Category Archives: Culture

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

30Dec/15
Tweetie, Soraya

Dance: Tweetie, Soraya, & Cicely Murder “Electric Feel”

Electric Feel… There are lots of dope female focused dance pieces surfacing nowadays, but we’re still waiting for the one that can knock this piece from the number one spot in our heart. Tweet Boogie, Soraya Lundy, & Cicely Bradley MURDERED this perfect fusion of feminine and masculine energy. Don’t believe us? Just listen to the crowd 😉

Sirens: “Electric Feel” by Tweetie, Soraya, & Cicely

 

27Dec/15
Umoja

“Kwanzaa: Celebration of Umoja” presented by Sankofa Community Empowerment 12/26/15

Sankofa Community Empowerment NY started off Kwanzaa 2015 phenomenally! Their Celebration of Umoja event was hosted at the St. Philips church in Brooklyn, NY, welcoming traditional Pan African celebrators while introducing the tradition to those experiencing it for the first time. At the opening of the doors, guests were welcomed with food and the children were gathered for a story as guests continued to arrive. The program started with a brief introduction and explanation of what Kwanzaa is, followed by libation, and then an award ceremony honoring community members who embodied a different Nguzo Saba principle. In between each award were crowd moving performances and, throughout the event, the amazing vendors were patronized, keeping the dollar circulating in our community where it belongs!

See some images of the event below, and be sure to visit Sankofa Community Empowerment NY for more on the organization, upcoming events and ways to donate to Sankofa so they may continue to produce amazing and imperative events for our community! Umoja!

Photos by NayMarie for Taji Mag

 

04Dec/15
Sweet Daughter

Sweet Daughter by Michael Ware Jr.

Sweet Daughter
Pure soul
I wanna protect you from the world but I know you need to grow
From a baby to a girl, a girl to a woman, but respect yourself like a lady and no man can ever consider you a hoe
Daddy broke a lot of hearts and threw them away, but yours I will cherish and hold
Hold it to my heart and lock it with the key to my soul
Sweet daughter
Pure soul
You’re very independent, but there is still a lot to learn and a lot to know in order to fully grow
You will make mistakes and do the right thing, you may also get your heart broken and cry to sleep, but don’t ever be afraid to love
Love is pure, and you have a pure soul
Love them like your mother loved me, because that pure love is like no other
I am your father and he is your brother and she is your mother, but we all love each other equally like no other
Sweet daughter
Pure soul
I look into your eyes and your the reason why I have life and strive to be the best, wake up and go
Stay pure and cleanse your soul
Always pray because blessings will help you with life
Just don’t be afraid to grow
By Michael Ware Jr

 

 

30Nov/15

Dynamic Duo: Devon and Daphne

While mainstream media continues to spotlight negative attention towards people of color, very little is said about true artists in various fields. Artists that collaborate or self-motivate have always been seen as the underdogs to those who take the easy way out. These days, not many artists of color connect with each other, feeling that the industries they work for only have room for a few candidates to succeed. Dynamic duo, Devon Taylor and Daphne Lee, are making an impact in the art world today and are defying odds.

An accomplished Drummer, Actor and Model, Devon Taylor, hailing from Camden, NJ, uses his “inspiration of all art forms” to excel his expression. Currently playing for vocal artist, Nadjah Nicole, Devon spreads his passion by collaborating with artists locally and around the globe. Devon has a need to just make music and teach others on really telling a story. “I am all about art expression” says Taylor, “the story you tell when you’re on stage and when you are able to mentally and emotionally connect with your audience.” Devon even has his own production company where people can request his connections of talent for various events. Just recently, he connected with an NAACP ACT-SO regional gold medalist alumni (like himself), Daphne Lee, who is also a New Jersey native.

A professional dancer who is currently a ballerina for Collage Dance Collective in Memphis, TN, Daphne has always made a statement through other mediums of art via music, speaking engagements, and visual art, but most recently her photographs. “Ever since college, photographers connected with me not only as a dancer, but a ballerina of color to spread awareness of the lack of black female ballet dancers not being exposed in the media”. Even though her resumes extends from working with Beyonce, to being part of Ailey 2, Daphne mentions that there is a bigger purpose to it all.

Devon and Daphne collaborated with Memphis Photographer Ziggy Mack (@fomoloop) to demonstrate that art serves a huge purpose. Music and dance go hand in hand and with these NJ Artist, they want to continue to educate, inspire and mentor future artists of color to collaborate. They are always looking for a platform to connect with other musicians, photographers and visual artists. Follow Daphne and Devon on their careers on all social media platforms and watch their passion create pathways for the next generation.

Instagram: @daphne732 and @devskeerocket

Websites
Daphne: www.daphnemlee.com
Devon: www.pmeprime.com

Devon Taylor: Camden, NJ

Daphne Lee: Rahway, NJ

Dynamic Duo

Dynamic Duo

08Oct/15

Madam Ambassador upholds African Fashions from Liberia

Crown Collection gowns by TeKay Designs.com

Throughout the developed world African nationals are racing to build sustainable marketplaces for independent designers of Afro-centric inspired fashions. Numerous African inspired Fashion Week events have emerged setting the pulse for this movement. The World Fashion Organization’s agenda is to develop wealth creation and eventually free African societies from a dependency on world aid.

The ambitions of WFO is to foster fashion as a vocation; and further the development of ‘World Fashion’ by helping developing nations improve intercontinental trade. Overall, WFO aims to create a global market place for emerging fashion brands under the theme “We Fashion All”. According to the WFO apparel is the chosen market for economic development in Africa because of the high degree of influence African aesthetics has had in the western markets. “Rather than receiving financial aid from the international community, African nations need help developing commercially viable creative industries. The fashion industry has multiplying chains of vocation, which can create wealth. For example, the clothing industry creates jobs for Apparel Designers, Accessory Designers, Tailors, Weavers, Textile Designers, Pattern Makers, Wardrobe Stylists, Models, Fashion Photographers and Writers etc.”

Models are wearing TeKay Designs, an award winning international fashion label, based in Houston Texas, that offers custom designs and couture bridal gowns, formal attire and statement fashion jewelry.  Founded in 1998, TeKay Designs features handcrafted pieces that appeal to those who appreciate elegance with a contemporary twist. The company facilitates production in Ghana, Africa and Houston, Texas.

Crown Collection gowns by TeKay Designs.com

 

Crown Collection gowns by TeKayDesigns.com
Photographers:  Danny Gbawar, Christina Brown