Joint

JOINT

Artist to artist. Creative to creative. We all have the desire to create, share and connect. Art is commonly defined as a diverse catalogue of visual, auditory and performing artifacts. 

Joint is a collection of art created and seen through the lens of film, photography and graphic design. It highlights the works and lives of creatives of all types including: DJs, photographers, writers/bloggers and vibe curators. 

This 1st edition is a preview of the lives and works of 4 different but similar individuals. Although they exist in different realms and practice different forms of artistry – they all have one thing in common – the desire to move people physically, mentally and emotionally. Through their everyday work, they hope to leave a lasting impression on the lives of those who cross paths with the art. 

From the creative mind of Khari, commonly known as @de_la_rich, we present you with a virtual exhibit, Joint. We hope you’re inspired. We hope you enjoy. And we hope that you never stop appreciating the art and those who dedicate their lives to setting their souls free through creativity, beauty and emotional power. 

Instagram & Twitter: @brytniedevon

Instagram: @ravallaver – Twitter: @GiGi_3G

Instagram & Twitter: @ibetuwnta_lexus

Instagram: @slickvicthedj – Twitter: @slickvic_bsb

Brytnie’s Favorite Things

Who said that Oprah was the only one that could provide a list? Right in time for the holidays, I wanted to provide you with a list of my favorite things and/or businesses. I hope this list helps you with purchasing some gifts for friends and family, picking up some new goodies for yourself, or purchasing me a gift :). Most of the items and/or businesses on this list are black owned. Thank me later!

Jade & Fox Co.

Jade & Fox Co. is a black owned homemade skin care line creating by using science and nature located in Atlanta, Georgia (Little 5 Points). From body butters to oils, Jade & Fox are striving to create solutions to everyday skin care conditions and offer a new outlook on the indie beauty industry for both men and women. Some of there products include fragrances, makeup, lotion, shower gel, body butter, body oil, facial cleansers, shampoo, conditioner, linen spray, and more. The holidays are around and they have sales. You don’t want to miss out on smelling and feeling good. Click here.

Jaided

Jaided is an online jewelry store. It’s the perfect store to purchase your waist beads, “rep your set” bracelets, custom jewelry, necklaces, and more for both men and women. Stay tuned for all of there upcoming holiday sales here.

Coloring Pins

Coloring Pins is a company based in New York City offering lifestyle, fashion, and pop culture pins, patches, and keychains for people of color. It’s a brand that “represents people of color, the mis-and underrepresented”. They are created with the intent for Black people to see themselves. Purchase your patch here.

All Dem’ Shades

All Dem’ Shades is a clothing line designed to celebrate unapologetic black women. Since 2016, they have created bold pieces for all shades, sizes, and hair types. Their apparel celebrate Black Girl Magic. Check out there items here.

Passion Planner

Passion Planner is a planner that holds all of your thoughts. It’s the perfect place to hold your short and long term goals, organize your weekly to-do list, jot down your thoughts and ideas, reflect on the past month, act on the present, and be motivated to accomplish your goals. It comes equipped with motivational quotes and a place to sketch out ideas. With Passion planner, every planner purchased lets the organization give one to someone in need. They partner with a non-profit to support causes from education to preserving the planet. To learn more or purchase one, click here.

Complete the Story book

If you’re a writer and have occasional writers block, this is the perfect book for you. Filled with writing prompts to get your mind jogging, your job is to complete the story. You can purchase on Amazon here.

For Colored Girls Who Were Once Afraid to LIVE

The title of this piece is a tribute in remembrance of the great Ntozhage Shange. 

My grandmother said that her biggest regret or mistake in relationships has been giving men too much power and believing that they would do things for her that she could have done for herself!

This statement has been stuck with me ever since and has become something that lives in the back of my mind. I can’t help but to think of the woman who also live in her shoes. The women who have the same regret. The women who have lived there lives for others so much that they forget to live for themselves!

For years, we’ve been taught to wear an invisible cape and be everyone’s superhero. It’s almost as if it’s embedded into our DNA, the gene of a superwoman…but what about being your own superhero? What about putting yourself first? What about living for you? What about loving you?

For every woman who forgot to live for themselves…I encourage you to be your own superwoman and LIVE life! Do something that makes you happy and continue to get to know and embrace who you are! 

Self-Care Soulful Sundays

Sometimes I would wake up to the smell of Sunday dinner filling the entire house. It might have been being prepped at that very moment or I had the crock pot to blame for my stomach growling and my dreams being interrupted by thoughts of food at 8 a.m. And sometimes my mom and I would cook dinner together after church while listening to Chris Brown (my choice) or 90’s R&B (her choice).

Sundays were for relaxation, spending time with family, enjoying a good home-cooked meal, cleaning the house, and preparing for the week. Sunday’s were about self care before we knew how to put it into the right terminology. It was about self-care before we knew what self-care was.

As Black women – so used to taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves, self-care is new. We learned over the years that it’s imperative that you make room for yourself. It’s imperative that we feed our souls.

Below I provide a list of a few of my favorite things to do during my Self care/Soulful Sunday

1.Take a long shower/bath 

The best thing to do is to blast your R&B playlist or Rap (whatever you prefer), light a candle, and pour a glass of wine while you’re taking some necessary me time. I enjoy doing so right before getting in the bathtub or taking a long shower. For some reason, the aroma of the candle and the music heightens your personal time and produces a whole vibe.

2. Clean up the house

You might wonder why cleaning up would be apart of a self-care Sunday? I personally believe that it’s important to declutter your mind and your physical space. To be honest, it’s nearly impossible to declutter and completely clear your mind – if your space or your surroundings aren’t clean. Therefore, I make it a priority when I’m having a self-care Sunday to clean up my space, which may include washing clothes, cleaning the kitchen, organizing your bedroom, etc.

3. Do something fun/relaxing 

I always like to do something that I enjoy and don’t have the time to do on a regular basis. Some things that I enjoy that relax me and take the weight off are: reading, writing, cooking or scrapbooking. I may choose to do one of these activities or a few. It all depends on the day. I’ll start my day off with some reading, begin cooking a good meal, and write to end the night. Either way, do something that you enjoy and that may relax you. And if it just so happens to be a craft that helps your side hustle…that’s 10x better. Some ideas may include: working out, sewing, or painting/creating art.

Photo by Femke Defrère from Pexels

4. Shop

Knock out your grocery list. Do a little shopping. Sometimes shopping is a great de-stressor and self-care Sunday activity. Getting your shopping out the way reduces the headache and risk of having to do the shopping during the week after work when ( 9 chances out of 10) you don’t feel like it. I suggest getting it out the way early so you have the rest of the day to self-care and to avoid the crowd.

5. Binge watch 

One of my all time favorite things to do is binge watch a good television show or watch a GREAT movie. A great story line truly hooks me and keeps me invested. This definitely takes up some time and frees your mind. It’s always lots of fun and even better with a great snack like some popcorn, chips, or ice cream. Whether watching a new movie or a classic nostalgia film, the time will be very well spent watching a hopefully good storyline that isn’t yours.  

Whatever you choose to do on your Sunday…make sure you take some time out for yourself. Practice self-care and be soulful.

Entrepreneur, Rapper, Leader: Nipsey Hussle’s legacy is Motivation to the Black Community

“Pull up in motorcades, I got a show today/ It’s all I’m tryna do, hustle and motivate/ Choppers a throwaway, hustle the Hova way/ That’s why they follow me, huh, they think I know the way/ ‘Cause I took control of things, balling the solo way” – Hussle & Motivate

Nipsey Hussle – husband, father, son, brother, Grammy-nominated rapper, activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist was killed late Sunday evening, March 31, 2019.

Hussle’s death, whether you knew him personally or not, has affected the Black community in a remarkable way. Hussle was a walking success story and an inspiration to us all.

He was never shy about where he came from or the roads he had to take growing up to survive. However, he wanted people to understand that his reputation was not all he had to offer. His vision for his life and his community was much bigger and he wanted everybody to WIN.

In his music, Hussle talked a lot about his upbringing in Slauson and Crenshaw and his dedication and passion for making a difference within his communities in L.A. but also educating and inspiring his culture. Hussle wanted the best for inner city youth and Black people in America. He worked diligently to gain generational wealth, provide jobs and businesses for members of his community, and bring more diversity within the technology industry.

Hussle co-partnered with the founder, David Gross, to create Vector 90, a co-working space in South Central, L.A. for inner-city entrepreneurs and creatives. Vector 90 opened the day before Hussle’s album, Victory Lap released. It’s a two-story space created for entrepreneurs to rent out and use as offices for their personal businesses. The second half of the building, Too Big to Fail, is dedicated to teaching and learning the skillsets, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) needed to enter Silicon Valley.

He invested in Destination Crenshaw, a museum of art and culture celebrating Black L.A,  and helped assist in the renovation of World of Wheels, a roller rink, known for helping the birth of West Coast hip hop.

Recently, he purchased a strip mall in Crenshaw, where his The Marathon, clothing store lived. He hoped to rebuild the area as a six-story residential and commercial complex, where he also hoped to include a barbershop and Creole seafood restaurant in the plaza. Around the corner, he also owned a hair store, Elite Human Hair. 

Apart from his businesses, Hussle gave back monetarily to underprivileged people in the community. The Los Angeles Times reported, “He once gave a pair of shoes to every student at an elementary school in Hyde Park”. They continued to recognize that he “offered jobs to his struggling neighbors”, ex-convicts, and “he would sometimes chip in for the funeral” of members of the community who lost their loved ones to gun violence.

He had a strong desire to improve communication, relationships, and the culture between LAPD and the inner city, as he had planned to have meetings with the Police Chief.

Again, in Hussle’s music, he wasn’t shy about discussing his past and he definitely wasn’t shy about discussing his business endeavors and plans.

Victory Lap, Hussle’s debut or “official” album under a label, is a great example of Hussle being transparent about his life, plans, and providing advice to all his listeners.

Victory Lap became a Grammy-nominated album for “Best Rap album” that sparked respect from Hip hop enthusiast to wishy-washy hip hop fans. One thing was undeniable – Victory Lap was for the culture!

Previously, Hussle released several projects and mixtapes, including Crenshaw, The Marathon, and Mailbox Money, to name a few. However, for his official album, it was important for Hussle to join a label on “his terms” and for it be recognized as a partnership. As a result, Hussle owns the masters to his music.

Nipsey Hussle’s phrase, “The Marathon Continues” is synonymous to the Black man’s plight. Too often we’ve witnessed Black educated men and leaders who’ve used their platform to speak out against injustices and uplift and empower the Black community die too soon at the hands of gun violence.

Hussle’s death reminds us that we still have a long way to go and that the Marathon Continues. As a community, as a culture…it is imperative that we continue to strive and stand for the same goals that Nipsey strived for every day. It is imperative that we have his passion and instinct to give back to our communities and help those who are less fortunate and in need. It is important that we continuously bet on our selves, spread positivity and love, and root for everybody Black.

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a Los Angeles Councilmember said that “Nipsey Hussle is a shining example of the best of what we can be”.

Nipsey Hussle will go down in history and his legacy will remain an unforgettable reminder to Hussle and Motivate.

 

European Standards of Beauty still Got Us Trippin’

I bet everybody thought India Arie was tripping when she said, “I am not my hair”. Back in the day, I would have rolled my eyes and said “Girl, bye!”

See I used to say that your eyebrows and your hair can make or break your appearance. Apart of me still believes this to be true. Come on now, I know we’ve all said or thought it once or twice. Jokingly, we’d all agree that if you hair and/or eyebrows aren’t done…that you need to get your life!

But, I knew I was tripping when I questioned my beauty because my hair didn’t hang to my shoulders, It didn’t blow in the wind, and my 4c curl pattern wasn’t that loose curl that everyone praised so much.

In reality, I know that neither of those things make you beautiful.

The truth is we rely on our hair to cover up insecurities that were given to us from people who don’t understand nor value our beauty. They created their own standard that completely erased our history and our very existence and we unconsciously complied with the status quo to fit into their story.

I realize that European Standards of Beauty still got me, you, and us trippin’. But, deep down I know that I’ll never trade my fro’ or my kinky curl for anything else.

The day I did the big chop and the day I decided to loc my hair, I had the same emotions. These two days were at least 4 years apart but I remember them both very vividly as if they were yesterday.

I was nervous and anxious but I ultimately had to come to terms with the fact that I was going against the norm. 

I vowed that I would no longer hide behind my safety net of weaves and braids because I couldn’t “deal” and I wanted to be presented to someone else. Instead, I was redefining beauty on my own terms. I was developing a new form of freedom for myself.

I know that my hair does not make me who I am, therefore, my hair does not make me beautiful. I ultimately decided to free my hair of hundreds of dollars of products and hours in the hair salon. I pledged to take my power back by owning and embracing who I truly am.   

I’ll be the first to admit that my hair definitely has a role in how I am viewed at first glance, but I am living within my truth and my own definition of beauty and that does not include allowing other individuals to criticize or judge who I am based on how I decide to style my hair.

It’s not all smiles and sunshine. I have my days where insecurity creeps in, but it’s all about being patient and aiming to be 100% confident and comfortable within my own skin.

I’ve learned to unconditionally love and accept my Blackness and doing so has informed my decisions to completely cut all the perm out of my hair and be natural and my now decision to loc my hair. Both journeys’ have been life changing, but I am more than excited about what each process has taught me about myself and what each process has contributed to my love for my culture.

I encourage everyone to understand that you are beautiful just the way that you are and no matter what you do with your hair, be sure to embrace your freedom and your culture. Be sure to do what makes you happy. European Standards of Beauty Still Got us Trippin, but I hope we take the power back.

 

{Photo from Pexels}

Lari Pati

On a Saturday evening earlier this month, I met up with the host of Lari Pati at Quality Boutique on Mass Ave. and had a conversation about the intent behind the party. I went to my first Lari Pati party August 17, 2018, and had a blast, but I didn’t really know the history behind the event. It wasn’t until I started seeing tweets from the @pitchforpennies Twitter account that I knew that Lari Pati was bigger than a party. Therefore, I had to sit down with the man behind the party himself and gain an understanding of his mission.

The interview was super chill and I left excited for the next party and thrilled to support such an amazing cause. If you haven’t heard about the event, we’re telling you all about it below.

Q. What is Lari Pati?
A. Lari Pati is Haitian for “street party”. The party is centered around breaking new music, exposing new DJs, and giving the people of Indianapolis a place where they can come and be themselves. There is no dress codes, no sections, and no bottle service. It is really about taking it back to the basics…the music and the people. Lari Pati benefits the people first! It’s about making Indianapolis a place that’s respected for breaking new music and birthing trends. It’s about showing the influence of Indianapolis and making the best of it. The party itself is a mix of what’s new, hot, and timeless. It is something for everybody! As far as genres, it’s a mix of rap, r&b, house, dancehall, and reggae. Those are the genres that get people moving, dancing, and singing along. Lari Pati is a dance party for the people by the people.

Q. When did you start Lari Pati?
A. It started in 2014 as a playlist on Sound Cloud. I had my own online retail store and when re-building the website and during a rebrand, I wanted to add a music component to the site. I thought about the kind of music I wanted to hear at a store and those genres (r&b, rap, house, dancehall) came to mind. I wanted something that made me feel good and got me moving. So it became a weekly playlist that we have. In 2017, I woke up and was like I just want to do my own party. The idea started as an aux cord party where you can literally come in, plug in your phone, play whatever you’re into, and rock out. I’ve seen it in other cities, but it was more of an influencer type of thing. I wanted to take the influencer out and make it about regular people. Down the line, somebody else did the aux cord party, so I scrapped the idea and went back to the drawing board to come up with something different. I thought of keeping the same name, same concept but instead of doing an aux cord party keeping the playlist so we could archive them on the blog. By keeping the playlist on the blog, no matter how long we do this, people can go back and see who contributed. This is a community brand about bringing people together and empowering people creatively, whether that’s photography, videography, graphic design, blogging, etc. I want to help. I want to make this a thing that helps the people here more than it helps us. For me, it’s about a legacy. If I can turn 30 and know we helped 25, 50, 60, 100 people with this whole thing than I’ll know we did something good. We accomplished something nobody was trying to do. It takes sacrifice in the short term for the long term. When it comes to parties people don’t think like that. They want to get there money now. With us, we’re going to take care of the people first. If we take care of the people first…in the long term they’ll take care of us because we helped them and we continue to help them. They’ll know it wasn’t a one-time thing or a gimmick. We’re a family! Once you work with us you can ask us for anything. If someone comes to the city and they want to know, “Who’s the go-to guy?” or “Who’s in touch with the culture here?”, I want to be that person to help.

Q. What’s the formula to a successful party?
A. The formula is just really taking care of the people! From the DJs to the people that come out to enjoy themselves, the goal is to make sure everyone has everything they need and that they’re enjoying themselves throughout the night without any problems. Success for me is making sure we get the idea across about what we’re doing. It’s not necessarily about the money. As long as we get the idea across and people believe in what we’re doing and they like the music and the idea behind it than the money is going to come. I want to get the point across that we’re doing something no one else is doing by breaking new music for a fair price.

Q. Where would you like to see Lari Pati in the next 5-10 years?
A. In five years, I want to have an annual block party in one of the cultural districts including vendors and everyone we’ve worked with. It’ll be a one day or two-day thing. A good time. In five years, I’d also like to have legit shows and have the resources to begin booking talent here that wouldn’t necessarily come here. I would love to get people here before they work with Live Nation and open at Old National. Our mission is being first! As long as I keep improving my taste level and being knowledgeable on what’s going on then we can execute. I would like to have a sustainable system that will allow us to market creatives and help not only bring awareness but build a business around what they’re doing. That’s extremely important to me. Branding is everything so I would like to teach them how to build and leverage that. I’m building a brand now with the parties. Once you build a brand you trust, it’s about helping the generations after and providing them with the confidence to work off of it. In 10 years, I probably would want to have a talent agency or a management company because having created something before, I understand what they go through with giving your all. I’m pretty savvy enough to leverage what the work is and I like to think I’m a pretty solid dude and I won’t screw you over.

Q. You tweeted, “We got a decent amount of Rap groups out. We need more R&B groups.” If you could put together the perfect R&B group, who would it consist of?
A. Five artists is obsessive so I’ll stick to three. I’d say Arin Ray, Tobi Lou, and YE Ali.

Q. Would you ever expand and travel outside of Indianapolis to do Lari Pati?
A. That’s the plan! I’ve talked to the DJs and its within our three-year plan. At the end of the day, we still have to execute the idea. By 2019, we’d like to do a college tour. We’d hit up the IU’s, ISU’s, Notre Dame’s, and Ball State’s. In 2020, if not 2021, we’d hit the major markets (NY, LA, Chicago, ATL, Miami) because we know DJs there and do a five-city tour. Nothing crazy! We’re definitely looking to expand in order to bring Indianapolis to the world. That’s really important, especially with us being the champions and advocates of Indianapolis through a party form. We’d want to ensure our merch, lingo, and everything reflects Indianapolis. Therefore when we travel to these cities, they’ll see what we’re about. A piece of it is about being cognizant of what’s going on whether it’s on the east side, west side, north side, south side, downtown, or wherever it is. I have to make sure I’m there and packaging it in a way aesthetically that’s on that level with anything going on in the world. That’s another thing that was missing here – paying attention to the aesthetics and how you promote. It’s about paying attention to different fonts and how you lay things out. I want to show people this is the way you do it, not saying we’re the best but I feel like we do it better than most. The taste level for how we throw a party and how we market it visually has to be high because taste level is often an afterthought. Through curation, design, everything we do…taste is everything. It makes us different, makes us unique, and it’s something you can’t buy. I’m constantly educating myself on what’s going on across the world because I want Indianapolis to be recognized across the world. So, it’s important to understand what’s going on and how things are being marketed design-wise in places like Tokyo, Rome, Paris, London, Brazil, Canada, and Russia. I want to know what’s the pattern and what’s different about each area and add Indianapolis flavor to it. Also, I’m from D.C. so I’m adding my D.C. feel to it.

Q. So you’re from D.C. Why Indy?
A. A lot of people talk down on Indy. For me, I’m not from here, so I’m not jaded. I don’t take it for granted and I’m able to look at things from an outside perspective. Showing people how cool the city really is made me excited because nobody’s doing that. Nobody is trying to really champion it. They’ll quickly go somewhere else and talk about where they’re from. I couldn’t ever look down on D.C. because I was born and raised there so a lot of it made me who I am and a lot of it made you who you are. You have a culture of your own. You just don’t want to look at it. For me, it’s about really showing people this is what is going on so they’ll see that they do have something to offer culture nationally, if not on a global scale. I always think about how ill it would be to have a kid from Paris start saying our lingo because that’s what they do with Atlanta or New York lingo. You see people from all across the world saying “No Cap” or something like that. Why can’t Indianapolis be the same way? I don’t think about what’s not possible. I often think about what is possible. That’s what makes all this stuff happen. If I thought about what’s not possible, I wouldn’t even do half of this. So it’s really showing people you can if you just think it and believe it. It’s all about perception.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetQ. What should people know about the man behind Lari Pati?
A. I’m just me. I’m from D.C. I’ve been here forever but I guess what people should know is, I care. I care more about not only the city but the creatives, and the people that go out and want to go out. I care a lot about that and I stress about it with every party. I stress about making sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to give the people that come out their money’s worth, if not more than what they paid for. I want to give them something they can feel proud of. So they can say, “this is Indianapolis and this is our thing”, as opposed to having a Grits and Biscuits come here. I want us to have our own thing on that level and of that caliber but bigger. However, it’s so much bigger than parties. It’s about changing how people treat creatives here. For me, it is about really caring about the next generation as much as I’m caring about the people now. There was nobody when I was selling clothes and had my own retailer that I could intern for or turn to and learn about the business of fashion. So, it’s about me being the person I needed back then and if I can be that person maybe I’ll be able to inspire someone else who may have a similar story to what I have. We have to help people understand that we have as many opportunities as we can, but there are ways to do it on your own and not go through trial and error. I feel like you shouldn’t have to go through trial and error if I already went through it and I know the information. Why wouldn’t I give you the information? I’m not going to try and hold it. I think sometimes people think, “oh if I give you the information, it takes away from me”. That means you’re just not that good at what you do. What people need to know is I’m a dude just trying to look out for everybody and help as many people as I can. I’m willing to give up equity or something to help in the short term because for me it is all about the long term. I treat people like family and I have to look at it long term so when I bring people on, they’ll understand what we can do and that I’m able and willing to promote your stuff. That’s the least I can do if I can’t pay you the full rate. Sometimes you gotta take a cut for an opportunity that could give you more exposure to another opportunity. You gotta think further ahead if you want to make a business out of it and that’s what I want for people that are creatives. If I’m working with you, it’s not about me. I’m going to get mine 5-10 years down the line. Now, these next 3-5 years is about helping get you guys awareness and opportunities.

Q. What’s one song you think if everybody listened to it could change the world?
A. It’s going to be left field but “Step in the Name of Love”. I feel like that song could change the world because it’s such a fun upbeat song. It’s a song you can play anywhere and you just feel good like you want to dance, smile, be happy, and it’s smooth. It hits on so many points. It’s the song that can really change the world if people took the song for what it is. The song itself is a beautiful song.

Q. Top 5 albums of the year so far? (no order)
A. Daytona – Pusha T
777 – Key and Kenny beats
Astroworld – Travis Scott
Isolation – Kali Uchis
Whack World – Tierra Whack

Lari Pati is October 19, 2018, from 9pm – 2am at Pioneer.
If you haven’t already purchased tickets to the next Lari Pati, you are able to purchase tickets for $5 until September 30, 2018. After, they will be $10 up until the day of the event. You are able to purchase by visiting: http://laripati.splashthat.com.

Add on Instagram and Twitter @pitchforpennies and you can access all Lari Pati playlists on Apple Music.

Just Do It

On Labor Day, Nike announced Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” Campaign. As a result, some people are destroying Nike products and vowing to take their business elsewhere.  While others are planning to buy a new pair of Nike’s as we speak.


Due to Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and social injustice towards African Americans by kneeling during the national anthem at football games…he has become one of the most hated and loved athletes in this generation. However, most people would call him a hero, an activist, a legend, or an inspiration.

The ad released with Kaepernick’s face obtained the quote, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt.”

Gino Fisanott, Nike’s vice-president of brand for North America said, “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation”. He credits Kaepernick with helping to move the world forward and produce change.

Along with this ad, Nike released a number of other ads featuring popular African American athletes, including Odell Beckham and Serena Williams, which also include inspirational quotes.

How do you feel about Nike’s new ads?

Raising Children in an Anti-Black Trump Society

Most individuals who want children plan out all the details (as if they control it) WELL before it ever happens. For example, how they’re children should look, how they’ll act, what activities they’ll participate in, etc.

Imagine entering the Build-a-infant shop and picking and choosing personality traits, talents, physical features, strengths, weaknesses…all the  qualities that will make the “perfect” child.

“I want my baby to have your eyes” – Drake (“Finesse” on Scorpion)

I fall victim of this far too many times. No I don’t have children and  in no shape or form am I ready to have children at this very moment, but I can’t deny the fact that I have baby fever wayyy too often, mainly due to the endless cute videos and photos floating up and down my social media timeline.

I imagine what he/she would look like, if they’d be a writer like me, what they’re favorite food would be, or if they’d be funny and have an endless personality to light up the room.

As the cuteness surface of babies laughing, saying funny (“too grown”) comments, and matching outfits with their parents…I also can’t help but to realize that having children isn’t ALL glamorous and it’s nothing like playing house or barbie dolls.

Your children are actually human beings and their livelihood is placed in your hands. THAT’S A BIG DEAL because they didn’t ask to be here and you have a responsibility to make them as safe, educated, and independent as possible. However, the truth is when raising Black children in an Anti-Black Trump Society…it’s hard to ensure safety.

I can’t help but to think about sitting my daughter down one day to tell her that she has to protect herself from people who do not value or love her the way she deserves to be loved, for she is a queen who should always be treated as such! I’d tell her that she is beautiful just the way that she is no matter what anyone says and that she does not need validation from anyone or anything else. I’d inform her that being a Black woman is a double edged sword and that it is important to love yourself FIRST, value your self-worth, be intellectually powerful, and know  that nothing worth having ever comes easy.

I can’t help but to think about sitting down my son and painfully informing him that he is a threat to society, but he is the most beautiful thing in the word.  I’d have to show him cases of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, and the several other Black men who lost their lives too soon. CRIME = BEING BLACK! I’d tell him that he must walk around the world being mindful of his Blackness, while simultaneously being unapologetically Black. I’d tell him to always use wisdom, follow his dreams, and be a leader!

The job of a parent is never done. It’s a daily role that you have for the entirety of your life from day one. There is no such thing as a part-time parent. You either succeed in the job or you fail, but keep in mind whatever you do sticks with your child for the entirety of their lives and you have the power to make or break them.

Not to mention, the constant thought and worry of something happening to one of your children or listening to the hurt and pain that they may encounter one day is undeniably scary. It’s hard knowing that no matter what you tell them…they still have to live throughout the world on their own and make their own decisions.

As a “millennial”, the thought of having children is a scary thought, but my advice to anyone is to make sure you’re ready for the job and remember its not always glamourous! It’s a huge responsibility and your child trusts YOU, so you don’t ever want to let them down.

Image: Photo by nappy from Pexels

Boss Women Making Boss Moves Part III

So I started my blog with post admiring amazing Black women who are doing incredible work in our generation and current era of time. I titled it Boss Woman Making Boss Moves because contrary to popular opinion Black women are the movers and shakers of this world! In other words, we have the power to get things done and we are bosses!

I plan to continue this segment because if we don’t recognize and celebrate these women, who will?

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Do I even need to say more? I’m definitely not going to explain who she is because I think we all know at this point!

I’ve never considered myself a member of  the BeyHive but I’ve always listened to every album starting with every single Destiny’s Child project. I can sing along with every word and I might know a few of the dance moves.

But recently, I questioned if it was too late for me to join the BeyHive. I really questioned this after her Coachella performance in which she conducted a captivating performance and tribute to HBCU culture. One thing we can’t deny is that Beyonce’ PERFORMS! She goes above and beyond for every single performance and this performance was nothing short of amazing!

Looking back to her 2013  SuperBowl,  2016 BET Awards, and 2018 Coachella performance….I’ve noticed that she’s become more and more involved in using her stardom and undeniable influence to speak on injustices in America as a Black woman!

She’s fully embraced her blackness and her womanhood and has used her platform as a tool to speak out, empower, and inspire this generation.

Just this week, she was revealed as the cover story for VOGUE magazine’s September issue. In her article, Beyonce’ remained super transparent about her life and heritage, her relationship with her husband and children, experiences during childbirth, and her body.  Several quotes from the story stood out but this one stuck with me:

“Through it all I have learned to laugh and cry and grow. I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful”.

As a 20-something, this quote addresses much of what I have experienced and continue to experience and gives hope to who I will become.

Beyonce’ is completely transcending “limitations” as a Black woman artist and creating her own lane as an artist and activist!

Tamika Mallory

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Activist, founder of Mallory Consulting, and co-chair of the Women’s March. She was born in the Bronx, New York and is an advocate of gun control, feminism, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tamika is involved in several organizations and has helped build crisis solution programs. Believe me HER RESUME IS LOOONG!

She has helped create the NYC Crisis Management System, an official gun violence prevention program which awards $20 million annually to gun violence prevention organizations. Her own company Mallory Consulting is a strategic planning and event management firm in NYC. She also currently serves on the board of directors for Gathering for Justice, an organization aimed at ending child incarceration and eliminating policies that produce mass incarceration.

With the Women’s March being my first encounter of Tamika, I quickly became intrigued by her wisdom and strength. Alongside, Bob  Bland, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour, Tamika organized the Women’s March, a worldwide protest against the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump.  The movement also advocated for women’s rights, immigration reform, LGBTQIA rights, health-care reform, and racial justice and equality.

As a result of her involvement with all these organizations, role as an activist, and simply being a Black woman, Mallory has faced discrimination and racism when being kicked off an American Airlines flight in late 2017.

Nonetheless, Tamika is continuously grinding to make changes within our communities. If you’re not familiar with her work, get familiar with her!

Ashley Blaine Featherson

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Ashley portrays the Black, funny, intelligent, and woke Joelle Brooks in Dear White People, the popular Netflix series. Joelle is the best friend to Samantha White played by Logan Browning.  Ashley graduated from Howard University where she graduated from the Department of Fine Arts.

I immediately fell in love and related to Ashley’s character and soon after I began to like her personally because of her witty personality and similar characteristics to her TV character.

She openly embraces her natural body, hair, skin, and blackness on and off screen and much like me, she seems to like to STAY WITH BRAIDS IN HER HAIR…(MY EVERYDAY VIBE)!

I look at Ashley and see a lot of myself, which makes her progress and journey in life very inspiring! Ashley is insanely gorgeous and has recently blown me away in her appearance in Wale’s new music video “Black Bonnie”.

If you haven’t already, watch Dear White People on Netflix and watch Wale’s music video to see more of Ashley.

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Creator, Host, and Brain of The Grapevine, a web-based panel/talk-show for millennials found on Youtube.

Ashley brings a group of Black and non-black intellectual thinkers, often known as non-celebrities to the table to discuss thought-provoking topics that impact and influence our culture daily.

When Ashley’s created the Grapevine, her goal was to spark dialogue about current life events and to create tangible solutions to how things can be changed. The show is intended to be a space to talk and be honest about important issues.

I watch this Youtube series often because I LEARN A LOT from these young, black and non-black intellectuals.

The series covers a range of topics from Bruno Mars and cultural appropriation (THIS EPISODE WENT VIRAL), the state of hiphop, “man-bashing”, the “n word”, natural hair, and more. Anything concerning the culture and our experiences as minorities, they got you covered!

If you haven’t, I suggest subscribing and getting educated! Ashley has continuously done a great job with providing us with amazing content!

Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany_Haddish.jpgIt’s honestly hard not to like her. She’s a woman with a HUGE personality and a REAL story. Tiffany is a comedian and actress, who gained wide-spread attention from her role as Dina in Girls Trip.

However, let’s not get it confused…Tiffany  has been working for years! She’s made guest appearances  on Real Husbands of Hollywood,  Bill  Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?, That’s So Raven, Just Jordan, Chelsea Lately, The Carmichael Show, and If Loving You is Wrong, just to name a few.

However, after Girls Trip…Tiffany became the “IT Girl”…and has been given her own comedy special which premiered on Showtime called Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood.

November 11, 2017, she became the first black female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live and in December of 2017, she released a memoir, The Last Black Unicorn, which debuted at number 15 on The New York Times best seller list.

Currently she is a lead star in TBS sitcom, The Last O.G. and will star in a 2018 comedy film alongside Kevin Hart titled Night School.  She has also recently signed a first-look deal with HBO.

Tiffany’s success and opportunities have sky-rocketed and she wears it with humility and a smile! There is nothing not to like about her. Look out for all of her upcoming projects and films!

 

Post Grad Blues: A Message of Certainty

Dear Graduate,

You’ve ended a major chapter in your life and now you’re entering a new one. First, CONGRATULATIONS! Second, I understand what you may feel!

Whether you’re starting a new job, beginning college, graduate school, joining the military, or traveling the world…life as you once knew it has changed.

Summer has come and it still hasn’t quite soaked in that YOU’RE REALLY AN ADULT or that you just graduated.

Sadly, it may not become a reality until August floats in and you realize that usually around “this time I’m looking up a book list, purchasing school supplies, and preparing to start a new semester with all my friends”.

SIKE!

I’ll never forget the day I graduated, May 6, 2017. Graduation Day was filled with much excitement and anxiety.

My friends and family were around and I was ecstatic that despite the stress, tears, laughter, anger, and other series of emotions that I’d encountered during the last four years —I was FINALLY done.

I walked across the stage after hearing my name that day…I received my degree and after 5 minutes of all smiles, I wondered, “What’s next?”

I knew I was planning to immediately attend graduate school in the Fall but I also knew that things were going to change drastically.

The people that I saw everyday for four years of my life, I would no longer see and the place I called “home” would no longer be home.

ODD.

After being in school all your life (LITERALLY) it feels strange to do anything else. The pressures of finding a job, living on your own, paying bills, etc. begin to sink in and you realize ADULTING SUCKS and POST-GRAD DEPRESSION IS REAL! 

I had the symptoms of feeling unmotivated, lonely, and tired. I didn’t want to do my homework, I didn’t want to read any of the books, and I didn’t want to go to class.

If I had it my way I would have lounged in bed all day-everyday and binge watched a new show every week.

THE DREAM!

Let’s not get it confused, I knew I wanted to continue my education and I decided to embark on the journey in order to study  a new field and SECURE THE BAG. But I was drained!  I lacked the motivation and if my procrastination in undergrad was bad…CHILE it was 10x worse now. Social media and Netflix was my procrastination.

Not to mention, I was LONELY. Even when I was around people, I felt alone. I was in a new city and had to make new friends and if you’re anything like me…THROW THE WHOLE IDEA AWAY!

You’ve gotten used to the friends that know everything about you plus you’re slightly awkward and introverted. So you just  want your people!!

I get it. I can relate.

But I had to realize that I had been trained to transition and meet new people since elementary school. This was nothing new. I’ve known for a very long time that at some point I had to grow up and that nothing ever stayed the same. The place that I called home and the faces that I saw everyday were useful in enhancing my intellectual and personal growth.

Now was the time to accept the challenge and embrace the new lessons and opportunities that I would face. It was time to use everything that I had learned in the last four years to advance my future.

In order to do so, I had to understand that I was playing myself with optimism and pride thinking that failing was NOT apart of the process. I had the “too young to have it all together but too old not to” syndrome and I was comfortable with the idea of being surrounded by familiarity and uncomfortable with the idea of the unknown.

Mistake!

I had to realize that I would fail in some areas but it was okay and it was okay to ask for help, to cry, and to begin again. I wasn’t expected to automatically have it all together. No one is!

I had to acknowledge that apart of growing up is accepting the growing pains and knowing that everything is not a walk in the park and the reward is coming out on top after going through the lesson.

I also had to appreciate my experiences and growth I’ve encountered the last four years and comprehend the new chapter I was beginning. After graduation is the work…the REAL WORK!

So if you’re struggling, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay but you must understand that you were made for this.

Your previous experiences were meant to shape you…not to keep you! You will fail but it does not mean that you are a failure. There is a huge difference! Continue on your path to success. 

 

 

Featured Image Source: Shutterstock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Picture Issue in the ERA of the #MUTERKELLY Movement

For most Black families, R. Kelly is a mogul in R&B! He has birthed us with unforgettable hits like, “Your Body’s Callin”, “Ignition”, “I Believe I can Fly” ,”Trapped in the closet”, and “Step in the Name of Love”.

Self proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B has remained one of the biggest household names to date despite several allegations of sexual misconduct. However in the era of the #MeToo movement, it is being demanded that we #MuteRKelly.

Kelly has been an untouchable name, but this campaign was created with the hopes to bring awareness to R.Kelly’s decades of inappropriate sexual behavior towards young Black women and to silence his music.

Kenyette Tisha Barnes, national organizer/co-founder and Oronike Odeleye, co-founder of the #MuteRKelly movement believed that stopping his music from being aired on the radio would be the first step in finally getting Kelly to pay for his actions.

They started an online petition, which gained support from several organizations and public figures who began outwardly speaking against Kelly.

The movement received support from WOC – the women of color of the Time’s Up movement, Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay,  John Legend, Tiffany Haddish, Kerry Washington, Charlamagne the God, Vince Staples, and Tarana Burke, just to name a few. These individuals have used their voices and platforms to call action from others around the world.

Spotify joined the movement and announced that R. Kelly’s music will be removed from their promoted playlists, as part of their new policy on “hate content and hateful conduct”.  Soon after, Apple music followed suit and removed Kelly from curated playlists.

Kelly’s concerts have began to be protested and select shows have been cancelled across the world, which has not left R. Kelly or his team very happy.

However, since the movement began and the streaming services have made their announcements, Kelly’s streaming numbers have increased and R. Kelly and his team has spoken out.

In their statement they have emphasized the impact of his music, neglected to remedy beliefs regarding his character, and refrained from denying allegations. It was stated that “Kelly’s music is a part of African and African-American culture that should never – and will never – be silenced”. The #MuteRKelly movement was summed up as a “public lynching of a Black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture”.

In a new video that quickly surfaced across the internet, R. Kelly is giving a toast in which he arrogantly says, “It’s too late, they should have did this sh** 30 years ago”….”It’s too late, the music has been injected into the world”.

The statement released by Kelly’s team and himself seems to believe that his music eliminates him from facing any consequences for his actions. Most people believe his toast to be some sort of confession. If so, it is in his narcissistic opinion that his music is SOOOO good that he can just  get away with the sexual assault and misconduct of young women.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHY HIS MUSIC MUST BE STOPPED!

However, due to the inflation of his music streams since the news… it makes it hard to believe that others are taking this matter as seriously as we should be.

Is “Step in the Name of Love” that good we can’t get rid of it? I’m sure there is some other song we can play at the family cookout. But some believe that R. Kelly’s personal life has nothing to do with his music and that his personal relations should not influence or take away from his greatness as a musician.

At some point, I used to believe this exact thing. Now I know that supporting these artists monetarily despite awareness of their harmful behavior directly supports their actions.

What seems to be most heartbreaking is the unbelievable LOUD statement that is being made. The extreme lack of care shines light on a bigger issue in our community –  the erasure of Black womanhood and our inaccurate perceptions of sexual assault and/or misconduct – especially at the hands of a “musical genius”.

Historically, we know that Blacks are at the “bottom” of the hierarchy. We also know that women are at the bottom. So to be BLACK and a WOMAN is a double edged sword. But…what we also know is that Black women are the most sexualized.

Several women have come forward with statements regarding Kelly’s misogynistic, sexual, and male dominant advances and behavior. Documentaries like Sex, Girls, & Videotapes have been aired with real interviews from ex-girlfriends, victims, friends, family, and associates of R. Kelly confirming his history of liking and preying on young girls, along with interview clips of Kelly evading questions concerning his lust after teenage girls. There has also been physical tapes displaying his misconduct.

So, CLEARLY there is evidence.

Therefore, I’m having a hard time understanding why nothing has been done. But, most people have placed the blame on the parents, victims, or the women themselves in R. Kelly’s alleged “cult”  because they went “willingly”. Again, the over-sexualization of Black women falsely provides the depiction that because these women wanted more or deserved what he offered!

This displacement of blame supports Kelly’s actions and his claims that his music is too good to be stopped. And it intentionally negates the fact that the entirety of his career has mirrored his personal behaviors with lyrics like “my mind is telling me no, but my body is telling me yes” and his self-proclamation of being  Mr. “Pied Piper of R&B”.

The Pied Piper is a character from a legend from Hamelin that uses his magic pipe and the instrument’s magical powers to lead children away.

IRONIC? NAH!

Bill Cosby had several victims of sexual assault come forward with allegations against him like Kelly.  AND In this past month, he has been found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexual assault…labeling him as the first criminal conviction of a celebrity since the rise of the #MeToo movement. But let’s be honest, a large amount  of the women who came out against Cosby were WHITE WOMEN.

IS THIS THE DIFFERENCE? I HOPE NOT!

But I can’t help but to think about the several Black women who have gone missing and stories remain untold because we did not care enough! Justice remains unserved! So, for these women….please STAND UP and ACT!

By supporting R. Kelly’s music, you  are directly condoning his behavior. You are enabling and supporting his actions by continuously supporting his music and providing him with money to keep up his lifestyle. Our continuous disregard for his personal life and undying support  of his music career because of his “genius” gives him the RIGHT to be arrogant & act as if he is invincible.

So pick another song to play at the cookout. Take the music off your playlist. Change the radio station when the song plays. Whatever you do STOP placing the value of a song over the value of body!