03Aug/20
Black Dance Stories

Black Dance Stories August 2020 Lineup

Black Dance Stories

Black Dance Stories announces its August 2020 lineup featuring dancers and choreographers who use their work to raise societal issues, strengthen community through their programming, and use history as a source of inspiration. This month the story sharing and discussion series brings together yonTande and Meredith Rainey (Aug 6); Sydnie Mosley and Raja Feather Kelly (Aug 13); Zane Booker and Oluwadamilare “Dare” Ayorinde (Aug 20); and Leslie Parker and Wanjiru Kamuyu (Aug 27) in discussion. Black Dance Stories will also present the world premiere video of nora chipaumire’s new work—[another] township manifesto (Aug 27). The piece was created specifically for the digital platform in response to our current world environment where Black artists are finding innovative ways to continue to address the politics of Black bodies and connect to their audience. The series streams live via Zoom every Thursday in August at 6pm.

For full schedule and artist bios click here

The Black Dance Stories team consists of Black creatives in the arts, including Charmaine Warren, Kimani Fowlin, Nicholas Hall, Cynthia Tate, and Gabe Dekoladenu. The series is consistent with the tradition of Black artists finding a way for their voices to be heard during turbulent times. When civil, moral, and social freedoms are challenged and at times stifled, Black artists find ways to use their talents as activism. Black Dance Stories upholds, highlights, and celebrates Black creatives.

The series launched in June 2020. Previous artists include Ayodele Casel, Stefanie Batten Bland, Jamar Roberts, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Cynthia Oliver, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris, J. Bouey, Kyle Marshall, and Okwui Okpokwasili. Each session will be archived on the Black Dance Stories YouTube page.

Black Dance Stories streams live on Zoom, every Thursday in August at 6pm. For more information visit @BlackDanceStories or email [email protected]. Sign up for updates here.

Taji Mag Vol 24 Curves & Serves

Taji Vol24: Curves & Serves

Release Sep 7 2020 | Vol24 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling its theme of Curves & Serves! This volume’s cover features the #SlayBells of @ruby_glam (Hair by @hairdoctor_locs, Photo by @PascalChikezie, Wardrobe and Accessories by @udiahgebi and @householdofjewellery1). Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick, organic holistic health detoxes, teas, and supplements from Earth’s Cabinet LLC; our Community Spotlight on Budda by Yvee body butters; our highlighted Hair Feature by Angela Plummer; “Solo Travel: The Adult Gap Year with Stephanie Perry of Vaycarious.com” by dCarrie; “Resolution: Does the Earth Need Surgery?” by Jashua Sa’Ra; “#BlackLoveConvo: Alexis Chikaeze Chats about her Character in Miss Juneteenth” by Dapper Dr. Feel; “Education in the New World Order” by Janelle Naomi; Our Vol 24 contributed photo story, “Curves & Serves;” Fitness Highlight; Vegan Fun with Earth’s Pot’s Mac & Cheese; “Black Honey Toys for All of Your Erotic Needs”; “Forq You Up is Adding Some Flavor to the Spice Game;” Featured Art Piece; Comic Appreciation with “Okemus” by T.J. Sterling; Black Business Highlights; and more!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Shop Taji’!

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 24

Taji Mag is the epitome of ‘Cultural Drip’ – elevating Black brands, narratives, and imagery to new levels of Black Excellence. We embody the traditional and modern royalty of Pan-African people via our quarterly digital and print publication and live events.

25Jul/20
old guard

Old Guard Was a Great Film but Would Be Better as a Series

old guard
THE OLD GUARD (2020) – (L to R) Matthias Schoenaerts as Booker, Marwan Kenzari as Joe, Charlize Theron as Andy, Luca Marinelli as Nicky, Kiki Layne as Nile. NETFLIX ©2020

Synopsis: Led by a warrior named Andy (Charlize Theron), a covert group of tight-knit mercenaries with a mysterious inability to die has fought to protect the mortal world for centuries. But when the team is recruited to take on an emergency mission and their extraordinary abilities are suddenly exposed, it’s up to Andy and Nile (KiKi Layne), the newest soldier, to join their ranks, to help the group eliminate the threat of those who seek to replicate and monetize their power by any means necessary. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Greg Rucka and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (LOVE & BASKETBALL, BEYOND THE LIGHTS), THE OLD GUARD is a gritty, grounded, action-packed story that shows living forever is harder than it looks. 

First off, I want to say that I was excited to see the film, Old Guard, was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. If her name sounds familiar it’s because she helmed the classic film, Love and Basketball, one of my favorite films. I also saw the trailer featuring budding actress KiKi Layne and the talented Chiwetel Ejiofor as the co-stars, thinking “Oh, Netflix might have a nice action film on their hands?” As I read more about the comic-based film, I knew I had to see if I would recommend it or tell my friends to pass on it. 

What Worked? * Spoiler Alert *

The opening action scene with the immortal protagonists was awesome, one of the best fight scenes I have seen in a Netflix film. I mean it was crazy how the crew revived a la wolverine style and beat the living mess out of the special ops unit sent to “kill” them. Charlize Theron has done some decent action scenes in previous films, but Gina Prince-Bythewood had her looking like she could be Neo from the Matrix. 

Nile, Kiki Layne’s character, was also well developed. Seeing her character struggle to accept her newly developed immortality and adjust to killing was interesting and made the character more compelling. If I spontaneously became immortal and had to leave my life behind, it would definitely cause some inner turmoil. Especially knowing that I would have to watch people around me die and kill people for the rest of my life, that would be crazy! 

The plot twist involving Booker and Copley was one of the best parts. Their hope was to utilize the immortality as a means to find cures for diseases and ailments. I found this twist to be something that would cross my mind if immortality existed. Working in healthcare and experiencing the loss of loved ones due to aliments is rough so if we help people live longer through science, why not try to use the immortals DNA to help the medical world? The only problem, which is explored in the film, would be the greed and possible monopoly involved. I was truly irked by Booker and Copley for their betrayal but I could understand their perspectives. 

THE OLD GUARD – CHIWETEL EJIOFOR as COPLEY in THE OLD GUARD. Cr. AMY SPINKS/NETFLIX © 2020

“It’s such a universal story and it’s certainly been a theme in my work. But also inherent in my work is the normalcy of women being warriors. I love to reframe what it means to be a female, and I feel that movies can absolutely change the narrative and the conversation. Courage has no gender. Badass has no gender. It just is.” – Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Why It Would Be Better As A Series? 

The time travel element could be explored more and there are so many stories that could be told without giving away too much of how the heroes possessed immortality. I really felt act two of the film was a bit slow and had the interesting storytelling of the soldier who was left behind. I can imagine how great these stories could be explored in a series, like Highlander, you could span the centuries following each of our heroes’ origins. I understand Netflix is doing a sequel but I think they could pull off a series that would be just as interesting and would draw an excellent fan base. 

THE OLD GUARD (2020) – KIKI LAYNE as NILE. Photo Credit: AIMEE SPINKS/NETFLIX ©2020

I would love to see Nile’s life before she becomes one of the immortals, I would love to see Andy’s travel through time as a badass fighter and I would love to see the how each character dealt with the relationships they had (and lost). There was so much in the film that would be interesting to see in a series and director Gina Prince-Bythewood could bless the audience with more of her talents. 

In the end, Old Guard had some great action, strong plot points and the fight scenes were on point. I just felt, going into the third act of the film, Old Guard would’ve been better as a tv series. There was a whole world to explore, so many great stories to tell, and the film did an awesome job of covering it all, but a series would do the franchise more justice. I still enjoyed watching Gina Prince Bythewood put together a dope action film and can’t wait to see the sequel. Check out Old Guard now on Netflix.

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood 

Screenplay by Greg Rucka 

Based on the Graphic Novel Series by Greg Rucka and Illustrated by Leandro Fernández

Starring: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, with Matthias Schoenaerts, and Chiwetel Ejiofor

25Jul/20
pink paradise

Pink Paradise Co. Encourages Women to be Their Best Selves

Fadrea Thomas is a 25-year-old mother of two and the owner of Pink Paradise Co., an online clothing boutique for women that wants to set trends while encouraging the protection of women. In addition to the apparel in the boutique, Pink Paradise sells self-defense keychains for women’s safety. Fadrea is also the author of an ebook, “Affirmations For Success,” which taps into spirituality and manifestation. The ebook is printable and has pages for its readers to manifest their own success. “I’m a woman of God first, mom second, and business owner third.”

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): How did you come up with the name of your company? 

Fadrea Thomas (FT): Pink is my favorite color. Paradise means the state of consciousness. Since I’m very into manifestation and speaking life, I figured this name is perfect for my company. 

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): How do you balance your personal life and your work life?

Fadrea Thomas (FT): I meditate and stay true to myself. I know when I’m overworking myself and I know when I need to push harder. Meditation has helped me become a better woman, mom, and business owner. I have to meditate to stay focused, especially because things can get overwhelming at times when trying to balance them all. 

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): What are some mistakes that you learned from?

Fadrea Thomas (FT): I wish I would’ve invested into a mentor sooner. Many people feel as though in business they don’t need a mentor but, for me, it’s imperative for my business. My mentor is not only there to keep me on track, but to push me to greater lengths that I never even imagined. 

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): What are three tips that you can give to someone who wants to start a business?

Fadrea Thomas (FT): 1. Practice self-discipline 2. Focus on your own business 3. Stay consistent 

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): If you had a magic stick, what are three things you would change in the world?

Fadrea Thomas (FT): If I had a magic stick, I would change racism and police brutality, the idea that manifestation isn’t real, and the educational system. 

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): What are your goals for 2020?  

Fadrea Thomas (FT): I only have one and that’s to become a better me. I know if I become a better me, change my thinking, my actions, and words, then that will ultimately change everything around me to greater heights. If I am one with myself and God, then whatever I touch is already Gold. 

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): What’s a quote that you stand by?

Fadrea Thomas (FT): “You are only confined by the walls you build around yourself.”

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): According to you, what is your greatest strength and what is something you need to work on?

Fadrea Thomas (FT): My greatest strength would be my ability to uplift and encourage others. I give amazing inspirational speeches. I would say I need to work on being a better listener. Being able to listen to understand instead of listening to respond.

Kynniah Rodriguez (KR): Who is your inspiration?

Fadrea Thomas (FT): Kendra Cooksey & BankRoll Freddie are my biggest inspirations. They come from the same the state and it’s inspiring to see the things one can accomplish if you put your mind to it.

Be sure to shop with Pink Paradise Co. on their Website and follow them on Instagram!

Crystal Benefits

African Yellow Jasper holds and supports during times of stress, bringing a sense of completeness and tranquility. Jasper facilitates in balancing and aligning the physical, mental and emotional bodies.

Agate is a very stable crystal that’s great for grounding and brings forth emotional, physical, and intellectual balance. It enhances self-confidence and concentration and helps to overcome bitterness and resentment. It stabilizes the aura, eliminating and transforming negative energies. Placed on the heart it will heal the emotional dis-ease that prevents acceptance of love. It stimulates the digestive process, relieves gastritis, heals the eyes, stomach, and uterus, cleanses the lymphatic system and pancreas, strengthens blood vessels, and heals skin disorders.

Amazonite has healing powers to help with physical ailments, emotional issues, and chakra balancing. Amazonite is primarily associated with filtering out stresses, healing traumas, and soothing energies in the home and workplace. It calms the brain and nervous system and aids in maintaining optimum health. It’s beneficial in osteoporosis, tooth decay, calcium deficiency, and calcium deposits. Amazonite balances the masculine and feminine energies.

Amethyst is a powerful and protective stone.  It guards against psychic attacks, transmuting the energy into love and protecting the wearer from all types of harm, including geopathic or electromagnetic stress and ill wishes from others. Amethyst is a natural tranquilizer. It relieves stress and strain, soothes irritability, balances mood swings, dispels anger, rage, fear, and anxiety, alleviates sadness and grief, and dissolves negativity. Amethyst activates spiritual awareness, opens intuition, and enhances psychic abilities. It has strong healing and cleansing powers.  Amethyst encourages sobriety, having a sobering effect on the overindulgence of alcohol, drugs, or other addictions. It calms and stimulates the mind, helping you become more focused, enhancing memory, and improving motivation. It relieves insomnia. Amethyst boosts hormone production, tunes the endocrine system, and metabolism. It strengthens the immune system, reduces pain, and strengthens the body to fight against cancer. It destroys malignant tumors and aids in tissue regeneration. Cleanses the blood. Amethyst eases headaches and releases tension. It reduces bruising, swellings, injuries, and treats hearing disorders. Amethyst heals dis-eases of the lungs and respiratory tract, skin conditions, cellular disorders, and dis-eases of the digestive tract.

Aventurine is one of the premier stones to attract luck, abundance, and success. It has a particularly soothing energy behind it and is recommended for working through unresolved emotional issues. It comforts, harmonizes, and protects the heart. Aventurine benefits the thymus gland and nervous system. It balances blood pressure and stimulates the metabolism, lowering cholesterol. Aventurine has an anti-inflammatory effect and eases skin eruptions, allergies, migraines, and soothes the eyes. It heals lungs, sinuses, heart, muscular and urogenital systems.

Black Jasper is considered a highly defensive stone which is great for grounding energies. When it comes to physical healing, this stone relieves pain and even stomach ailments. Black Jasper will offer you protection from harmful energies, danger, and bad spells. Apart from that, it supports you as you drive through your professional and personal trials. When you are working in a dangerous area, this stone will keep you safe as well. Black Jasper, on the other hand, is related to the base chakra, and take note it keeps you grounded. With this stone, you will become more productive on an emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental level since Black Jasper will increase your enthusiasm.

Bloodstone is an excellent blood cleanser and a powerful healing stone. It heightens intuition and increases creativity. It is grounding and protecting. Bloodstone draws off negative environmental energy, helping to overcome influences such as geopathic or electromagnetic stress.

Blue Lace Agate is a great nurturing and supportive stone, neutralizing anger, infection, inflammation, and fever. Blue Lace Agate helps to strengthen and accelerate the repair of bones, thyroid deficiencies, throat, and lymph infections.

Bronzite has an energy that helps to promote peace and harmony and will assist the growth of feelings of compassion and forgiveness. In stressful situations, it will help you to remain calm and may assist you not to lose your temper when you are feeling challenged by life situations.

Brown Zebra Jasper is also a grounding stone, allowing one to tune into Mother Earth and find joy in our surroundings. In general, Jasper is known as the “supreme nurturer”. It sustains and supports during times of stress, and brings tranquility and wholeness. Used in healing, Jasper unifies all aspects of your life.

Carnelian restores vitality and motivation and stimulates creativity. It gives courage, promotes positive life choices, dispels apathy, and motivates for success. Carnelian is useful for overcoming abuse of any kind. It helps in trusting yourself and your perceptions. It brings healing energy to the organs in the area of the lower body within the sacral chakra.

Clear Quartz is known as the “master healer” and will amplify energy and thought, as well as the effect of other crystals. It absorbs, stores, releases, and regulates energy. Clear Quartz draws off negative energy of all kinds, neutralizing background radiation, including electromagnetic smog or petrochemical emanations. It balances and revitalizes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes. Clear Quartz cleanses and enhances the organs and acts as a deep soul cleanser. It aids concentration and unlocks memory. It stimulates the immune system and brings the body into balance. 

Coral gemstone imparts courage and helps in overcoming fear and nervousness. It can boost the self-esteem of the wearer and has amazing healing effects including overcoming various skin related problems, like boils, acne, and more.

Fire Agate has a strong protective function, especially against ill-wishing. It brings security and safety and has strong grounding powers to support during difficult times. It builds a protective shield around the body and returns hate back to the source so the source understands the harm that it’s doing. It aids in sexual endeavors, fires up base chakra, stimulates vitality, and dispels fear while instilling deep security. Encourages introspection to resolution. Helps to eliminate cravings and destructive desires and can be useful for treating addictions. Aids in relaxation, enhances meditation, aids in the evolution of consciousness. Heals the stomach, nervous and endocrine systems, and circulatory disorders. Strengthens night vision, Reduces hot-flashes, and removes heat from the body. 

Fluorite absorbs and neutralizes negative energy and stress. An excellent learning aid, Fluorite increases our powers of concentration, self-confidence and helps in decision-making. It encourages positivity, balances the energies, and improves balance and coordination, both physically and mentally.

Garnet revitalizes, purifies and balances energy, bringing serenity or passion as appropriate. Garnet regenerates the body and stimulates the metabolism. It treats disorders of the spine and spinal fluid, bone, cellular structure, and composition. It purifies the heart, lungs, blood, and regenerates DNA.

Goldstone is said to be the stone of ambition. It builds energy, courage, and a positive attitude. Increases drive and confidence. A gently uplifting stone, Goldstone promotes vitality.

Green Lace Jasper acts as an energetic tonic for anyone recovering from long term illness and boosts the immune system. Green Lace Jasper assists the body to restore cellular tissue. Green Lace Jasper can be useful in treating urinary system, lower digestive system, reproductive system tissue dysfunction.

Green Onyx is the symbol of restfulness and purity. This green soothing stone has the power to relieve all worries, tension, stress, and fears. It is believed to provide a positive feeling, strong mental support, and helps to make wise decisions during difficulties.

Hematite possesses astounding balancing and grounding energy. It has immense protective energy and is great at helping those who lack courage. It powerfully assists with stimulating the mind and may heighten self-confidence, self-esteem, and willpower. It dissolves negativity and prevents you from absorbing the negativity of others. It detoxifies the body and regulates blood flow.

Howlite is a calming stone. It teaches patience and helps to eliminate rage, pain, and stress. It facilitates awareness and encourages emotional expression. It can aid in self-awareness and is helpful in calming the mind. It provides support in releasing attachments to old emotional pain and can ease stress and anxiety.

Imperial Jasper, metaphysically, is known as a spiritual and healing stone. Like other types of jasper, it is a strong healing and protective stone, known to help one get organized, relaxed, and reach tranquility.

Indian Agate is known to help prevent the fear of aging. Its energy vibrations transmit serenity and patience and decrease stress because it helps carry peace and tranquility. Indian Agate is also known to provide security, protection and stimulates concentration.

Jade, as a protective stone, keeps the wearer from harm and brings harmony. Jade attracts good luck and friendship. It stabilizes the personality and promotes self-sufficiency while soothing the mind and releasing negative thoughts.

Labradorite is a stone of transformation that is a useful companion through change and imparting strength and perseverance. It balances and protects the aura, raises consciousness, and grounds spiritual energies. It’s excellent for strengthening intuition.

Lapis Lazuli encourages self-awareness, allows self-expression, and reveals inner truth, providing qualities of honesty, compassion, and morality to the personality. It stimulates objectivity, clarity, and encourages creativity. Lapis Lazuli assists to confront and speak one’s truth and inspires confidence.

Mahogany Obsidian strengthens the aura, protecting against repeated problems. Wonderful at providing both grounding and protection, Mahogany Obsidian encourages strength in the time of need. It eliminates energetic blockages, relieves tension, and helps to stimulate growth on all levels.

Malachite provides spiritual and energetic protection. It overcomes phobias, encourages risk-taking, and boosts your mood (particularly if you’re depressed). It soaks up plutonium pollution, guards against radiation of all kinds, clears electromagnetic pollution, and heals earth energies. It clears and activates the chakras and attunes to spiritual guidance. It’s a stone of transformation, life is lived more intensely, encourages risk-taking and change. It shows what’s blocking your spiritual growth, breaks unwanted ties and outworn patterns, and teaches how to take responsibility for one’s actions, thoughts, and feelings. It alleviates mental disturbances and combats dyslexia. Placed on your solar plexus, it facilities deep emotional healing and releases negative experiences and old traumas. Particularly useful for cramps and facilitates childbirth. Lowers blood pressure, treats asthma, arthritis, epilepsy, fractures, swollen joints, growths, travel sickness, vertigo, tumors, optic nerve, pancreas, spleen, and parathyroid. Enhances the immune system. Stimulates the liver to release toxins, reduces acidification of tissues. Treats diabetes when worn around the waist. Resonates with feminine sexual organs and treats any dis-ease. Caution may cause heart palpitations, in which case remove immediately and replace with rose quartz or rhodonite. It absorbs negative energy and pollutants easily from the atmosphere and body. It should be cleansed before and after with each use by placing it on a Quartz cluster in the sun (do not use salt, will damage the surface). (Only use in polished form, otherwise toxic.)

Mookaite is a nurturing stone that supports and sustains during times of stress. It brings peace and a feeling of wholeness. Mookaite helps with decision making, especially when having a difficult time. It encourages versatility and helps to accept change.

Moonstone, great for “new beginnings”, is a stone of inner growth and strength. It soothes emotional instability and stress, and stabilizes the emotions, providing calmness. Moonstone enhances intuition and promotes inspiration, success, and good fortune in love and business matters. It aids in lucid dreaming and calm sleep. It deflects negativity and eases emotional trauma.

Obsidian is truth-enhancing. A strongly protective stone, it forms a shield against negativity. It blocks psychic attacks and absorbs negative energies from the environment. Obsidian draws out mental stress and tension. It stimulates growth on all levels, urging exploration of the unknown and opening new horizons. It brings clarity to the mind and clears confusion. Obsidian helps you to know who you truly are.  It dissolves emotional blockages and ancient traumas and promotes qualities of compassion and strength. Obsidian aids with digestion and detoxifies. It reduces arthritis pain, joint problems, and cramps. It warms the extremities.

Onyx, a powerful protection stone,  absorbs and transforms negative energy, and helps to prevent the drain of personal energy. Black Onyx aids the development of emotional and physical strength and stamina, especially when support is needed during times of stress, confusion, or grief. Onyx gives strength. It promotes vigor, steadfastness, and stamina. It imparts self-confidence, helping you to be at ease in your surroundings. Onyx banishes grief, enhances self-control, and stimulates the power of wise decision-making.

Orange Jade is an energetic and stimulating crystal which brings joy and helps us to see the good in people. A protector against danger for children, Jade can help to undo physical harm. A prosperity stone, Orange Jade improves health and assists with past life recall and ancient wisdom.

Orange Quartzite enhances creativity and is helpful when working with emotional issues. It energizes and cleanses the lower chakras and works especially well with removing depression.

Red Jasper increases emotional stamina, self-confidence, self-trust, emotional protection, courage, balance, calm, and relaxation. Red Jasper can also be used for increasing sexual vibrancy. It works great for healing root chakra organs.

Red Tigers Eye has the power to send higher energies through the organs of the lower half of the body. It aids in enhancing confidence and self-esteem. It provides motivation to the non-motivated and energizes those who are feeling lethargic.

Rhodonite is a stone of compassion, an emotional balancer that clears away emotional wounds and scars from the past, and that nurtures love. It stimulates, clears, and activates the heart. Rhodonite grounds energy, balances yin-yang, and aids in achieving one’s highest potential. It heals emotional shock and panic.

Rose Quartz is the stone of universal love. It restores trust and harmony in relationships, encouraging unconditional love. Rose Quartz purifies and opens the heart at all levels to promote love, self-love, friendship, deep inner healing, and feelings of peace. It can improve circulation, boost neuron connectivity, and even accelerate healing. helps prevent thrombosis and heart attacks. The stone has protective effects for the chest, ovaries, uterus, and testicles. Laid under a pillow, rose quartz protects from depression and sleep disorders. Rose quartz also has benefits for fertility.

Sodalite encourages rational thought, objectivity, truth, and intuition, along with the verbalization of feelings. Sodalite brings emotional balance and calms panic attacks. It enhances self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-trust. Sodalite balances the metabolism, boosts the immune system, and overcomes calcium deficiencies.

Tigers Eye is traditionally carried as a talisman against ill wishing and curses. It brings out integrity, assists in accomplishing goals, recognizing inner resources, and promoting clarity of intention. It grounds and facilitates manifestation of the will, anchors change into the physical body, and aids in mentally collecting scattered information and making it a coherent whole. It’s helpful for resolving internal conflicts, mental dis-ease, and personality disorders. Heals issues of self- worth, self- criticism, and blocked creativity. It alleviates depression and lifts moods. 

Tourmaline (Black) is “the” stone when dealing with negative energy. Not only does Black Tourmaline help to get rid of negative energy, but it also works on attracting positive energy. 

Turquoise promotes self-realization and assists with creative problem-solving. It is a symbol of friendship and stimulates romantic love. Turquoise aids in the absorption of nutrients enhances the immune system, stimulates the regeneration of tissue, and heals the whole body. Turquoise is also a calming stone that can induce internal serenity and lift depleted spirits. Not only will turquoise help to flush negative emotions from the mind, but it is also said to support the detoxification of the body.

Unakite supports convalescence and recovery from a major illness. It treats the reproductive system and stimulates healthy pregnancies while facilitating the health of the unborn. Unakite enhances weight gain, where required, and aids the growth of skin tissue and hair.

Yellow Aventurine fills us with compassion and understanding. Its reassuring energy balances our emotions and alleviates grief and suffering. It eases anxiety and expands the flow of creativity. Physically, Yellow Aventurine can be used as an anti-inflammatory, as well as easing migraine headaches, allergies, and sinus issues.

Note about gemstones: Remember that the power is always in us, our consciousness is more powerful than any outside sources. When using gemstone balancing, do not put all of your faith into the objects.

19Jun/20

Celebrate Juneteenth with these Black-Owned Businesses

IG Discount SaleJuneteenth

Taji, there was no way Juneteenth was rolling around without a Taji Mag Shop Event! Save $5, $10, $15, and $20 off on Adornments and 5-25% off of most other Shop items like wall prints, tote bags, notebooks, duffle bags, and bookbags. No discount code required. Go gift yourself or someone you love and Get Adorned in Taji!
www.TajiMag.com/shop
Instagram | @AdornedinTaji

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The Situation’s Black Business Features

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BLACK BEARD BRIGADE

Tame the whiskers, never the man. Your face is your first impression—so put your best beard forward with our Premium Beard products.Beard Oil offers the perfect solution leaving your skin and beard looking healthier than ever. With added shine and a fuller body, your beard will be one to be respected.
www.BlackBeardBrigade.com

AMUNAR

Kelsey is a professional Palm, Oracle card, and Lenormand Tarot reader who has practiced spiritual consultation for 9 years in Brooklyn, NY. She is self taught through books, experience, intuition and continuous enthusiasm from satisfied clients. She has a variety of experiences with spiritual readings in face to face sessions, events and online reports.
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CHECKMATE SWEETS

Luxurious truffle desserts that ignite your taste buds allowing you to enjoy your dessert experience one piece at a time. They have non-dairy/vegan options, gluten-free, alcohol-infused, and edibles and they ship nationwide.
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THEONEWILLFOCUS

Will Focus is both Graphic/Web Designer, Illustrator (Specializing in Satabu/Mwenaa), and Systems builder with a focus in Branding/Identity and Sustainability. As the owner of Melanating, BlkAlchemy, and co-owner of OurBlackWeb, Will currently focuses on creating high impact virtual systems that create an intellectual and financial liberation for people of color.
www.theonewillfocus.com/store
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LOVELY LEO SKINCARE

Feed Your Skin Everyday It’s Heavenly Made Just for You! Fuel A Dream and Shop Small Business! Whipped Body Butters, Hair & Scalp Oil, Beard Oil & Scalp, Fragrance Oils, and more!
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EARTH’S CABINET LLC

Alternative & Holistic Health Service | Master Clinical Herbalist, Aromatherapist, Phytotherapist
100% Organic | @EarthsCabinetLLC
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UNIQUELYWIREDM

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ONPOINT ACADEMY

OnPoint Academy Of Music & Movement is a non-profit performing arts school dedicated to educating its students on Hip Hop as an art form and a culture.
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Queen TuT

Paige “Queen TuT” Stewart is from Queens, New York. Working as a dance teacher at various public schools, dance schools and arts centers as well as all over the Tri-state area instructing the youth in the movement & dance. Diagnosed with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis since the age of twelve she continues to move through the oncoming challenges as well as continues to inspire and evoke passion through everything she does.​What Does She Do? Dance, Dance Instructor (Specialties: Hip Hop, Step, Ballet, African, & Contemporary), Choreographer, Spoken Word Poet, Web Design, Video Editor. | www.thequeentut.com

JANELLE NAOMI

Janelle Naomi Rouse is an artist, educator, and speaker currently residing in New York City. She has over 10 years of experience as an educator and is currently speaking on the importance of decolonizing education and Black educators in the classroom.
www.janellenaomi.com

VERSE COMICS USA​

Verse Comics USA (VCU) is a startup company based out of Detroit, MI. The focus of VCU is to develop the most diverse, compelling, and unique stories imaginable in graphic novel and comic book format. We also aim to turn these completed works into motion comics and independent films through our parent company Strait City Productions.
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THE STEM UNIVERSITY

Frances Vicioso is an instructional coach, motivational speaker, large group facilitator, and STEM and robotics instructor.
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19Jun/20

Why I Miss My Mother on Father’s Day

It doesn’t hurt as much to not have a father when your mother gives you double the love.

Spike Lee’s film Da 5 Bloods recently debuted on Netflix. Whether Spike Lee is cancelled or not, his characters speak to my existence in ways that I would be hard pressed to express without his artistry. Da 5 Bloods juxtaposes two absentee fathers–one who was physically present, but emotionally abusive and another who didn’t know he had a child. I cried watching their relationships unfold and without spoiling the film I have to say that it influenced me to dig deeper into my feelings about my own father.

All the repressed depression and feelings of worthlessness flooded every part of my soul when my mother died. I remember sitting in her room upstairs with my sister while we cleaned and packed her things before the funeral. I found a stack of love letters between my parents. There were trinkets, and photos, and books, and bottles, but the letters stood out to me. The words reflected an innocent and promising passion that I had no recollection of. 

My parents were married at one point and there are photos of us together, but my father was–and is possibly still–a dope fiend. The term is harsh, but I don’t say it with malice. I actually find comfort in the possibility that he was not in my life due to addiction or mental instability. That doesn’t cut as deep as the idea that he just didn’t want to be my father.

Over the years he blamed me for our lack of a relationship. My mother always encouraged me to reach out, but I would usually refuse. Who wants to chase someone who doesn’t want to be caught? I try to find closure and I have even tried reaching out to him, but we always hang up on bad terms because he insists on blaming my mother for his mistakes. I am a huge advocate for Black women’s self care, so why do I keep reaching out to someone who hurts me?

Periodically when I hear my friends talk about how corny their dads are or I watch a movie with a tumultuous father/child relationship, I think back to being in my mother’s room. My parents had me when they were teenagers and the letters were dated before I was born. It was a mirror to all my relationships at the start: seemingly pure and irrevocably simple. So how did they become the people I knew? 

I held the letters in my hand and decided to call him. Getting his number usually involved calling around until I found someone who had seen him sober. I had his contact information within the hour. 

Before I dialed, I paused to think about the time he was supposed to help my Great Aunt Mary Ann move. She has lived in Brooklyn my whole life and my father’s whole life before that. She was a religious woman and I only saw her once as an adult. When I visited for Thanksgiving she was nervous about me staying the night because I was my father’s child. And everybody knew my father would steal as soon as he looked at you, so I could tell that she wondered the same thing about me. After dinner she told me about how he packed up her tiny apartment to help her move to a different part of New York, and instead drove back to Kentucky with all her furniture.

Why would I call a man who would trick an old woman and steal her furniture?

But I did it anyway. I dialed. It rang. He answered. 

I am still not connected to my father beyond sharing DNA. My mother died ten years ago, so when I made the call, I was a different person. At that point, I had still never purchased a real mattress (#futonlife), I didn’t have a driver’s license, and I wasn’t a mother yet.

And, after the awkward call that was one part scolding and one part obituary, he didn’t show up to the funeral. This man couldn’t even bother to come by the wake or say sorry. I mean, it was definitely on brand, but damn.

There are some very obvious, unclever cliches I can attest to about the daughters of absentee fathers and the sorts of men we date. It is tempting and easy, but I don’t want to do that. While interacting with my son’s father is an exercise in insanity, I still make sure that he calls his father. I’m sure that if his father read this, he would say I don’t do enough. But my own longing for a father drives me to push through my irritation and be a decent co-parent. My son is seven now and I think about when I was seven. My father would randomly show up with gifts I didn’t want or offer to take me shopping. All I really wanted was to know he would be there when I lost a tooth or got an award. That is something that still bothers me and somehow I feel like if I can forgive him, then I can forgive others in my life. Forgiveness is not my strong suit and if I feel betrayed, it’s a wrap for that relationship. I don’t want my son’s love to be as conditional and fearful as mine.

The challenge for me is forgiving and letting go. I talked to my therapist about the intruding sense that I am perpetually behind–like I am not good enough. I crave praise. Sometimes to my detriment. There have been times when I’ve rationalized my father’s absence by blaming his addiction or experience in the military. Similarly, I’ve also done this with romantic partners. In one relationship, my partner was still living with his ex. Eventually he cheated with her. In another relationship, I was pressured to have sex and after I finally gave in I felt terrible. I tried to talk to him about it and he ghosted me for a week. When he finally called, he dismissed my feelings and asked to come over. I actually agreed. I compromised over and over because I didn’t want to be considered a bitter Black woman. I didn’t want to be the irrational or unreasonable Black woman. My friend Minda told me once that I was too reasonable. But the way through this grief is to be unreasonable. 

Which makes more sense? Should I make peace with losing my mother and having no father to pick up the pieces? Or should I try one more time to see what all the hype is about with this Daddy’s Girl situation? Is it pointless? Will it make me feel better or worse? Am I even capable of that version of love where I forgive him, then allow him to be part of my life?

I know one of the men who sells (or at least used to sell) my father dope. It would only take a little effort on my part to get in touch with my father. Whether he is his usual revisionist aficionado or a completely different person ready to apologize, I can only control how I show up in the space. I am definitely not ready to sit down with him today, but I am preparing myself. I’m gearing up to be someone who is capable of forgiveness. My anger and resentment and defensive insults are the armor I built to protect myself from that original shot to the heart when my father rejected me. When I was bullied I realized I had hands and the arsenal expanded. Over time I realized that I could use my words like grenades which kept people from getting close enough to hurt me. But I don’t have to be at war all the time. I am not ready to put away all my armor, but I can at least drop one of my swords.

19Jun/20

Alexis Chikaeze Chats About Her Character in Miss Juneteenth

Synopsis: Built like a bird, Turquoise Jones is a single mom who holds down a household, a rebellious teenager, and pretty much everything that goes down at Wayman’s BBQ & Lounge. Turquoise is also a bona fide beauty queen—she was once crowned Miss Juneteenth, a title commemorating the day slavery was abolished in Texas. Life didn’t turn out as beautifully as the title promised, but Turquoise, determined to right her wrongs, is cultivating her daughter, Kai, to become Miss Juneteenth, even if Kai wants something else.

Miss Juneteenth is a compelling film that debuts on VOD just in time for Juneteenth, the most celebrated commemoration marking the end of slavery. The film stars Nicole Beharie (42, Sleepy Hollow), Kendrick Sampson (Insecure), and newcomer Alexis Chikaeze. Alexis is not only an up-and-coming actress, she is also an activist against racial injustice. The soon to be HBCU student took time from her busy schedule to talk to Taji Mag about her new film Miss Juneteenth. 

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): What does Juneteenth mean to you and why is it important? 

Alexis Chikaeze (AC): It is about the end of slavery, it’s about our freedom to speak about what is right. Back in the day, we weren’t able to, but now we can speak up for change. 

FYI: Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Also known as Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was dated January 1, 1863, however, many slave owners continued to hold their slaves captive after the announcement. In turn, Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African American freedom.

Alexis Chikaeze

DDF: Was this your first film?

AC: This is my first big role ever and my first audition ever. It’s surreal, a week after I signed with my agent, I got the audition. 

DDF: How much of the Kai character was relatable to you? 

AC: Honestly, we are just about the same. It made embodying the character a little easier. Kai is outgoing, she’s headstrong, she is willing to do just about anything to make sure that she can do what she loves. Kai loves her mother and I feel she was set on showing her mother that dancing was her passion. She is really trying to convince her mother just as I had to convince my parents that I wanted to pursue acting. My parents are Nigerian immigrants and the preference that was given career-wise was Doctor or Engineer. Venturing out into other professions is not really something to consider. When I first started, they were skeptical. They were questioning if acting would secure my future. It’s similar to how Kai’s mother wants the best for her. 

“Hold those things that tell your history and protect them. During slavery, who was able to read or write or keep anything? The ability to have somebody to tell your story to is so important. It says: ‘I was here. I may be sold tomorrow. But you know I was here.” – Maya Angelou

DDF: What was it like working with Nicole Beharie and Channing Godfrey Peoples?

AC: Both of them are very humble individuals. It was a wonderful experience working with Nicole, she’s kind-hearted and high spirited. She was so happy to help me and, even before shooting, we would do some exercises to make sure we were both ready mentally and physically. Anytime I felt like I needed help or had to ask Nicole a question, she was more than happy to assist me in any way she could. As for Channing, she allowed me to put into the character what I thought would fit the character and use my own perspective. During the times I was frustrated and hard on myself she reassured me and gave me words of encouragement. 

Nicole Beharie

DDF: What do you think people will take away from the film?

AC: I really hope that people take the time to learn about Black History, the Black community, who we are as Black people, and how rich our culture is. I think more people, myself included, are taking time to learn more about Black history because we don’t learn enough in this educational system.

Miss Juneteenth is a must-watch that I found to be similar to Mommy Dearest but better and more relatable. So much so, that after the film I had to call my mother to tell her “I love you and thank you for your sacrifices.” With Nicole Beharie’s ability to pull the audience in through her character’s obstacles and Alexis’ charm, this is a film many should enjoy on Juneteenth. 

Directed and written by  Channing Godfrey Peoples 

Starring Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, and Alexis Chikaeze

13Jun/20
TajiMagChallenge

#TajiMagChallenge Cover

Here are the how-to steps to create your own #TajiMagChallenge Cover via Canva and PicMoney:

Canva App

  1. Download CANVA for iOS or Android. You can download it for your desktop too.
  2. Select your custom size to 8.25 x 10.75 inches.
  3. Upload your preferred image for your cover.
  4. Upload our logo available in Black or White. Each logo is on a transparent background. Download here.
  5. You can drag our logo on top of your image. To resize the logo, pull from the corners to retain the quality for the logo.
  6. Add your cover lines, name, etc. Don’t add text too close to the edge to ensure it’s not cut off on Instagram. Use the expand button on IG to show the entire image.
  7. Download as PNG. Post on Social Media. Tag us: @tajimagazine using #TajiMagChallenge hashtag.

PicMonkey

  1. Download PICMONKEY for iOS or Android. You can download it for your desktop too.
  2. Select your custom size to 8.25 x 10.75 inches.
  3. Upload your preferred image for your cover.
  4. Upload our logo available in Black or White. Each logo is on a transparent background. Upload our logo available in Black or White. Each logo is on a transparent background. Download Here
  5. You can drag our logo on top of your image. To resize the logo, pull from the corners to retain the quality for the logo.
  6. Add your cover lines, name, etc. Don’t add text too close to the edge to ensure it’s not cut off on Instagram. Use the expand button on IG to show the entire image.
  7. Download as PNG. Post on Social Media. Tag us: @tajimagazine using #TajiMagChallenge hashtag.

We will randomly select our favorites to post on our feed and Stories. Use the logo for entertainment purposes only. We want the #TajiMagChallenge to be a fun experience and not sure for misrepresentation of placement.

THANK YOU to Obvious Mag for laying out the blueprint for Black mags to participate in this challenge and represent us without worry.

11Jun/20
da 5 bloods

Spike Lee’s, Da 5 Bloods, is Reflective of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

DA 5 BLOODS (L to R) Director SPIKE LEE, ISIAH WHITLOCK JR. as MELVIN, DELROY LINDO as PAUL, JONATHAN MAJORS as DAVID, CLARKE PETERS as OTIS and NORM LEWIS as EDDIE of DA 5 BLOODS. Cr. DAVID LEE/NETFLIX © 2020

SYNOPSIS: From Academy Award® Winner Spike Lee comes a New Joint: the story of four African-American Vets — Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) — who return to Vietnam. Searching for the remains of their fallen Squad Leader (Chadwick Boseman) and the promise of buried treasure, our heroes, joined by Paul’s concerned son (Jonathan Majors), battle forces of Man and Nature — while confronted by the lasting ravages of The Immorality of The Vietnam War.

From the very start of the film Da 5 Bloods, the tone is set with a clip of Muhammad Ali’s disagreement with the Vietnam war. Issues of racism, selective patriotism, poverty, discrimination, greed, and mental health awareness were covered throughout this film – and are pretty much a sign of the times. The film even had its moments making fun of Donald Trump and how the world mocks his leadership. There were times I felt reflective, upset, and disappointed, but overall the film was one of the better high profile films I’ve seen.

Da History

I always love when Spike Lee puts history into his films, some things I have to google to make sure there is accuracy, and sometimes it’s just comforting knowing he gives a damn about our history and Black culture. I was highly impressed with the story of Milton J. Olive III, the young soldier who was awarded the medal of honor after sacrificing himself covering a bomb to save his fellow soldiers. Spike will later pay homage to this in the film. He also mentions the story of Crispus Attacks and his sacrifice for injustice, which also serves as motivation for them to get gold years later.

“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people?” – Muhammad Al

The appearance Hanoi Hannah, a Vietnamese radio personality who was most known for her broadcasting during the Vietnam war, was an interesting segment. The five soldiers listened to her speak via radio about the assassination of Martin Luther King and racially driven crimes that really had me connect with the characters. It was as if she was saying while you are over here killing people of color, the rights you claim to fight for are being stripped and Black people are being killed in the very same country you are fighting for.

DA 5 BLOODS (L to R) ISIAH WHITLOCK JR. as MELVIN, NORM LEWIS as EDDIE, CLARKE PETERS as OTIS, DELROY LINDO as PAUL, JONATHAN MAJORS as DAVID in DA 5 BLOODS. Cr. DAVID LEE/NETFLIX © 2020

I was intrigued by the French character’s interaction with the lead characters and the discussion of the French involvement with America during the war. It just made me think of how Americans perceive war and our reasons for war. 

Da Cause *Spoiler Alert*

The MacGuffin of the film, the gold, was definitely a reward the soldiers deserved. Just like many Black people feel today after the blood spilled, lives lost, ideas stolen, land stolen, etc. They don’t get to enjoy the riches of a thriving economy? Damn right they made a smart call to return for that fortune. To me, it was a way they were fighting to receive their overdue reparations. 

By the end of the film, it was compelling to see how it compares to what we are all experiencing right now – the importance of family and other people. I am not going to lie, during the parts where Chadwick Boseman’s character was talking about giving the money back to the people I thought, “Look at Black Panther over here taking some of the Killmonger beliefs!”

It was even cool seeing how the #BlackLivesMatter organization received some the money to help their cause…much like they are doing now after the lost lives of innocent Black people. 

DA 5 BLOODS (L to R) ISIAH WHITLOCK JR. as MELVIN, NORM LEWIS as EDDIE, DELROY LINDO as PAUL, CLARKE PETERS as OTIS and JONATHAN MAJORS as DAVID in DA 5 BLOODS Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020

Da Relationships

The relationship between Paul (Delroy Lino) and David (Jonathan Majors) I found intriguing because of the exploration of mental health and display of masculinity. Although I did want a slightly better ending to the characters, it was still good. Paul suffered severely from mental issues and internal struggles, which is later discovered. I still think it’s funny they had him supporting Trump. 

Eddie (Clark Peters) and Tien was another interesting relationship, having an interracial relationship and child during the 1960s in Vietnam. Talk about a challenging time and tough situation? It was a twist I did not expect. 

Da Blackness

Spike Lee always represents Blackness in his films, it’s the little things that other executives, writers, and directors don’t show. Take for instance the Moorehouse paraphernalia the character David wears or the mention of Black Lives Matter, these are things Black people need to see. How things are organic, not token, not stereotypical but the effortless display of Black culture. Hollywood should do a better job with all representations, otherwise, it diminishes the integrity of the film.

I found the use of video clips from historical events and people to be satisfying. It really gave me a reason to have a connection to the characters and to feel their pain.

Da 5 Bloods will be released June 12th on Netflix and is definitely worth watching. It does have a lot of gore during the gunfights but that is all overshadowed by the storytelling, character relationships, and conflicts within the film. Spike Lee has definitely provided the viewers with a film we will be talking about for the upcoming months.

da 5 bloods

Directed by Spike Lee

Starring Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Chadwick Boseman

DA 5 BLOODS releases globally on Netflix JUNE 12