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Natoya
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Taji Artist Lounge: Natoya P

Natoya PNatoya P created a collection of work that embodies her daily experiences as a woman. This body of work takes us through the present stages of life. She seeks to evoke emotions of heartbreak, love, bliss self-realization, and self-acceptance. She states that “many times society overlooks the inner evolution a woman goes through to attain self-actualization and become enough. We don’t take time to reflect on the journey we take to get to the point of self-love and acceptance. This collection takes us through that personal journey of a woman painting the pictures of the pages of a diary.” This is Natoya’s first formal collection and introduction to the world of art. Her work highlights the use of colors to depict the story on a canvas. Her dynamic pieces are multifaceted, showcasing various walks of life.

Natoya can be contacted by emailing natoyap@gmail.com for showings, interviews and inquires. | Natoya P Instagram

Natoya Natoya Natoya Natoya Natoya Natoya Natoya

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Why I Cut My Hair: Black Girl Magic

Why I Cut My HairWhy I Cut My Hair: Black Girl Magic

When I decided to cut my hair two years ago, on October 3, 2014, the shortest I’d ever gone at the time, it was due to the excessive shedding I was experiencing. I was also looking forward to having a new look. I’d had the same style for the last decade and desperately wanted a change. I also wasn’t happy with the growing, and visible, specks of gray at the crown of my head.

Since cutting my hair, however, the versatility and self-awareness that came with it, gave me a sense Why I Cut My Hairof confidence that I’d never known before.

With the cut went the notion that a Black woman with little to no hair couldn’t still be beautiful and feminine at the same time. I know not everyone believes that, but growing up in a world where your beauty is defined by European standards, your sense of self can be non-existent.

Cutting my hair freed me of such a notion. For the first time, I began to see ME! The real me, what was under the hair. As my confidence grew, I became more playful and experimental with makeup and various short crops, highlights, whether curly, straight, natural and everything in between to accentuate my natural features. The standards that I’d grown to know as normal began to subside. I felt beautiful. Authentically beautiful. Just as I am and there was/is beauty in that.

I recently shared the above image with my Instagram followers with this statement:

“I use to think that having long hair was a beauty feature. Especially as a Black girl seeing perpetuated ideals of what it means to be beautiful. And to be considered a beautiful Black woman. Ironically I’ve never felt more beautiful after cutting all my hair off and going nearly bald. The best thing you can do for yourself is reject society’s definition of what’s beauty and find it in you. You already have everything in you. Imo short hair gives you versatility. And a big chop normally represents new birth/a new phase in your life. I’m ready ❤️”

To my surprise, there were many brown faces on my feed sharing their own thoughts on the matter, and expressing much of the same sentiments.

When I re-read that message, I recall the days in elementary school wanting my hair to be long and down my back like some of the other girls in my class. And along with it, lighter features: fairer skin and a straighter nose.

I don’t know how young or at what age I began to acquire these standards, and internalizing them as my own, but I am sure that they are the same ideals passed down from my mother, sister, grandmother, aunts, cousins, and friends. And it’s important for me now to break that cycle, so that I can pass down better messaging to my future daughter. To own her beauty and feel confident and enjoy every bit of this black girl magic.

What I also hope this message does for others, like myself, is help them in eradicating beauty standards that aren’t ideal or natural or maintainable. It’s important to understand that beauty comes in all forms, shapes, sizes and colors and, honestly, it starts with each one of us.

They say a woman who cuts her hair is getting ready to change her life. For me, that is exactly what happened. I changed my perspective and it reflected externally.

You won’t begin to see your physical beauty until you’ve tapped into your inner beauty, what makes you so unique, different and special. Loving you trumps any social standard of what you should look like and who you should be.

By: Antoinette “Ms. Toni” Warren
Ms. Toni is a Digital Media Influencer, Content Marketer and Founder of cottenkandi.com.
Twitter: @i_am_mstoni
IG: @iammstoni
FB: Facebook.com/iammstoni

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Good Black Man x Africa Jackson
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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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Myke Archie, WorkForce Comics
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#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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Queens Of Modern Times
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Queens Of Modern Times is a Beautiful Coffee Table Book

Queens Of Modern TimesReines Des Temps Modernes (Queens Of Modern Times) is a Coffee Table Book reviving 10 African and Afro descendant heroins through women of our time, our century, thanks to poetry, photography, graphic and fashion design. Abla Pokou, Aminatou de Zaria, Anna Zingha, Seh Dong Hong Beh, Nandi, Makeda, La mûlatresse Solitude, Yaa Asantewa and Ndaté Yalah. All of these women made history but are still unknown by the majority. Each edition is translated in French, English, and Portuguese – three different ways to give birth to these heroines. More than a book, Reines Des Temps Modernes is a piece of art. Queens Of Modern Times is the mirror in which Black women realize their beauty and the power of their culture.

Queens Of Modern TimesPowered by Wendie ZAHIBO, the project was born in Brasil and explores the definition of a #QMT. A #QMT is a woman who wears her culture, her origin and her history as a crown, with pride, love and respect. More than that, it’s a woman who chooses to fight for her dreams. “Live your dreams, don’t dream your life.” This illustrated book puts the spotlight on 10 heroines through 10 women of the modern times in a voluptuous combination of art, prose and style. The goal is to show another side of our history, a history full of great women, conquerors, exchanges, and kingdoms. By putting the spotlight on 10 sheroes, QTM reveals 10 charismatic women, 10 conceptions of the Black beauties to the future readers, in order to help them consider their own crowns. Do you know who you are?

Available in Wood Hard Cover and a Softer Cover, Order your copy of Reines Des Temps Modernes today!

Queens Of Modern Times

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veggie connection
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The Veggie Connection is Bridging the Vegan Community

veggie connectionThe Veggie Connection is a network event where attendees are exposed to a host of vegetarian and vegan vendors, speakers, entertainment, and more. The Veggie Connection aims to not only create awareness regarding the plant based lifestyle, but to ensure that it is accessible, enjoyable and sustainable for all who are on this journey towards wellness and abundance.

veggie connectionFounder Lateefah Smith is a mother, entrepreneur, and change agent with the insight, vision, and enthusiasm necessary to inspire, and garner impressive results. With over 20 years of experience in retail/ merchandising, human resource, management, and promotions she has significant expertise in event coordination and planning, maximizing sales, and visual and verbal presentations.

Lateefah is a high energy individual who committed herself to a 21 day herb-based detox in 2008 to adapt a plant-based eating lifestyle. As a person dedicated to the plant-based eating lifestyle, she created The Veggie Connection. Between caring for her two young children, Lateefah manages to run her business “The Veggie Connection” very successfully. It’s a juggle, but thankfully she has a good support team in place. When she is not working or child-caring, you can find her meditating, developing herbal extracts, and writing.

For more information on The Veggie Connection, click here.

veggie connection

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Fatou and the Kora
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Children’s Book Fatou and the Kora is a Modern African Fairy Tale

Fatou and the KoraOur children — all children, deserve high art and high quality literature.  How important is it for children to see not only themselves but the world around them accurately in the stories they read and are read to them?  At The English Schoolhouse we believe that so much of a child’s beliefs not only about the world, but themselves, is shaped by the imagery and stories they are exposed to from an early age and throughout childhood.  We’re pleased to share our eighth title from our boutique publishing house, Fatou and the Kora.
Fatou and the Kora is a modern West African fairy tale set in Dakar, Senegal.  Fatou, a young Senegalese girl, resides in a region where it is thought by many that the kora, or the African harp, is an instrument that is not to be played by girls.  Fatou follows her instinct and discovers a generational gift within herself, while also teaching her father an unexpected lesson.
Enjoy the audiobook for Fatou and the Kora on YouTube bit.ly/FatouandTheKora and read along with the story, which can be purchased at www.theenglishschoolhouse.com
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Pan African Children's Books
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29 Pan African Children’s Books!

 Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO

Pan African Children's Books

Add ones we’ve missed in the comments 🙂

List somewhat compiled by www.binoandfino.com
“Here at Bino and Fino, we are always on the look out for things that will help nurture young minds.  Finding children’s books for kids that have a black girl as the protagonist or the main character can be tricky. This is because of the fact that there is very little visibility of black & brown kids in the world of children’s books.  This is changing with campaigns such as We Need Diverse Books calling for more diversity in children’s books.

If you like any of these books and are looking for similar titles check out Tutu’s Storybook’s. They specialize in selling a wide variety of Pan African children’s books that celebrate black heritage & diversity for early readers.”

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yeezy
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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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Jollof Rice
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The Joys of Jollof

The Joys of Jollof

Jollof Rice

If you’re planning for the holidays and you’ve never tasted Jollof rice, stop everything. Taji mag is giving you another great reason to love the continent. Africa is full of culture, beauty, knowledge, and history. Some of the best food also comes from the motherland. Although a number of West African nations argue about who created it, we can all agree on one thing for sure: it is delicious! If you like Jambalaya, you’ll enjoy Jollof (Jambalaya is actually a derivative of Jollof that came to fruition when Africans were taken from their homeland as a result of the transAtlantic slave trade). All Jollof rice around the world is not the same, but it all started in Africa because our motherland is the  genesis of everything beautiful.

You can spice it up with a bit with more cayenne. Furthermore, as much as I personally like adding chicken or shrimp, you can make it vegan by omitting the chicken bullion and butter (substitute with olive oil or vegan butter). It can compliment a protein as a side dish or be the main course. Another thing to note is that everyone does it their own way. Consequently, Jollof rice is simple and flavorful because of that diversity. So, here is a version I’ve made below with my great grandmother’s instructions, because Taji is different:

Total Time: I say about an hour, depending on how slow yuh chop
Prep: Like 10 min
Cook: 45 minutes (more or less)

Ingredients
1 pound parboiled rice (no other kind, either)
2 maybe 3 large tomatoes, chopped fine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 onion, sliced
3 maybe 4 cloves of garlic
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 teaspoon white pepper
8 chicken bouillon cubes
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon smoked paprika

Directions
1. Blend together yuh garlic, tomatoes, onions, and red pepper til it gets real smooth.

2. Put in your fresh thyme and white pepper.

3. Add the oil up in there, then put it to the side

4. Fill up yuh pot with 4 cops of water (preferably alkaline, but sick water is fine too I guess)

5. Wash yuh rice in hot (not boiling) water til it come out clear. Drain it real good.

6. Pour alla yuh rice into the hot water with that blended mix you set to the side earlier, stir it with a wooden spoon (any other type of spoon and yuh not doing it right, maybe yuh don’t want real jollof afterall)

7. Put the stove on like a nice heat (not all the way up high, just medium or so) and cook it like for…I say about 45 minutes or so. A good while so the flavors with amalgamate the right way. Keep your eye on it while it cooks and stir every 15 minutes.

8. Eat yuh soup

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