Thursday, April 9, 2015

Springtime hits Brooklyn

It was a beautiful beginning to Spring Break, my friend and aspiring photographer Allegra Earle hit Williamsburg for a quick photoshoot:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#FearandRace The fear of Black Men in America

    Today NPR is taking this discussion to Twitter with NPR/CodeSwitch correspondents Gene Demby and Michel Martin, inviting listeners to join the conversation using the hashtag #FearandRace.
    It is easy to say that we are targeted, especially Black men. Earlier today I was asked "How do you preserve when you're black and the world lives to see you perish?". My response: This is something that I would actually like to have a forum on. I've noticed Black girls say that they are afraid to have children more specifically boys, and that is sad. Personally, I am the exact opposite. I hope the lord blesses me with TEN nappy headed brown skin boys. In a society that is trying to kill us all we have to do is live, and be great. But that all comes from within, it is self love. We have to love and believe in ourselves and support one another. Racism is trying to kill us but racism is also trying to convince us that we are expendable. Trust in this life that has been given to you and believe that you are here for a reason, we all are. 
     However when it comes to the racism against us what we can really do is talk about, make sure everyone is aware of what is happening. Which is exactly what Michel Martin did on MPR in two interviews this week. 
       Here Martin talks to author and Georgetown University Law professor Paul butler about his experiences:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

When that Kendrick Lamar album is the greatest thing you've heard since that last Kendrick Lamar album

      Just two weeks ago Kendrick Lamar announced the release of his third album to be March 16th, and at that point it was "Untitled" *cue eye roll*. But listeners were surprised on March 16th at midnight to see Kendrick's album has been released digitally with no promo, though we knew of this album it's safe to say he "pulled a Beyonce`". Twitter was swarming with #ToPimpAButterfly tweets commending its introspection, innovation and musical progression. By 12:01 hundreds of hip-hop heads were convinced that this album is a classic. Kendrick done did it, two classic albums.

      Just a few months ago this album's first single "i" received a lot of mixed feelings. The "Who's That Lady" sample and "I Love Myself" chant make up a funky upbeat positive record, which some people(including myself) just could not get hip to. A few weeks ago he released "The Blacker the Berry" which received harsh criticism as Kendrick refers to himself as a "hypocrite" for taking part in gang activity and killing other Blacks, as if that is suppose excuse racist acts against us. This made me quite reluctant in listening to the new album but upon it's release, and all the buzz, I had to add this to my library and give it my ears.

     This album is a funky, prophetic, and an unprecedented peek into Kendrick's mind; as well as an opportunity to evaluate one's self. It is not about Kendrick more than it is about all of us. Kendrick did this for the kids, for Black people everywhere, for young Black men everywhere. I don't sense a change as an artist but progression. Standout tracks include the intro "Wesley's Theory" a look at America's capitalism and Black people in debt(like Wesley Snipes), "King Kunta", "Alright", and "Complexion". If I was to rate those tracks a 5, then every other song on this album is a 4/4.5. It is a solid body of work. "i" makes so much more sense while listening to "To Pimp A Butterfly" in it's entirety, especially as a first single. This album is everything Kendrick was reaching for on tracks like "The Heart pt. 2", "HiiiPower", "Sing About Me", etc. It is everything we love about Kendrick, he constantly raises the bar. 
      If you haven't listened to this entire this project, straight through, in one sitting; I'll just assume you are incredibly busy and haven't had the time yet. But anyway, lets get into this final track. "Mortal Man". "Mortal Man" challenges exactly what the title states as Kendrick sings "When shit hits the fan will you still be a fan?". On this track he references Michael Jackson and all of the controversy that followed that man stating "He gave us Billie Jean, you still think he touched those kids?". The end of this song is the cherry on top, an interview between Kendrick Lamar and Tupac Shakur, a conversation rather. The Tupac soundbites were flawlessly sampled and spliced with questions/responses from Kendrick. This jaw-dropping, eye opening, tear jerking conversation is the perfect close to this project. (More info HERE)

     Now, with all that said here comes the big BUT. I don't particularly favor this album. I get it, and I am appreciative but I don't love it. It doesn't have the effect on me that good kid m.A.A.d City did, but maybe it isn't supposed to. Maybe this album just lacks the car bumping, brainwashing repetition and sophisticated ignorance we all flock to so often. This album is social commentary, this album is Black Love.

#ToPimpAButterfly is for us and it is necessary.

Friday, March 6, 2015

1 year Loc Update

Recapping on what I've done with my hair over this time and what I plan to do

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Oscars and your everyday racism

Three of the most trending celebrity names from the evening: Patricia Arquette, John Legend, and Zendaya.

     Now to begin with Patricia Arquette. Upon receiving an Oscar for her role in "Boyhood" she ending her thank you's with a shout out to women across this country who are underpaid for the hard work. Statistics have proven that men do earn more than women and Patricia's statement calls for Equal pay.
Watch here:

     The problem is she does not seem to be standing up for other groups who are discriminated against in the work force like Blacks and Gays. She even makes a slippery slope kind of point stating "We have fought for everybody else's equal rights". Almost to say "enough of that Marriage equality or equal opportunity jazz, it's OUR turn" The OUR being White women. This is what is referred to as white feminism. White women fighting for equal rights but not acknowledging that they still reap the benefits of being white. It is clear that a white woman will be awarded equal pay before a queer, Black woman for example; that doesn't seem to be clear to Ms. Arquette.

Now moving on to John Legend. His collabo with Common "Glory" from the "Selma" soundtrack was awarded best original song. Watch here:

In his acceptance speech he stated "The struggle for justice is right now". "There are more men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850". Now there are people responding to this with the that fact there are more Black people in this country now than during the times of slavery, in terms of statistics and percentages. But why does that matter? All that matters is exactly what John legend said, we are the most incarcerated nation. The fight for freedom and justice is still alive and that needs to be acknowledged, not numbers. This speech is a tad funny because all of those white people who were jumping out of their seats for Patricia Arquette's speech had no reaction to John Legend's.

Closing with Ms. Zendaya.

     The 18 year old Disney kid decided to rock Loc Extensions for the evening. I've posted a how-to HERE. Personally as creator of I LOVE Box Braids I absolutely adore seeing celebrities wearing protective hairstyles. As far as hair goes I feel that the synthetic hair she used was very shiny, she should have went with human, and the burnt ends are tacky, whoever did her hair could have done the method I and so many others have used. Aside from that the style looked very nice on her and was beautifully done.
Giuliana Rancic of Fashion Police felt otherwise. Stating that Zendaya looks as if she smells of patchouli oil and weed. This is a direct prejudice o towards locs, and you know who has locs? Black people. This was immediately taken as an attack on Black hair, and Zendaya responded respectfully.

   It's kind of funny how Zendaya's statement in "defense" of her loc extensions is exactly why certain people didn't like the hairstyle when it started to get really popular a few years back. She says locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, yet hers are fake. Either way people are loving faux locs now-a-days and I totally support Zendaya's hair choice and response.

   Rancic soon apologized via E! News' youtube. In a kind way stated that she is sorry for perpetuating stereotypes. I don't care for this apology. The Fashion Police crew have always been shady and I don't think the offensive comments are going to stop. She is only apologizing because the internet called her racist. Basically. You can watch the apology video HERE.

The Game: #iamonestudent

This video is necessary, in terms of rape on college campuses and everywhere.  Find out more about "One Student" at their website

Friday, January 23, 2015

The more "BLACK" dialogue becomes, the more Black celebrities show their A$$...

     For us Blacks enthralled with the entertainment industry it is nearly heart breaking but 100% (third) Eye opening when someone who looks like us, someone who represents us in the industry, says something ignorant pertaining to racism in America; especially as of late (#BlackLivesMatter). Recently rap superstar Kendrick Lamar was quoted in saying that Blacks need to respect ourselves before others can respect us. Which is problematic because a life is a life, and racism is racism. Today I bring you Mr. Anthony Mackie. Early this week Tupac from "Notorious" was interviewed by The Grio about this year's Oscar award noms and one of his upcoming roles.

You can watch the full interview HERE.

        This fool basically hit us with the "you see US as Black people have to ...." translation: if we comply to the oppressor's standards, they won't kill us for being Black. He uses the example of his nephew wanting to loc his hair and him in response presenting his nephew with images of criminals who are men with their hair loc'd. I do not know how old Mackie's nephew is but I am assuming that he is impressionable. He basically told this young man that if he was to loc his hair he will be setting himself up for racial profiling as if his brown skin doesn't do that enough. Mackie sounds as if he is saying that men with loc's look like criminals and prepositioning to his nephew if he wants loc's that means he wants to looks like a criminal. As if haircuts like Mackie's own will end racism. When racism is the very force that has him speaking this way.

     Personally I was not looking for any Messiah in Anthony Mackie, he is not my refuge or savior, or even my favorite actor. However, I am disappointed in, yet not surprised by, his ignorance.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

You Hear Chocolate !

     My classmate, Tarik Smith and I followed three beautifully talented ladies who call themselves Audible Chocolate(for our Documentary Production 101 final project). On the subway, on the stage, and soon enough in the studio; they sound as good as chocolate tastes, maybe even better. This short is a peep into their street performer life on an NYC subway train.

   Shooting this intimate account of only one realm these girls thrive in was an enjoyable experience to see in person what I usually just see them post about on Facebook. In this short we meet lead vocalist Cheeki Pow Pow, Vocalist and guitarist Lo Anderson, and Violist Iymaani Abdul Hamid; They are audible chocolate. At this time the ladies are growing and expanding as a group, soon to release original music. You can keep up with the chocolates at their social media link below to find out more about their future endeavors and how you can support and indulge.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Usually when it comes to SNL skits...

    Usually when it comes to SNL skits that go viral, I am in tears, dying of laughter, completely amused. Especially when they take a satirical honest approach to social justice issues which I experience on the daily basis. Last weekend Kevin Hart was the guest on SNL and took a stab at gentrification in Brooklyn along side Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah.

    Unfortunately, I guess, I wasn't too amused. One thing I appreciate in film/TV, especially in comedy, are the reveals. The constant reveals of the effects of gentrification, times when viewers would probably be expecting something else are what hold this skit together. Except, at the same time, they are predictable and don't really have that shock value. Even the ending is predictable, knowing that this is still a skit about Brooklyn.

   Being someone who grew up in Brooklyn, just a few train stops away from Bushwick to be exact, someone who is seeing gentrification first hand and seeing the negative effects of it, I couldn't necessarily laugh at this. This skit just brought up the feeling that my people, are not so much aware of the harm done by gentrification but instead are accepting it. Not only in terms of gentrification, but  other issues; there are women who don't believe in feminism; students who don't believe that the school system should have their best interest at heart; etc. This was not really funny. But script wise, film wise, comedy wise, it was well done and the three brothers in this skit are hilarious.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Let's not forget the issue at hand


    This fight is not over with protests all of the country and social justice organizations and movements growing from grief and concrete, this is not just a hashtag. Simultaneous the act of "sharing" is also growing, via facebook that is. The "share" option underneath Facebook posts has been available for a while but seems to be used now more than ever. Users share status updates, photos, links, videos, often for either humor or in the name of social just and activism. Sharing has become a norm for the tech savvy now-a-days , just as reblogging on tumblr and retweeting on Twitter. Users, such as myself,  are more proactive and conscious in there sharing.

   Below is a video, I shared on Facebook, of Franchesca "Chescaleigh" Ramsey and Latoya Peterson as interviewed by Katie Couric. In this video they discuss victim blaming in cases of police brutality against POC, ultimately posing the question "What are we supposed to do?"

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