Tag Archives: culture

23Feb/18
Janelle Monae new videos

Janelle Monae New Videos = Visual Fire

Janelle Monae New VideosThe Janelle Monae new videos are visual fire. Both giving different moods with the same Janelle mastery. Django Jane is empowering and strong with a nod to women rappers of the 90s. Make Me Feel is flirty and fun with blatant Prince influence (and others, but only Prince is relevant, particularly when referencing Janelle) featuring Tessa Thompson.

Preorder her upcoming album, Dirty Computer, which is slated to release on April 27th, or download both songs if you can’t wait that long here: JanelleMonae.lnk.to/dirtycomputer

Enough talking, just watch and tell us your thoughts in the comments!

17Jan/18
Black Lightning

Black Lightning Lights Up DC in DC 2018

This past weekend Warner Brothers hosted DC Comics in D.C. highlighting the upcoming tv show Black Lightning. It featured four different panels and premiered the first episode of Black Lightning. All of the panels were great and featured a lot of great talent and artists, but the panel that was most representative of the MLK weekend was the panel titled “The Many Shades of Heroism: DC Heroes Through the African American Lens”. This panel explained the creation of many of the popular Black characters of the DC television series world. The panel consisted of the show’s producers, Salim and Mara Akil, as well as actors Cress Williams (Black Lightning), Candice Patton (The Flash), Chris Chalk (Gotham), David Harewood (Supergirl), comic artist and producer Denys Cowan, writer John Ridley, and author and songwriter Alice Randall.

Black Characters on DC TV Series

Candice Patton portrays Iris West on the popular show The Flash. She discussed the importance of portraying an outstanding version of the character on television and how doing so has influenced creators to change the race of the character in the comics. Originally Iris West is portrayed as a white woman in DC comics. “I feel extremely honored first of all to be put in this position,” Patton explained.

“I am happy that a black woman is carrying the torch so generations after this will remember that Iris West was a black woman .” – Candice Patton on portraying Iris West.

Chris Chalk plays the intelligent and brilliant minded Lucius Fox on the show, Gotham. The show is based on a young Commissioner Gordon fighting crime against many of the developing iconic villains in the city of Gotham from the Batman series. “This character is great! I went to this STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program for Black youths and the kids would tell me they knew how I solved a problem on the show and I was like well tell me, ’cause I don’t know…” He emphasized the joy in playing a character that breaks racial stereotypes in television, saying “It is cool to have a Black character that is the smartest person in the series and he doesn’t fight.”

David Harewood plays Martian Manhunter on the show Supergirl. Being a native of London, he explained how important it is to have a Black lead character on a television show because, where he is from, there aren’t really any characters that look like him. He smiled as he proudly displayed his Black Lightning t-shirt. Harewood also discussed how happy he was to represent a person in of color in the media, making the audience aware that there are opportunities for all races and backgrounds to be represented.

Black Lightning: The Series For The Time

Black Lightning takes place in an urban, poverty and violence-stricken community where our hero, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), lives as a high school principal and family man. He has hung up the mantle of Black Lighting for 15 years because of the stress it was placing on his family but is forced to return to crime fighting when the local gang, The One Hundred, starts wreaking havoc on the neighborhood.

“It is a dream come true! After I put on the costume I was ready to run into the wall! I was ready to fight!” – Cress Williams on portraying Black Lighting

The show is produced by the power couple Salim and Mara Akil. They both have a successful history of producing great shows like the Soul Food TV series, Girlfriends, and Being Mary Jane. When asked about Black Lightning, they expressed the importance of the project and how great of a story it can tell about love, family, and community. “We are led by a vision and clearly this is Salim’s,” Mara explained about choosing the project to bring to life in television form. She explained the importance of giving people the perspective of a Black man that is positive, stating “July 2016, two Black men were killed after the long list of other Black men and we were in that moment of what was happening in our communities. When you look on television there were no Black men in the center of a television show, speaking on the issues that were about his life.” Salim Akil explored his vision of the project in-depth when quoting:

“We use that authenticity when it comes to other cultures but really we are talking about the nuance and Black folks are an integral part of American culture. What we will see with Black Lightning is that yes, we are getting culturally specific nuances of what it is going to be like being an African American man in the United States, but you will also see a man that loves his family and his community and wants what is best for his community. You can take the African American off that (character) and you have just a man that wants the best for his family. I hope everybody can identify wanting the best for their families and their community.”

DC Comics is continuing to evolve its characters that people from different backgrounds can relate to. Black Lightning debuted tonight, January 16th at 9pm, how’d you like it?

28Oct/17
K is for Kahlo

New Children’s Book ‘K is for Kahlo’ Spells Out Excellence: Taji Mag Book Club

Making Art as easy as ABC’s: Literally.

Can you name 26 influential international Artists? Well, thanks to the new children’s book, K is for Kahlo by Dr. Tamara Pizzoli, we’ll all have the chance to learn.

Presenting artists from different disciplines, each is introduced within the pages of the book as a placeholder for a corresponding letter of the alphabet. Depicted in the bright color and simplicity typical of a children’s book, the illustrations done by Howell Edwards Creative are anything but typical. See for yourself. Available in hardcover and paperback from Amazon (and paperback on her website),  the book is described as ‘An artistic tour of the alphabet featuring notable artists from all around the world’. No stranger to accolades, author Dr. Pizzoli is best known for her critically acclaimed previous book, ‘The Ghanaian Goldilocks’, which received several awards. Recently released, her new book is already receiving praises, including a nod from the likes of Afropunk, which is known for lauding black excellence.

K is for Kahlo(image sourced from Afropunk)

This book is definitely going to be in quite a few of my holiday gifts this year. (Insert Oprah GIF here) You get a book. YOU get a book! EVERYBODY GETS A BOOOOOK!!!! Here’s why.

As essential as it is to teach our children the fundamentals of learning, such as the ABC’s, it is also our responsibility to inspire them. Dr. Pizzoli has dedicated herself to enriching the lives of children for years as a teacher and, now, also as an author. It is said that creativity fosters creativity and I believe this applies to life, not just art. The system in charge of educating our children outlines an overwhelmingly narrow path to success that often does not foster individuality nor artistic gifts as a mainstay. So efforts that successfully bring these elements together are worth noting. Talk about #Winning. This book puts into form the notion that we should be encouraging our children to take stock of their abilities and use them to create a life that is rich in texture and depth. It is never too early to show a young mind that it can dream in its own color.

Actually, all of her books encourage kids to live out loud. As an artist and someone who also works with children, I am so here for this! Using what we know to capture their bright-eyed attention, we can begin to mold together their emerging sense of self with their imagination. Not to mention the bonding that comes with reading to a child (cuddles. am I right?) and the fulfillment we get from knowing we are giving them wonderful tools for life. Honestly, I’ll be buying one for myself as well, just as much for myself as to share with the children I care for. You’re never too young, or too old, to be captivated and inspired by Art. Besides, you never know: you might just find out you’ve got a Baby Basquiat on your hands. You’re welcome.

Check out this book and 8 other titles from the Author here.

Social Media Links for the Author:

Instagram: @tamarapizzoli | @theenglishschoolhouse

Facebook: The English Schoolhouse

Twitter: @engschoolhouse

Until next time, keep reading ya’ll.

04Oct/17
Don't Sweat

Don’t Sweat The Small Shit

Let’s say some shit happens between you and somebody else. I’m talking have you wanting to throw hands, or had one too many drinks while listening to ABoogie all night type shit. Because of what happened, it’s automatically considered a bad day. At the end of that day, if I was to ask you how your day was, instead of talking about all the negative stuff, ask yourself these three questions.

1. Did it take any money out of your pocket?
2. Did it take the roof from over your head?
3. Are you or anyone you know in any physical pain or danger?

If the answer to all these questions is “NO”. Then guess what, IT DOESNT FUCKING MATTER. Why do we insist on being so ready to decide that it’s a bad day overall? Things happen, and the reality is, they’re going to keep happening. People my age have what, maybe a good 60-70 years left in this world? Come on, it’s unrealistic to think we can ever progress or move forward in life if we direct so much focus and energy towards the negative.

I won’t lie, I dead used to be that way. It was a really hard habit to get rid of, but I started to ask myself, do I really wanna be mad or sad, or any other negative emotion everyday? Hell no. I got tired of it, and I knew if I continued allowing myself to choose the negative, I would start doing that in everything else that I do. Whether it was dance, work, this blog, relationships… anything. I would always be negative.

It had to become part of my morning ritual to literally say out loud to myself, “I’m choosing to be happy today, and I’m going to make sure today is a good day”. Regardless of anything that happens, if it didn’t take your life, there’s no reason to sweat the small shit.

Don't Sweat

18Dec/16
Pan African Children's Books

29 Pan African Children’s Books!

 Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO

Pan African Children's Books

Add ones we’ve missed in the comments 🙂

List somewhat compiled by www.binoandfino.com
“Here at Bino and Fino, we are always on the look out for things that will help nurture young minds.  Finding children’s books for kids that have a black girl as the protagonist or the main character can be tricky. This is because of the fact that there is very little visibility of black & brown kids in the world of children’s books.  This is changing with campaigns such as We Need Diverse Books calling for more diversity in children’s books.

If you like any of these books and are looking for similar titles check out Tutu’s Storybook’s. They specialize in selling a wide variety of Pan African children’s books that celebrate black heritage & diversity for early readers.”

08Oct/16
Am I Allowed

“Am I Allowed”

“Am I Allowed”

This lady walked pass me in Manhattan on a street that not too many ppl were clit-clatting… and grabbed her purse

At first… Yeah I was hurt

Then… the anger kicked in because I simultaneously realized what made her comfort divert

………………………………..

Shut up white boy!

Mannn, cops pulled up on me and I was in some B’Ball shorts

Not just any ol’ cops, these were D’z… not that local B’Boy force

Next to me, as I was walking pass, was a vehicle stripped to the tee that was clearly not mine

Long story short I saw the cop pull from his waist… wrapped with metal tape… around the handle said it was mine 

and if the car comes back stolen then they’ll pin me for grand theft and the glock nine

……………………………….

Shut up white boy!

We need to come together and kill all that blue and red 

…those be the same colors in the rear view behind yo head

But nahhh …you blue… and you red 

…cop says… 

…”both you black so both you dead!”

We need to organize

SHUT …UP …WHITE BOY!

See this is the thing!

Y’all side eye me… because my lighter mel-la-neen

… when we really on the same team!

Why the fuck I gotta fight my own people to fight with my own people?!

MY NIGGAH?! If they shoot you they shoot me too! If they shoot me they shoot you too!

You think I had an easy life just because my lighter pigment?!

MY NIGGA?? No… WE ARE NEGUS (as in Kings) …And my Black is just a lil different!”

—Cal

Am I Allowed

04Dec/15
Sweet Daughter

Sweet Daughter by Michael Ware Jr.

Sweet Daughter
Pure soul
I wanna protect you from the world but I know you need to grow
From a baby to a girl, a girl to a woman, but respect yourself like a lady and no man can ever consider you a hoe
Daddy broke a lot of hearts and threw them away, but yours I will cherish and hold
Hold it to my heart and lock it with the key to my soul
Sweet daughter
Pure soul
You’re very independent, but there is still a lot to learn and a lot to know in order to fully grow
You will make mistakes and do the right thing, you may also get your heart broken and cry to sleep, but don’t ever be afraid to love
Love is pure, and you have a pure soul
Love them like your mother loved me, because that pure love is like no other
I am your father and he is your brother and she is your mother, but we all love each other equally like no other
Sweet daughter
Pure soul
I look into your eyes and your the reason why I have life and strive to be the best, wake up and go
Stay pure and cleanse your soul
Always pray because blessings will help you with life
Just don’t be afraid to grow
By Michael Ware Jr

 

 

30Nov/15

Dynamic Duo: Devon and Daphne

While mainstream media continues to spotlight negative attention towards people of color, very little is said about true artists in various fields. Artists that collaborate or self-motivate have always been seen as the underdogs to those who take the easy way out. These days, not many artists of color connect with each other, feeling that the industries they work for only have room for a few candidates to succeed. Dynamic duo, Devon Taylor and Daphne Lee, are making an impact in the art world today and are defying odds.

An accomplished Drummer, Actor and Model, Devon Taylor, hailing from Camden, NJ, uses his “inspiration of all art forms” to excel his expression. Currently playing for vocal artist, Nadjah Nicole, Devon spreads his passion by collaborating with artists locally and around the globe. Devon has a need to just make music and teach others on really telling a story. “I am all about art expression” says Taylor, “the story you tell when you’re on stage and when you are able to mentally and emotionally connect with your audience.” Devon even has his own production company where people can request his connections of talent for various events. Just recently, he connected with an NAACP ACT-SO regional gold medalist alumni (like himself), Daphne Lee, who is also a New Jersey native.

A professional dancer who is currently a ballerina for Collage Dance Collective in Memphis, TN, Daphne has always made a statement through other mediums of art via music, speaking engagements, and visual art, but most recently her photographs. “Ever since college, photographers connected with me not only as a dancer, but a ballerina of color to spread awareness of the lack of black female ballet dancers not being exposed in the media”. Even though her resumes extends from working with Beyonce, to being part of Ailey 2, Daphne mentions that there is a bigger purpose to it all.

Devon and Daphne collaborated with Memphis Photographer Ziggy Mack (@fomoloop) to demonstrate that art serves a huge purpose. Music and dance go hand in hand and with these NJ Artist, they want to continue to educate, inspire and mentor future artists of color to collaborate. They are always looking for a platform to connect with other musicians, photographers and visual artists. Follow Daphne and Devon on their careers on all social media platforms and watch their passion create pathways for the next generation.

Instagram: @daphne732 and @devskeerocket

Websites
Daphne: www.daphnemlee.com
Devon: www.pmeprime.com

Devon Taylor: Camden, NJ

Daphne Lee: Rahway, NJ

Dynamic Duo

Dynamic Duo

17Nov/15
Jahlaam

Jahlaam – Electric Atlanta Soul Artist

Jahlaam (a mesh of her name Khadijah Salaam) is an electric soul artist born in Philadelphia, PA but bred and based in Atlanta, GA. Her earliest memory of herself singing was when she was four; a Whitney Houston song played around her childhood home and she happily sang along. Throughout her grade school years she would catch the ears of her family and especially her dad who encouraged her to sing often as he enlisted her in several talent shows. In elementary school she played flute and was apart of the school choir. She even got to sing “The Greatest Love of All” alongside some of her peers for her elementary school graduation. She continued attending chorus up until high school. Around this time she began writing but perceived her lyrics to be too amateur. After high school Jahlaam would pursue a college degree & placed making music on the back burner. However she could not keep away the urge for making music. Eventually she returned to creating what she loves most and began churning out lyrics upon lyrics while seeking out music that would fit her vibes. So far, Jahlaam has performed at several Atlanta venues and had a performance set during the 2015 A3C Festival. Currently, she is actively pursuing a music career and building her brand as an artist.

Find her latest singles “Everything” & “Everything Remix” on all digital music stores including iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Beats Music, etc.

Social Media: @Jahlaam

Website: www.soundcloud.com/jahlaam

Jahlaam