18Feb/17
vulva

“Vulva what… Vulva who?” A Lesson on the Yoni

The vulva… Is this actually the name of a human body part, or a European car???

vulvaMany people, both women and men, are clueless to what a vulva actually is and how nature has especially packaged a woman’s sexual organ/region in its entirety. For the sake of the evolution of humanity, I, Zahabu King, your Womb Sistar, will loving lift the darkened cloak that veils the light of our Goddess goodies! To get started, and for technical reasons the following list ensues…

The vulva consists of:
outer labia
inner labia
clitoris
clitoral hood
urethra opening
vagina opening

vulva

Before I give definition to these medical/traditional friendly terms used for our lovely lady parts below, allow me to indulge you with some enchanting poetic allegory (also found in the “What’s in a name” chapter in my first book: EROTICA for Dummies!) once commonly known in the East to gracefully glorify and describe the vulva/vagina.

Descriptive words like:
yoni
peach
honey pot
open melon
pleasure palace
valley of joy
suga walls
secret garden
lotus flower
jungle of love

And just for the fun of it, and startling contrast of it, I’ll throw in the commonly sexy, yet often times derogatory Western terms, used to describe the female genitalia.

Descriptive words like: pussy, cunt, coochie, punany, pumpum, venus fly trap, poontang, fuck hole, snatch, and hair pie, etc… you get the point… LOL!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way… giggles 🙂 Let’s get back to the vulva at hand… Oops… I mean… matter at hand!

Get open minded and ready yourself to absorb this knowledge and eclectic defining of our vulvas. Now, words can only explain but so much, so here’s where I have to insist that you take a deep breath, and in the comforting privacy of your own home, grab a hand held mirror, lay on your back propping your pretty lil’ head atop your soft, plush pillows and spread those lovely legs of yours eagle style… meaning, spread em’ wide! It’s time to free yourself from fear and shame and take a good long look at what you’ve been blessed with. C’mon & shine that over-due light of reverence on your sexual anatomy with self-love, respect, and admiration!

There you will find:

1) Outer labia – Two sensitive (even sexually sensitive) folds of skin and fatty tissue that are bare for adolescent girls, and once puberty is reached, covered with pubic hair for young to older women. These are sometimes referred to as “love shields”, protect and conceal the rest of the vulva that resides inside of the outer labia. It is common for the outer labia to be described as “lips”. It is also normal that these “lips” vary in size. From large or small, short or long, thick or thin, they differ as well in variations based on the amount of melanin a woman has. Women with melanin tend to have labia that range in many unique shades of brown or black. The outer labia are often sexually sensitive, and will swell during times of arousal via oral sex as well as sexual intercourse, yet some women are not turned on from their outer labia. Remember, this is all humanly normal, and is a part of what makes each woman gloriously unique.

2) Inner labia – Also known as “love wings”! These two folds of skin, go from the clitoral hood to below the vaginal opening. Again, the inner labia can range in color from pink, brown or black, which is all contingent on a woman’s ethnicity. Usually very sensitive, and prone to swelling when sexually excited, some women reach a point where their inner labia will stick out past the outer labia, revealing how beautifully wrinkled or smooth her love wings are. As mentioned above, the inner labia extends down past the vaginal opening, so having your inner labia aroused all the way down past the vaginal opening thru oral stimulation or sexual penetration can be immensely pleasurable and, in some women, even orgasmic.

3) Clitoris – Enough can’t be said about this miraculous and delectable part of the female anatomy! So much so, I will later dedicate a mini chapter based solely on the clitoris! But for now ladies, here is a succinct yet teasing synopsis. Nestled beneath the point where the inner labia meet, forms a cushy, insanely sensitive hood over the clitoris. Glans, also known as the head of the clitoris, may appear to be the size of a tiny pea. Or, in some women, the clitoris can be as juicy and plump as finger tips. All perfectly normal and all sexually healthy. Variety, is truly the spice of life! The larger than life sexual sensations and breath taking pleasures derived from clitoral stimulation, whether it’s by way of masturbation (self-pleasuring), or from the tongue teasing/oral exhilaration a.k.a cunnilingus. Direct contact to the clit feels so good it’s almost in-explainable or indirect contact by teasing around the clitoris when a woman may be too sensitive, can bring about the desired thrill seeking results. Many women experience their clitoris growing stiff and swollen when flames of passion burn hot and her journey to reaching orgasmic gratification is just a burst away.

4) The hood – Ever hear the terminology: Pop that hood? If not, then let me explain. But first, or shall I say again, the hood is a spongy protective covering of the clitoris. With infinite gorgeous variations of shape, size, and color in each and every woman, some hoods, are sizably huge and physically resemble a small penis! Wow! Once you delicately pull back the soft and fleshy hood tho’, (popping the hood…get it? LOL) visually revealed is the wee little clitoris! For women with less spongy hoods, the clit still proudly sits beneath the point where the inner labia meet, within easy reach for elation and excitation.

5) Urethra opening – One of the most elusive parts of the female genitalia is the urethra. It’s wrongly believed that it is only responsible to be a canal for releasing urine flow from a woman’s body. But… oh au contraire mon frere!!! This buried treasure, that has alluded many, is a sweet spot quite sensitive to touch. Once teased, can lead some women to coming. But hold up… wait a minute, I’ve got a very special insight for you… ready? Nestled right beneath the urethra, are two even tinier glands known as Skenes. These skenes aren’t connected to the bladder like the urethra. Rather, a woman’s skenes are connected to the female prostate as well as the “g” spot orgasm. The fluid emitted from the skenes during orgasm is a clear or sometimes milky translucent fluid. Sometimes sweet or salty in taste, depending on a woman’s diet, chemistry, hormonal levels, and time of month. Female ejaculate during a “G” spot orgasm usually, either seeps out or squirts out with a mild or powerful force. Be it that the orgasm is incited via clitoral stimulation, “G” spot stimulation, or penis… here is where the erroneous myth of female ejaculate and urine are “one in the same” comes crashing back down from the land of crazy… as it should… into the light of reality! Two different fluids, two different bodily reactions. The urethra releases human waste known as urine, while the Skene glands release ejaculation during orgasmic bliss! Let me drop another jewel of wisdom for you. Female ejaculation, is very similar to male ejaculation, minus the semen (for reproductive purposes). It’s been called many names, but respectfully known by the ancients as “nectar of life” or “fountain of youth”. For the sake of common sense, when it’s all said and done… it is good ole’ juicy CUM! It is as amazingly simple as that people! PERIOD!

6) Vaginal opening – The omnipotent sacred vagina! The direct link/passage way, connecting a woman’s vulva with the inner cervix and uterus. Truly to be seen as a divine space of the feminine, the vagina is the passage and birth canal for birthing ALL human life onto this Earthly plane! The vagina is also the unlimited pleasure haven, complete with exotic wetness and the breath taking “G” spot, it is home sweet home for the insertion and erotic sexual thrusts of a man’s penis. And magically, the vagina is the releasing center of a woman’s menstrual flow, which in and of its self, “when a woman is healthy that is” …is a perfectly organic cleaning mechanism to shed and release un-impregnated eggs and bodily toxins via blood, on a month to month basis. Starting from the onset menstrual flow of a girl who’s reached puberty, to the last menstrual flow drops of the mature woman, who is entering into the enlightening right of passage known as menopause. Never mistaken a woman’s divinity! Our bodily vessels deserve the ultimate respect and admiration, from ourselves first and then from the mates we choose as our lovers! Now… on a lighter note… well okay… maybe not! It has been written throughout time, that most wars are fought over religion, money, and VAGINA! HA! But who needs war… when we can be “Making Sweet Love” right?

7) The Anus – This part of a woman’s anatomy is beautiful and sensitive in its own right. The outer rim of the anus is very tender and rich in nerve endings. Right beyond the outer rim of the anus is the sphincter muscle, which un-like the muscles within the vaginal canal that have the dual capabilities of expanding and contracting, the sphincter muscle is designed by nature to contract. Anal play should be done in moderation, for the sphincter muscles tends to stretch and weaken. The anus is an organ of excretion, and the rectal passage way “always” has traces of bacterial waste/feces. Often women are in danger of infection when the bacteria known as ecoli that is found in the anus gets transferred inside of the vaginal canal via fingers, penis, and sex toys. The small hole at the tip of your man’s penis is known as the meatus. During penetration whether vaginal or anal, all of your bodily fluids enter into the man’s meatus, blood stream, and semen. Affection and re-affection occurs when your mate’s penal canal contains your bacterial waste/ecoli and ejaculates within your vaginal canal during sexual intercourse. The most common infection is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause severe abdominal pain, an itchy smelly discharge, a burning sensation while urinating e.t.c. Anal love-play does provide many women with sexual delight. It is therefore of the utmost importance that cleanliness is top priority to keep womb health in tip top shape. Excessive amounts of anal penetration will eventually induce medical complications like: digestive problems, irregularity of bowel movement, and eventually cancer of the rectum. Similar to the prostate gland found in men, women have a smaller but similar gland known as the cervix which gets stimulated from the push and pull of the penis during penetration. A very thin membrane separates the cervix from the anal passage-way, which causes arousal for some women during anal penetration. For women who indulge in this sexual experience, please approach it with a conscious awareness, use generous amounts of natural lubrication like extra virgin coconut oil, and a complete avoidance of allowing ecoli and feces from entering into your womb.

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17Feb/17
Knox Mahlaba

“Back from the Dead”- The Rising of the Spirit by Knox Mahlaba

“Back from the Dead” by Knox Mahlaba

The Rising of an African Spirit is a celebration of life, it’s different seasons, and the struggle to overcome. It is an anthology consisting of fifty poems; some poems are images of personal struggles, others visualize the celebration of love, and a few are odes to great leaders and historical reflections.

The single message this book intends to transfer to the reader is that a sense of self-love and appreciation does a world of good. Throughout the book, references are made to Africa with the sole intention of encouraging people, Africans on the continent, and across the Diaspora, to reflect on their rich identity, take responsibility for their self-concept, and to be proud of their heritage in order to inject a greater sense of self-worth and responsibility in their daily lives.

His poetry appears in the Kampala poetry anthology, which we’re launching during the Babishai Poetry Festival, August 26th to 28th at The Uganda Museum. Knox Mahlaba was born in Johannesburg, a proud Sowetan who has had the opportunity to live in different countries as a result of circumstance beyond his control and a desire to obtain an education. A copywriter by trade, he has worked for a multinational advertising company and with international brands. When writing wasn’t paying the bills, he supplemented his income with business initiatives and speaking engagements.

Moving from South Africa to Swaziland after the 1976 Soweto Riots and growing up in exile, he studied at a South African university and then overseas. Studying in America was an eye opener and afforded him the opportunity to interact with Africans from different countries. He had many Ugandan friends in the States and even visited the Ugandan embassy there. Writing about Kampala was like a home coming because as a child Uganda was in the news for the wrong reasons. Fortunately, his friends exposed him to another side of the story.

He has one published collection, Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit, available via Amazon and various online bookstores. He is currently working on his next book and intends on setting up a program to encourage writing and reading among the youth. As a Pan Africanist, his passion is sowing unity among Africans on the continent and abroad.

Writing is a release and something that comes naturally. Writing was a hobby that became a copywriting job and ultimately he began writing for a greater purpose. Mahlaba writes poetry to highlight the numerous conundrums that life offers. He prefers to relay life’s questions to readers to provoke possible answers. He also writes because he thinks African people should take the lead in defining the African experience and shaping young minds toward positive behavior.

“Soweto is a big place, where people are known by their nicknames, names related to their specialty. You really have to stand out to be recognized. It’s a place that thrives on confidence and big dreams. 1976 Student Uprisings define Soweto, the people are resilient and forever seek creative ways to achieve the best results and be the best.”

He has always been fascinated by words. “As a kid I disliked reading fiction because the characters and the plot undermined the aspirations of black people by misrepresenting them; I started reading newspapers from the age of five. It was only after reading ‘I Write What I Like’ by Steve Biko and the African Writer’s Series that I realized that there was only one way to alter the literature landscape, writing and detailing the black experience from a sympathetic perspective without being patronizing.”

Being the cultural melting pot of Johannesburg, its multicultural environment encourages multilingualism and develops interest in other culture, breeding acceptance. Soweto teaches you to be universal by removing ethnocentrism {tribalism} from the mind-set.

“I write about everything, everything that touches and affects the African soul – politics, social issues, and love. The media often portrays Africans as an unloving people, pure because they define love from a western perspective.”

“Universal topics, love, romance, life challenges, and being an African, I also home in on the effects of slavery, colonialism, tribalism and apartheid. We no longer love ourselves and our ways because of systematic brainwashing!”

Piece of the past, highlights the need for Africans to rediscover themselves and rebuild the family unit. I often say, poets take credit for the work of angels. The best poems won’t let you sleep, the words will wake you if you’re asleep, stop you from sleeping if awake, stop you from doing something else until the poem has form. My poems write themselves from my experiences first hand and second hand interactions.”

All the poems are inspired by Africa, half deal with the spirit, a quarter celebrates love in its various guises, and the another quarter focuses on Africa and the plight of her descendants wherever they may reside.

nature’s revenge.

Singing shosholoza……………….
……………………………………….
A ravaged ecosystem bears the blame
Drought the diagnosis
The men ascend the mountain
Unable to pray for rain
The boulders of culture excavated
Unable to pray in their own language
Pain passed from generation to generation
The mountain laughs

Excerpt from ‘nature’s revenge’

“Different strokes for different folks, I prefer to focus on the words, the words are meant to move you and not the costume or stage devices. History is written by the victor.”

“Poetry offers a balanced narrative of events. I would agree that the poet, more spiritually equipped to portray the truth, pity poets don’t have the resources given to historians. For example, a historian will toe the party line when dealing with ethnic violence, whereas the poet will focus on the loss of human life. The historian is only accountable to the government of the day; the poet is answerable to the ancestors and has to be accountable for an eternity.”

Some of his unpublished work is available on his blog Nativedrum. You can interact with him on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Google+.

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16Feb/17
Social Yaruna

Lindi Roaming the Streets at the Social Yaruna

In this edition of Lindi Roaming the Streets, Lindi visits the Social Yaruna!

“CREATIVITY IS A WILD MIND AND A DISCIPLINED EYE”

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Social YaRuna is an out of the box, diverse and artistic movement aimed at providing a platform to mold and nature future leaders of the entertainment world. “Ya Runa”, which means ours, aims at creating unity among the artists as well as unifying art lovers with those that chose to pursue a career in the world of entertainment.  The idea of YaRuna is to draw in the masses and teach them knowledge of how broad the art/entertainment industry is by bringing in a diverse group of individuals under one roof who will each bring in their own element; ultimately giving a platform for emerging artists to grow as artists as well as make a living from their crafts.

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YaRuna, established in September 2016, is hosted every first Saturday of the month and is co-owned by Thabang Modupo & Thobile Nhlapo.

These emerging events co-ordinators & stylist/image consultants are also qualified Business Analysts. Born and raised in the east of Johannesburg (born in Hillbrow, resided in Tembisa (tshepo extention) till the age of 7, then moved to Kempton Park in 1999.

They were also recently a Top 15 finalist in the global blogger style challenge, being the only African to have been a part of the competition.

“What defines me is my capability to adapt well to ever changing circumstances in my life, constantly transitioning from what society’s perception of what a young black man should look like as well as how a young entrepreneur like myself should dress or behave in order to be successful. I don’t conform to the norms of society hence I don’t want to restrict myself to just settling for the regular 9-5 lifestyle we as a black community have been trained since birth to take up, where we slave day in a day out only to make millions (daily) for someone else’s company only to earn peanuts only once a month.”

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It’s not everyday that society is gifted with a radical youth, who is not afraid to dance to her own tune or help liberate the minds of other youth around her. This 23 year old photographer from Sebokeng, Vaal, began using her photography career three years ago, as a self-expressive art that she now wishes to share with the world. She describes her photography as a form of “Expressionism”- as most of her work carries subliminal meaning and weight from within!

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Thobile has photographed South African stars, including AKA, Kelly Khumalo, and Mandoza. “I hope to be given an opportunity to further develop my skills and more importantly, to working with people I can learn from.”

“SPIRIT IS HER NAME”

spirit

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“You can not use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.”

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“The shoe cobbler”

“The Shoe Cobbler” is a customization business that was founded by 3 young entrepreneurs, Tshepang Ramoji, Thabo Kholoane & Sabata Mpholo who identified and realized how the local trend where they’re from was so behind, so they re-introduced a forgotten street culture (sneaker customization) in the Vaal.

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TSC basically gives all worn out sneakers a second chance by re-modifying them and giving them a brighter and better colour to match the look you’ve always had in mind.

•The vision of TSC is to be known and recognized internationally because of the creativity we all have to offer.
•Our mission is to provide high quality services that are trustworthy, join every well known markets that display art, and, most of all, enhance our entrepreneurial excellence.
 
IG-@the_shoe_cobbler
FACEBOOK – Tshepang Samson Ramoji

CELL no.- 0818790398

FACEBOOK – Thabo Lovey Koloane
CELL no-0603497163
 
FACEBOOK – Sabata Sabo Mpholo
CELL no.-0799882973
Hector Pieterson (1963 – 16 June 1976) became the subject of an iconic image of the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa when a news photograph by Sam Nzima of the dying Hector being carried by another student while his sister ran next to them, was published around the world. He was killed at the age of 13 when the police opened fire on protesting students. For years, 16 June stood as a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. Today, it is designated Youth Day — when South Africans honour young people and bring attention to their needs. #FEESMUSTFALL
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Live painting
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Soulful sounds by Sio
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Live Body Painting 
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The Royal Vibrations is a marimba group that has a percussive musical combination of marimba, djembe, dance and vocals. The band comprises of ten Members who share common roots with different social and cultural orientations. The group represents the nicest melodies ever found in the musical history of mankind and is based in the heart of Johannesburg, Hillbrow (at the Hillbrow Theatre).

The Royal Vibrations fuses traditional music with western sound effects and a modernized interpretation of time, space and circumstance. The band plays a variety of musical styles that include Southern Africa traditional songs, Afro-fusion, jazz, house, gospel, afro-pop and classical sounds. Members of the band respectively are rich in experience of the entertainment industry and have performed on both local and international music festivals and concerts.

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To date, the experience within the band blends into a unique acoustic feel with an essential rhythmic touch that refreshes, heals and gives an uplifting sensation that restores our sense of dignity and self-pride. The Royal Vibrationz works with a number of session musicians from all over South Africa, and has collaborated with international live bands on various occasions, including Melita Matsinhe based in Norway. The Royal Vibrations is currently the holders of the best marimba band in South Africa’s National Marimba Festival 2013 and the International Marimba & Steelpan Festival 2013. The great band has a live audio recording they did in 2013 titled “The Journey” That includes cover versions from the great African and international musicians and some of their own compositions. “We are here to give you the best marimba music at festivals, concerts, graduation ceremonies, corporate functions, parties and weddings.” They offer the following services:

Live Marimba Band (Afro-jazz, contemporary jazz, house, reggae, soul, afro-soul, RnB)

Take a chill pill and unwind with a game of Pack Man!!!
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“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that colour your world. Constantly colour your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humour, and your picture begins to lighten up.”

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Midrand Social Squad
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PHOTO CRED:@jay_dundidit      
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11Feb/17
Cultural Appropriation

Here’s When Cultural Appropriation is OK

Cultural Appropriation: A Beginner’s Guide

Curtis M. Wong at Huffington Post celebrated Ben Yahr, a gay white man who thought it’d be cool to inject cultural appropriation into Beyonce’s maternity photos. He thought wrong. While Wong is no critical race scholar, it is still surprising he finds Yahr’s behavior celebration-worthy. Just like it’s never okay for gay white men to call themselves “Black women,” Yahr is not functioning as an ally in this series of photos where he appropriates Beyonce’s Black body. It’s disappointing that the Huffington Post has chosen to give this microaggression a platform. It’s time for white people to fall back.

In the article, Wong quotes Beyonce by noting that Yahr’s series of photos is flawless. Here I agree with Wong, these photos are a flawless. They are a flawless example of how gay white men can be racist too. Congratulations.huffpo cultural appropriation For Wong to suggest that this effort by Yahr encourages everyone to embrace body positivity is another way of telling us our Black bodies are not good enough or that some white man can perform Blackness better. As a Black woman who struggles with body positivity, Yahr’s work only silences the joy I felt when I saw Beyonce’s photos.

We collectively smiled at Blue Ivy kissing her mother’s belly. It was a contrast to of the way pregnant Black women were tortured during chattel slavery. Seeing Nefertiti in the background of her photo inspired the hope of resurrection for our culture. I thought about last Black History Month when she performed at the Super Bowl in a way that made me forget all the trauma we face on a daily basis as Black women.

Yahr attempted to desecrate that.

This is the norm: ignore Black culture until it is legitimized by whites. For example, there is an unlimited supply of young Black girls twerking, but white girls are often credited with popularizing the dance. Andy Cohen is an excellent example of a gay white man who appropriates Black women, yet fails to acknowledge his racial bias. The Bravo “Watch What happens Live” host called Amandla Stenberg a “jackhole” after she commented on Kylie Jenner’s cultural appropriation. This ignored the undeniable ways he has directly benefitted from the work of Black women: his show only came into existence after the predominantly Black Real Housewives of Atlanta, despite several all white Real Housewives series.

To say Yahr’s appropriation “slays” is an overstatement at best. What he really does is get a little more famous on the back of a hard working Black woman. That is not innovative. That is simply cultural appropriation. Please miss me with that.

Many of us remember Laganja Estranja whose cultural appropriation rivaled that of Elvis Presley. Estranja, a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, was the epitome of appropriation. This is a person known for twerking like Beyonce and fake code switchingIsobel DeBrujah notes that this is all “an obvious imitation of black voice/speech patterns, specifically black female voice/speech patterns, specifically black, southern, speech patterns popularized by white people at black people’s expense.”

The lack of respect and outright unwillingness to accept when they are called out is rampant.

Why do white men–especially gay white men, who in a better world should be our allies–feel like it’s ok to use our bodies without our knowledge or permission? There are ways to prove your point without the unapologetic cultural appropriation Black women. Any intended commentary is invalidated when you represent the same disregard for our existence as the people/systems Cultural Appropriationyou criticize. This is not some one-off incident. There is a litany of gay white men who enjoy our Black womanhood, while routinely dismissing our grievances.

We have been telling white gay men about their blatant cultural appropriation for years, but the message hasn’t quite sunk in for the Huffington Post. The proliferation of polite racism is why we can’t have anything. White supremacy persists because of the invisible privilege that white LGBTQ communities ignore. Yes, there are some people coming to Yahr’s defense and adding context, but this blatant disrespect will never be ok. There will always be white people who apologize and make excuses for their racist peers. Cultural appropriation and its apologists are not new and they are not acceptable.

I know what some readers are thinking, though. Can’t we celebrate everyone? Why does it have to be racial? What if we just enjoy the culture? These are all completely natural questions.

So when is cultural appropriation of Black women OK?

Try February 31st.

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10Feb/17
Elegant Evenings Boutique

Spotlight: Elegant Evenings Boutique

Michelle Ragland is the owner and founder of Elegant Evenings Boutique. She has been in business for four years. In conversation she reflects on when she was a little girl and how she use to dress her dolls up and have “fashion shows” and from there, at the age of nine, she discovered fashion was her passion.

The first design Michelle did was a dress that her cousin wore to a formal event. She showed it to one of her seamstresses that she currently works with; she was so proud of herself, and excited because her cousin looked absolutely gorgeous. The person who inspired her to start her brand was Monif C, and God. She always prayed and listened to what God was telling her before she took a leap into anything. Her brand caters to all types of audiences from bridal, elegant events, pageants, kids, and couture clothing. Her latest fall fashion style are designs with a lot of orange and browns incorporated in her designs. She has attended 20 shows since her brand has been released.

One of Michelle’s major setbacks’ was trying to get her brand out to the world while not having enough family and close friends believe in her vision. It was only her mom and herself financing her vision and the cost of getting her brand out to the world was really expensive. With the help of God and the determination of herself and her mother, they made Elegant Evenings come to life.

During Michelle’s time as a Fashion Designer, the best advice she was given was: “You must crawl before you walk.” She uses that advice to inspire other models and during her selection process. She does have a method of choosing models. She loves to chose models who are passionate and serious about their career. She knows with those models they will be loyal, and will make her designs look more beautiful. She also uses models that are given to her, but, she prefers to do casting calls and speak with the models.

Elegant Evenings Boutique

Elegant Evenings Boutique

Elegant Evenings Boutique

If Michelle could design for any supermodel it would be a mixture of these amazing models: Kimora Lee Simmons, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, and Roshumba Williams. She sees these ladies as powerful and independent women. If she could do a photo shoot anywhere in the world to represent power, she would do the shoot in Africa.

Michelle would love to thank everyone who has believed in her and her brand. She would love to thank her mom Josephine Brodie, her son Javon, her aunt and assistant Beatrice Gill, best friend Tracy Andrews, and Antoinne Duane Williams for the amazing networking and shows they have done together. She would also like to thank Aly Camara, and Alvin AJR Imagery for the amazing photo shoots that they have done together over the years. She would also like to give a thank you all the beautiful and dedicated  models she has met over the years.

Instagram

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03Feb/17
Bella's Adventures in Africa

Young African Sisters write Pan-African Children’s Book, Bella’s Adventures in Africa

Bella’s adventures in Africa is a self-published Pan African children’s book by British Zimbabwean sisters Rutendo Muzambi and Rebecca Darko, which is beautifully illustrated by Guy Stratton. It follows a girl who leaves England to embark on journey across Africa with her parents. It is a collection of nine short stories based in eight different African countries – Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

Bella's Adventures in AfricaRutendo’s inspiration for writing the book was derived from a number of experiences. One of the key reasons, was her passion for African culture and the need to promote more positive views of Africa. She has always been passionate about celebrating and embracing her African heritage. During her years in secondary school, she was awarded the Jack Petchey Award for her 5 year contribution and commitment to the annual black history competitions. However, she encountered negative stereotypical views from friends and colleagues, who would innocently ask whether Africans lived amongst wild animals and in tiny huts. These views were a far cry from the fun and happy childhood she and her sister had experienced and the modern Africa that we know and love. It appeared to them that some people did not realize that Africa is a continent of many nations, languages, cultures and values. Thus they wanted to write a book that moved away from the stereotypes and showed African children having fun adventures.

Like many other African young people, Rutendo and Rebecca followed the traditional route of going to university and gaining their educational qualifications. Rutendo gained her Masters degree in pharmacy whilst Rebecca also completed her Masters. However, they both still had a passion for writing and wanted to share their love of the African continent with other people. Thus during Rebecca’s maternity leave they began to write short adventure stories set in Africa and completed the book in December 2016.

With over 100 illustrations and adventurous short stories, this book shows African children having adventures. It is important for children to develop an understanding and appreciation of other cultures and to also foster a positive attitude towards people who are of a different background to them. When children of African heritage see themselves reflected in books, it enhances their self-esteem and builds their confidence. It also enables children of African heritage to see their continent in a more positive light, learn more about different African countries and to be proud of their African heritage.

Bella’s Adventures in Africa published on the 17th of January 2017. It is available on Amazon and on their website www.riverfrog.co.uk

Bella's Adventures in Africa  Bella's Adventures in Africa

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03Feb/17
Kenneth McDuffie

Chef Kenneth McDuffie is Young & Hungry

Kenneth McDuffieKenneth McDuffie makes his brand known in the city where it all began… His Philadelphia. McDuffie, Philadelphia native, is an independent, motivated, and strong believer in God. With a big personality and an even larger heart, he has given his time, energy, love, and his passion for food to becoming an educator of the art of cooking. Being raised by his Great Grandmother, the late Esther A. Smith, who taught him everything that he needed to know about food, McDuffie began catering baby showers, church banquets, weddings, and later landed himself a job with a popular cruise line. He moved to Hawaii where Kenneth could share his passion for food on a greater bicoastal scale.

Kenneth McDuffiePrior to moving to Hawaii, Kenneth had already started his own catering business in 2009. He recently revamped his brand and changed the name to “Young and Hungry.” Young and Hungry has already cooked for celebrity clients such as hip hop artist Juelz Santana and Senator Vincent Hughes and his wife actress Sheryl Lee Ralph. McDuffie is a weekly guest with his own segment WCW (WE’RE COOKING WEDNESDAY) on the Big Nate & Da Big Bang Morning Show on URU Radio, he’s a guest on Moment with Purple Queen on PQ1Radio, and has also became a sponsor for the Philadelphia Democratic

National Convention BLK out Social Mixer. He cooked his well known Fish Tacos for Philly’s legendary radio DJ and philanthropist Ms. Patty Jackson. This past summer, McDuffie also became the 2016 Bell Award recipient at The Philadelphia Black Expo.

‘Don’t take criticism too personal. You are a wonderful person!’ – Kenneth McDuffie

Currently working towards opening his own restaurant, McDuffie is ready to make his big dream into a larger reality. His goals are to give back to his community, educate up and coming chefs, and advise the young chefs on thriving in their positions whether it is cooking or not. With a mission to encourage the

youth to stay humble and faithful, He also embeds in their minds to grab a bite of great opportunities offered in this world until they’re full and make sure to pay their blessings forward onto others. Check his hashtags #WIKJM #YoungandHungry #ChefKenny

Kenneth McDuffie

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02Feb/17
Fashion On Belmont

3 Black Cats Café Announces Fashion On Belmont Event Feb 18th in Brooklyn

Fashion On BelmontOn February 18th, 2017 an exciting fashion event is coming to Belmont ave., Brooklyn. Fashion On Belmont, sponsored by progressive Brooklyn businesses 3 Black Cats Café, BGUConcepts and Georgia Stitch, is a night of fun, high fashion and community building.

Fashion and Brooklyn can come hand in hand. Three Brooklyn women owned and operated businesses are celebrating this idea on February 18th, 2017 at 3 Black Cats Café on Belmont ave, Brooklyn. The special event is titled Fashion on Belmont and is proudly being sponsored by 3 Black Cats Café and fashion trendsetters BGUConcepts and Georgia Stitch. Excitement surrounding the event is high.

“Helping empower community businesses and individuals is a big part of our vision,” commented a spokesperson from 3 Black Cats Café. “BGUConcepts and Georgia Stitch aren’t just making amazing fashion, but they are also inspirational example of what can be done when our community puts our mind to it. Fashion on Belmont shouldn’t be missed, it’s going to be a great experience.”

According to 3 Black Cats Café, the combination cafe/bakery and community space is the dream of three Brownsville sisters come to life. Proud to be a “cafe with a purpose”, the eatery has quickly become a Brooklyn “third space” that’s showing love to Brooklyn every day they are open. Fashion On Belmont is the latest expression of this drive.

Fashion On Belmont co-sponsor BGUConcepts is another proud Brooklyn women owned business. Since 2002 the fashion company has been a trendsetter and ground breaker in the plus sized community, respected for their fun, sexy and innovative designs and attitude. Well known for often being a choice for some very well known celebrity curves, their participation in the February event certainly adds to the excitement.

Third sponsor of the event, Georgia Stitch, has taken the art of custom designed clothing to the next level. Exceeding the expectations of everyone from high school girls wanting the perfect prom dress, community organizers and empowerment speakers, all the way to first ladies of the church, the Brooklyn-based fashion business never disappoints. Fashion On Belmont is certainly a great venue to see what Georgia Stitch is offering, both as a business and as a proud part of the community.

Fashion On Belmont takes place on February 18th, 2017 at 3 Black Cats Café. The cafe is located at 3 Belmont ave, Brooklyn, NY 11212. The event starts at 7 PM.

For more information be sure to email fashonbel@gmail.com.

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02Feb/17
ii-Kaya

Black Beauty II-Kaya as Mami Wata

II-Kaya Embracing the essence of Mami Wata

One brief glimpse is all it takes
to become enchanted by her mystery.
created exquisitely, she moves fluidly
within and throughout the living waters.
She may only appear for a moment,
but a single moment is enough
to influence one toward becoming
fully immersed in her aqueous realm.
Searching for nautical miles;
following her song of sweet serenity.
Many would be unable to see it through.
Though there are few who would never
set foot on dry land again;
who would forever
hold their breath and swim
along side her for eternity…

As she investigates the surface,
she does not succumb to the shallows.
She remains free to come and go as she pleases.
It is in her nature to manifest
that which her heart desires.
However simple or extraordinary it may be.
From time to time she ventures to the shore
and makes a splash
before returning to the sea.
Like the waves that crash on the sandy beach,
she brings with her many treasures
but takes a part of it when she leaves.
Tidal movements guided by lunar Inergies.
Those who are fortunate enough to feel her presence
would be unable to forget;
While others sail around the world to find her
but never catch her in their net…

Her depths, they are uncharted,
there is another world in her eyes.
She travels across oceans,
navigates the estuaries;
journeys up streams and rivers.
She is known around the globe by many names:
La Sirene, Mama Glow, Madre de agua,
Yemoja, Oshun, MamiWata…
For millennia her legend has been told.
A deity in the mortal world;
many see her as a fantasy.
She piques the imagination.
However, this mystical being
is no mere mythical creature.
She is divine, yet misunderstood
so she changes form
and remains hidden from the unworthy man.
Those who betray and hurt her;
they who cannot honor her with fidelity
will never sight her again once she has submerged.
Yet there need only be one to recognize her
and create a sacred space; a safe haven
for the Goddess to re-emerge!

Royal | II-Kaya – @ii-kaya_ises, @model_ii_kaya_ises
Photo | @Jahrevealdesigns

ii-Kaya  ii-Kaya ii-Kaya

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02Feb/17
cloudy visions

Taji Artist Lounge: Cloudy Visions

Cloudy VisionsCloudy Visions, born Danai Graham, is a painter based in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Taji Mag: How did you discovered my craft:
Cloudy Visions: I discovered art at a young age. I remember really trying hard to copy cartoon characters and finally getting that “S” with the the lines down packed. I used to not want to go out and hang out and lay with the other kids. I would rather draw cartoons and make up characters. I’ve always drawn, but never really did anything with it, it was a hidden talent that nobody really knew about. After taking school trips to museums and then later in life doing lots of research on dope artists such as Michael Jean Basquait, Miya Bailey, Justin Bua, Funny Tummy, Kaws and others helped me fall in love with art. I moved to Denver in 2015 for work, didn’t know anybody there. That’s where I painted my first canvas out of boredom and loneliness. It was pretty bad, lol, but I enjoyed the process and I’ve been doing it ever since. I have now been painting seriously for 2 years, started my Instagram page on 1/2/16, and did my first shows and events all in 2016.
Taji: What inspires your work?
CV: The inspirations for my art work are usually from conversations, real life occurrences, a lot from music, and my family.
Music: Music is big influence on my work. I listen to A LOT of music, it tells the stories that I’m not able to tell verbally. While painting, I am usually listening to instrumentals with a jazzy soulful vibe. This then allows me to make the words or the emotion that I would put on the track through my painting. In my art, it really is the thing that puts me in a creative space. Painting without music probably won’t ever happen. I am that guy who finds random artists from all over the world and digs for music. Its a passion of mine; I can’t live without my music.
Real Life and having my own style: I’ve gone through some stuff. Being an only child has made me a “loner” so being able to say it without saying anything is a big help for me. I really try to put something personal on every canvas I do, even if it’s just the color that I paint a character or a random place, that color will be an emotion I felt or feel. My style is different. Growing up in London, England exposed me to different cultures and lifestyles so you will see that in my art. Sometimes I will paint someone Black, other times the person will be blue but you can still see that it’s a Black person. To me that’s just saying we are all the same in ways even when we are different in color. I love being labeled a Black artist but I don’t want to be boxed in. I can do a bunch of everything. Just like in life, we all want to grow, don’t box me into anything, I’m a  free spirit. I am also a grown man with real world  issues like everyone, a husband, a father, etc., my aim is to let you know that.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

cloudy visions cloudy visions cloudy visions

cloudy visions

 

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