Release Dec 7 2015 | Vol5 of Taji is the anniversary issue, packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulling it’s theme of “Black Excellence”! This issue features producer, writter, actress, Jeanine Daniels; lyricist and activist, Messiah Ramkissoon, dancer and lupus advocate, Queen TuT Creationz; apparel designer, BrighTeyezTees; Taji’s model contest winners; beautiful art by Anais Sierra, the dance duo Kiki Ely & Sakinah LeStage of ATLA Takeova, and researcher Dr. Steve D. Mobley, Jr. !
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
Devon Taylor: Camden, NJ
Daphne Lee: Rahway, NJ
Jahlaam (a mesh of her name Khadijah Salaam) is an electric soul artist born in Philadelphia, PA but bred and based in Atlanta, GA. Her earliest memory of herself singing was when she was four; a Whitney Houston song played around her childhood home and she happily sang along. Throughout her grade school years she would catch the ears of her family and especially her dad who encouraged her to sing often as he enlisted her in several talent shows. In elementary school she played flute and was apart of the school choir. She even got to sing “The Greatest Love of All” alongside some of her peers for her elementary school graduation. She continued attending chorus up until high school. Around this time she began writing but perceived her lyrics to be too amateur. After high school Jahlaam would pursue a college degree & placed making music on the back burner. However she could not keep away the urge for making music. Eventually she returned to creating what she loves most and began churning out lyrics upon lyrics while seeking out music that would fit her vibes. So far, Jahlaam has performed at several Atlanta venues and had a performance set during the 2015 A3C Festival. Currently, she is actively pursuing a music career and building her brand as an artist.
Find her latest singles “Everything” & “Everything Remix” on all digital music stores including iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Beats Music, etc.
Social Media: @Jahlaam
Who is Duane? The answer is simple: He is the former Teenage Weirdo, the future Commercial Artist and the current Brand New Dog! Lets break it down even further. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Michael Duane Gholston has lived all his 22 years on this earth as one of its prized oddities. An idealist and performance artist first, musician and singer/songwriter second. His music is influenced by 80’s and 90’s electronica with a low-fi, DIY punk aesthetic. His live shows are part pop act part avant garde theater.
The Brand New Dog’s lives shows are consistently well received. Wearing his signature thrift store rags and french beret getup, flanked by 2 robust female dancers/back up vocalist, Duane performs over his own pre recorded backing tracks (Did I mention he writes, produces, and performs ALL of his own music!?). They dance, they sing and show their audiences a weird but most of all good time! His current release, follow up ep “CD-R EP 2” is available now. Check his social media accounts regularly for lists of upcoming live show dates and announcements.
You Got Style ft. KiKi [Official Video]
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 TeKayDesigns.com
Photographers: Danny Gbawar, Christina Brown