Category Archives: Culture

Black Women in Media Awards

Join Us at the Third Annual Black Women in Media Awards & Conference, March 28-29, 2018 (NYC)

Don’t miss a chance to attend the third annual Black Women in Media Awards and Conference!!! The annual Black Women In Media (BWIM) is less than one month away, and we don’t want you to miss this highly anticipated event; for women of color by women of color.  In its third year, the event, taking place in New York City, Wednesday, March 28th and Thursday, March 29, 2018, brings together women, from all walks of life, in media and entertainment.

From attorneys and legal analysts, music and media executives, to philanthropists, entrepreneurs, women in tech, radio and television, #BWIM18 is the place to be.

Black Women in Media AwardsHonorees include Cathy Hughes, Founder & Chairperson of Radio One Inc., Michele Thornton-Ghee, Senior Vice President at BET & Head of Sales at BET Her, Ericka Pittman, Chief Marketing Officer at Aquahydrate, Dewanda Wise, star of Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It, and Tamika Mallory, activist & National Co-Chair of the Women’s March, just to name a few.

Don’t miss an opportunity to join us at this year’s event. Use code: BWIMFriend during your ticket purchase and get 20% off, Register Now!

Black Women in Media Awards Featured Honorees:

Black Women in Media Awards
Angela Yee
Radio Personality, The Breakfast Club, WBLS Power 107.5

Tamika Mallory
Activist and National Co-Chair of Women’s March

Ericka Pittman
Chief Marketing Officer, Aquahydrate

Michele Thornton-Ghee
Senior Vice President of BET & Head of Sales, BETHer

DeWanda Wise
Actress, She’s Gotta Have It

Cathy Hughes
Founder and Chairperson of Radio One Inc.

REGISTER NOW: Use Code BWIMFriend for 20% off

About Black Women in Media:
Black Women In Media, a subsidiary organization of BLACK STREET (501)(c)(3), was created to provide a platform for Black women in media and entertainment. Women who are dominating in the Communications, Journalism, Entertainment, Television, Radio and Broadcasting fields etc. It serves to counteract the lack of representation; especially positive representation, recognize those who have paved the way and empower those just to come.

Black Women in Media Awards

Black Panther movie

My Thoughts on the Underlying Message from Black Panther

Black Panther movieBlack Panther. The Hollywood version of when America got a Black president. It’s a movie that has captured the lion’s share of Black Americans attention for the past month at least. Since opening night, Black people have been at movie theaters dressed in their finest African garb, faces painted, sometimes playing drums, dancing, even conducting rituals, and otherwise culturally celebrating right in the lobby! We are excited about seeing a high budget film with a dominantly Black cast, Black writers, and Black director (even if not from a Black film company). No, it’s not the first time a Black comic character has been brought to the big screen, but this time the title character is a rich powerful king, not a demon (Spawn) or half vampire (Blade). In addition, and likely more importantly, Black women are integral heroes as well. I have noticed some make shaming comparisons between the support for the fictional hero Black Panther’s movie vs. the historic hero of freedom Nat Turner’s recent movie, Birth of a Nation. That’s an important comparison. It is too rich to completely discuss here, but let us look at the smear campaign launched against its writer and producer, Nate Parker, right before its release. Two things were brought up. First, an accusation of rape from his past that had already been resolved, and, second, the fact that he has a white wife. Amongst Black people, those two things would be more of a trigger to the women than to the men. Black women are also the most likely to go support a historical Black film. Which if you are astute enough, you will see that Black Panther is very much directed more at Black women than any other superhero film to date. Aside from that, I have heard many Black people say they are wary of slave movies, even if it is one of revolution.

Understandably, Black Panther answers an innate desire in Black people to enjoy stories of themselves as brilliant, resourceful heroes with superior qualities and deserving of respect. Therefore I can give props to Marvel and Disney because of acquisition, for being the first to take advantage of the “natural movement” and create a product that accurately targets the Black media consumer without cultural blowback or accusations of insensitivity. However, Disney has a history of including the occult and subliminal messaging in their products, so I had to watch carefully. I have been concerned that, beneath all the beauty that causes us to celebrate this film accomplishment, there will be subtly inserted elements to cause emotional/mental dissonance of some sort. I found some of course. For this article, I will discuss only one.

Black Panther movieThe main antagonist, Killmonger, seems to have garnered as much affection from the audience as any of the protagonists, if not more. The character has great lines that are delivered with ample charisma. Michael B. Jordan is a very capable actor (and eye candy). Apparently, there is a general empathy for his character, because we can identify with his passionate anger at oppression and injustice, and because he sounds and moves like a Pan-Afrofuturist revolutionary. All of that being backed up by the tragic plot twist of his father dying at the hands of his uncle, the previous king of Wakanda, triggers our sense of Ma’at (karma). He’s the only main character who gets to drop slang in our Black American voice. He’s the king’s cousin, but he reminds us of our cousin! All of these things have given him full access passes to our hearts. That is why he is probably the most psychologically damaging aspect of this film.

For the appropriate tone, consider the thoughtfulness put into featuring strong Black women at all levels of power. At every crucial point in the movie, a Black woman was vital to success. So it goes without saying at this point that a large part of why this movie is so beloved is because of how prominent the image of the powerful Black woman is throughout this film, on and off screen. Therefore it should have been the most vile offense that the first person Killmonger personally killed on-screen was his own [assumed] girlfriend, who was also his accomplice! We never even learned her name. Goodbye down ass Black woman with a nice twist out. Once he became king, he also choked out an elder Black woman for not wanting to burn her garden of sacred super herbs. We love how fierce and proud the all-female Dora Milaje are, and yet we quickly forgot how he cut one of their throats while she was defenseless. He wounded Nakia and was a millisecond away from killing Shuri. See the pattern I’m pointing out?? He was the ONLY main character to hurt and kill women in the movie. How does this slip past us to the point that I’ve heard, “he wasn’t really even a villain,” even from women who are usually vigilant against misogyny. Remember how we enjoyed his movie entrance by talking that talk to a woman, right until she succumbs to the drug he put in her drink.

Even with me pointing out all that, I still say he is a worthy character and had excellent potential for redemption, or even further villain development. In the comic book, he didn’t give a damn about the diaspora, he was just a crazy killer. Why was he killed at the end of the movie then? The very nature of comic books is that villains are defeated but don’t always die. In the Thor series, Loki’s treacherous ass has escaped death in multiple movies. Why did Killmonger have to die then, when it was clear that he was portrayed as motivated by deep hurt but admirable? We are to accept his death at the end as inevitable, because of the already legendary and beloved line he dropped about being like his ancestors who jumped into the ocean rather than accept bondage. But why did he even have to go to prison forever? We can heal Bucky from being the Winter Soldier but can’t get N’Jadaka out of Killmonger? Or was there no one in Wakabi’s tribe who still sympathized and could have saved him at the end? No, I think the obvious answer is “death to any Black revolutionary who fights back against oppression (without western backing).” So we are set up to love this “Black freedom fighter” only to lose him at the end, echoing the psychological terrorism of assassinating so many historical figures.

So yes, I root for the benefits that can come from this kind of film. However, I always invite my ancestors to watch Hollywood films with me and help with discernment. I’m willing to enjoy a movie and still call it out if it has unhealthy elements too. We grown.


NC Male Model JGoodtheModel is on the Rise

Jermaine Gooden aka JGoodtheModel is originally from Brooklyn, NY but currently resides in North Carolina.

He has pursued modeling since the age of 26 but started to take it more serious in the past year. Follow his journey on all social media at @JGoodtheModel.

Most of what he knows about modeling is self-taught, and no one person truly inspired him to start modeling, but, nonetheless, he has been to multiple model recruitment castings. He was accepted to a school but the advice they provided was that which he could do and learn himself. So, instead of paying a huge amount of money to continue the training, they provided him with a ‘blueprint’ on what he needed to do to get to the next level.

There are challenges to being a male model. There are so many stereotypes and assumptions that he has to dissect and overcome. Since he’s not in a “big market” city like DC, NYC, ATL, or Miami, the work is slow and limited. J has to diligently go out, search, and network with other models, photographers, fashion designers, etc. The training that he wants and needs requires him to travel out of his area which is time-consuming since he works full-time.

To date, J has been in three fashion shows. In November of 2017, he participated in two fashion shows in the same weekend! He most enjoyed being in the B:U Gang Fashion Show with designer Megan Jackson from Charlotte, NC. It was fun because they had a Black Lives Matter theme that was being shown throughout the fashion show. He also participated in the DFW 2016 (Danville Fashion Week 2016) which was themed “Colors of Fashion” where they worked with local clothing stores and department stores to highlight their 2016 Fall Fashion.


Throughout his short career, he has already gained a lot of insight. The advice he offers for any up and coming model is:

·Be prepared! Practice your walk, poses, and faces in the mirror.

·Do your homework! Know something about the agency or client and industry. Not everything out there is legit!

·Your make-up should be minimal to show off your natural beauty when casting.

·Never be late!

·Have proper posture. Stand up straight, shoulders back.

·Be honest! It is okay to tell them if you do not have a lot of experience. Wow them with your natural ability (this is why practice is so important!)

If he could model or do a photo-shoot with any top models in the world, he would choose Tyson Beckford and David Agbodji. In his eyes, those two are the pinnacle of success for African American male models! “I love all their editorial work in magazines for different designers… They also show how you can branch-out from modeling and go into other industries such as film, campaigning for brands, and commercials.”

Upcoming Events

Possible Appearance in the Spring 2018 Fashion Show: Misfit Kids Presents: Fashion Junkies April 21, 2018 in North Carolina.

Janelle Monae new videos

Janelle Monae New Videos = Visual Fire

Janelle Monae New VideosThe Janelle Monae new videos are visual fire. Both giving different moods with the same Janelle mastery. Django Jane is empowering and strong with a nod to women rappers of the 90s. Make Me Feel is flirty and fun with blatant Prince influence (and others, but only Prince is relevant, particularly when referencing Janelle) featuring Tessa Thompson.

Preorder her upcoming album, Dirty Computer, which is slated to release on April 27th, or download both songs if you can’t wait that long here:

Enough talking, just watch and tell us your thoughts in the comments!


The Love of Hip Hop With DJ Dummy

DJ Dummy

DJ Dummy with Common (Left), Pharrell (Middle).

Black history month is a celebration of Black culture for centuries and one of the biggest links to Black culture is Hip Hop. Hip Hop has given artists the ability to express themselves or use Hip Hop as a commentary on social issues in the form of art. If Hip Hop is a canvas, DJ’s are like brushes that blend the colors of sound and voice to create beautiful portraits. DJ Dummy is one of those artists that brings an eclectic flair to his work; he is talented enough to masterfully capture the essence of a Henry Ossawa Tanner painting and recreate the artistic imaginings of a Faith Ringgold in his works of art. He is able to adapt and create in the world of Hip Hop sounds that are both palatable to ear and enriching to the soul. Taji Mag had the chance to interview the ageless, musical virtuoso to discuss his journey and his love of Hip Hop.

What influenced you to become a DJ?

DJ Dummy: “I was surrounded by DJ’s. My father is a DJ, my brother (DJ LS1) is a DJ. I also had uncles and three cousin’s that were also DJ’s. Going back to the 80’s, I used to go the park and DJ’s would have their equipment out and I am watching these guys, seeing that they were doing things that my father wasn’t doing. All my father did was mix two records together to continuously keep the beat going and now I’m seeing these guys in the park, they are scratching, making the record double. I was like, ‘this is something different!’ So that’s what made me want to get into it. I was 8 years old at the time and I knew I was going to DJ.”

You’ve performed at the White House, almost all of the late night shows, NBA All-Star games, and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. You cover pretty much everything! How are getting all of these nice gigs?

DJ Dummy: I’ve been with the right people and I can honestly say that. I’ve been with Common for the last 17 years and I can’t take anything away from that man. He has put me in such amazing places. I get to shine [and] walk away with people knowing my name. I owe a lot of those experiences to Common. Because of him, I have performed at the White House three times!

What are your top three favorite gigs?

DJ Dummy in action.

DJ Dummy: I change the order of them all the time but… When I got to perform at the White House it was out of this world. First of all, it was President Barack Obama’s first party at the White House, this was the biggest thing ever. The fact that the President and the First Lady were partying with us was great! Secret Service was there but they weren’t crowding them. Barrack was in the middle of the dance floor partying with his guests. You have to think, this was our first Black president, we didn’t think we would ever have a Black president. That’s what was going through our minds as guests as we partied with him.


The next big gig was the Dave Chappelle Block Party. I tell people that you may have seen the DVD but you weren’t there! It was amazing and so great! First of all, to be in Brooklyn and to have all those artists on one stage with artist like Kanye, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and the Fugees was awesome! I tell people that you don’t know what that meant for Hip Hop that night! There were so many other artists that jumped on stage that they didn’t put in the movie. It started at 10 am and didn’t end until midnight. It was like our Hip Hop Woodstock! It rained all day and we still rocked! I really, really loved that night! There were no fights or anything it was all about the music.

My next big event was the first time I performed at Madison Square Garden. That was a big moment for me. I never thought I would be performing there. Here I am, in my hometown, where I was born and raised. but there I was on the stage performing. I was doing the opening set with Common. During the set, I had a 5-minute solo and after I was done, the crowd went bananas and if I would’ve blinked I would’ve cried. It got no better than that!

Tell me about a few other famous artists that you have worked with?

DJ Dummy: Queen Latifah, every time she calls me I am always available. I love working with her. She is such an amazing person and she has a great personality. I respect her more than I respect Oprah, no discredit to Oprah because she isn’t my Hip Hop era. Latifah came straight out of Jersey and to be the woman that she is in Hollywood, you have to be proud of her.

DJ Dummy with Queen Latifah

J.Cole taught me about putting out great work, like whole albums and not just singles. Each of his albums are full stories. Like the album J.Cole: Sideline Story was about him trying to break into the music industry or his album Born Sinner which was about him making it big but making so many mistakes. His approach to music is if the radio picks it up as a single, OK, but if he is in the studio he is not trying to make a single because that is not what he is about.

With Alicia Keys, I felt like I was working with God’s angels. I just kept thinking, ‘Is this person really this nice?’ I had to keep asking myself because she is so amazing. As soon as she walks in a room, the whole room lights up. She just brings that energy with her. If you are in the studio and you make a mistake, she would look at you with an amazing smile and say ‘Oh it’s ok, let’s just do it again.’ She is just an amazing person.

Why do you love Hip Hop?

DJ Dummy: I grew up in Brooklyn, NY in the late 70’s and early 80’s. All I heard was disco music played by my parents. Like Motown from that era, I loved music from there. Then when I heard somebody rapping these words over one of my fathers’ old records, I was like ‘Hey that’s Good Times but they are actually doing some raps over it!’ It grabbed me like holy cow! I was thinking this is was something we could relate to. It wasn’t about shaking your booty or love, this rap was about how we were talking growing up in the streets. It was just something we could relate to. Not saying we couldn’t relate to disco, disco was just there at the time. Once I heard groups like Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and the Cold Crush Brothers rapping over my fathers’ old records, it was the best of both worlds. Then there used to be jams outside of the park where the DJ would bring out the big bottom bass speakers and he would have control of the crowd that consisted of break dancers and other people dancing. That was Hip Hop. The music wasn’t Hip Hop, the whole environment was Hip Hop. That is when and why I fell in love with Hip Hop.

When it comes to Hip Hop, DJ Dummy truly exemplifies the quote, “To find joy in work, is to discover the fountain of youth.”

Make sure to look check out DJ Dummy’s tour schedule for performances near you and pick up his collaborative hit album “Vintage Babies” with Maimouna Youssef.

Black Panther movie

My Reaction to the Black Panther movie aka Spoiler Alert!

Black Panther movieThe Black Panther movie released this weekend in all of it’s Black Excellence glory. It was worth the wait and the estimated $218M it earned during its opening weekend, shattering records and telling movie studios to STFU about Black movies not busting box offices wide open. More on that and my thoughts about the deeper storyline to come (skip to below the bullet points), but first my reactions to some of the Blackest moments and lines in the film. Ryan Coogler has a way of capturing the essence of Blackness, especially with Michael B. Jordan, from Fruitvale to Creed and now with Black Panther. The writers did an excellent job at including colloquialisms and mannerisms specific to Black culture and the actors did a phenomenal job of bringing them to life.

  • I loved the irony of the newscaster calling Wakanda a “third world country” which made me ask wtf defines a third world country to begin with?
  • Okoye (Danai Gurira): “Don’t freeze when you see her.” T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman): “What are you talking about? I never freeze.” Then he freezes, LMAO. Lupita has that effect, hunny.
  • Shuri (Letitia Wrightgives T’Challa a playful middle finger while walking away and Ramonda (Angela Bassett) calls her on it without even seeing it. Black Mothering at its finest…
  • Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordantells the lily-white museum director, “Don’t worry, I’m going to take it off of your hands,” referring to the Wakanda artifact. MJB is consistently Black as hell…
  • The boat ride to the ceremony with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) giving us a taste of #danceislife deserves mention.
  • When T’Challa walked into the water and saw his nation rooting for him. That was powerful on multiple levels. We all need to be rooting for each other like that.
  • When Zuri (Forest Whitakerasks if anyone of royal blood wishes to challenge for the throne and Shuri raises her hand only to ask them to wrap it up because her outfit is too tight. Typical Black sibling trolling.
  • Ramonda yelling to T’Challa “SHOW HIM WHO YOU ARE!” during the challenge with  M’Baku (Winston Duke). Babbbbbbyyyy, I felt that in my bones. That needs to be a daily affirmation.
  • I loved how every ritual was ancestrally-based.
  • T’Challa telling Nakia she would make a great Queen if she wasn’t so stubborn (I almost threw my boot at the screen), for Nakia to respond that is WHY she would make a great Queen. T’Challa just wanted her to admit that she wanted to be his Queen.
  • Shuri’s consistent afrobeat playing throughout her lab. *hearts*
  • Shuri yells “WHAT ARE THOSE” to T’Challa’s traditional sandals. She then gives him his new soundproof footwear and says she calls them… wait for it… sneakers… get it? LMAO! THEN she tells him about his new suit design and he’s all my suit is fine and she says, “Functional, but old. If people are shooting at me, wait, let me put on my helmet.” She had jewel after adorable jewel. She tells him to strike the suit and he boots it across the room and she yells at him for messing up her lab, but informs him of the suit’s design and that it absorbs and then redistributes kinetic energy. She takes out her camera, for research purposes, and tells him to strike the suit again only to howl laughing when he goes flying across the room when he is blasted back by his own force.
  • Okoye said she couldn’t wait to get her wig off of her head and that it was a disgrace. Shots fired?
  • Nakia in the green dress in the Korea scene. Have mercy.
  • Black Panther movie
  • Agent Ross’s ole bitchass needed to be popped in the mouth for how he was speaking to T’Challa at the table. Find some respect.
  • Okoye pointed out that no weapons were allowed yet yielded her weapon less than 60 seconds later when the fight broke out! Black women always prepared for EVERYTHING. That jump down from the 2nd level was the first of her notable jump scenes.
  • Shuri’s excitement when the car populated in her lab. Adorbs.
  • The quick shot of Nakia driving barefoot was a great attention to detail since she lost her shoe when she used it as a weapon in the fight.
  • When their car is blasted by Klaue, Okoye flips, grabs her spear in mid-effin-air, and lands on a piece of the car. Then Nakia comes hilariously sliding in with just the seat and steering wheel.
  • Can we talk about how T’Challa could’ve ended Klaue and Killmonger wouldn’t have had his dead body as leverage if we weren’t in such a digital age? Oh ok.
  • Okoye’s disdain for taking the shot Agent Ross into Wakanda to be healed, and Shuri saying, “great, another broken white boy for us to fix, this is going to be fun.” Classics.
  • Killmonger showing his Wakanda tattoo and killing Klaue made me smile.
  • When they revealed that Young T’Chaka (Atandwa Kaniand Young Kuri (Denzel Whitaker) left baby Erik after killing his father, N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown), I was livid. Though we are ultimately responsible for our actions, we cannot ignore the roots of our issues. People keep referring to Killmonger as the villain, but, in my opinion, he killed the main villain. He’s just a brother who needs some healing and therapy to learn to deal with his past and how to properly bring about the change he wants to see for his community.
  • Shuri to Agent Ross: “Don’t scare me like that colonizer!” when he woke and started asking her where he was. According to the internets, wypipo will officially be referred to as colonizers until further notice.
  • Black Panther movie
  • Killmonger points out there are 2 billion people that look like them struggling around the world and that Wakanda had the tools to LIBERATE them all. T’Challa remarks that it is not their way to use vibranium for they are not judge, jury, and executioner for people that are not their own and Killmonger then he says “Not your own? But didn’t life start right here on this continent? So aren’t all people your people?” JEWELS JUST FALLING FROM HIS LIPS!
  • Killmonger nonchalantly to Ramonda: “Hey Auntie.” By far tied for my favorite line of the movie. He makes the challenge for the throne and Zuri says it’ll take weeks. Killmonger says I don’t need the whole nation, I just need him. That was real. I also lowkey enjoyed watching him fight T’Challa . It was like he had the power of every oppressed souled within him. His pain was relatable. Hated that it was targeted towards his own blood, but that was also real. We usually strike out to those closest to us. Him having them burn all of the ancient flowers was egotistical and short sided, but also a key part of the character.
  • When Killmonger sits on the throne, he points out that where he’s from, Black people start revolutions without the firepower and resources to fight their oppressors. More jewel dropping…
  • Okoye’s face when W’Kabi agrees with Killmonger…
  • M’Baku to Agent Ross: “You cannot talk one more word or I will feed you to my children. Just kidding, we are vegetarians.” The vegan in me howled with laughter. Plus he made him shutup initially by overpowering his voice with their chants. Then he made Agent Ross turn away during the ritual. He won 4 times (presented the preserved T’Challa) in under 4 minutes.
  • I appreciate T’Challa realizing that his father was wrong for both leaving Killmonger and for turning his back on the Africans worldwide and for calling him out on it when they meet once again in the ancestral realm.
  • Killmonger: “All that challenge shit is over with. I’m the king now.” Hood af, lol!
  • W’Kabi so quickly fighting with Killmonger made the whole theater suck their teeth. Will Focus gon say he’s still in the sunken place. I DIED! LMAO
  • Killmonger got Black Panther suited. That shit was sexy.
  • We all felt Okoye’s pain when Killmonger killed one of her fellow Dora Milaje. *sad face*
  • Black Panther movie
  • Will also brought up a good point and asked where were the other 3 tribes during this fight before M’Baku’s tribe showed up to assist the Dora Milaje against W’Kabi and his tribe?
  • When W’Kabi and his techno rhino were charging towards M’Baku but Okoye stood between them and the rhino kissed her. All powerful. Then W’Kabi asked if she, his love, would kill him, and she said, for my nation, absolutely. POWERFULLLLLL.
  • So I was highkey pissed that T’Challa took Killmonger to look at the damn sunset instead of to Shuri, but later that was put into perspective for me (read below).
  • T’Challa: Maybe we can still save you…” Killmonger: “Why? So ya’ll could just lock me up? Nah. Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships. They knew death was better than bondage.” CHILLS. That line right there spoke volumes. VOLUMES!
  • T’Challa buying the block. Just. Yes.
  • The kids wanting to break apart Shuri’s ship to sell for parts. So real, lol. We need that community bridge building though.

Black Panther movieThere has been lots of debate about seeing a white studio production and where our dollars could have gone and even about the characters parallels to sections of society, but I personally feel like it’s all chest-inflated poppycock. 99.9% of movies that we love and hold as staples in our society are produced by white studios simply because, well, WE DON’T OWN ANY YET. Keyword, yet. So Malcolm X, Selma, Hidden Figures, Thurgood Marshall, Coming to America, and the likes that are so near and dear also fall under that umbrella, but we still went to see them in droves. Could we have collectively used that money and built a small town with our roughly 37% contribution to the $218 million? Most likely, but we already know we’re still combating centuries of conditioning and teaching ourselves to love ourselves and each other. So chill. It’s a process, and this movie is a major part of that process because representation matters. Seeing ourselves and what could be matters. Sometimes people need to see it to even know it’s possible.

Black Panther movie

Yes, this is in Africa.

The visuals and quotables definitely woke up some of the sleeping and even smacked a few people into loving themselves and reframing their thoughts on Africa. Yes, Wakanda is fake, but Africa’s beauty has never been a lie. It’s just been retold and intentionally hidden from the masses, especially Africans born in america, in attempts to continuously divide and conquer. This is touched on via Killmonger’s story. His story simultaneously parallels the american Hood King and the Revolutionary. He grew up without his parents, more specifically finding the dead body of his father. He had to learn and grow on his own which resulted in his genius-level intellect and thirst to avenge his father via combat and claim his spot on the throne. Via his research, he learned of the advancements of Wakanda and grew resentment because they had the capacity to liberate Black people globally, but never bothered to. He wanted to ‘stick it to the man,’ and rightfully so.

Black Panther movieKillmonger’s passion was in the right place, but his methods wouldn’t have fully resulted in the outcome suitable for most, mostly due to his dictator ways. T’challa had to come to learn that peace and hiding weren’t the way either. With their collective intellect, Shuri’s technological advancements, and Wakanda’s wealth and resources, they could have liberated Africans globally, but pride was a key factor in Killmonger having to die. (And also, as my bro Jashua Sa’Ra pointed out, “the movie studio couldn’t show us what it would’ve looked like if the forces joined in this already powerful Black Panther movie.” AKA the reason why the FBI killed Malcolm & Martin when their speeches started to mirror each other and they were on the verge of working together instead of fighting each other. Someone call up an independent Black production company to bring that story to life. “If Malcolm & Martin Lived to See Their 40s.”)

Leave your thoughts on the Black Panther movie in the comments. What rating do you give it?

Tracy "Twinkie" Byrd

Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd Releases her Director Debut for “The Counter: 1960”

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

Taji Mag Subscribe Vol14 Copper and Gold

Taji Vol14: Copper and Gold

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, 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!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Purchase Taji’!

Taji Mag Subscribe Vol14 Copper Gold

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 14

Taji Mag is the epitome of the positive Black experience. Our brand embodies the traditional and modern royalty of Pan-African people via our quarterly digital and print publication and live events.

Black Lightning

Black Lightning Lights Up DC in DC 2018

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?

Unrequited Love

Unrequited Love

Unrequited Love – A feeling, especially love, not returned or rewarded.

Have you ever found yourself in love with the idea of someone loving you, while knowing that they don’t love you back? Deadass, it’s probably one of the most damaging things we can do to ourselves. Loving someone who doesn’t love us. Unrequited love is not attractive and its most definitely not romantic. The sick part is, we don’t even realize that we’re doing it until the damage is done and we are left not recognizing ourselves when we look in the mirror.

I’ve definitely found myself in that position more times than I’d like to admit. I got to a place where I was literally begging for that love in return. In the end, it never came, at least not how I wanted it to. It was cold, it was forced, and it wasn’t authentic. I had to come to the realization that loving someone, without being loved in return is not love. It’s worship. It’s self-destructing. You start questioning your self-worth, thinking that maybe the reason that love isn’t being returned, is you. When in fact, that’s not the case at all. Just like how we can’t help who we love and have feelings for, we also can’t help who we don’t love and don’t have feelings for. Unrequited love is a two-way street, and it’s unfair and selfish to blame the other person for not returning the love we’re giving if they simply don’t feel the same.

Unrequited LoveShould you ever find yourself in that position, which somewhere down the line you probably will because we’re humans and shit, self-preservation is key. Take that energy away from that person, and put it into yourself, or the person who actually does want to return your love. “Love yourself.” That shit sounds cheesy and cliche, but it’s true. Love yourself until you get to a place where even if someone doesn’t love you in return, you don’t blame yourself, and then once you get to that space, keep loving yourself. One mistake we often make after experiencing that unrequited love, is shutting down. We don’t wanna love anymore, we don’t wanna give love another chance, but we should be doing the opposite. Love wholeheartedly, love endlessly, and love without borders.