Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Outfit of the week!

Today we had some unseasonal warmth in NYC, above 60 degrees! However, tomorrow will bring the biggest snowstorm we've seen in years. As crazy as it all seems, what we can do now is dress appropriately. Here I brought out my maxi t-shirt dress, over metallic tights paired with an oversized Unif parka, all from Urban Outfitters.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Same Drugs!

     Chance The Rapper has just released a music video for the song "Same Drugs" off of his latest mixtape, "Coloring Book". Just a week or so after announcing the collection Grammy Nomination. Typically mixtape are not considered for Grammy's because they are made independently and often distributed for free, they typically "don't count" when it comes to mainstream music. However Chance The Rapper has managed to become a household name while sill being an independent artist. The fans demanded it and Chance has earned. Now one track that certainly stood out has a visual along with it.

     The song "Same Drugs" is a song about childhood, growth and reflecting on one's past. So of course Chance is seemingly on set of the most iconic and longest running children's show of all time, Sesame Street. The video version of this song is slightly different from the album version with crisper instrumentation and added vocals, Chance sings what becomes a duet with the muppet sitting by his side.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Page Meets Stage!

     In the world of poetry there's this strange stigma that there is a separation between "the page" and "the stage" and the poets who take part in either. The page meaning poetry that is published in chapbooks, magazines, full collections, anthologies, online publications, etc. and a page poet would be someone who only specializes in those things. Whereas the stage aspect is only spoken word, poetry that is typically performed from memory, live, in front of audiences. For years, naturally, "page" poetry has been seen as more academic and stage poetry is seen as more street/urban/underground. There is a certain level of prestige attached to publishing work, to this day there are writers who do not believe they are "real poets" until they are published. Spoken Word being the sibling to rap and a big part of Hip-Hop culture it gets the reputation that comes along with hip-hop culture, being made from scratch by people who did not have other resources, being apart of the lower class. Spoken Word artists are still seen as poets who can't really write and poets who do not performer are seen as poets who are confined to academic standards.

     For over a decade the Page Meets Stage has capitalized off of this "separation" by hosting monthly events that pair a typical "stage poet" with a typical "page poet" for back to back performances followed by a Q&A. Often, however, the pairings make it difficult to determine who is who. The page poet has probably performed and competed in poetry slams plenty of times, and the stage poet has probably been published various places. At the end of the day they are always both phenomenal poets and the events are always great time.

New York based poet, April Ranger. The host for the evening

Hanif Willis-Abdurraquib
   This month as we all returned from the holidays, Page Meets Stage's first pairing of the year is quite the mouth watering one. For the page we had Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, Poet published in various journals and collections, essayist, and currently a columnist for MTV. For the stage we have Steven Willis, Spoken word artist, "Slam Poet", instructor, and two-time finalist of the Individual World Poetry Slam. Not to mention Hanif has taken part in slam poetry for years, whether as a competitor or coach and Steven has been published in few collections as well. None-the-less these are two incredible contemporary poets on the scene right now.

    The entire evening was moving, entertaining, thought-provoking, and just enjoyable. You cannot help but feel proud of two established Black Men, still learning, still growing and being damn good with words while they're at it. In Page Meets Stage fashion the poets went back in forth with poems that spoke to one another, so great it almost became competitive. A line in one of Steven's poems would be an image in one of Hanif's and so on and so forth. With personal accounts of being Black in America, Masculinity, heartache, growing pains, and humor there could not have been a better pairing than what Sunday night brought. In the historical Bowery Poetry Club, a staple in New York City's art movement on the Lower East Side, PMS proves that that art is still thriving. Though both Abdurraquib and Willis are both Mid-Westerners they certainly made home out New York City on that stage.

Hanif Willis-Abdurraquib and Steven Willis

     Following the poems was the Q&A, which is often my favorite part of any event. Both poet answer questions pertaining to their work but also how their personal lives influence how they, especially considering the social climate. Find out more about these poets and their work: Hanif Abdurraquib, Steven Willis. For more information about Page Meets Stage and how you can attend click HERE.

Steve Willis

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Queer Abstract Launch Event !

     The Queer Abstract is a monthly performance art series created, hosted, and curated by Shannon Matesky. Matesky is a Bay Area born, Brooklyn Based Poet, Performer, Educator and Queer Woman Of Color. Held at the recently opened Starr Bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn, last Friday was the first event in the series and certainly a rare one of it's kind. The Queer Abstract is a safe queer space celebrating art created by QPOC(Queer People of Color), occurring monthly on every third Friday. With a filled lineup of poets, musicians, comedians and dancers, followed by a dance party The Queer abstract is a promising event. Even with The space, being one where is a performance are separate from the bar, there is focus on the main event and also the opportunity to mix and mingle. This is a free event, on a Friday night, and you cannot help but have fun.

Shannon Matesky
     There was mix and mingle time for about the first 30 minutes as the DJ got the party started and folks started to pile in. The very few seat filled up and no time, but there was plenty of standing room, audience members even sat on the floor to see the show. The Queer Abstract combined the intimacy of a poetry night with the energy of a concert. Often when people see the flyer and the line-up is filled of 10 r more different kinds of performances, dancers, comedians, singers, all for one show it can be concerning. Is this show going to go too long? Will there be awkward transitions? Am I going to enjoy one performance and dislike the other? The answer is NO, when it comes to The Queer Abstract. Our host kicked off the night with the warmest welcome with an introduction to the event is and what it stands and a spoken word piece. She is a phenomenal performer, so with her alone you can already tell what you are in for. The night flowed seamlessly, the timing was perfect, each performers individual set was just long enough for the audience to be satisfied and quick enough so that we would not be fatigued. Each performer commanding attention and each chosen to perform by Shannon! Towards the end of the event was the dance party. The DJ spun for nearly another 2 hours as folks dance, drank, mixed and mingled and of course began to filter out as the night wound down. I can gaurantee everyone went home satisfied.

   Even commissioned as the photographer for the evening I was able to be present and enjoy the event, and this was only the first event ! For more info about the next event check out The Queer Abstract on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, January 2, 2017

NYE Look!

Of course my outfit is very #UOonYou. I am wearing the Silence + Noise Backless Shimmer dress, black opaque tights, and studded platform heels from ShoeDazzle. NYE always calls for glitz, glamour and glitter. The shinier the better. This dress shimmers with metallic detailing all over and being backless adds wow-factor. The high heels were thrifted and finally got their chance to shine on this night, they are all black suede covered in small gold studs that catch the light. I completed the look by curling my locs using flexi rods(tutorial coming soon) for subtle sophistication.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Bow-Bun Holiday Hairstyle!

In my last post I described my outfit, now here's a look at my hair !

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays !

This holiday my look is a repeat of last year's NYE style. I actually have not worn this romper again since, so here it is! This time I've paired it with the Out From Under Shimmer tights from Urban Outfitters, of course. I have complete this look with my hair in a bun topped with a decorative bow.

Monday, December 12, 2016

For Your Eyez Only, That new J. Cole

     J. Cole has released a new album in what seems to be a midst of new shit from your fave young/old rappers. Drizzy seems to have something on the way, CuDi will be releasing his project on the 16th, and Childish Gambino just released a new album. In his befitting style J. Cole's latest project has done impressive numbers while still disappointing a large number of listeners. He is one of the most notable contemporary rappers and is still referred to a "trash" or "Boring".

     Just a few days before releasing the album he premiered a documentary entitled "Eyez" available for streaming on Tidal. This film gives us a very discreet look into J. Coles process in creating this album. We see the certain tracks being created from scratch and the instrumentation going into them without even knowing what these tracks are. Based on the sounds and the lyrics we hear Cole recording, the 31 year old super-star is certainly staying very true to himself and who he has come to be as an artist. There does not seem to be anything particularly "New" forthcoming but the anticipation is still built. The film also features music videos for two new tracks "Everybody Dies" and "False Prophets". "False Prophets" received a lot of attention and even stirred some controversy for Cole's lyrics seemingly calling out and criticizing KanYe West as well as other mainstream rap artists.

     However neither "False Prophets" nor "Everybody Dies" are featured on this album, "For Your Eyez Only". An intimate story strung together as what seems to be a memoir-like love letter. Cole speaks on his own struggles with life and death, the plight of a Black man in America, Family, and ultimately love. We come to learn that one of Cole's closest friends was killed when he was only 22 years old, which implies that a lot of what Cole has had to say throughout the album may not be his own first person experiences. He is describing the world as how he has seen it but also telling the story of his late friend and the lifestyle he led. This however does not take away from or diminish Cole's narrative, if anything it supports it. Story-wise "For Your Eyez Only" is simple and easy to follow. Cole also describes love, the romantic kind, and we can easily assume he is describing his relationship with his wife, especially on the track "Foldin' Clothes". However it is not easy to understand who's eyez this project is for, only. At least not until the last track of the same title.

     Unfortunately, the album is not the most entertaining. Many are describing this project as boring and I agree. Standout tracks include "Immortal" on which Cole proclaims "Real niggas don't die" exhibiting what it means to have lost people close to him due to violence; and "Deja Vu" as it is the closest to being a club banger describing meeting a girl in the club and feeling as if it is love at first sight. Both of those tracks could possibly go mainstream. Lyrically the entire project is not the most impressive, Cole does not necessarily "Go there" nor does he present the hunger we would expect based on the bonus tracks featured in the documentary. Very basic bars paired with slow melodic tunes/beats offer listeners really decent background music, elevator music for the hip-hop head if you will. I appreciate Cole's story and his use of his platform to tell such a story, however this album does not put forward anything new or innovative artistically for J. Cole or in general.

     I believe Cole is now used a scapegoat for being "Trash" because he has yet to reach anyone's expectation of being this exceptional rapper with enough old school influence to make us feel the way Hip-Hop has always felt and also bring forth a Hip-Hop renaissance or a revolution. On top of that, it is not very easy to classify Cole as an artist. He's conscious by default as he speaks the truth on the state of the world and his own experiences over slower beats with real instrumentation however disappoints listeners with misogyny or not digging deep enough to evoke change. He's not like Kendrick, yet he's definitely not Drake. His albums always leave consumers wanting more.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fit, Fit, FIT !

Here I've gt some UO on You as per usual and the shoes are from Forever 21. I paired my favorite BDG High-Rise Seam Jeans with an Out From Under sheer mock-neck tee and an out from under cage bra underneath the top.

Monday, December 5, 2016

"Awaken, My Love!"

    The latest from Childish Gambino. The quadruple threat had mixed reviews for his previous album Because the Internet as he simultaneous seemed to be going trough depression since then he has remained in a eyes and hearts of course with random visuals and single and ultimately has lasted television show "Atlanta". However the while TV thing is Donald Glover fans have desperately been awaited the return of Childish Gambino. He is here, with a bit of a surprise. Fans had not really know when to expect the release of new music from Gambino and certainly did not know exactly what kind of music we would be getting. The NYC born, Atlanta raised Rapper has given us anything but rap. Awaken My Love is a psychedelic collection of funk, soul, alternative, rock musical bliss.Just a couple of weeks before the albums release he released the first single, which also the first track, Me and you momma.

      The album presents a very 60's/70's feel reminiscent of The Zombies, Mamas and The Papas, Jimi Hendrix, etc. There is obvious Prince influence as well. Childish has harmonized hooks here or there in the past but on this album he is giving us pure vocals, no bars, just soul. Soul matched with experimental instrumentation and subject matter. Has this been his plan for the duration of his career? Is this the soundtrack for the next season of Atlanta? Is this joke? Who knows. Whatever it is, it is GREAT, and certainly a must-listen. The only problem I have with this is that it is not very lengthy, 11 tracks makes this album perfect for a subway ride commute to work or art exhibition/mingle hour background music. "Awaken, My Love!" takes a huge risk as I am sure Gambino is still considered a rapper, however the music is quite exceptional. If anyone is to take a risk in whatever they do this is how to do it.


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