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
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
Paint the Town in Style with Color. The “Let’s Paint” women’s fashion collection, created for spring and summer of 2016, offers a splash of colorful contrast against black silhouettes. Fashion Designer Delia Alleyne introduced the line during the September 2015 market week in New York City. The looks include rompers, jackets, funky trousers and that classic little black dress. The “Let’s Paint” collection is splashy, bold and is styled with a retro artist’s cap that makes the collection reminiscent of the psychedelic sixties. The applied fabrics range from nets to denim, to brocades as the paint splatter and appliquéing adds detail and an interesting design element to the collection.
“Painting is like a metaphor for life…”, explains Delia. “We are born as blank canvases waiting to be. Then moment by moment; stroke by stroke… We create life’s memories by applying one colorful moment in our life at a time.”
Delia, with her distinguished pink hairstyle, has a passion for colorful fashions. Residing in Trinidad and Tobago, Delia creates fashions tailored towards confident women. Her personal clients are bold about making a grand appearance during special occasions, nightlife hot-spots and red carpet showcases. Delia is inspired by the many crafty artists who surround her Caribbean nation. She began her career designing fashion gowns for pageantry. Delia’s tenure at Trinidad’s Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design school prepared her for a mentorship working on costume design projects with the famed Caribbean couturiers Meiling Esau. Delia strives to bring an avant-garde genre of fashion design into ready-to-wear by applying unique design details, and using finer fabrics. Delia’s goal is for the “Let’s Paint” collection to become a luxuriant lifestyle brand that is recognized throughout the Caribbean.
“Let’s Paint” collection by fashion designer Delia Alleyne. www.DeliaAlleyne.com
Photographer: Mr. Melvern Isaac
International R&B/Pop Songstress Morrisa Jeanine just released a beautiful and refreshing piece of art that reminds us of how simple love can be in a time that’s often far too complicated. Real Simple is available for streaming and free download for a limited time at https://soundcloud.com/
Contributing Congolese Cultural Creations to New York Fashion Week is always welcomed in a city of cultural diversity. During market week in September, African elegance arrived. The Kapy Bash Mode collection debuted in a collective showcase of international presenters to an audience of style enthusiast, fashion influencers and media makers. Kapy Bash Mode offers African ethnic gowns that are inspired by cultures from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Kapy Bash Mode uses liputa, ankara, french lace, bazin, satin and linen fabrics. There is a soon to debut resort line of acrylic swimwear fashions and ankara boxer shorts for men. The creator, Kapinga Bashala has been designing for the Kapy Bash Mode brand for twenty-six years. She has designed custom gowns for television personalities, government dignitaries, pageants and bridal parties.
“There are many negative misconceptions about African cultures and lifestyle. Contemporary African fashions are demystifying the negative stereotypes. With each ethnic gown I create, I share an experience of Congolese’s cultural decadence with the world.” explains Kapinga.
With her busy schedule, Kapinga still finds time to be philanthropic by helping to fund educational programs for underprivileged children in the Dem. Rep. of Congo. Kapinga also helps misfortunate Congolese women develop fundamental skills for starting a small business. Half of KBM’s online procedes goes to fund the charity ‘Kapy Bash for Mothers and Children’. Sharing culture through fashions not only helps others experience unique heritage, it helps preserve heritage through collective economics. Now that is a sustainable trend that is always in style.
We “have never been in love before”… like we are with this track! Olutayo smashed this one… listen for yourself and tell us what you think!
Olutayo: Rise in Love
Written/Arranged by Olutayo
Produced by Healing Fyah (Rashaun Stewart)
Co-arrangement and live keys by Kala
Live bass by Trevor P Allen
The Twenty-First Century has indeed been full of trying times. Despite tons of intentional division and propaganda imagery, there has also been a banding together and a notion that we, as a people, must foster our own growth and progression. It is said that in the midst of turmoil, the air is ripe for the likes of a prophet; one who can ingest the struggle and obstacles of the time, and in return paint a portrait of a prosperous future. It is no easy task to be able to rise from police brutality, genocide and institutionalized racism, while still being able to see Nirvana and rouse others to do so as well. Insert: Messiah Ramkissoon.
A spoken word artist by way of Trinidad, this young man has accepted elevating the collective as his life calling. He started writing as a young child, and with the support of his family he has honed his skills. Idolizing the likes of Muhammad Ali, he has chosen to also use his skills to improve the world we live in. Thrice a ‘champion’ of Showtime at the Apollo, he contributes his successes to consistency. Much as his name suggests, his efforts truly reflect his desire to enlighten and uplift.
En lieu of enlightenment, he has gifted us with his latest work, a mixtape named ‘The Reminder’. A grail of sorts, Messiah intends for his work to ‘restore awareness’ to where we have been, where we are, and where we need to focus our efforts for the future. He addresses everything from recalling the loss of our civil rights heroes to rallying pride and unity in combat of recurring oppressive forces. In his own words from the mixtape, “As a collective, we are much more effective/ Kill the social contraceptive/ To live and let live is the ultimate incentive.”
When it comes to uplifting the collective, Messiah takes an approach even more personal. He has dedicated much of the past 8 years to prison outreach in Washington, DC, Baltimore and NYC. Coming face to face with our incarcerated males, he chooses to stand in where, often enough, there has been no one. A major part of the process is in fact within his ability to articulate conversation. In giving the young men a platform to express and reflect upon all aspects of self, true progress is made. His worlds often tie together. On ‘The Reminder’ he has dedicated a track to the late 16 year old Kalief Browder, who took his own life following wrongful imprisonment. In another case, a young man by the name of Asad Giles spent two and a half years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Upon his release, Messiah continued to provide support and resources. Asad is now employed and due to start school in 2016. He says of his philanthropy, “My goal is to empower each young brother I encounter… not only making change but taking the… example back to our own to duplicate this process of progress.”
An Artist in his own right, Messiah has not only chosen a life of dedication, but it seems to have chosen him. “I would like to leave a legacy as someone who loved his people, was passionate about his work, exuded excellence with each opportunity and [was] fearless… Fearless enough to accept any challenge which may arise on the road to providing true liberation and a better lifestyle for the babies! That would suffice.” Ashe, Messiah, Ashe.
Written by Lola Valentine
Photo by NayMarie Photography