Wednesday, May 10, 2017

OOTW

This week I've got some thrift store finds. The jacket and the skinny jeans are brought to you by Beacon's Closet and this look is complete with a sheer top and Timbaland boots from Urban Outfitters.







Saturday, April 22, 2017

OOTW

My grandpa look. Low top Doc loafers, trousers with built in suspenders, and a preppy cropped sweater which I love to wear. All from Urban Outfitters as you can assume




Friday, April 14, 2017

ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADASS

   Yes, America with three K's. The latest from Brooklyn MC Joey Bada$$, who took the Hip-Hop world by storm just 4 years ago impressing folks with his beats bars and notable fact that he was only 17 at the time and fresh out of high school. As the second track states: "This is for my people, tryna stay alive and just stay peaceful". This album keeps the theme of being Black in America today, as the title and album cover may imply. On the cover, Joey is sticking out of a car window with both middle fingers up, while an american flag made out of bandannas, or at least a bandanna pattern is attached to the car. The bandanna presumably represents the gang culture Black men in America are villainized for, it can also represent that the U.S. is really the biggest gang of all.



 In the land of the free, it's full of free loaders 
Leave us dead in the street to be their organ donors 
They disorganized my people, made us all loners 
Still got the last names of our slave owners
-"LAND OF THE FREE"


    Every song is quite exceptional, from top to bottom this album bumps. With songs that sound GOOD, and raw honest lyrics. Musically this is the pure Hip-Hop you would already expect from Joey, with sounds that are reminiscent of Biggie, The Wu-Tang Clan, and Nas. ALL-AMERIKKAN BADASS is true testimony at its most genuine. There is no fluff, no dilution, just truth. Though, this album is a solid project there are a number of standout tracks. Which include, "TESTIMONY", "LAND OF THE FREE", this first single "DEVASTATED", wait wait wait, Never mind. EVERY song is AMAZING. Every hook, Every bar, every feature. The features also all appear to be a pleasant surprise. Yes, you can just read the titles yet when you haven't and the feature just begins spitting it's like taking a bite out of a fudge brownie lava cake and all the goodness just spills out. Features include SchoolBoy Q, J. Cole, Chronixx, Styles P., and more. I am thoroughly impressed by this entire album, in ways I can not express. Another track to highlight is "Y U DON'T LOVE ME", a direct message to America.

     With the political climate in the U.S., the election of an under qualified bigot as the president, and the Black Lives Matter movement this album is a declaration of what it means to be a Black man in America today, right now, currently. At the oscars three Black films were nominated for best documentary, "OJ: Made in America", "I Am Not Your Negro", and "13th" all providing historical and contemporary facts in regards to the criminalization, the villainization, and assassination of Black Men in America. Also the film "Moonlight" challenging masculinity and the vulnerability of Black men won Best Picture, the most prestigous Academy Award. Not that the topic is new but ALL-AMERIKKAN BADASS is so very necessary, especially right now. This album can easily go toe-to-toe with Kendrick's previous official album 'To Pimp a Butterfly" on the basis of content, context, bars and instrumentation. Not to mention the nod to Hip-Hop legend Ice Cube, who's debut album was titled "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted".

   Please do yourself a favor and listen to this album. For now, check out Joey's latest video, for "LAND OF THE FREE".


Monday, April 3, 2017

OOTW

   Here I am casual grown-up chic, I think. Mom jeans thanks to Urban Outfitters and long button down top from H&M and Payless shoes, yes Payless. This look is complete with a Silence + Noise longline bomber jacket from Urban as well.






Saturday, April 1, 2017

and the backlash is real, Colorism, Misogyny, and Hotep-ism.


   Though damn near having broke the internet, Kendrick's latest "HUMBLE" has received negative responses, especially from Black women/femmes. There is a bit in which Kendrick states:
" I'm so fuckin' sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin' natural like afro on Richard Pryor
Show me somethin' natural like ass with some stretch marks". 
    This comes off as policing womens' bodies and telling us what to do. Many are interpreting this as him saying "stop wearing weaves and stop modifying your bodies!!!". However, in my opinion, it only sounds like Kendrick is stating his preference. Which a lot of male rappers do in regards to the women they like, all the time. Usually it is oppressive, so it is interesting that Kendrick is receiving criticism for stating a preference that actually opposes societal standards which have ostracized Black women and people for centuries. He seems to be addressing the media, not us Black women personally. I do agree, however, that even in sounding "positive" men can still be misogynistic. Misogyny and patriarchy, the oppression, degradation, and restriction of women on the part of men has molded the way we interact as a society completely. Our music, television, media, consumerism, and even what we teach our children from birth are all deeply rooted in patriarchy. It is how we function on a daily basis. Is Kendrick misogynistic when he chooses to state that he "Still will take you down right on your mama's couch in Polo socks" ? Possibly, maybe, very much so. Is he telling women what to do with their bodies? No, he is stating his preference. Is he stating it in way where it seems that women are objects to be purchased off of a shelf? Yes, much like most to all other men.

    Now, what people these days refer to as a "hotep" is usually a cis-gendered heterosexual Black man who is extremely afrocentric yet his pro-blackness often overlooks women and queer Black people. Their values are often rooted in misogyny and homophobia although they think they are helping the Black community. Think the dude in the dashiki in "Don't be a Menace to South Central Wile Drinking your Jucie in the Hood", stereotype and all. A "hotep" will probably tell a woman who wears make-up, synthetic hair, lots of jewelry and designer clothes to tone down her style a bit and be more natural, which is in fact oppressive and dismissive. I do not believe, however, Kendrick is taking on that tone whether on "HUMBLE" or any other track.




     The problem I have is the imagery. Which I think is the driving force behind all the back lash. The woman he has to represent his anti photoshop comments is light skinned with multi-racial features and long soft hair. Yes, her hair is natural, however it still the desired texture. Her image still promotes society anti-Black beliefs that dark skin + nappy hair = Ugly. What make sit worse is the juxtaposition. Immediately afterwards, the image paired with Kendrick stating that he would like a booty with stretch marks, is in fact a booty with stretch marks. However, it is only an ass, a dark skinned ass. We do not see this woman's face, we cannot even tell that this body is that of a woman. It is literally just an ass. Light skin girl gets to be the pretty face, representing natural beauty. She is the acceptable Black girl, the marketable Black girl, the digestible Black girl. Whereas the dark skin girl is only a body, only objectified and sexualized, only the stereotypical seductress or jezebel, less than human.


     Juxtaposition is the oldest tool used in film and this music video fucked up. That in my opinion is the main problem.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

KING KENDRICK

    Mr. Lamar made a bit of a comeback just last week with presumed diss track "The Heart pt. 4". In the style of his own "The Heart" saga, Kendrick is not holding back on this one, he infamously proclaims "Y'all got till April 7th to get your shit together". April 7th, next week Friday, must be when K. Dot will bless us with a new project, "The Heart pt. 4" was simply a warning.

     Tonight he unsuspectedly released a new single and video "HUMBLE". On which he demands "sit down, be humble". He opens the track saying "I remember syrup sandwiches and grandma allowances". Another diss track, maybe? Certainly a message to all who's head has gotten too big.




Visually this video is breathtaking, evoking nostalgia of Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes in their respective primes. The imagery and hubris is also quite reminiscent of Beyoncé's "Formation" video, released last January.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

GET OUT

     The highly anticipated horror film from the mind of Jordan Peele. Peele having gained some recognition over the past few years for his sketch comedy show Key & Peele, alongside Keegan-Micheal Key. The two specialized in obnoxious dry humor, that often offers social commentary. Upon finding out about a racially driven psychological thriller created by this particular comedian, viewers anticipated they were in for quite the roller coaster.



     The film is the combination of a romantic-comedy, a comedy, and a thriller, with a whole lot of social commentary. Basically all White people are racist and Jordan wants us to know. It is refreshing that Peele's humor is not lost in this film, there are sly remarks that will make you laugh and roll your eyes at the same time. The pacing was very easy to follow and the plot became predicable about halfway through, yet predicable in a comfortable way; there are only a few minor surprises and no real plot twist. The fact that every element represents racism in America today is remarkable. It is quite subtle and that might be the scary part. However, the film is not as "psychologically thrilling" as the trailer leads viewers to believe. There is not much to interpret, no mind-fucking here. The message is very direct and upfront, entertaining and easily digestible; very easy to reach all audiences. It is very difficult to argue with this film or find anything wrong, although people have already begun.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

SHEther??

   Yes, "Shether", recorder over the beat of the infamous diss track track from Nas to Jay-Z, is a diss track itself written by Remy-Ma and directed at none other than Nicki Minaj. The anomaly that is "female rap" is never ending. It seems that there is very little room for women in Hip-Hop, and when there is she is usually surrounded by men backing her and molding her image. From The Bronx, New York, Remy Ma is one of the greatest women to touch a microphone and transition from underground to mainstream, yet her career took a pause when she was arrested for attempted murder. While in prison a Queens raised young woman by the name of Nicki Minaj took over that game with witty comical punch lines, over the top fashion choices, and feature after feature after feature which ultimately lead to the release of album Pink Friday which took her ever-growing fanbase and the world by storm. Having won the best female rap artist award at the BET awards every year for 6 years in a row, Nicki Minaj has no competition. Oh, and not to mention, she also has a gimmicky big fat ass, which may or may not be fake, however Remy covers all of that on "shETHER". Give it a listen here:



    A beef between two women in the rap game is inevitable, especially when they all claim to be "The Best". However this beef between Nicki and Remy begun years ago, circa 2007, when Remy was in prison, and Nicki stated on one her tracks that she is "taking the crown'. The song was recorded on a Terror Squad(Remy's team) beat and assumed to be directed at Remy. Nicki added no fuel to that fire until recently with two new verses, one on a Jason Derulo track and one with Gucci Mane, where it seems she must be taking the same shots at Remy Ma. Now, Remy is tired of it. She, as we say in New York, straight bodied Nicki Minaj on this track. Rap beefs have really died down in the 2010's decade and we have not issues blow up quite like this between two MC's in quite sometime. This is the diss track heard around the world, taking everybody by storm. Reportedly Remy plans on dropping another, We'll see.

Monday, February 20, 2017

OOTW

This outfit is simple, and a little retro. Body suit pair with high-waisted acid wash mom jeans and a small sequined jacket.








Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Am Not Your Negro

 The documentary film about and inspired by the works of one of the greatest contemporary American Writers, and civil rights icon, James Baldwin. Chock full of archival footage, text, b-roll, and photographs; all accompanied by Baldwin's writing read in voice over by Samuel L. Jackson. Of course sharing the life and legacy of Baldwin yet this film is not just that, it is the story of three killings. Three Black men in the civil rights movement, all having everlasting impacts on the history of this nation and all having infamous deaths. They are Medgar Wiley Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The writings read in voice over are what the film truly is at times and the imagery accompanies it. It was all meant to be a book entitled "Remember This House", yet was not completed before Baldwin's death. The fact that this story is not yet "complete" is undetectable while watching "I Am Not Your Negro". Baldwin covers all of the basis when discussing the three icons whose lives were stolen from them.



     Visually Baldwin's accounts were met with archival footage of interviews, protests, marches, the funerals, speeches, films from the time, and of course photographs of our heroes; as well as recent footage and photographs from protests and uprisings today. These Black men and their Black wives and their Black children, what drove them to do the work they did, the dichotomy of Malcolm X's discourse verses the values of Martin Luther King.; all flowed together seamlessly. We meet James Baldwin, we are hearing his story, we are learning his experiences and how he applies that to understanding the lives of his late contemporaries. The overarching story is being Black in American. What the enslavement of millions of Africans has done for this nation and its people. The effects of segregation and what it would truly mean to be "free". Baldwin is known for his talent as well as his honesty. There is no holding back on either of those things when its comes to this film. Every element was beautifully presented, all sources exhausted, the research was done and the work was put in. I will say there is one thing I consider to be missing and that is the representation of women. Black women have always been the backbone of the revolution, however in this film we are only represented as wives, which is understandable based on the story being told, personally I desired a bit more.

The imagery was breathtakingly disturbing, interviews with Baldwin challenged the "norm" and were easily applicable to the state of the world today, "I Am Not Your Negro" is a MUST-SEE.

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 who they are as artists, 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 the performance is 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 seats filled up in 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 or 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, what it stands for 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 enjoyed themselves.

   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.





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