Tag Archives: taji mag

22Mar/19
Celebration Of Our Queens

Lindi Roaming The Streets In Celebration Of Our Queens

‘Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’ (you strike the women, you strike the rock)

These words from the famous resistance song have come to symbolize the courage and strength expressed at the Women’s March of 1956 as South African women refused to give into increasing oppression without some form of protest.

Before the 1950s, only Black men were required to carry passes. This gave them permission to be in an urban area. Only people who could find work were given a pass. This allowed the government to control the influx of Black men into the cities. The passed law was one of the most hated of the apartheid laws. Men were repeatedly arrested under this law and it had the effect of turning the majority of the population into criminals.

In 1952, the government announced that Black women would also have to carry passes. Women actively resisted this. The idea began in 1955 at a meeting of FSAW, where a suggestion was made: “Let us go to Pretoria ourselves and protest to the Government against laws that oppress us.”

On the 9th of August 1956, over 20,000 women of all races marched in unison to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over a petition to, the then South African prime minister, Hans (JG) Strijdom.

This was a significant turning point in the struggle against unjust apartheid laws. Though the march was against the restrictive pass laws, it led to significant changes towards the emancipation of women

‘Nelisiwe Mwase’, better known as “Nells”, optimizes the word “Imbokoto” (rock)! She’s a scriptwriter, content creator, music video producer, and actively manages Ofentse Mwase Flims, “OM Films”. The company was officially launched in 2017 as a comedy skit brand.

In that short space of time, Ofentse Mwase has been able to secure 1million views on two of their short film videos. While they don’t have a properly set up training program as yet, they take in a new intern from film school every three months.

They scout natural talent from underprivileged individuals who can’t afford tertiary education, and are passionate about film… encouraging them to start creating content with what they have, to develop consistency and discipline.

‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN MYSELF.’

“I couldn’t believe my own words. I could think of 10,000 different ways and things that anyone in public could say to discredit me. In my heart, I knew without any dim light of doubt; that I am great. I am gifted. I am good for it. This is my life.  But I was negative.”

-Nells

“I’m here to inspire”

Radical Creative Entrepreneurs

“My name is Ennock Mlangeni, a self-taught visual art artist based in Sasolburg, Zamdela SA. I specialize in various mediums from pens, paints, fabrics and pencil works.” His work is mostly influenced and inspired by women, as he has seen the strength that lies behind their beauty. Ennock started drawing in grade six and still remains loyal to the same resources he used when he began. He believes he stands a chance to compete with the new age technology material and artists, as he has refined and mastered his craft over the years using just basic tools… basic tools such as ballpoint pens, wax crayons, bottle caps, fabric etc.

     

“Black has never looked this good, bathed in the sun with pure sheer glow, black has never looked this beautiful. Dressed in the colours of my ancestors walking like the greatness of my past, I am not my scars but I am my heritage. Proudly reaping the presence of my heritage… black don’t crack, don’t crack, black don’t crack, as it oozes out of me cause kenna, it’s me, ndim dizibiqele ngoba ndim, black don’t crack. It simply draws the path on the palm of my hand…YES, black don’t crack! I am who I am because of my ancestors. My head wrapped in the presence of men to show respect, head bowed and knees bent to signify the presence of the man

Instika yesizwe

Black don’t crack black don’t crack black don’t crack because I am Instika Yesizwe.”

IG @mandy

Amanda Limpho Mboyi

15Mar/19
Anthony Trucks

Former NFL Player Anthony Trucks Explains How Self-Love Affects Your Service

Anthony TrucksAnthony Trucks is currently one of the few football players to complete an American Ninja Warrior gauntlet. At 225lbs he really wasn’t expected to complete the gauntlet because the people that are normally able to complete these obstacles are around 160lbs. He approached the obstacles at the event like he approaches life, looking to only to do his best and nothing more. Taji Mag was able to talk to the competitor and former NFL athlete about the importance of self-love, life shifts, and overcoming obstacles as a current self-help coach, influencer, and inspirational speaker.

“Sometimes it takes years to really grasp what has happened to your life.” – Wilma Rudolph

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): What is an Identity Shift?

Anthony Trucks (AT): “We have a lot of things that vastly change in life, things like relationships, income, family, and self-image. Along with that is what we desire to change and that change comes from not only our mindset and habits but our identity as well. When our identity becomes dialed into where you want it to be, the mindset and habits will fall into place smoothly. I believe that when you have identity anchors in place, life becomes easier and smooth.

We as individuals want more. More love, more freedom, more time, etc. But we want these things without changing our routines or schedule. Life doesn’t work that way. I think the desire for change came through the desire to want.

I’m always looking back at my life to evaluate my desire for that certain period and time. At that point I was thinking about why I wanted to close my gym, why I didn’t do anymore consulting or guest speaking. Well, about two years ago I decided that the last thing I want to be on my deathbed is the person I could’ve been.

DDF:  What gave you the strength you needed during your childhood?

AT: Being a kid, you know no other option. For me, I started to grow into my conscious mind as a young fostered child. I knew no better nor examined the difference between my self and other kids until I was exposed to more things. It is then I began to question “Why don’t I have new clothes or why are there holes in my shoes?” I was lucky enough to have a caring foster family to get me through difficult times in my life. The other thing that helped was that I had people outside of my family who helped facilitate me into programs and spoke positivity into me.

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” -Muhammad Ali

DDF: What allowed you to move into your calling and current position after your career ending injury?

AT: The change from my NFL life was one of the big identity teachers for me, I think it’s a good teacher for anybody. I think what we do is what we become, much like if a person at a young age swings a bat every day, often times they become a baseball player. This happens to athletes and some people in the military. When you are an athlete, you base your sense of self-worth and guidance on this thing you do, but when the thing you do (career or activity)  is no more, you don’t know who you are.

I was smart enough to know that there may be an asterisk on the future of my football career, so I took care of my academics and made sure I graduated. When I came home, I started to figure out who I was because my life went from everyone wanting to talk to me and have me sign stuff to not even knowing my name because I didn’t play anymore due to my injury. That is definitely a difficult transition.

Anthony Trucks

I had to find a way to re-direct my energy into finding that new thing that made me feel as if I mattered. It helps me more when I find things that will help other people.

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

DDF: Where did this re-directing of energy take you?

AT: I decided that I wanted to use my kinesiology degree to open a gym. There was a drawback, however. I became hyper-focused on the gym. At the same time, I had a family – wife and kids – but I neglected them all with my focus being to maintain and build this gym. Thinking that if I had this thriving business then it would be best for my kids but all they wanted was quality time with me, money or not.

DDF: How do you use self-love to be the best version of yourself?

AD: The reason that I am able to serve at a high level is that I love me. When you love someone, you not only tell them that you love them but you love them with action. You don’t want to let that person that you love down, no matter who it is. Yet, we don’t take this same perspective and reflect it internally.

We eat a crappy meal during a diet, we miss a workout, we don’t make phone calls to people to help ourselves, or we don’t chase a dream. It is during these times that you are not doing actions of love to the person you need to do it for the most and therefore you don’t show up. That makes you feel like you are not deserving and when you feel that way, you don’t put things out into the world. Self-love affects your service for sure.

DDF: You have a wonderful family and of course you are full of good advice. What advice do you give your children?

AT: It’s a daily conversation with my kids. As children get into their teens, they seek freedom, they seek autonomy. Freedom is like value. It’s like giving a kid $20 million dollars, if you don’t have experience then you will burn through it.

In regards to adults, freedom is you get to make the choices you want to make but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about responsible decisions.

I teach my kids how to be responsible and, with that, explain how this approach will allow them to attain any goal.

Anthony Trucks

Check Anthony Trucks via social media and follow up on his TV appearances on American Ninja Warrior and more here!

21Feb/19
Growing Up Immigrant

Series, Growing Up Immigrant, Explores the Dynamics of a First-Gen Ghanaian-American

Growing Up Immigrant is a 6-episode cultural comedy and web series that explores the dynamics of first-generation, Ghanaian-American millennial, Nicholas Aajayi, as he navigates his career and romantic life while adjusting to living with his more “traditional” aunty. This series travels through so many cultural stigmas, most that people are silent about or choose to turn a blind eye towards.

Growing Up ImmigrantGrowing Up Immigrant’s creator, writer, co-director, and lead actor, Nathaniel Kweku, is American born but grew up going to Ghana every few years and recognized some strong cultural misunderstandings between Africans and African-Americans. As a first-generation Ghanaian-American, he understood the dynamics of both sides and became passionate about helping to spread cultural healing. Inspired by legendary African leaders and activists such as Kwame Nkrumah, Fela Kuti, Jomo Kenyatta, and Steven Biko, Nathaniel believes that more holistic African stories are needed to heal the wounds of colonialism and slavery.

The series takes a comedic approach, in the beginning, joking about who makes better Jollof between Ghana and Nigeria but eventually leads us straight into the unjustified murders of unarmed Black men in America. Along the journey, we experience what it’s like to be an undocumented immigrant, an elder African woman who is interested in dating but fears she is no longer desired, a millennial African woman who can’t find a man (particularly not an African one) to match her success who isn’t loving a white woman (Sidebar: she needs some restitution in a spin-off series), a Black man with a record from crimes he didn’t commit who cannot find a decent job due to said criminal record, dating a white partner who doesn’t understand… well… anything, and so much more. Watch it for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.

19Feb/19
High-End Black Designer

50+ High-End Black Designer Brands Across the Diaspora to Support Instead of…

High-end Black designer brands have existed for decades, yet we often look to the colonizers to flex our style. No more. Here are some extremely amazing brands with high-quality products to fill your closet listed in alphabetical order. Let us know your favs!

High-End Black Designer

Adele Dejak | AdeleDejak.com | @AdeleDejak
Adele Dejak The Brand is home to luxurious African inspired jewelry handcrafted in the heart of Kenya. Everything comes from materials that different African tribes would use to make their ornaments and trinkets. We have contemporary, artistic and wearable bags, necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets not forgetting some exclusive home decor items. If you consider yourself sophisticated, edgy, trendy and fashionable, Adele Dejak is the brand for you.

High-End Black Designer

Adoni MMVII | AdoniNYC.com | @AdoniNYC
Signature products, apparel, and accessories.

High-End Black Designer Brands

Ainsley & Troupe | AinsleyAndTroupe.com | @AinsleyAndTroupe
Ainsley & Troupe believes there aren’t many things in life (aside from a strong spiritual foundation) that gives a man confidence and a sense of purpose quite like being well-dressed does. Their aim is to equip men with the sartorial tools they need to exude confidence and remain purpose-filled throughout their everyday lives.

High-End Black Designer

Andrea IyamahAndreaIyamah.com | @AndreaIyamah 
Andrea Iyamah, owned by Nigerian fashion designer Dumebi Iyamah, is a clothing line strongly inspired by color and ethnic cultures. Although Andrea Iyamah is popularly recognized for its eccentric and unique take on swimwear, using vibrant colors and cuts inspired by an array of African cultures, the brand also specializes in ready-to-wear and custom made special event dresses.

High-End Black Designer

Armando Cabral | Armando-Cabral.com | @armando_cabral
Founded in 2008 by Portuguese model and designer Armando Cabral, Armando Cabral was established to offer premium footwear and accessories that reflect and support modern living. Inspired by timeless design, easy elegance and luxurious comfort, the brand merges minimalism with intricate details and innovative technical construction. From loafers and derby shoes, to boots and sneakers, each style is crafted from premium leather and made by Italy’s finest artisans, creating new classics designed for every occasion.

High-End Black Designer

ASHYA | Ashya.Co | @Ashya.Co
ASHYA is a Brooklyn-based design label featuring exclusively belt bags and travel-friendly accessories made for the modern day explorer. The brand aims to unify function and style through its purposeful designs. The contemporary design label reinvents a staple style by offering an unconventional and reimagined look on luxury belt bags. The brand emerged as an “ode to exploration” and pays homage to effortless movement. The thoughtfully crafted accessories are designed to fill the gap in the traveler of today’s arsenal of timeless pieces.

High-End Black Designer

Brother Vellies | BrotherVellies.com | @BrotherVellies
Brother Vellies was founded by Aurora James with the goal of introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs within Africa. Handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco, Brother Vellies creates boots, shoes, and sandals in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts.

High-End Black Designer

Christie Brown | ChristieBrownOnline.com | @ChristieBrown 
Luxury Ghanian fashion brand.

High-End Black Designer

Claude Lavie Kameni | LavieByCK.com | @LavieByCK
The Life of Fashion and Beauty. Celebrity Designer, originally from Cameroon, currently based in the D(M)V and Los Angeles.

High-End Black Designer

CUSHNIE | Cushnie.com | @Cushnie
CUSHNIE is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear and accessories brand designed by Carly Cushnie. At the helm of her namesake label as CEO and Creative Director, Carly Cushnie sets forth with a mission to empower women, and to celebrate diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the business.

High-End Black Designer

Dleak Leather Bowties | DleakLeatherBowties.com | @dleakbowties
Dleak Leather Bow-ties is a NewYork-based brand with a collection of handmade leather bow-ties and accessories. Each bow-tie is customized for each individual.

High-End Black Designer

Fe Noel | FeNoel.com | @FeNoel
“Eat well, travel often, and dress to inspire!”…In other words, make life beautiful. This is the philosophy behind the Brooklyn based, womenswear brand Fe Noel. The label’s founder, Felisha “Fe” Noel, is deeply influenced by her Grenadian heritage and has mastered the ability to bottle up culture and glamour infused with sensibility and sensuality.

High-End Black Designer

FEAR OF GODfearofgod.com | @fearofgod.com
American Luxury.

High-End Black Designer

Felix Asuquo | @Fai_World
Bespoke fashion brand based in Lagos.

High-End Black Designer

FemiHandbags | FemiHandbags.com | @FemiHandBags
Colourful. Eclectic. These are the trademarks of FemiHandbags, an African handbags and accessories brand that embodies the exuberant approach to life of its founder, Femi Olayebi.

High-End Black Designer

FRÈRE | FrereNY.com | @MusikaFrere
FRÈRE is the new voice of modern fashion. With an obsessive focus on fit and fabrication, the FRÈRE brand elevates classic silhouettes with extensive experience in bespoke suiting. FRÈRE brings the expertise forward to express a continuation of this vision of an expansion into a fashion house with the offerings of ready-to-wear collections and accessories with a global presence. All of FRÈRE’s garments are hand-made by the finest artisans in the world using the most luxurious materials.

High-End Black Designer

Hanifa | Hanifa.co | @HanifaOfficial
Hanifa is a Ready-to-Wear (RTW) designer line which features contemporary apparel for women. Feminine with chic simplicity, Hanifa features an array of styles, colors, textures, and exclusive patterns that cater to a woman’s body. Hanifa targets your everyday hardworking, bold and beautiful woman who embodies class and a subtle edge.

High-End Black Designer Brands

Haus of Falenci’ago | HausofFalenciago.schedulista.com | @HausOfFalenciago
Specializing in Red Carpet Fashion.

High-End Black Designer

Hideoki Bespoke | HideokiBespoke.com
Born of traditional craftsmanship, infused with an innovative style, and personalized to express the client’s individuality, a Hideoki Bespoke garment enhances every client’s lifestyle.

High-End Black Designer

Ites International | ItesInternational.com | @ItesInt
Caribbean-born, but raised in New York, Sequoia’s journey to Jamaica and her exposure to Reggae, Rastafari, and the African culture inspired her to launch the ITES INTERNATIONAL label.

High-End Black Designer

John Ashford Shoes | AuthenticByJohnAshford.com | @JohnAshfordShoes
John Ashford is a New York Shoe designer and published visual artist and photographer who hand makes his shoes.

High-End Black Designer

LaQuan Smith | LaQuanSmith.com | @LaQuanSmith
LaQuan Smith, born in Queens, New York, has cultivated an equally dynamic private order clientele which spans the globe from Lagos to London. Smith’s unapologetically glamorous aesthetic has also been tapped by world­ recognized brands.

High-End Black Designer

Laurence Basse | LaurenceBasse.com | @laurencebasse
Project Runway Finalist with an excellent aesthetic.

High-End Black Designer

lemlemlemlem.com | @lemlemofficial
lemlem is an artisan-driven collection of women’s, men’s, children’s and home goods made entirely in Africa. Supermodel Liya Kebede was inspired to launch the brand following a trip to her native Ethiopia where she met a group of traditional weavers who no longer had a market for their craft.

High-End Black Designer

Made Leather Co. | MadeLeatherCo.com
A leather goods brand that inspired the avid traveler and stylish business person to create a brand for the same. Handcrafted bags for any occasion or no occasion at all.

High-End Black Designer

Mantsho | Mantsho.co | @PalesaMokubung
Mantsho” is a Sesotho name meaning “A Beautiful Complexion” a clothing label that was established by Palesa Mokubung in 2004. Palesa zooms in on African materials and cleverly transforms them into modern and edgy designs incorporating fine silks and woven fabrics to end up with a 100% Mantsho garment.

High-End Black Designer

Mifland | Mifland.com | @MiflandBrand
Mifland Leather Goods is an American based mixed accessory goods company with a modern utilitarian approach. The collections are defined by Mifland’s signature architectural inspired bold design and attention to detail, with an emphasis on durability and unique use of colors and heavyweight leather.

Milano Di Rouge | MilanoDiRouge.com | @MilanoDiRouge
Milano Di Rouge, LLC is an apparel brand that focuses on providing luxury to the fashion enthusiast. Owned, operated and founded by Milan Rouge, the message the brand promotes is Making Dreams Reality.

High-End Black Designer

MWR Collection | MWRCollection.com | @MWRCollection
MWR Collection is a luxury lifestyle brand that is bold, distinctive, and connected. The masterful hands of our Creative Director, Mia Wright-Ross, and our experienced artisans work to massage a true connection of design, creation, and human kinship within each customizable work. The brand seeks to bring back a sense of human nature and character to each individual product.

High-End Black Designer

Negash | Negash83.com | @Negash83
The name Negash is of African Amharic and Tigrinya origin. The meaning of Negash is “in line to be king”. Negash is generally used as a boy’s name. It consists of 6 letters and 2 syllables and is pronounced Ne-gash.

High-End Black Designer

Nene-YayaNene-Yaya.afrikrea.com/en | @neneyayahb
Stylish Clothing, Accessories, and Home Decor from Senegal

High-End Black Designer

No Tribe Clothing | NoTribeClothing.com | @notribeclothing 
LA Based, print-inspired brand.

High-End Black Designer

Nubian SkinNubianSkin.com | @NubianSkin
A nude bra and skin tone hosiery are the basics of every woman’s wardrobe, at least in theory. For many women of colour, finding suitable skin-tone hosiery and lingerie has not been an option. Frustrated by the lack of skin-tone choices to go with her ever-expanding wardrobe, Nubian Skin founder, Ade Hassan, decided it was time for ‘a different kind of nude’.

High-End Black Designer

Off-WhiteOff—White.com | @off____white
This luxury streetwear label was founded by Abloh in 2012. The range of items includes markers, leather goods, shoes, purses, belts, and pants.

High-End Black Designer

Olori | BeOlori.com | @beolori
Olori means “Queen” in the Yoruba language, which symbolizes every girl’s inherent worth and power. We make handbags that make women feel strong, confident, and secure. We work with artisans and women-owned businesses to help preserve unique craftsmanship and regain influence in a woman-driven industry. Every product sold provides tuition fees for an underprivileged girl.

High-End Black Designer

Orijin Culture | OrijinStore.com | @orijinculture
Orijinal’ Design, Culturally inspired. A brand creating a unique culture lifestyle through African inspired fashion. Although Orijin is Afro-centric in nature, our themes are universal. An Eclectic brand fusing creative, modern, ambitious and “orijinality”.

High-End Black Designer

Oudyk | Oudyk.com | @oudyk_
Offers a garment that is an extension of your personality. Cuts minimalist and sophisticated outfits that will enhance you. Garments made in Mali.

High-End Black Designer

Ozwald Boateng | OzwaldBoateng.co.uk | @Ozwald_Boateng
Ozwald Boateng’s design evokes the essence of a man’s spirituality and character through the enhancement of the physical being. The acknowledgment that style is an extension of one’s self culminates in the wearer having their own voice. The quintessential cut. A thought, a revolution, detail, concentration, pushing the craft of bespoke tailoring further. Crisp and structured, exquisite artistry, innovative classicism. Our secret, uniquely Boateng.

High-End Black Designer

Paul Elle | PaulElle.com | @paulelle
Celebrating African Craft. Shoes, Bags,
Dakar – Paris -Montreal – Worldwide Shipping

High-End Black Designer

Pyer Moss | PyerMoss.com | @PyerMoss
Pyer Moss was founded in 2013 by Kerby Jean-Raymond. Jean-Raymond describes the brand as an “art project” or “a timely social experiment” at times. Pyer Moss aims to use its voice and platform to challenge social narratives and evoke dialogue. Pyer Moss continues to redefine itself every season with collections and runways that combine storytelling, activism, debate, theatre, and social commentary; all while using collaboration with artists and brands as a medium to further the dialogue around seasonal themes.

High-End Black Designer

Romeo Hunte | RomeoHunte.com | @RomeoHunte
Romeo Hunte New York is a definitive lifestyle brand created for all women who appreciate intricate details. Designed in New York City, the line embodies an aesthetic that is cool, conservative and intricate with a balance of feminine and masculine. The brand emphasizes on impeccable outerwear that is practical such as the signature cashmere shearling hood shawl that is one of the core elements of Romeo Hunte the brand.

High-End Black Designer

Southern Gents | S-Gents.com | @S_Gents
We strongly believe the characteristics of a true Gent, Southern or otherwise, include but also expand beyond the execution of style and eloquence alone. Through the delivery of a wide array of enlightening information, contemporary yet classic style accessories, along with hosting of dynamic & inspiring events, an ambition to unite Gents around the world regardless of age, ethnicity, religion or disability has begun. The intent of such efforts consists of bringing about the re-emergence of strong positive community leaders, responsible for administering the common good in all aspects of life.

High-End Black Designer

T-Michael | T-Michael.com | @tmichael_bergen
T-MICHAEL is a bespoke tailor/ designer /artist with a conceptual approach to men’s tailoring inspired by his love of sartorial traditions and his passionate quest for a different narrative within tailoring, design and creativity, to celebrate stylistic and cultural diversities present in today’s zeitgeist. He is known for his meticulous attention to detail and for his garments’ impeccable construction.

High-End Black Designer

Talley & Twine | TalleyAndTwine.com | @TalleAndTwine 
Talley & Twine was created after realizing that most watch companies just emulated the most popular brands. Their goal was to create a quality, detailed, attention-grabbing timepiece. They like to operate outside of the “norms” and away from the long-standing gatekeepers of the watch industry.

High-End Black Designer

Tsemaye Binitie | TsemayeBinitie.com@TsemayeBinitie
Tsemaye Binitie is a contemporary fashion label characterized by exquisite clothing encapsulating a love of luxury and innovative design, specialising in cutting edge advanced contemporary ladies-wear that combines functionality with high design content. Meticulous cut, indulgent fabrics and sartorial construction permeate the delivery of sharp, refined and timeless pieces. The pieces will feature dynamic, draped and body conscious silhouettes with a deep desire to communicate a new sense of elegance and modern glamour.

High-End Black Designer

Undra CelesteUndraCelesteNY.com | @Love_UCNY
Contemporary Clothing for the Modern Woman.

High-End Black Designer

Uniquelywiredm | Uniquelywiredm.com | @Uniquelywiredm
Uniquely Wired M. jewelry is essential to every King and Queen’s trove of fine pieces. From rings to bracelets, crowns to vests, everything is designed to revitalize and re-imagine the feeling of individual strength and style.

High-End Black Designer

Wales Bonner | WalesBonner.net
Informed by broad research that encompasses critical theory, composition, literature, and historical sources, WALES BONNER explores a distinctive notion of luxury via a hybrid of European and African approaches.

High-End Black Designer

Waraire BoswellWaraireBoswell.com | @WaraireBoswell
The WARAIRE BOSWELL brand has been synonymous with attention to detail, proper fit, style, taste level, and innovation.

High-End Black Designer

Vitae London | VitaeLondon.com | @VitaeLondon
Vitae London is a watch brand based in London, England. Vitae combines classic and beautiful design with social justice. Pairing minimalist concepts with stylish modernity, their watches are subtle, yet slim, sophisticated timepieces suited to everyone.

High-End Black Designer

Yvonne Jewnell New York | YvonneJewnellDesigns.com | @YvonneJewnellNY
Yvonne Jewnell New York is an award-winning women’s wear company that creates clothing that promotes women empowerment and celebrates culture from across the globe. Owned by a mother-daughter team, YJNY creates garments with an ethnically inspired message of overcoming obstacles and revitalizing strength.

High-End Black Designer

ZAAF® | ZaafCollection.com | @ZaafCollection
ZAAF is a collection of premium leather goods and accessories handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia. ZAAF is a word that means “tree” in the ancient and noble Amharic language. We offer a broad range of fashion accessories for women and men including handbags, weekend and travel accessories, scarves, leather jackets and more.

Post others in the comments and we’ll add them! Many thanks to @NewVisionAfro for making us aware of most of these brands!

07Feb/19
Santia Beck

Olympian Hopeful, Santia Deck, Says Self-Love is Self Care

It was Florence Griffith Joyner (U.S. track and field Olympian) who said, “When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore.” These are the same words that echo in the mind of athlete, author, and fitness influencer, Santia Deck, as she leaves her opponents, both male and female, in the dust. She jukes them with Barry Sanders-like finesse during flag football and rugby games. As she runs past her opponents on the field and gives it her all during workouts, her vision is set on her biggest goal: the Olympics. Taji Mag was able to chat with Santia to discuss health, self-love, and her journey to Japan 2020.

Self-Love is How You Treat Yourself

Santia Deck

Santia Deck is a motivational speaker, author, trainer, and social media fitness influencer. She also appeared on shows like Steve Austin Broken Skull Ranch TV show.

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): How important is fitness to self-love?

Santia Deck (SA): I would put the two in the same category because how you treat yourself correlates to how you value yourself. If you are someone that doesn’t care about working out, eating healthy, and making sure that you are putting the proper nutrition in your body, it shows that there are some deep rooted issues within yourself. I personally think taking time for health and nutrition, is taking time out for self-care.

DDF: You are in great shape, what made you choose to be a vegan and what changes did you experience once you made the change?

SD:  Well, I was vegan about nine months ago and I just recently decided to go back. My life changed physically, emotionally, and mentally. My skin cleared up, my energy level skyrocketed (I felt like I was a kid again with unlimited energy), I slept better, I had a healthy bladder and intestines, and I felt like I was in tip-top shape. I was competing on a higher level than some of the pro athletes I was training with.

I would eat avocados and mangoes for breakfast before training, then after the workout, I would still feel pretty good but the NFL athletes would be on the ground dying. I realized then that what you put in your body does matter. People think that you have to have all this meat and carbs to gain muscle mass but there are a lot of vegan athletes who are doing well in their respective sports.

Santia Deck

Santia in action on the field.

DDF: What are men’s reactions when they see you on the field and/or guard you?

SA: I usually get questions like “Who are you?” “What are you?” “What kind of girl are you?” and “Why are you like this?” Of course, you have those people that are mad and/or those guys that claim they weren’t giving 100%. I get a lot of different reactions.

It’s funny, people think just because I am a girl that I am not supposed to be super athletic and compete on the same level as a man. Of course, I am not saying that I can go on the football field and be one of the guys, but I do think that my footwork and moves are pretty good for any athlete.

Santia Deck

The first African American woman to win a gold medal Alice Coachman.

“I always believed that I could do whatever I set my mind to do.” – Alice Coachman

DDF: Who taught you about sports and how did they encourage you?

SA: Definitely, my older brother because I grew up with boys. I have three brothers and one sister, one of my brothers is actually my twin. So when I was younger I was always competing with my twin and my older brother would make us compete in various activities. He created that competitive spirit and the reason I am able to do the things I can do now athletically. I was doing footwork drills and running routes when I was five years old. I was never the girl that played with dolls, I was always outside doing something athletic. I was a tomboy doing everything my brothers were doing.

Mind, Body, and Soul 

DDF: What made you practice celibacy?

SA: I was in an abusive relationship and had stayed in the relationship longer than I needed to. I think it’s because I had sex with this person, which created an attachment, and I am very spiritual, so I believe in soul ties. I felt like I had a major soul tie with this person that was created through sexual intimacy.

Then there was a point when I thought that I wasn’t going to be here anymore because of the abuse and I remember praying to God that if He were to get me out of this situation, then I would make a promise to be celibate. Never have sex with someone that doesn’t deserve me. After God got me through that situation, that is when I decided to commit to being celibate.

There are a lot of spiritual demons when you have sex with people and I felt that was something going on with me. Honestly, I just want to have a blessed marriage, I want my children to grow up in a two-parent home, and just do what I feel is the right way.

DDF: Are there some difficulties being celibate?  

Santia Deck

Santia Deck aka Track Baby. FYI: Santia wears mismatched socks in honor of Flo Jo.

SA: It’s been tough while I’ve been dating. I have only had one person that respected me enough not to explore dating with me because of my decision, but a lot of men have tried to act like they can hold out and eventually try their hand anyway.

It is tough trying to find someone when you decide to be celibate but I have avoided so much drama and people I didn’t need to date because they are scratched off my list once I tell them about my decision.

DDF: Have your followers given you a lot of praise for being such an inspiration?

SA: I get a lot of messages about how I have influenced people to workout, chase their dreams.

DF: How do you feel about all the support that you get from your followers?

SA: I am grateful and thankful to have a platform to give people daily motivation. To be an inspiration to the kids that they can do whatever they want to do. Reminding them that there is no limit except the limit you put on yourself. I’m just grateful to God.

Big Goals and Small Worries 

DDF: How do you react to some of the negative people and comments?

SA: I have thick skin and people are going to feel the way they feel and have negative things to say. To me, it’s just ignorance and I don’t care because I love myself the way that I am. I look the way I look because that is the way I am supposed to be… a professional athlete. It’s like the thing that Serena Williams goes through, you can talk about her but she’s a millionaire.

Santia Deck

Tennis player Serena Williams.

“Think of all the girls who could become top athletes but quit sports because they’re afraid of having too many defined muscles and being made fun of or called unattractive.” – Serena Williams

DDF: What is your biggest goal right now?

SA: My biggest goal right now is the Olympics because it’s right around the corner. Of course, I want to have success in all aspects of my life but the biggest goal is definitely the Olympics, Japan 2020.

Santia Deck

Victoria Folay Team USA rugby athlete.

DDF: What are your next steps to get there?

SA: It’s a process to make it to the Olympics. I just need to be seen by a USA coach and that is accomplished by going to camps, games, etc. I’ve been doing those things now and just waiting to get a tryout but I will keep grinding until I do.

As many of us watch Santia make countless plays on the field via social media, we may see her alongside current players for the women’s USA rugby team like Victoria Folay. Better yet, we see her being like her biggest Olympic inspiration, Flo Jo, and standing with a gold medal around her neck, mismatched socks and all. Follow Santia on Instagram.

Santia Deck

Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo Jo), U.S. track and field Olympian.

All photos of Santia are taken by Enka Lawson and Jeffery Mustache.

31Jan/19
Ashley McDonough

Ashley McDonough, Howard Grad & Journalist Behind Articles of Self Love and Media | Self Love Series

Ashley McDonoughMartin Luther King once said “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.” Which is true, all of us can be great by giving back and being the best version of ourselves.

Ashley McDonough is one of many examples of this as a Howard University grad, producer, journalist, media professional, and modern-day renaissance woman.  She has utilized all of her talents to inform, celebrate and entertain. Taji Mag was able to talk to her about self-love in the many aspects of life.

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): What is self-love to you and how can people better practice it?

Ashley McDonough (AM): Self-love is an appreciation of yourself, you have to know who you are and what you deserve. Self-love is appreciating the promise you made to yourself. Living your life accordingly to the promise that you made. 

DDF: How do you practice self-love?

AM: It is a day-to-day basis of being kind to yourself. I, myself, am a very busy person and I have a lot on my plate. I can be hard on myself with completing things in a timely manner. To me, it’s truly about being patient with yourself. Just take time out to talk to yourself in a positive, uplifting way.

Relationships & Self Love 

“You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.”- Nina Simone 

DDF: You have some great articles about dating. Advocates say you should love yourself first before entering a relationship but when do you know you are ready?

AM: It’s just a matter of self-healing. When you are healed enough and your mental health is in order, then I think that is the right time to date. A lot of times I think that relationships don’t work because everyone’s walking around with these traumas and insecurities that they haven’t healed from.

Once you have healed fully, know what you want out of a partner and you know what you deserve out of that partner and know what you are willing to give that partner in return, I think it’s a healthy ground to go out there and see what the dating world has to offer you.

DDF: Let’s say you are in a relationship, how do you maintain that self-love? 

Ashley McDonough

AM: I’ve definitely been in that situation before. You can really get caught up in the idea of love but you have to understand that you can’t love someone if don’t love yourself.

Understanding that you deserve a certain type of love, your partner should understand and be respectful of that. Also, you have to understand what you want out of life, its a beautiful gift from God. You are whole by yourself, I don’t believe in that whole “you complete me” thing. I really think you need to be complete before you get into relationships.

DDF: Can situation-ships be included in self-love?

AM: If that works for you then ok. I think every person is different, I’m not going to say that this is the ideal relationship because sometimes that freedom is a form of self-love. It depends on the person, some people are looking for long term commitment and other people just want to have fun, be free, have options. Society can put these ideas/beliefs on people and that can cause relationships not to work a lot of times.

Work to Live, Not Live to Work

“Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.” – Janelle Monae

DDF: You have an article about the importance of setting boundaries, how important is that to self-love?

AM: You can get caught up in everyday life sometimes and you need to set boundaries in order to keep your sanity. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, sometimes we treat ourselves like superheroes… we are not. Setting boundaries in every aspect of your life is important for your sanity and overall mental health.

DDF: Pursuing your passion or desired career is also a version of self-love, agreed? Why do so many struggle with it and what did you do to keep moving forward?

AM Definitely because it’s safe. It’s scary to follow your dreams. It’s not something for everyone. Everyone can’t do it and everyone is not in that space to do it. You have to have a strong sense of faith, you have to believe in yourself.

I was born and raised in New York but I took a leap of faith and moved to L.A. because I felt it in my heart to do it.  You really have to believe in yourself, work hard and know that God is going to take care of you.

Articles of Self Love and Media

“You are your best thing.” – Toni Morrison

DDF: You have written some great pieces about people embracing the beauty in themselves, what inspires you to write pieces like these?

AM: What inspires my writing? Well, even before I went to college, I knew I wanted to produce and create content that I thought the world needed to hear. I really like doing the backstories of the people that are seen as the overnight successes because I feel like those stories are important and need to be heard by everyone.

Social media has changed the mind state of success and the hustle and the grind. To hear those stories change perspectives.

DDF: Out of the articles you have written, which is your favorite?

Ashley McDonoughAM: One of my favorite stories was about Jessie Woo, she is a comedian and singer. She’s amazing! Her story is so inspiring because of her journey to success. Everyone on social media was seeing her as an overnight success but in reality, it took her some time to get in her position.

She told the story about her start in New York, becoming unemployed within the first two months and not having enough funds to buy a plane ticket home but through it all she made it. Jessie’s story encourages people to follow their own dreams, whatever path may be for them.

DDF: How much of an influence do you think the media has on self-love?

Ashley McDonough

Ashley in her Howard grad cap and gown.

AM: Howard gives you a sense of self, I don’t think many of the students have. It’s the overall experience because you are surrounded by such Black excellence and you are being taught by the most amazing professors with extensive careers.

They are teaching you to love yourself and appreciate your history. A lot this stuff you don’t get see growing up. I grew up in Queens, NY so I grew up in a very diverse area and went to public school my whole life, we learned the basics of Black history.

That changed when I went to Howard University because we learned everything, the good and the bad. The experience taught me how amazing my people are!

See more from Ashley via her website!

30Jan/19
Taji Mag Vol 18 Embrace the Black

Taji Vol18: Embrace the Black

Release Mar 7 2019 | Vol18 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling its theme of Embrace the Black! This volume’s cover features the #SlayBells of model Jennifer “Milk” Laloi. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick on The Laya Center, a Plant-Based Preventative & Rehabilitation Center; our Community Spotlight; our highlighted Hair Feature; “Solo Travel: What Does Your Travel Say About You?” by D. Carrie; “Everyday Spiritual Teknowledge Everyday” by Jashua Sa’Ra; “Representation in Education” by Janelle Naomi; Our Vol 18 theme “Embrace the Black;” Fitness Feature on Athlete, Actress, Wife, and Mom, Gillian White; Vegan Fun with Delliz the Chef; Black Business Grant Winner: The Unique Foodie Witchery; “#BlackLoveConvo: “Fennell Adventures: A Family of Authors” by Dapper Dr. Feel;” Featured art piece by Will Focus; Must Have Graphic Novel: “Cypher Team i01” by Tyrone Jackson/SoveReign Comics; Black Business Highlights; Taji Mag Model Contest Winners; and more!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Shop Taji’!

Taji Mag Vol 18 Embrace the Black

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 18

Taji Mag is the epitome of the positive Black experience. Our brand embodies the traditional and modern royalty of Pan-African people via our quarterly digital and print publication and live events.

07Dec/18
Fit Grandpa

Exploring the Benefits of Mental and Physical Wellness with Titus aka Fit Grandpa

Fitness enthusiast, Jean Titus (@titusunlimited), has been an internet sensation and inspiration to many for his approach to fitness. Not only does he push himself physically but he also takes into account his overall wellness. His Instagram page is filled with health quotes, demos, and information for a healthy lifestyle. Taji Mag was able to speak with Titus, aka Fit Grandpa, about his keys to overall wellness.

Taji Mag (TM): What keeps you motivated towards a healthy lifestyle?

Titus: It is the belief that I haven’t reached my peak yet. I take the responsibility of being a profile name on social media seriously. When you see 181k followers on your account that you have inspired and motivated, it makes you feel accountable. That is because you don’t know how your actions might impact others. I believe that what you put into the universe comes back to you. Given that responsibility to be a good example is what motivates me.

TM: Besides exercising, what other areas do you concentrate on to improve physical wellness? 

Titus:  I meditate, detox my environment, and clear my mind because I believe that fitness is all-encompassing. You have to be fit mentally before you are physical. If you are not fit mentally, then, sooner or later, your physical follow suit. Like I mention in my 28-day plan, detox is not only a physical thing it’s also a mental thing as well. You have to detox your contact list, your situation, and your environment.

TM: Some people use fasting as a form of detox, what is your standpoint on fasting?

Titus: I did a wellness Wednesday on fasting on my Instagram account. When done correctly It is something that I recommend. If you can properly deprive yourself of food it can test your mental will and if done properly it can be to your benefit. Intermittent fasting does work, but the problem is that people use it as a quick solution. People say they are going to fast for a couple of days after leading an unhealthy lifestyle for a long period of time. That is not what fasting is meant for but if you are going to have it as part of a systematic thing I would advocate that. You can’t out train a bad diet. People think you can go to the gym and only put an hour’s worth of work but that is not going work by itself. It is the other 23 hours with that workout that help determine how healthy you are going to be. First, we make our habits and our habits make us.

TM: Can you give us an example of how you detox outside the physical?

Titus: For example, if you are in a toxic relationship or have a toxic friend. You will only go so far while you are existing in that toxicity. It’s like living in a house that has asbestos. No matter how much treatment or medication I give you after you leave that house, you won’t get any better unless you remove yourself from that environment completely. You have to extricate yourself from those toxic things and toxic mentality.

TM: Can you be fit on a budget? 

Titus: Not having the financial means to be fit is an excuse. At the end of the day, people will buy what they want. Healthy food is expensive but you see those very same people paying $8 for a cup of coffee. Other people may say that they don’t have enough time to make breakfast but will go wait in a drive-through line at McDonald’s for 15 mintues. They justify their choices with excuses. Living healthy is an investment but people will try to make it look like an option. Being healthy should be your primary obligation because if you are in the hospital you can’t help your family. So your health should come first, it should be your primary objective to ensure that you are capable of helping your loved ones. You do that by taking care of your overall health and wellness. Anything short of that and you are doing a disservice to you and them.

TM: What is your advice to those seeking occupational wellness? Can this affect your working out or should you let it?

Titus:  I would never tell one to quit their job because everyone is not in the financial situation to do so. But if you are going to work your job and not work on an exit strategy, then it becomes a choice that you are making. Unlike A couple hundred years ago, when you had people that were enslaved, you have a choice! I don’t care what job you have, you don’t have to stay there unless you are in prison. The problem is that people in those job situations complain but when they go home they do nothing. That in itself is depressing. When you are actively working on an exit strategy, you are working on an endgame. Even if the endgame is 2 or 3 years out, keep trying and eventually you will succeed. I did a post that says “Your salary is a bribe to give up on your hopes and dreams.” Your job doesn’t have to be a bribe, it can be a means. If you are using your salary towards your dreams then it is a means.

TM: Regardig your clients, what do they look forward to while participating in your program?

Titus: The 28-day plan is about building a better, healthy lifestyle. I made the plan easy to follow and easy to duplicate. It is not overly restrictive and it’s not a fad. Anything taken out of diet should remain out of your diet. It’s not one those diets like the cabbage diet, that is not sustainable. My plan is sustainable and it’s balanced. The key to success is to have balance.

You only have one body and it is wise to take care of it. To quote Carrie Latet, “If you don’t take care of yourself, the undertaker will overtake that responsibility for you.”

Make sure to check out Fit Grandpa on Instagram for health information and updates.

01Nov/18
Taji Mag Vol 17 Prints²

Taji Vol17 Anniversary Issue: Prints²

Release Dec 7 2018 | Vol17 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling its theme of Prints² (Prints Squared)! This volume’s cover features the #SlayBells of model Windela Hall. Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick on Proud Black Fathers Founder, Kenneth L. Womack; Community Spotlight: Instagram Recommended apparel line “NuvaAfricWear”; our highlighted Hair Feature; “Solo Travel: Choosing a Destination” by D. Carrie; “People as Drugs” by Jashua Sa’Ra; RB20Denim is Revitalizing Jeans; Our Vol 17 Anniversary Issue theme “Prints²;” Fitness Feature on Jean Titus aka Fit Grandpa of TitusUnlimited; Vegan Fun with Delliz the Chef; Black Business Grant Winner: Werds of Art Photography; “#BlackLoveConvo: “How to Make Friends in Your 30s” by Dapper Dr. Feel & Africa Jackson;” Featured art piece by Will Focus; Must Have Graphic Novel: Marassa; Black Business Highlights; Taji Mag Model Contest Winners; and more!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Shop Taji’!

Taji Mag Vol 17 Prints²

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 17

Taji Mag is the epitome of the positive Black experience. Our brand embodies the traditional and modern royalty of Pan-African people via our quarterly digital and print publication and live events.

29Oct/18

Boom for Real: Documentary Paints Stunning Portrait of Basquiat

For Real. Instead of depicting Basquiat’s story as an isolated tragedy, Director Sara Driver diligently addresses the circumstances and environment that the Artist’s life was lent to. No debating his greatness, Boom for Real takes on Jean-Michel as a feeling and thinking human being. One who interacted and lived his life with intention. Focused on the accounts of friends and contemporaries, the viewer gains perspective and insight to some of the intricate parts behind the Artist so many have come to love. The Soho art scene, the popular clubs, the music culture — his fellow artists reconstruct a wild and sometimes crowded portrait while managing to place Basquiat neatly within it. Fab 5 Freddy, Al Diaz, and Lee Quinones are just a few of the remaining staples of that period who appear on-screen.

For 78 mins, both you and Basquiat watch from afar; you through the silver screen and him through wrinkles in time. You actually rarely get to hear him speak during the documentary. It’s almost as if the very words that his peers speak are forming the images of him. Throughout the film, he flips on and off of the screen. Sometimes he’s a still close-up while other times it’s his full body in reverse motion. This allows him to feel to the viewer, at once, both omnipresent and imaginary. Perhaps this powerfully alludes to the artist’s eternal presence in the art world; Lord over the renegades and disruptors yet to come. As opposed to allowing Basquiat to speak for himself, Boom for Real bestows upon those who were akin to his flame the task of reconstructing his essence. He, young, beautiful, and full of potential. Perhaps they even succeed in conjuring his very existence, because by the end of the documentary you will feel as though he is someone you have sat with, hungered with, and grown with. Not only as if you have known him, but as though you also lived through and were shaped by that time and era.

If you are looking for fundamentals such as the likes of family life etc, you will have better luck digging through public record. Appropriate, seeing as how Boom for Real addresses the artist’s teenage years, for most of which he was homeless on the city streets. For a feast of form figuratively following function, allow the film to take you to the very streets and people that shaped his formative teenage years. The years that led to him being the Basquiat that is written in stone on our hearts.

More information about the film can be found here.