Category Archives: Lifestyle

17Jan/18
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?

05Jan/18
Side Chick Web Series

The Side Chick Web Series is a Roller Coaster Worth Riding

Side Chick is a drama that follows the emotional millennial roller coaster of Lynn’s (Gabrielle Briana) affection towards James (Mike Merrill) who is engaged to an honest, caring woman named Kia (Chloe Stafford). Unlike some women, Lynn doesn’t fit the role of “the other woman” because she is misled and deceived into dating James, who loves his fiancé but is also intrigued by Lynn. As their emotions grow fonder, conflict unfolds, morals are questioned, and love is tainted. Ultimately, Lynn, James, and Kia are forced to examine what love truly means.
Side Chick Web Series

Our faces at James throughout the whole damn show…

Season 1 of the series dives into the lives of Lynn and James and how they start to intertwine. The finale of season 1 releases a truth that we were all waiting to be revealed. Season 2 carries us through the relationships developed separately and has us on the edge of seats wondering what’s going to happen. (It also has a significant production upgrade that made us happy to experience their growth and elevation.) When a major connection is unveiled, we all yelled “ohhhhh sh*t!” We’re definitely looking forward to Season 3.

You can watch the full series on YouTube and contribute to their production with your dollars. Yes, producing great content requires money and everyone involved should be paid, so watch the show and open your wallet! Follow the series via the links and start watching the show below!
Instagram: @sidechickwebseries | Facebook: Side Chick Web Series | Creator: @ashmcart3

04Jan/18
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.

03Jan/18
It Won't be Good in the Evening

It Won’t be Good in the Evening

If you see something is going bad in the morning, it won’t be good in the evening.

My grandma told me that a couple of days ago. And when she said it, I knew it was a gem. A lot of times I find myself ignoring the bad in someone or something, and making excuses for it in order to continue dealing with it, knowing damn well that I shouldn’t. And then when everything is said and done, and that shitty thing that I knew was shitty and was only going to produce more shit to hit the fan actually does, I can only be mad at myself.

The things that happen to us and around us, half of the time, are allowed by us. We see that something might not be the greatest thing, and we ignore the damning future that comes with it. When I noticed this behavior in myself I first chose to ignore it, which didn’t produce anything positive. Then I started being a little more cautious and being more aware of the company I kept and the things I got involved with. I started making different choices in regards to those things and I found that I’m pretty fucking smart when I actually think about who and what I’m giving my energy to.

It Won't be Good in the Evening

Not only am I smart AF, but I’m much happier now that I’m seeing the possible bad in a situation and moving with that energy, without questioning it.

 

At the end of the day, if something brings you bad energy from the jump, chuck it in the fuck it bucket, and keep it pushin’.

02Jan/18
Designer Chuks Collins

Designer Chuks Collins Combines Fashion & Philanthropy

Designer Chuks Collins has combined social causes and bold fashion on the runway during New York Fashion Week. After a second lease on life, the designer founded a nonprofit and for the past several years has presented his latest collections within a fundraising event. Last year’s soiree, The Dream: Fall 2017 Benefit Fashion Show and Silent Auction was in collaboration with Oando Foundation U.S. held at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in the Lower East Side.

Event hosts Claudia Jordan (RHOA, celebrity apprentice) and Hadiiya Barbel (celebrity wigologist and transformation artist) welcomed attendees and introduced Sony music artist SUMMER Williams who performed new music from her EP.

Designer Chuks CollinsThe Chuks Collins collection offers ready to wear fashions for men and women that appreciate sophisticated style and last season the ensembles ranged from modern elegance to casual chic in a handsome array of bold colors. The presentation also included sharing with guests how funds raised would be used in the Adopt-A-School initiative for children in Collins’ home country of Nigeria. The silent auction, courtesy of Charity Grow, provided an opportunity for making a tax-deductible donation in addition to a portion of proceeds from tickets.

Special guest attendees included rapper Peter Gunz, Orange Is the New Black actress Adrienne Moore, Kim Mastroddi, Taneka Bowles, Actor Marc John Jefferies, pop singer Chelley, celebrity stylists TY Hunter and Kidear Youmans.

Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins Designer Chuks Collins

01Jan/18
Black White Beautiful

Black & White and Beautiful All Over

Black White Beautiful | Black and white fashion has never left the style scene, but the powerful combination has been thrust back in the spotlight in a major way with graphic houndstooth. Virlé Cole, an online vintage fashion boutique, takes a bite out of the trend with retro clothing and accessories featuring a bold, oversize version of the unisex print splayed on distinctly ladylike pieces and silhouettes.

Discover the intrigue of the two-tone print in this photo series featuring a powerful trio of stunning black models showcasing the diverse ways to wear houndstooth. The young women in the images prove a vintage garment can produce a lifetime of glamour. Although some articles were designed before the models were born, they worked the designs in a way that appears modern, relevant and at their peak of chic.

You too can wear houndstooth or simply black and white in a number of ways. Don’t be afraid to layer monochrome pieces or top one print with another like print. As told by the runways, matchy-matchy styles and co-ords are back—just Google 2018 daytime pajama sets, matching bags and shoes, and bodysuits that fit like puzzle pieces to matching bottoms. For a quaint touch, try a houndstooth headband or bow, or pick a mod shift, polished suit, striking coat, or even sexy bustier. Any style you choose, don’t be afraid to own it and walk tall. For more vintage fashion inspiration follow @virlecole on Instagram or visit www.virlecole.com.

Black White BeautifulBettina Coleman is credited as the photo shoot stylist and owner of Virlé Cole. She selected the styles and models to inspire young women to wear the clothes of generations before them. She wants everyone to value the rich history and story that vintage clothing offers—not to mention its charm. The one-of-a-kind pieces she sells cannot be replaced by fast fashion chains or even today’s top designers. Her advice to fashionistas: Fall in love with vintage and make it yours forever.

Models | Kanae Branch, Naila Carter, Alycia Luciano
IG: @kanaezb, @theweavewhisperer, @Alycia_the_model

Wardrobe | Virlé Cole – IG @virlecole

Photographer | Adam Jackson  – IG @Adamj.photo

Makeup Artists | Doshia Kelly & Daija Smith
IG @Doshia_monae_artisty & @daijaaaaa

Stylist
Bettina Coleman

Black White Beautiful Black White Beautiful

Black White Beautiful

Black White Beautiful

17Dec/17
don't rush

Don’t Rush a Relationship Just Because They Want One

I’m sorry fellas, but this is another one for the ladies. I’ve been noticing a pattern in men lately where they want things their way. They have this entitled man complex where things are supposed to go how they see fit, with no concern or care for how us women want things to go. Don’t rush. Lemme explain.

Men have been coming into my life and demanding status, demanding title, and demanding exclusivity when they want it. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting someone to take you seriously, but when it comes to a partnership, it should be done on both party’s terms. Too many times I have encountered men who believe a relationship should happen when they want it and only when they want it. They start using terms like “Ohh you put me in the friend-zone” …don’t even get me started on that one. Never in a million years did I think that because a man had feelings for me, or saw me as a prospective girlfriend, that it would HAVE to happen right away because he says so. Personally, I’ve been living my life on a need-to-have basis. A relationship is a privilege after accomplishing everything I want for myself spiritually. For me, I could not and would not be in a relationship until I am whole and happy with myself alone.

I say that to say this – ladies (men can listen too), do not let a mate push you into a relationship that you are not ready to entertain. You should deal with people how and when you want to deal with them, not the other way around. Create your own rules and your own path. Make sure whatever changes or decisions that are being made in your life are at the hands of you. And when they are, whoever wants to take part, cool. And those who wanna force you into something you don’t want, girl tell them dudes to kick rocks.

 

don't rush

11Dec/17
Alvin Ailey

Art Affecting Humanity: Alvin Ailey ‘Shelter’ to address Homelessness

Affected. Something that we, as citizens of the globe, often feel that we must be less of in order to survive. However, Alvin Ailey is reviving ‘Shelter,’ a piece choreographed by Urban Bush Women’s Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and aims to make us feel just that; affected. Originally performed in 1992, ‘Shelter’ is a “work that frankly addresses the pain and isolation of homelessness,” says the choreographer. The all-female piece reflects not only the struggle but the resiliency of those who are chronically homeless, she notes. Resiliency that, I feel, is part and parcel of the human spirit that we all share. Just as homelessness affects us one and all.

‘Shelter’ is set to debut for the renown dance troupe’s current season in NYC, a place where blatant homelessness is rampant and it is customary to turn a blind eye. As per inspiration for the piece, Zollar remarked that upon settling into NYC in the 80’s she “realized that as a coping mechanism [she] had stopped seeing the people who were homeless… that was [more] dangerous because it was a loss of humanity.” Humanity being all facets of experience, whoever and wherever you may be. I am currently in Barbados, and homelessness is too. While in the city, I had a stranger point out a characteristically homeless man, explain that they went to University together and that he used to be a lawyer. Perhaps knowing the man forced the strangers conscious to acknowledge him, whereas the other people on the street simply passed him by without a glance. I would then ask: must it directly affect us for us to take part in affecting it? A resident New Yorker myself, I have found that turning a blind eye requires us to repress our Souls. To repress the constant call for sympathy as well as the underlying fear of relating. However, the issue and relevance of homelessness cannot be ignored into non-existence. Whether through dance, art, outreach or otherwise, it begs of us to be constantly addressed through awareness and action.

I send energy to the notion that we are not powerless in this matter. Not in aiding those who are afflicted nor in preventing it for ourselves. But our power lies in our ability to give. Not speaking solely of our money or our time, but of our attention as well. In giving our attention to and, therefore, shining a light on the very things that we wish to push into the darkness, the threat of darkness itself disappears. As opposed to our hearts having to do so instead. Especially if Ms. Zollar and the Alvin Ailey Dancers have anything to do with it. So as audiences pack into the plush seats of City Center’s theater, they will be reminded of the transiency of ‘having’. It is indefatigably important to foster contact with our humanity as often as possible; especially to the experiences that we may feel are not applicable to us at the moment. This is exactly what will be accomplished, yet again, with ‘Shelter’. As James Baldwin said ‘…the Artist knows, and must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.”. So yes, it could happen to you. Perhaps it has happened to you already. May there be continuous attention given and inspiration found to address such a prevalent affliction. May we be led to fostering a future where it does not exist. It is possible.

Alvin Ailey 2017 Season happening now.

31Oct/17
Vol13 Virility

Taji Vol13: Virility

Release Dec 7 2017 | Vol13 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling its theme of Virility! This volume’s cover feature is musician, actor, and model Daniel Jones. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick: StockOnyx, premier royalty-free stock content from Black creatives; the Community Spotlight on the elegant soaps, scrubs, and body butters of The Celestine Collection; Sankofa Community Empowerment; our highlighted Hair Feature; “Solo Travel: The Step Before Step One” by D. Carrie; “Spiritual Teknowledge: Intersource” by Jashua Sa’Ra; New Panther: A Call for Action; The Nola D. Collective; “#BlackLoveConvo: “AJ Andrews: Lady With a Golden Glove and Heart” by Dapper Dr. Feel; “Clarifying Credit… the Quick Fix” by NayMarie, our Health & Fitness Advice Column with Trainer Clint & Vegan Fun with Delliz the Chef; Featured art piece by Will Focus; Must Have Graphic Novel: Ayanmo Stigmata by Tyrone Jackson of Sovereign Comics; Black Business Highlights; Taji Mag Model Contest Winners; and more!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Purchase Taji’!

Vol13

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 13

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.