Release Mar 7 2017 | Vol10 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling it’s theme of “Revolutionize”! This volume features Pan-Africanist and Entreprenuer EmpressAK on the cover. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick: Fruiggie is Making Painting Fun & Safe; the community feature on the powerful Ezekial’s Divine Oil; Hair Feature by Mz Lady Lox; “Multiple Streams of Revenue = Wealth” by Nay Marie; “The Root of Travel” by M’Bwebe Ishangi; the delicious seafood catering and pop ups of KnicknacksBK; unique eyewear from 9oclockteeparty; the sensual scrubs, butters, and jewels of TheCelestineCollection; “#CareFreeBlackKids2k17 & Beyond” by Tajh Danielle Sutton; “#BlackLoveConvo” with Africa Jackson & Dapper Dr. Feel; our Health & Fitness Advice Columns with Trainer Clint & Delliz the Chef; Featured artist Will Focus; Must Have Comic Book: Is’Nana the Were-Spider by Greg Anderson Elysée; the Taji Model Winners; and more!!
It isn’t as if POTUS Cheeto has managed to clone himself and send his minions to enforce the executive order. Those that are implementing these shameful and immoral dictations are citizens like you and I (saying that as referentially as possible, fully acknowledging the entire rank and system is one big delusion of grandeur). They are people who have to work for a living, rely on their jobs for healthcare, and likely have immigrants no more than 3 generations removed. If there was a twinge of consciousness and concern, it was likely overruled by instinct to maintain their own livelihood first. This delusion has become the means by which we are made to feel that standing for what is right risks our own survival.
In any war or oppression, the citizens are the ones to carry the burden of some power-hungry, greed-stricken aristocrat. It could be said that the armed forces and the like are just ‘doing their job” but not speaking against what is wrong silently reinforces it. An injustice to some is an injustice to all, with the opposite being true as well. We as humans have such a capacity for love that we do not necessarily get to exercise within this manufactured society. I don’t believe that true freedom is in being able to choose which color refrigerator we want or which ecosystem disrupting fuel we use to heat our home. I truly believe that true freedom is not a solitary movement.
What if majority of those who are responsible for carrying out these tyrannical sanctions simply refused? What if the man power that is necessary to abuse and oppress were to fully awaken to its TRUE power? It may seem far-fetched, but it is entirely possible sine what a man can think, he can do. Why “squabble over pieces of the Earth”, when in our truth we ARE Earth. We are slowly coming to realize that our true freedom lies in the fortification of the collective and our ability to outwardly manifest the sanctity and oneness of all. We are crawling towards awakening, but there are plenty who are still mired in darkness. For now, that is okay, as they are as necessary to our advancement as our own vertical movement is. We can spread our light simply by continuing to be that light, but it is going to take a lot more than just doing so for ourselves. We have to be as adamant and soaked with conviction as those of us who choose to preserve hate. What if we ALL found ways to show and share our light consciously so for the benefit of Humanity? Especially within our own Cultures and Communities where we have adept influence. How much more powerful will we be when we choose to put our lights together and perpetuate a greater good!
It is easy to wish the climate were more conducive to our growth but if man had nothing to resist him, he would not exist. More so now than ever, I am consistently asking myself how I can contribute to our united ascension. We must each pick our avenue; for some it will be fiery protest while for others it will be watery ritual and visualization. Some will plant the seeds and some will build the shelter, but we all must do something. I am glad you are on your electronic device reading this, but in knowing better, we are required to do better as well. I know you have a life to live and a self to preserve but your soul is eternal and you are a part of the whole. What will YOU do? We need you.
“Helios is known as the god of the sun in greek mythology. I always show the paramount nature of the black woman. With the defined and unyielding beauty which Emma has, I had no other in mind to show what the god of the sun looks like.”
Jefferson Ariaga is a Nigerian Boston based fashion photographer.
As much as we want (and NEED) Missy Elliott to be a constant presence in our lives, we’ll gladly accept these annual bangers with visual videos that make everything else current look like child’s play. From concept to choreo, this video is everything. Shout to her dancers as always! There’s levels of core and balance required to execute these moves that us sub humans cannot even imagine. Missy keep slaying!
Missy Elliott – I’m Better ft. Lamb [Official Video]
“The most important part of a tree is the root” says Tandra Birkett, who is not only the executive producer of Harlem Fashion Week, but she is also a historian. And as a historian she recognizes the importance of Harlem’s cultural roots… Africa. As a result HFW donates a portion of its proceeds to the Senegalese American Bilingual School and their initiative The Big Goree Project. The goal of the Big Goree Project is the restoration of the The House of Slaves, the originial slave fortress into a Slave Museum on Goree Island in Senegal, West Africa. “We believe that it is integral to maintain a productive connection with Africa and the arts, more specifically fashion, is an avenue that we used to sustain that connection.” As a result, one month after the historic grand opening of Harlem Fashion Week in the fall of 2016, Tandra and Yvonne were on a plane to Senegal, West Africa. “We did not want to just give money but we wanted to personally connect with our roots ”.
The creative director of Harlem Fashion Week, Yvonne Jewnell is also the lead designer and co-owner of the fashion design company Yvonne Jewnell New York LLC. As a designer, the culture, texture and history of Africa are the inspiration for her design aesthetic. “Fashion is art and my art must reflect my heritage. I have always been drawn to creativity and story of African culture and I want my designs to reflect the interconnectivity of an African in America. Actually going to Senegal was not only a personal transformation but it was also a design inspiration that will be reflected in my new collection, showing on February 12, 2017 on the main stage of Harlem Fashion Week.” Yvonne Jewnell.
While in Senegal Tandra and Yvonne visited the Senegalese American Bilingual School, it was a refreshing experience to visit with Stephanie Kane and the students of SABS. Tandra shared, “As an educator I was so excited to meet the children, I had to jump in on their lecture about Christopher Columbus, it was a great experience!”
Tandra and Yvonne also had the pleasure of visiting the mayor’s office at Goree Island and meeting with the Chief of Staff Mamadou Adama Diop, we discussed ways of building a stronger relationship with Goree Island and the African Diaspora through the arts and education.
Tandra shared, “The last part of our pilgrimage to Senegal was bittersweet, it was time to visit the slave fortress on Goree Island and stand at the “Door of No Return” the place where the ancestors stood before they were stolen from Senegal forever”. Tandra said, “As I approached the The House of Slaves, Le Maison des Esclaves I literally broke down in tears, I could feel the pain of my ancestors.”
Tandra and Yvonne came back to the states with a new sense of vision and purpose. Harlem Fashion Week will once again be donating funds to the Big Goree Project, your ticket purchase to the February 12th Runway Show at The Museum of the City of NewYork will help to restore La Maison Des Enclaves into an Amazing museum and the Door of No Return Will become “The Door of Return” for the African Diaspora.
Harlem Fashion Week hope that you will join us on February 12th, knowing that your ticket purchase helps to not only build a female-minority owned women’s business in the United States but HFW is also helping to restore relationships with the African continent and financially support the children and institutions in Senegal, West Africa.
“Special Thanks to:
Eugene Adams, the Director of Collaborative Education at Bronx Community College, the American liaison of the Big Goree Project,
Stephanie Kane, Founder and Director of the Senegalese American Bilingual School
Mr. Sandaro Fame, our guide and educator at SABS
Mamadou Adama Diop the Chief of Staff for the mayors office at Goree Island”
For More Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet a Real Hustle Bunny! Atlanta’s own singer/rapper/songwriter/
Reign has co-produced with platinum producers and wrote for upcoming Universal acts. Currently she is under her own label “Hustle Bunny Campaign” while still working with super producer Mr. Hanky pushing the club single “Hilary Banks.” Check it out for yourself!
Natoya P created a collection of work that embodies her daily experiences as a woman. This body of work takes us through the present stages of life. She seeks to evoke emotions of heartbreak, love, bliss self-realization, and self-acceptance. She states that “many times society overlooks the inner evolution a woman goes through to attain self-actualization and become enough. We don’t take time to reflect on the journey we take to get to the point of self-love and acceptance. This collection takes us through that personal journey of a woman painting the pictures of the pages of a diary.” This is Natoya’s first formal collection and introduction to the world of art. Her work highlights the use of colors to depict the story on a canvas. Her dynamic pieces are multifaceted, showcasing various walks of life.
Natoya can be contacted by emailing email@example.com for showings, interviews and inquires. | Natoya P Instagram
Celebrating our Heritage in Vernac!
The everyday language spoken by people as distinguished from the literary language. Railways Cafe is of an indigenous building style using local materials and traditional methods of construction and ornament especially as distinguished from academic and historical architectural styles. Every country has its peculiar turns of phrase – quirks that give local languages flavor, color, and character. But unless you’re a native speaker, local slang can be tricky to grasp, let alone use. South Africa, with its 11 official languages, is blessed with a rich slang culture that can be quite daunting for foreign visitors – heck, even some residents flounder when faced with some of the more obscure lingo. “Heterogeneous We Are”
Railways Café, based in Irene Pretoria, is one of the most diverse restaurants enriched with culture and the spirit of UBUNTU. On this day we celebrated the underground musicians that go unnoticed, yet produce the most powerful, rich sounds of Africa. People from all parts of the globe came through to honor these beautiful souls.
We spotted Mr Sibabalwenathi Mfabe, writer of “Azania 1236″
The story of Azania continues in the year 1236 in the territory slightly south, and then into the north and its east in what we know today as KwaZulu Natal. In Azanian times no such place had existed at the time of the events that begun in 1234 and continued two years later. Here in these lands, lush and well vegetated, had been brought to order and control by the well liked custodian Cagn, under instruction and supreme protection of Tsui-Goab, Azania’s Arch Custodian. The book will be launched at one of the Taji Night’s book reading events soon.
“DO NOT SAY YOU WERE NOT WARNED”
All artwork sold is exclusively hand made to suit your individual desire by;
This wall is situated just outside the restrooms for individuals to write what they want to do to change the world. I found that very fascinating.
“I want to change the world by always trying my best in everything I do and by being an outstanding ambassador for our nation, everywhere and under all circumstances, create an environment that will enable us to fulfill our vision of making our nation exceptional.” -Muhlez
“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” – Nikki Giovanni
Last month, Taji hosted an event to honour our Queens, and with that came a gift hamper sponsored by ShowbizAfrika, Muhlez Catering and Projects and Peo Information Technologies. This hamper went to the Queen who is and has always been the light in underprivileged communities, and selflessly so.
“My dream is to retire to my very own orphanage.”
The children of Setlopo, a small village in Mahikeng north west of South Africa, hand printed this sheet in her honour.
This woman has been sharing her income with communities for over twenty years, and has never asked for help doing so. We found that very touching and not to mention inspiring and heart-warming.
She carries five (5) degrees of different sectors, yet she chose to teach ONLY in rural settlements, because she believed it was her calling.
“YOU WILL NEVER INFLUENCE THE WORLD BY TRYING TO BE LIKE IT.”
Why I Cut My Hair: Black Girl Magic
When I decided to cut my hair two years ago, on October 3, 2014, the shortest I’d ever gone at the time, it was due to the excessive shedding I was experiencing. I was also looking forward to having a new look. I’d had the same style for the last decade and desperately wanted a change. I also wasn’t happy with the growing, and visible, specks of gray at the crown of my head.
Since cutting my hair, however, the versatility and self-awareness that came with it, gave me a sense of confidence that I’d never known before.
With the cut went the notion that a Black woman with little to no hair couldn’t still be beautiful and feminine at the same time. I know not everyone believes that, but growing up in a world where your beauty is defined by European standards, your sense of self can be non-existent.
Cutting my hair freed me of such a notion. For the first time, I began to see ME! The real me, what was under the hair. As my confidence grew, I became more playful and experimental with makeup and various short crops, highlights, whether curly, straight, natural and everything in between to accentuate my natural features. The standards that I’d grown to know as normal began to subside. I felt beautiful. Authentically beautiful. Just as I am and there was/is beauty in that.
I recently shared the above image with my Instagram followers with this statement:
“I use to think that having long hair was a beauty feature. Especially as a Black girl seeing perpetuated ideals of what it means to be beautiful. And to be considered a beautiful Black woman. Ironically I’ve never felt more beautiful after cutting all my hair off and going nearly bald. The best thing you can do for yourself is reject society’s definition of what’s beauty and find it in you. You already have everything in you. Imo short hair gives you versatility. And a big chop normally represents new birth/a new phase in your life. I’m ready ❤️”
To my surprise, there were many brown faces on my feed sharing their own thoughts on the matter, and expressing much of the same sentiments.
When I re-read that message, I recall the days in elementary school wanting my hair to be long and down my back like some of the other girls in my class. And along with it, lighter features: fairer skin and a straighter nose.
I don’t know how young or at what age I began to acquire these standards, and internalizing them as my own, but I am sure that they are the same ideals passed down from my mother, sister, grandmother, aunts, cousins, and friends. And it’s important for me now to break that cycle, so that I can pass down better messaging to my future daughter. To own her beauty and feel confident and enjoy every bit of this black girl magic.
What I also hope this message does for others, like myself, is help them in eradicating beauty standards that aren’t ideal or natural or maintainable. It’s important to understand that beauty comes in all forms, shapes, sizes and colors and, honestly, it starts with each one of us.
They say a woman who cuts her hair is getting ready to change her life. For me, that is exactly what happened. I changed my perspective and it reflected externally.
You won’t begin to see your physical beauty until you’ve tapped into your inner beauty, what makes you so unique, different and special. Loving you trumps any social standard of what you should look like and who you should be.
Today is bitter sweet. Bitter because this is our final #MustLoveBeards profile of 2016. Sweet because we are bringing back our Taji Mag crowd favorite: Nestle Snipes. This Good Black Man is the lead photographer of Made For a King Photography. A lot has happened since we last spoke with this bearded dapper gent.
Since our last encounter, Nestle Snipes recently shot 8-Time Olympic Track & Field Medalist & Fellow Jamaican Legend Veronica Campbell-Brown and Mr. Fly Malcolm X himself was once again featured in the Hunks 4 Hope calendar, and Made For a King photography has grown its client base. You might have caught a glimpse of our bearded brother on an episode of the breakout Netflix series Luke Cage.
We already know about his stunning portfolio and philanthropic work. This time, we want to look more closely at the man behind the lens.
Africa Jackson: Last time we spoke, it was such a meaningful conversation. It was great to learn about your work to stop domestic violence and your clearly superior artistic eye. We focused a lot on your business before, and now we want to focus more on you. What makes you happy?
Nestle Snipes: (smiles) A lot of things — a healthy bond with others, experiencing nature, laying in the grass, meditation, doing something meaningful with my hands. Giving gifts and seeing the recipient smile. Laughing — I love a good laugh. I enjoy partying. If people want to be jovial, I’m down. Spending time with my mom also makes me happy.
“Our potential is limitless.”
AJ: Ok. You’re in film school, you volunteer, you’re an activist, you party, you run a successful business, you stay fly, and you let fans like me ask questions for 2 hours… but how do you take care of yourself?
Nes: Easy question. In the morning I have an hour of silence. Total hour of appreciation. Daily mantras are vital. I look at my vision board. When I come home, I listen to inspirational music with powerful frequencies: Afrobeat, electronica, jazz.
Taking care of myself also involves proper sleep. I want more people to realize that grown-ups are not exempt from naps.
AJ: Let mainstream media tell it, a good Black man is still hard to find. We know that is a myth, but in the midst of the negative energy thrown at yall, I want to know something. What is the greatest thing about being a Black man?
Nes: Our potential is limitless. We are often so revered and appropriated, but our resilience in uncanny. We convert sunlight into energy (metaphorically and literally).
AJ: So much of the miscommunication between Black men and Black women comes from lack of knowledge or lack of understanding. Black love is powerful and has the potential to grow even stronger. What is one thing you wish Black women knew about Black men to help cultivate that growth?
Nes: The Black man you interact with is only working with what he has at the moment. Don’t infringe on his freedoms based on your own desires. For example, getting work done is paramount for me at the moment. I don’t want to cheat myself or anyone else, so I may not pursue a woman. Please don’t say “all men” or “yall men”. We are trying. Don’t be disheartened by certain men who receive you wrong. Young Black boys deal with trauma that may stem from unresolved issues. Many of us had no clear definition of manhood.
“Little gestures mean a lot, yes, but I know it is not enough.”
AJ: What is one thing you wish you knew about Black women?
Nes: How can I be more of an ally beyond taking you out [to dinner]? How can we help? Little gestures mean a lot, yes, but I know it is not enough. We are at a loss without you telling us. The best way for Black women to communicate their needs to Black men is to do it without being condescending. Please don’t project the pain from other men onto us. In 2017 I want people to stop negative blaming and projecting insecurities. We have full autonomy. the transfer of energy matters.
“I want Black men to start protecting Black women.”
Visit Made For a King Photography and Bearded Dapper Gents to learn more about the upcoming projects of this undeniably talented good Black man. You can also treat yourself by following him on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. His new blog “Simply Snipes” is set for an early 2017 release.
Congratulations on your recent and continued success, Black man. We look forward to your next great project.