t be afraid to layer monochrome pieces or top one print with another like print. As told by the runways, matchy-matchy styles and co-ords are back—just Google 2018 daytime pajama sets, matching bags and shoes, and bodysuits that fit like puzzle pieces to matching bottoms. For a quaint touch, try a houndstooth headband or bow, or pick a mod shift, polished suit, striking coat, or even sexy bustier. Any style you choose, don’t be afraid to own it and walk tall. For more vintage fashion inspiration follow @virlecole on Instagram or visit www.virlecole.com.
Bettina Coleman is credited as the photo shoot stylist and owner of Virlé Cole. She selected the styles and models to inspire young women to wear the clothes of generations before them. She wants everyone to value the rich history and story that vintage clothing offers—not to mention its charm. The one-of-a-kind pieces she sells cannot be replaced by fast fashion chains or even today’s top designers. Her advice to fashionistas: Fall in love with vintage and make it yours forever.
Wardrobe | Virlé Cole – IG @virlecole
Photographer | Adam Jackson – IG @Adamj.photo
Black White Beautiful
Resonance SS18 Collection
Photographer | Aklass Photography
Wardrobe | 101Clothing
Hair & Makeup | Queen Kay
Location Manager & Assistant | Maxwell Sarpong
Models | Florence Mamtey, Danielle Atakora, Edward Carter Kyremah
Website | www.101clothinggh.com
Instagram | @iam_101clothing
Affected. Something that we, as citizens of the globe, often feel that we must be less of in order to survive. However, Alvin Ailey is reviving ‘Shelter,’ a piece choreographed by Urban Bush Women’s Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and aims to make us feel just that; affected. Originally performed in 1992, ‘Shelter’ is a “work that frankly addresses the pain and isolation of homelessness,” says the choreographer. The all-female piece reflects not only the struggle but the resiliency of those who are chronically homeless, she notes. Resiliency that, I feel, is part and parcel of the human spirit that we all share. Just as homelessness affects us one and all.
‘Shelter’ is set to debut for the renown dance troupe’s current season in NYC, a place where blatant homelessness is rampant and it is customary to turn a blind eye. As per inspiration for the piece, Zollar remarked that upon settling into NYC in the 80’s she “realized that as a coping mechanism [she] had stopped seeing the people who were homeless… that was [more] dangerous because it was a loss of humanity.” Humanity being all facets of experience, whoever and wherever you may be. I am currently in Barbados, and homelessness is too. While in the city, I had a stranger point out a characteristically homeless man, explain that they went to University together and that he used to be a lawyer. Perhaps knowing the man forced the strangers conscious to acknowledge him, whereas the other people on the street simply passed him by without a glance. I would then ask: must it directly affect us for us to take part in affecting it? A resident New Yorker myself, I have found that turning a blind eye requires us to repress our Souls. To repress the constant call for sympathy as well as the underlying fear of relating. However, the issue and relevance of homelessness cannot be ignored into non-existence. Whether through dance, art, outreach or otherwise, it begs of us to be constantly addressed through awareness and action.
I send energy to the notion that we are not powerless in this matter. Not in aiding those who are afflicted nor in preventing it for ourselves. But our power lies in our ability to give. Not speaking solely of our money or our time, but of our attention as well. In giving our attention to and, therefore, shining a light on the very things that we wish to push into the darkness, the threat of darkness itself disappears. As opposed to our hearts having to do so instead. Especially if Ms. Zollar and the Alvin Ailey Dancers have anything to do with it. So as audiences pack into the plush seats of City Center’s theater, they will be reminded of the transiency of ‘having’. It is indefatigably important to foster contact with our humanity as often as possible; especially to the experiences that we may feel are not applicable to us at the moment. This is exactly what will be accomplished, yet again, with ‘Shelter’. As James Baldwin said ‘…the Artist knows, and must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.”. So yes, it could happen to you. Perhaps it has happened to you already. May there be continuous attention given and inspiration found to address such a prevalent affliction. May we be led to fostering a future where it does not exist. It is possible.
Alvin Ailey 2017 Season happening now.