Category Archives: Lifestyle

17Oct/17

Model Life &”The Stoop Sessions: Part 1″

Her name is Saliyah Itoka. She was born and raised in Queens, NY but is currently living in Albany, NY.
She’s been singing since she was really little. But she didn’t start taking her music career seriously until January 2015 when she also started modeling.
She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. Her creative passions come from working with other artists, sharing in their positive energy and learning from them. She has collaborated with other singers and rappers on her project and is very excited to hear the results. Her current project is in the works and the name that she’s chosen for it is “The Stoop Sessions: Part I”. She’s inspired by singers from the 90’s such as Aaliyah, Chris Brown, Beyoncé, Toni Braxton, Anita Baker, Tank, Rihanna, Brandy, Whitney Houston, Drake, and The Weeknd. In full light she wanted to create a project that represented her on all levels.

One of her favorite songs on her new project is called “Loving You”. It has a Tevin Campbell sample and has that feel good vibe that she loves about R&B.

She’s done 8 shows since she started her music career. But her most memorable experience as an Artist was her very first showcase because it was the first time she had ever performed her original music. She was nervous but it felt good knowing that people really liked what they heard. As a model she performed at the February 2015 Atlantic City Fashion Week. It gave her that boost of confidence that she needed to confirm that she was runway model material.
 

Future Events of Music and Modeling

Right now, her debut project is in the works. She is working really hard to complete it and make it perfect. In her modeling career, she just finished a show during NYFW and she’s just grinding and pushing for the next show and next casting. As far as the future she just wants to continue to pursue what she loves to do and prove her doubters wrong.

For Booking and Features

For both music and modeling contact her at: saliyahitoka@gmail.com
Facebook and Instagram: Saliyah Itoka and Instagram is: saliyah_itoka.
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07Oct/17
NY to Paradise

NY to Paradise Podcast is Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Business owner, Coretta Ryan shares her podcast series titled, NY to Paradise: Creating Your Own Success. Launched August 31st, the monthly audio series highlights various entrepreneurs from around the world who haven’t been afraid to reshape their daily experiences by taking risks, staying true to their personal stories and living their lives intentionally.

NY to ParadiseThe show was created and co-produced by Coretta Ryan to be used as a tool to motivate aspiring and fellow entrepreneurs in their journey. The idea behind the concept is in finding out the “WHY”. The reasons behind why entrepreneurs may create businesses or the source of the passion they have for their work. Coretta says “I wanted to share the process, the thinking behind what shapes the ideas that develop into businesses.”

NY to Paradise can be found onlinePodbeanSoundcloudApple Podcasts and across social media at @crprllc with the hashtag #nytoparadise.

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07Oct/17
Love Afrique

Love Afrique Launches, Offering Unique African-Inspired Accessories

Love AfriqueNew company Love Afrique launches their line of African-inspired head wraps, handbags, and jewelry. The new brand works to help women feel great and express their culture through their collection. “We aim to have women of color glamorously and unapologetically reflect their roots,” said the Love Afrique team. Via their website, customers can peruse and purchase the full range of Love Afrique items. Customers can receive an exclusive discount on their first order when they sign up for the Love Afrique newsletter.

Visit their website for more information!
Love Afrique
Instagram: @love.Afrique

Love Afrique

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07Oct/17
Deeper Than Travel

It’s Deeper Than Travel Inaugural Event

Deeper Than TravelOn September 20, 2017, It’s Deeper Than Travel (IDTT) hosted the first ever Pan African Party with a Purpose. The purpose of this event was to kick off IDTT’s event series in Philadelphia, celebrate, and support a cross-cultural partnership that is doing it #fortheimpact. Guests experienced the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feel of Ghana as we highlighted the African Bike Contribution Foundation and the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative. Proceeds from the event helped to raise funds to sponsor bamboo bikes for students, farmers, and healthcare workers in Kumasi, Ghana.

Deeper Than TravelFounder, Inez A. Nelson shared that the goal of It’s Deeper Than Travel is to create harmony, cross-cultural exploration, and partnership between African, African American, and Caribbean leaders. IDTT will host a series of experiences including culturally-themed events, co-working meet-ups, and voluntourist travel excursions to unify Pan African leaders and increase positive impact internationally.

Special thank you to everyone who came out and those who supported via donation! We raised over $1400 and connected leaders from 10+ local organizations and businesses. Now that is a success! If you are a leader of a U.S. business or organization that has partnered with an international business or organization #fortheimpact shoot us an email with details. Your cause could be the next one we highlight and support! If you are a Pan African leader with a vision to expose your members to new cultures, provide access to atmospheres of ideation and innovation, or host your members on immersive travel excursions, we want to hear from you as well! Make sure to email us!

If you missed us this time, don’t worry. This was the first of many experiences to come and we need you to experience all of them. Why would you miss out?! Make sure to subscribe to our mailing list at www.itsdeeperthantravel.com to be the first to know what we are up to next!

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05Oct/17
Gabrielle Union book

Taji Mag Book Club | We’re Going To Need More Wine with Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union bookNone other than Being Mary Jane herself; the grossly talented and radiant bombshell, Ms. Gabrielle Union’s new book, We’re Going To Need More Wine, has been picking up quite the buzz. Sweetheart of black cinema and star of some of our favorite movies, she is now vying to become one of our favorite authors as well.

“Throughout my life, I’ve often wondered aloud ‘how the hell did I end up here? Why me? Not sure I’ve found the answer to those questions but in this book, I share my journey. The good, the bad, the WTF. You will definitely need more wine for this one.” – writes Union in her Instagram post announcing the upcoming release of the book.

A ‘powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman’, the book has already garnered praises and accolades galore. En lieu of her book release she has given several interviews and has snatched a few magazine covers. With a matching book tour starting in New York City the day before the book debuts, she has even released an exclusive excerpt of the book. A longtime activist for women’s reproductive health and against sexual violence, in the book Gabrielle opens up about her personal experiences with both. With topics such as her on-going fertility struggles with hubby Dwyane Wade, it seems that her writing will be an expression of what it truly means to be Gabby. A Black Woman and an Artist, now an open book.

To that I say: Bring It On.

We’re Going To Need More Wine releases on October 17th and is available for pre-order.

Click Here for her book tour.

Stay tuned for my review of the book, coming later this month.

 

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04Oct/17
Don't Sweat

Don’t Sweat The Small Shit

Let’s say some shit happens between you and somebody else. I’m talking have you wanting to throw hands, or had one too many drinks while listening to ABoogie all night type shit. Because of what happened, it’s automatically considered a bad day. At the end of that day, if I was to ask you how your day was, instead of talking about all the negative stuff, ask yourself these three questions.

1. Did it take any money out of your pocket?
2. Did it take the roof from over your head?
3. Are you or anyone you know in any physical pain or danger?

If the answer to all these questions is “NO”. Then guess what, IT DOESNT FUCKING MATTER. Why do we insist on being so ready to decide that it’s a bad day overall? Things happen, and the reality is, they’re going to keep happening. People my age have what, maybe a good 60-70 years left in this world? Come on, it’s unrealistic to think we can ever progress or move forward in life if we direct so much focus and energy towards the negative.

I won’t lie, I dead used to be that way. It was a really hard habit to get rid of, but I started to ask myself, do I really wanna be mad or sad, or any other negative emotion everyday? Hell no. I got tired of it, and I knew if I continued allowing myself to choose the negative, I would start doing that in everything else that I do. Whether it was dance, work, this blog, relationships… anything. I would always be negative.

It had to become part of my morning ritual to literally say out loud to myself, “I’m choosing to be happy today, and I’m going to make sure today is a good day”. Regardless of anything that happens, if it didn’t take your life, there’s no reason to sweat the small shit.

Don't Sweat

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03Oct/17
Fragmented Afrika

Poetic Justice | Fragmented Afrika by Ogechi Anokwuru

Fragmented Afrika

A continent of immense wealth and stealth

What caused this great continent to lose its health?

The motherland stripped of its beauty and glory,

How did the leaders turn out so bloody and gory?

This story is not just a folktale, this is history,

A continent of many countries with many great states and empires

Overthrown by greedy dirty devil vampires.

We call it imperialism, the greed, the hate,

The constant elimination of genetic and social annihilation of this great continent,

The rulers seem ever so blind to their incompetence.

The colonists knew what they had in mind,

Made a race blind,

They were never so kind to the evil that awaits within the supremacists’ mind.

It was all a great find easy pickings for them,

Hard labour pon di plantations, building up a whole new nation

After a genocide and massacre of a previous nation.

Robbed and stolen from the motherland Afrika,

Tears of bloodshed that lay among the dead, which were hardly fed

While the slave master lay comfortably in his bed.

Gun to the head,

While some slaves fled,

Terror runs through their head as they don’t wanna end up lynched and left for dead.

Oh fragmented Afrika, divided an conquered

Left to be dishonoured,

My land was a piece of cake and these fat devils just sat and ate

And continued to take and make

And had the cheek to bring us Christianity as a means to save humanity!

Can’t you see the fallacy, the lies and the travesty?

This indeed was a great tragedy,

The second holocaust

After the 1st holocaust of the Native Americans,

Let’s not forget they were the true Americans.

The third holocaust was the Jewish holocaust.

The 4th holocaust is the Palestinian holocaust…

Tragically we just watch and see the same what was inevitably done to you and me.

Afrika needs to unite and fight like how we used to be, kings and queens of our own destinies.

Justice and free for all, fair wage, free schools and universities built for both rich and poor.

Our own African bank, we have our own military tanks, decline western ideology and say thanks to the people of the revolution.

Kwame Nkrumah said it best – are you ready to fight?

Fragmented Afrika

by Ogechi Anokwuru, an Igbo (Eastern Nigerian) residing in London, England.

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01Oct/17
Bravery not Perfection

Bravery, not Perfection

Coming to terms with the importance of striving for bravery instead of perfection is what forced me to start writing. One thing all humanity shares is the acknowledgment of the certainty in the phrase, “Perfection is an illusion.”

We all understand that perfection cannot be personified. In fact, it bathes in non-existentialism:

It is as unattainable as the promises of someone who has passed away… as unrealistic as composing a 10-page paper in under an hour…And as mythical as a pill that promises a snatched waist in less than a week.

However, we still remain subconsciously attracted to, and even driven by what ends up being its shadow: we buy the diet pills and waist cinchers; and wait until Sunday night to start a paper that is due the following morning, (assigned two weeks prior).

This phenomenon affects our productivity tremendously. With the fear that the perfect outcomes we envision could possibly never prove themselves evident, we choose comfort at the expense of discovering all that there is to our own abilities. We device amazing plans, but quickly deviate at the sense of any awry possibility.

We purge our lives of the glory in the journey, forgetting that the experience itself almost always trumps the end results.

It is imperative to recognize the tremendous rewards in simply participating: if not for us, then for all who are observant of us.

“Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection,” a TED talk by Reshma Saujani, an American Lawyer, and politician, is leveraging not just for girls, but everyone. It puts much emphasis on being ok with taking a leap simply in the name of bravery. Ms. Saujani highlights the idea that even if one does not arrive at the most favorable results, they would still have confronted their doubts, and discovered much more strengths along the way.

Making perfection the end goal has the might to render us crippled with fear of attaining the reality of something less than perfect. We would then cowardly choose indolence, and reach the end of our lives only to realize that we never really lived.

The ghost-count of books not written, speeches not made, lives not impacted, continuing to overwhelm our archives of “could-have(s).”

So, Dear hidden gems: In skepticism of whether or not taking a leap is worth the outcome, think “bravery,” instead “perfection,”  The origin of starting this blog alarmed by the possibilities of everything going haywire is my way of jumping on this wagon. I hear it guarantees an odyssey of refinement that “perfection” can never measure up to.

So as if there is no next week, once the door of that airplane has been opened, rest assured that your breath alone guarantees the necessity of your footprint. The urgency in fueling your potentials must start at the end of this post.

So on the count of three, dive into that open sky…

or better yet, do it on two.

Bravery not Perfection

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28Sep/17
identity crisis rhisa parera

Identity Crisis : Road to Unapologetic by Rhisa Parera

My parents told me when I was born I was so white the hospital thought they gave my mother the wrong baby until my father was called in to prove he was my dad. Growing up I was the only Black/Hispanic girl in the neighborhood. I remember the small block parties we had. My mother worked Saturdays so I’d be with my dad and the other kids with their fathers. Everyone knew when my mother was close to home because she would come flying down the street blasting her Gilberto Santa Rosa through the windows. At the time, part of me felt embarrassed to be the mixed one but deep down I felt this sense of pride to be different from everyone else having this mom who made an entrance in the neighborhood. I couldn’t put it into words how I felt about my mom. She was fierce and strong and held her head high. I wanted to be just like her but I was scared to stand out more than our Black skin already did.

The white men in the neighborhood would tell me how gorgeous they thought I was and that I should be a model. They would touch my hair and sometimes hug me a bit too tight for my liking. My elementary school was probably 95% white. The Black kids were known as the troublemakers. They were in a different class then I was and I never understood why. They would call me a white girl for not being in their class. I wasn’t sure where I belonged or why I was kept so far away from people who looked like me.

My Mom said, “We are not Black, we are Puerto Rican. Y ciento por ciento Boricua and don’t forget de pura sepa! (100% and pure)” Then one day this kid asked my dad why he had a Black child and in my head, I’m over here thinking, “I’m not Black, I’m Puerto Rican!” My father responds, “because her mother is dark skinned” as if it was a mistake or something. “She’s Puerto Rican but she’s Black.” That sentence haunted me for years.

In junior high, I remember being bullied by other Black girls. I was confused as to why the girls who looked like me didn’t want to be friends with me. I went into a phase of fearing Black people even though I wanted to be part of the group. I longed to be like them after being in a school with no one who resembled me, but I felt like an outcast again. I went home one day, took a knife out of the kitchen drawer, and put it against my wrist, wondering if I sliced it straight across would I die instantly or would it take a while. I didn’t know much about suicide and, honestly, I don’t even know how I knew that, all I remember is my mom opened the front door and I threw it back in the drawer.

In high school, I wore a Puerto Rican flag every day, whether it was a bandana, a book bag, shirt, purse, whatever! It was my way of not having to explain what I was when people asked or having to give them a history lesson of Black people in Puerto Rico. I started to speak Spanish more and part of me didn’t even want to speak English. I just wanted to be surrounded by Latinos who understood me. Or anyone who understood me at that point.

I remember having a discussion in college and saying exactly what my father said about my mother’s skin tone and a professor asking me, “what do you mean, BUT she is Black?” He told me that I didn’t have to apologize for being Black. I’m about 20 or 21 sitting there like, “wow I knew I was Black!” It may sound stupid but it’s true…

From that day on I began to identify as Black and not feel the need to explain that I am half this or that or why I’m Black or how the hell we became Black or what fuckin ship my family came on or how they ended up in PR. I was negra and it made me feel proud, the way I did when my mom drove down the street in the whitest neighborhood ever in Staten Island with her salsa blasting.

Written by Rhisa Parera
Facebook  | Instagram

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