Category Archives: Culture

15Apr/16
Lindi Roaming the Streets

Lindi Roaming the Streets of Johannesburg, South Africa

Lindi Roaming the StreetsIn this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi explores South Africa Fashion Week in Hyde Park Corner of Johannesburg.

“Only those who go too far can possibly know how far they can go.”

This for me goes hand-in-glove with fashion; better yet “freedom”.A form of expression, driven by the act of fearlessness… To a point where ones’ story is told through their ageless soul of adventure, sparking the skills of simplicity, authenticity and serenity.

“As I strut my short long legs on the streets of JOZI.

2

”Happiness that derives from the hope that inner-peace as invincible as my imagination lives on. Nothing is more creative, nor destructive than a brilliant mind with a purpose.

3

That “misunderstood” old man, who wakes up in the morning just to play his keys on the corner of Juta and De Beer Street. Not because he wants anything from anyone, but because this misunderstood genius feels that he has more to offer, than the lads driving past him in big cars with flashy rims and a fat bank account.

5

I’m talking about “uMama” who wakes up with a smile knowing that the woodwork she sells at Braamfontein on a Saturday will be enough for a weeks’ meal. The same woman, that sold handmade spoons and dishes for her kid’s Varsity tuition. #FEESMUSTFALL

6

The term rétro has been in use since the 1970s to describe on the hand new artefacts that self-consciously refer to particular modes, motifs, techniques, and materials of the past. But on the other hand, some people (incorrectly) use the term to categorise styles that have been created in the past. Retro style refers to new things that display characteristics of the past. It is mostly the recent past retro seeks to recapitulate, focusing on the products, fashions and artistic styles produced since the Industrial Revolution, of Modernity. The word “retro” derives from the Latin prefix retro, meaning backwards, or in past times.

7

Well I would like to refer to this as the “New age Evolution”

“Imagination is the air in the mind”

8

Stepping out of the conformed definition of freedom is one of the most knotty challenges one can face, but for me this requires tact of some sort, merely because anyone who lives within their means, suffers from a lack of imagination.

“Live on Fashionista, Live on!!!”

 

 

11Apr/16
Slave Stories

10 Reasons I Will Never Get Tired of ‘Slave Stories’

In the wake of WGN’s newest hit show ‘Underground’, which premiered last month starring Jurnee Smollett Bell and Aldis Hodge and follows a group of slaves attempting to escape a Georgia plantation through the Underground Railroad, I want to remind the nay sayers of the value these stories still have all these years later. Just because the ignorant choose to believe Black history started with slavery does not mean we cannot honor our foremothers and fathers by keeping their struggle alive through various art forms and reminding ourselves the stock from which we come. From soul food to head wraps the very fiber of our being, just like this country’s, was built on the backs of slaves and there is no shame in that. We should embrace our ‘slave stories’.

Here are 10 reasons I will never get tired of well crafted books, movies and television shows where the plot includes slavery.

10. I KNOW MY HISTORY

Some Black folks get wind of a movie about slavery coming out and immediately get upset. “Damn! Another slave movie!” And I get why. Slavery is not the beginning of the history of the African Diaspora nor is it the pinnacle of our existence in North America. Why can’t movies be made about our Kings and Queens? Why hasn’t a movie about Black Wall Street or The Move Organization been made? I agree with that sentiment. I do wish a wider range of our stories made it to the silver screen. HOWEVER- because I am a seeker of knowledge and information I don’t REQUIRE others to show me my people in a positive light and I don’t EXPECT them to. I do that for myself. And WE must do that for OURSELVES. For those who haven’t noticed, our images in the media will never be what we want them to be unless we are controlling them. And when we cannot control what someone else is passing off as ‘Blackness” we must provide the world with alternative interpretations of our multidimensional selves.

9. YALL STILL RACIST OUT HERE

How could I ever be upset about present day proof of the barbarism and hypocrisy of this country and where it all started? We still have men shooting down men, women and children in cold blood simply for being Brown skinned and getting away with murder because the system is rooted in the very thinking that made slavery acceptable for centuries. How could I not be a fan of knowing the truth? Plus it’s nice to be reminded how far we’ve come, but more crucially, how far we still need to go in order to achieve a truly equitable and accessible society.

8. SLAVE IS JUST A WORD

I think part of the aversion Black people have to movies about slavery is an association with slaves because they are Black. They don’t want to think of themselves in that situation and they don’t want to witness their people being subjugated. That is understandable. But what we have to understand about slaves is that they were people first. They belonged to their mothers, wives, tribes, and children long before outsiders deemed them property. It is just a word and no slave was ever “just a slave.” They were people like you and I and I am not ashamed of my ancestors. If anyone should feel shame it is the descendants of the slave holders, NOT the descendants of the slaves.

7. OUR PRESENT IS DIRECTLY EFFECTED BY OUR PAST

When you look at a slave movie, and you watch the interactions between slave master and slave, between the slaves from different African countries, between the dark skinned and bi-racial children born into slavery and treated differently because of their hair texture and complexion, you understand the root of a multitude of modern day ills effecting the Black community. There are many different types of slavery. Think of the woman with locs who had to cut them to keep her job because someone somewhere with bone straight hair decided dreads are “unprofessional” and it became unwritten law. Think of the youth killing each other in the streets because they can’t see eye to eye simply because they live in different housing developments. Think of how many times on social media you see the phrase team light skin or team dark skin. These are all modern day manifestations of century old foolishness meant to keep us separated from each other while trying to assimilate into a culture that wants nothing to do with our authentic selves.

6. THEY’RE TRYING TO ERASE SLAVERY FROM HISTORY

Did you hear about the board of education in Texas changing the name of slavery to ‘the transatlantic triangular trade’ in its text books in the first of many steps toward erasing US slave trade from the history books altogether? Cause it happened in 2012. And its happening all over America. In addition to white-washing our characters in film, excluding us all but completely in history, misrepresenting and/or continually trying to discredit our leaders in the public sphere and picking and choosing whom to celebrate based on who posed the slightest threat to the status quo, they are straight up trying to erase slavery from the collective conscious of America.

5. I WILL NEVER FORGET AND YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER

The erasure of slavery from American history would not only be an insult to the memory of the millions of slaves who were bought, sold, starved, raped, beaten and dehumanized before our time, but it would also make the current situation of Blacks in America a mystery. If you understand that Africans were deemed only 3/5 of a human being at the very same time the U.S of A was fighting for freedom and autonomy from Great Britain than you can comprehend why the Trayvons, Jordans, and Rekias of the present day cannot receive justice.

4. NO FORM OF SLAVERY WAS AS BARBARIC AS THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE

When discussing the brutality of the TransAtlantic slave trade people often argue that slavery was everywhere, since the beginning of time, and that some Africans sold their own people into slavery. Since this is true, some believe what happened to the Africans traveling through the middle passage and arriving in the colonies can be lumped into all the other forms of slavery throughout history. That is a cop out and an insult, not only to the memory of the human beings who lived through slavery, but also to those after them who lived through the Jim Crow era, lynch mobs, the KKK, and those after them who were beaten, jailed, attacked by dogs and sprayed with high power water hoses during the Civil Rights era not even 50 years ago. If you take a good hard look at not just slavery, but its short and long term ramifications, there is no way a comparison to anything else could be legit.

3. HISTORICAL FILMS ARE IMPORTANT

Film and literature enable us to travel to places and times we may never get to actually experience. In the case of films about slavery I think it’s important to relive that pain and anguish. Not to be overcome by it but to understand the greatness from which we come. We survived this. The strength, determination and resilience of our people is showcased by the simple fact that we are still here. After centuries of subjugation we are still fighting to be seen as human beings by some members of society, and yet we live as students, artists, doctors, lawyers, entertainers, educators, politicians, engineers, authors, athletes, and the list goes on. Knowing our history helps many of us strive for excellence in the present as a way to pay homage to those before us.

2. YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE UPDATES

If you ask someone under the age of 15 whether or not they have seen ‘Roots’ the answer will most likely be no, but if you ask them whether or not they’ve seen ’12 Years a Slave’ you might be surprised how many of them would be able to discuss it with you. It’s very important for young people to stay current and they often shy away from anything deemed ‘old (with the exception of vintage/thrift clothing which is now trendy.) Contemporary films about slavery keep dialogue on the subject open and give young people the option of simply watching a movie to learn more about the time period.

1. I HAVE MY OWN BRAIN

Black people are often made to feel as though they are wrong, rude, sensitive or delusional when they take a stance on racial issues. Some have opted out of having an opinion altogether and simply keep quiet in the wake of blatant racism or they will purposely take a self destructive stance so they don’t seem ‘butthurt.’ I think that kind of thinking has a lot to do with the sharp rise in numbers of people who are all of a sudden tired of slave movies and being very vocal about it. Part of my pride in being who I am comes from knowing where I’ve been and how people like me have persevered so I don’t mind being reminded of one particular part of our long, glorious and GLOBAL history of ingenuity, courage and uniqueness.

09Apr/16
Meridian Lights

Brooklyn Indie-Soul/Rock Band ‘Meridian Lights’ is Making Waves

Meridian LightsBrooklyn-based indie-soul/rock band Meridian Lights has been on the scene for about 3 years, constantly playing gigs around the U.S. Meridian Lights is the song writing team consisting of vocalist Bradley Valentin and guitarist Yohimbe Sampson. They have recently completed their “self titled” second release.

Bradley and Yohimbe both grew up with heavy musical and art influences in the home. Music was part of celebrating the greatest moments of life, maintaining optimism during its trials, and served as an outlet for self expression. Yohimbe, self-taught, started playing guitar as a teen and honed his skills studying the instrument while playing with various bands, one being popular Brooklyn based Rap/Rock band Game Rebellion. Bradley, writing since the age of 12, has penned everything from short stories to poetry. He started singing as a teen in his mother’s church choir.

After crossing paths several times while living in the BedStuy section of Brooklyn, it all came to head at a party where Yohimbe grabbed a guitar and nobody would sing. Brad stood up, they started rocking, and haven’t stopped.

 

Check out the sounds of Meridian Lights via the links below!

14Mar/16
Roaring ‘20s Party

Roaring ‘20s Party During NY Fashion Week Benefits Polished Pebbles

Roaring ‘20s Party During New York Fashion Week Benefits Polished Pebbles

Roaring ‘20s PartyNew York, NY: This NYFW event/benefit showcased local artists, musicians and performers while raising awareness and funds for Polished Pebbles — a not-for-profit organization that mentors girls between the ages of 7 and 17.

Winston Wise, Exquisite Events NY & Beautique hosted and sponsored the 1920s themed extravaganza and benefit on Friday, February 12, 2016 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. The celebration took place at Beautique, 8 West 58th Street near 5th Avenue. The event was open to the public with no admission fee. Guest attire was Gatsbyesque and flapper inspired, or “dress to impress.”

About Polished Pebbles: The mission of the Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program is to provide girls with the opportunity of learning the vital life skill of effective communication. Our Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring program instills confidence in girls to face the challenges of daily life by substituting aggressive forms of communicating and problem solving with new strategies that allow them to gain a solid reputation and respect without retaliating.

“Girls have adopted a “street code”, as a means for survival, to protect their reputation and retaliate when they believe their reputation is threatened. Sadly, we’ve all witnessed how many young women are only equipped to use fighting and aggression as the primary means to protect their personal respect and security, as well as to gain status.” – Kelly Fair (Founder of Polished Pebbles).

Roaring ‘20s PartyAcute Inflections is a chic duo of an innovative vocalist, Elasea Douglas, and a captivating upright bassist, Sadiki Pierre. Although their instrumentation is minimal, they deliver an intoxicating jazzy, funky and sultry sound.

Atomic Entertainment is a member of ISES (International Special Events Society) and APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters).

To learn more contact Jodi Isha Bisasor at [email protected]

Live jazz music by Acute Inflections with performances by Atomic Entertainment and art exhibitions by Ben Moon, Sarah Yi,James Stanhope, and Eddy Bogaert.

Jewelry by Soul BY Tapti Tapan

Photography coverage by Neil Tandy

13Mar/16
WinC Con 2016

WinC Con 2016 is Changing the Comic Game!

WinC Con 2016

WinC Con | © NayMarie Photography | www.NayMarie.com

WinC Con 2016 (Women in Comics Convention) was a great success again this year! With nearly 1000 attendees, dozens of vendors, and lots of panels and workshops, the Bronx Library Center was constantly buzzing! From gorgeous color poster  illustrations to fun on-the-spot doodles, the vendors filled the main floor with an art lovers eye candy, while panels and workshops discussed the real and raw of the comic business. On top of all of this dopeness, admission was free to the public, welcoming all to come and feast.

We enjoyed the Women in Comic Cosplay Showcase that discussed the powerful role of women in cosplay, specifically women of color. They came dressed as characters from Star Trek to Super Girl, modeled, posed, and explained what goes into making their costumes and why they choose the characters they choose. It’s important to notate that race should never matter. They made it clear that they didn’t have to be Black Super Girl or Black Black Canary, just the character as they are since they are embodying the character’s spirit. There is also no need to over sexualize their cosplay and harassment of any sort is not tolerated. They have fun but stand strong.

 

WinC Con | © NayMarie Photography | www.NayMarie.com

WinC Con | © NayMarie Photography | www.NayMarie.com

The organization that put on the showcase, The NY Cosplayer Network, Inc., also does a lot of charity work with shelters and military bases. They show up fully dressed to cheer up children and brighten their day. They collect books and hand them out and chat up the kids about their favorite characters. They even do events and birthday parties so people knowledgeable about the characters can interact with the kids instead of regularly overpriced agency finds who aren’t as invested.

Cosplay, or Costume Play, refers specifically to dressing up as a character but there is also costuming which is creating your own costume/character to bring to life. We’d love to see more of this happen with Black cosplayers. It’s good to break the mold, but it’s even better to create your own!

Check below for more images from the event and be sure to Like their page on Facebook at Women in Comics NYC Collective International!
WinC Con 2016 WinC Con 2016
WinC Con 2016  WinC Con 2016
WinC Con 2016 WinC Con 2016
WinC Con 2016 WinC Con 2016

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09Mar/16
Tarica June

Tarica June’s Politically-Charged Song “But Anyway”

Why are millions discussing the new video for Tarica June’s politically-charged song “But Anyway”? … see for yourself and click here to follow her 🙂

26Jan/16

Oya: Rise of the Orishas is an Action Packed Superhero Film

Oya: Rise of the OrishasOya: Rise of the Orishas is an action packed superhero film starring resurrected mythical deities from African Folklore, known as the Orishas, as modern day superheros. Oya is written, directed and produced by rising filmmaker Nigerian Nosa Igbinedion.

The films’ main star, Adesuwa, is administered with the mighty task of channeling the energy of goddess Oya to find her kidnapped missing daughter Rebecca. In the beginning of the story we witness as Adesuwa humbly calls upon her connection to Oya and is given electrifying new powers in the face of evil. Ade’s job is to keep the doorway between the world of man and the Orishas firmly shut because if the Orishas pass through they will reap their revenge and wreck havoc on Earth.

Ade’s challenges are no small feat. She is up against an army of many dangerous men and woman who would love nothing more than to kill her for sacrifice like her daughter – or worse – trap her and hold her hostage to use her powers against her will.

As we see in the Orishas’ trailer, Ade is strong, powerful and precise. While Ade’s challenge is no small feat, she skillfully knocks out the Orisha gatekeepers to get closer to saving her daughter only to be put knocked down in a trance by the next challenger who claims that the daughter she seeks was not the key to the Orishas, but Ade herself is the key and she has walked right into the trap.

We are left hungry for more as the twelve-minute trailer ends with Ade and her daughter being reunited only for Ade to realize that her daughter has been captured to be a hypnotized medium between Ade and the Orishas and it is Ade who the Orishas truly wanted.

According to OkayAfrica.com we can expect to see more from Igbinedion in the future as his talent has recently scored him a Rising Talent award for the Oya: Rise of the Orishas film and a 2015 Screen Nations Award in London. Oya: Rise of the Orishas has enjoyed successful screenings in Nigerian, Brazilian, American, and European film festivals and Igbinedion’s production company Igodo Films revealed that the film has been adapted for the silver screen1.

Igbinedion says he made the film “in order to prove that there is a market for sci-fi films revolving around African Characters and storylines1.”  Plans have also been confirmed for a comic-book spin off of the film.

Currently the twelve-minute trailer can be viewed below:

Oya: Rise of the Orishas

1  http://www.okayafrica.com/news/african-superhero-film-oya-rise-of-the-orishas-nosa-igbinedion/

19Jan/16
Black Girls in Rome

Black Girls in Rome: Super Dope Web Series

Black Girls in RomeBlack Girls in Rome is a scripted web series that follows the life and adventures of a young Black woman who decides to give Italy a try after suffering a broken heart in New York. The storyline is loosely based on the life of Dr. Tamara Pizzoli, a native of Texas who has spent the better part of the last decade in the eternal city. Dr. Pizzoli is the writer, director & executive producer of the project. Renowned Dominican-Italian actress Iris Peynado plays a role in the series and serves as an associate producer.

Black Girls in Rome: Ever consider quitting your life as you know it and starting fresh… abroad?

Comprised of eight episodes, the show highlights not only typical Roman life, but the type of existence that can be crafted, honed and enjoyed in a new and drastically unfamiliar environment if one simply has the courage to leap. A reflection of modern times and struggles both in New York and Italy, Black Girls in Rome depicts a thirty-something year old woman of color’s narrative with an exciting amount of international mobility. Scenes for the show were shot in New York, Rome and Marrakech, Morocco. At a time when the need for positive Black imagery and narratives as well as accurate representation of Black culture is sorely needed, Black Girls in Rome offers a visually and mentally dazzling getaway for viewers and looks to delight with its content.

Black Girls in Rome will debut in the spring of 2016. The trailer can be viewed here:

For additional information and updates, you’re welcomed to visit pizzolimedia.com.

19Jan/16

Boycott the Oscars: Should You Do it? See Chart…

Boycott the Oscars and #OscarsSoWhite have taken over the web with so much drama and controversy that, once again, the points have gotten lost in a sea of bitter pettiness…The question at hand is “Should the Black community boycott the Oscar awards?”, with the follow up question being, “Why are we seeking validation from an organization that cares nothing about us?” Let’s dive into this a bit…

boycott

So lately we have heard about Jada Pinkett Smith’s call to boycott the Oscars, followed up by support from Spike Lee, Snoop Dogg, and other celeb friends, as well as Janet Hubert’s response to Jada’s call to boycott. Needless to say, both Jada and Janet have questionable motives behind their posts, but the bright side is some of the conversation that has sparked among the community. Here are our thoughts:

#One: Boycott the Oscars… We should have collectively tuned out the Oscars decades ago…

We could yawn at this topic, and dismiss it as the bottom of the barrel of things we need to focus on in our community, but the fact is a lot of Black people still tune in every year hoping and praying to see their favorites walk away with the Ptah Oscar. When they tune in, they help to boost ratings, thus advertising dollars for the program. Us not watching might not make as much of an impact as us not shopping during Black Friday, but every bit counts.

#Two: Boycotting and seeking validation are not, I repeat NOT, parallel concepts…

I swear fo’ geez, if I hear one more person ask why we’re looking for validation in response to boycotting. Boycotting is merely abstaining from something. Yes, it can be used as an intimidation tactic, but it’s not the case here. Taji Mag abstains from including any news that does not help our community build and grow. We boycott the use of non Black Owned Businesses as much a possible. We do not do this in hopes that non Black Owned businesses start treating our people better. We’re not concerned with how they operate business because WE DON’T SHOP THERE. The same concept applies here. We do not boycott the Oscars in hopes for a seat at the table, we do it because we have our award shows and organizations that provide us with the proper recognition our people deserve, that’s where our focus and loyalty lives.

#Three: Quit wasting time being bitter and quarreling…

Both sides of the “argument” are basically saying the same thing while wasting time on semantics and emotions.

Bottom line:

Let’s boycott any and everything not checking for us and give our dollars to our community first. That is how we regain and maintain our communities. Work together instead of apart. Stop picking apart the messenger and absorb the message.

18Jan/16
Tuskegee Heirs

Tuskegee Heirs: Flames of Destiny

Tuskegee Heirs, a futuristic sci-fi adventure from the minds of illustrator Marcus Williams (Hero Cats, Super Natural and D.M.C) and children’s book author Greg Burnham (Broken Glass and Grandpa’s Shoes), follows a small squad of young gifted aviators who are forced to become earth’s last line of defense against a menacing race of artificially intelligent villains bent on destroying civilization. Marcus and Greg look to pay homage to the historic Tuskegee Airmen, while bringing forth a new set of character rich young heroes. With a graphic novel set to release mid 2016, Marcus and Greg intend to push this project towards animation. Following in the Japanese animation genre’s age old practice of dropping unusually talented youths inside the cockpits of enormously powerful machines, the amazing pilots of this series will be no exception.

Tuskegee Heirs

Tuskegee Heirs, Earth’s last line of defense…

The Tuskegee Heirs will be set 80 years in the future where a world sculpted by rapid progressing technology will come to ban human pilots from operating aircraft and go as far as to criminalize the act of even training pilots. Our young pilots, however, have found a secret training facility and refuge in the historical airfield once used by the fabled WWII War Heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen.  Under the careful guidance of Col. Mars, a long retired veteran pilot, the team of young hopefuls are trained and educated about the strong ethics that made the classic airmen the formidable unit that they were. Not long into their training, a mysterious military force composed of highly advanced self-aware war machines fixated on destroying civilization as they know it, declares war on all societies. Suddenly the teens are thrust into the middle of a war for humanities’ right to exist. They will have to use their training as pilots, knowledge of history, and unique skill sets to defeat this fearsome enemy.

We appreciate the historical focus of Black legends being beautifully developed in a creative and educational environment. Currently in it’s Kickstarter phase, the series has already blown through it’s pledged goal of $10K and 2 stretch goals of $15K and $25K in just 4 days. Their other goals include development of Tuskegee Heirs T-Shirt line for Men, Women and Children, a family geared board game and sweet mobile game app, a full figurine lineup of all the Tuskegee Heirs Characters including the Jet and Mech, and a prototype toy of one of the characters and jets. Be apart of history in the making by becoming a backer of the project at www.kickstarter.com/projects/2120208298/tuskegee-heirso to achieve their ultimate stretch goal. $75K and UP will launch an ANIMATED PILOT (Short piece) to be enjoyed on monitors big and small. For gems and eye candy, follow their facebook page at www.facebook.com/tuskegeeheirs.

Tuskegee Heirs