‘All the Stars’ Visuals are the embodiment of Black Pride & Majesty

Last night Kendrick, Sza, Dave Meyers and the homies dropped the visuals for ‘All the Stars’ and I’m still in amazement.

It was announced that Kendrick Lamar will be composing the soundtrack for Black Panther, and earlier this week the playlist was released inspired by what we have yet to see on the silver-screen. ‘All the Stars’ was the first single from the soundtrack we were blessed with and the now these beautiful visuals to accompany it.

It opens with Kendrick standing majestically looking out beyond the sea of black folks he is being carried over to a scene with a patron black Woman overlooking black children dressed is African Regalia.

I got emotional watching Sza dance among the stars embodying verses I have written in my own poetry of black women becoming one with other Dimensions .

Each scene ranges of dominate bold colors like red, blue and gold while incorporating vibrant African Prints. Black Pride is felt throughout this with the representation of dances from African Countries and overall Continental images.

The imagery of black women being exalted into their full lengths standing fully in their power as Kendrick is left in awe of it, I can only imagine what the Dora Milaje representation will be in the Black Panther Movie.

Click this All the Stars link to view this black magical experience. 🖤✨🙌🏽

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Dive in with Tiffany Gouchè

California based R&B singer Tiffany Gouchè captures the art of musical storytelling in her latest single ‘Dive’. Tiffany opens singing about wanting a woman that is apprehensive. Not wanting to rush her, but making intentions clear by the chorus Tiffany’s sultry voice sings away any remaining fears. Her lyrical word play captures the essence of those new found emotions: The trying feeling within the beginning stages of not wanting to be too much, battling feels of lust, building until that moment of shared acknowledgment and passion.

I’m in love with this song because of its raw emotion, for it’s unapologetic expression of black woman sexuality. Tiffany’s embrace of her sexuality as a queer black women while simultaneously encouraging vulnerability for the sake of connecting intimately is a vibe I have been channeling in 2018. Give this Song a listen , Tiffany’s yearning voice over the smooth nostalgic r&b beat creates a vibe that can be left on repeat!

Black Girl in Om: Healing the woman I am within

I wanted to create space to speak a mini testimony of what has been a successful practice for me to manifest greatness and appreciate the greatness in my life : listening and being inspired by black women/ femmes.

Last January I was struggling to find my voice as writer, how to become an active part of the change I wanted to see in my City, and finding, loving me. For each challenge that I stumbled through somewhat blindly there was a black woman there to help guide me back on to my path.

My Writing

My dear friend and talented poet, Eve routinely sent me invites to poetry events, readings, her featured shows until I began to show. Listening to her truth spoken boldly and feeling that connection to her spiritual left me in tears many of time and inspired to honor my own truth through my voice. As our relationship grows she challenges me to improve my writing in ways I didn’t know were possible. Im so grateful of having that experience of someone in my same medium. Some months into 2017, one of my closest friends, Taylor suggested me to a mutual friend that owns a site called FlagrantCity that was looking for bloggers, which led me to Rhonda. Rhonda has provided me the creative freedom to express on a platform while also giving me advise on how to build my own brand,and I deeply grateful for this. From this experience had led me to my most recent accomplishment of being hired as a freelance writer for Vocally!

Organizing & Self Awareness

I was in awe of Shaketa’s leadership and Natasha’s strategy: their combined efforts is black girl magic to me. As I continued working with them and growing closer to them; the experience of their patience, their love, their ability to see me in my fullness in a way I had yet to see in myself was affirming for me which led me to BOLD Praxis .BOLD was an experience that shifted my inner narrative of my life. This past Friendsgiving I shared the experience of how BOLD affirmed my worth, dignity, abilities. How, in the future, I wanted to carry healing our traumas and self care through words/ art into my organizing when Linda asked if I had listened to Black Girls in Om, it was a Chicago based podcast run by black women, that centered self care – she strongly suggested that I listen to it.

Black Girls In Om

From their first episode Lauren’s soft voice over subtle instrumentals speaking BGIO’s mission: “To promote holistic wellness and inner beauty for women of color, encouraging self care, self love, and self empowerment for communities of color” was an affirmation of the exact mission I have been envisioning. To the present with the episode number 30: “Intentional living with Roe of Brown Kids” .

There were several things that Roe said that resonated deeply with me. On creating a capsule wardrobe, a wardrobe that can be carried throughout the year and importance of buying quality clothing . Coming home from my experience at both Bold and Just Resisting retreat, I have come to terms within myself that I did not feel up until then worth period – Let alone luxuries of expensive clothing . After twenty four years of living in Buffalo, NY I did not own a down coat or bought good winter boots in at least five years, because I did not think I was worthy of those new things. I realized that stemmed from conditioning: my parents treated shopping as a reward and growing up in generational poverty. As an adult when I did splurge on anything self indulgent it was lingerie, something super sexy, maybe a casual thing – but never my essentials that would actually care for my body.

What Roe and Lauren spoke to about living in a limbo state is something I have been struggling within my own space. Since my breakup a year ago with my daughter’s father, I struggled financially that constantly left me questioning where my family will be each month. Now as I gain stability I’m adjusting to how to have a functional and comfortable space for a toddler and school aged child. This episode like the previous connect with me on levels that I am actively trying to unlock within myself that leaves me amazed each time. Lauren’s work with partynoire as a yoga instructor grounded in spiritual awareness and Deun’s creative works rooted deeply in spiritual gratitude strengthens me daily to continue on with my current collaborative projects with H.E.A.L and Black Magnolias.

If you have not listened to Black Girls in Om, I very much suggest that you give them a listen!

*The top two that I have on repeat currently are episode #29 and #18 (Five Challenges in Creative Entrepreneurship) and strongly advise all black women and femmes listen to #1, #13, #27 and of course the latest #30 .

SevenSixteen’s Truey V: ‘Trap Rage’ review

Trap Rage is the perfect EP for this moment in 2018- with its Authentic Buffalo pride as the Bills make the Playoffs for the first time in 17 years and we are amidst our first Blizzard of the winter solace.

I remember the first time I heard about Trap Rage, it was at a kick back after Curtis Lovell’s show. It was a crew of us black creatives chilling, talking about our different projects we were working on . Truey was sharing with Rhys some of what was completed from his new project, Trap Rage over his Beats as the rest of us vibed out. I remember Rhys said aloud ‘this was about to be a hit. ‘

Fast forward to the first time I heard ‘No Snaps’ and ‘Hussle’ was during Truey’s set at Beau Fleuve Music and Arts Event during the silent disco. Each song created a vibe of pride of this city when it dropped that everyone danced out to. Trap Rage has accumulated its own success over the past few months since its October release. With some of the most popular songs ‘Hussle’ , ‘No Snaps’, ‘Fuck Five’ that highlight the experiences and weaves narratives that all black folk can relate to with flows that interchange from smooth vocals to Truey’s hype is fueled by the frustration and joy of millennial existence.

I couldn’t help but feel the connection not only to the music but the Collective experience of being Buffalo Natives, being black , being millennials, affirming that this will be our year – and how Trap Rage is the personification of all that. I enjoyed all elements of this from the beats, Truey’s lyrical flows, to the catchy hooks( especially in ‘No Snaps’ & ‘Inuyasha’).

Give this EP a listen if you haven’t already, it’s filled with hits that are perfect for your 2018 playlist!

Trap Rage EP

“She’s Gotta Have It” – Review

Cover Art from Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” Netflix Series

I started this Sunday Binge watching ‘she’s gotta have it” the original movie and the new Netflix series. I enjoyed its ingenious way it portrayed relationships, romance, budding into black womanhood & manhood. It did not try to hide any flaws of our inherit Bad behaviors but, laid them bare exposed to the audience. Each character suffered some form of emotional immaturity as well as misogyny and patriarchal beliefs.

Reflecting on that has me questioning my own dating history- communicating and honesty have been the downfall to all my past relationships. As well as cheating. I feel it connects back to the societal mindset the monogamy is the only acceptable relationship status, the proper way to love and be loved – I challenge that theory. I’ve lived it’s contradictions and have crossed paths with folk that prove its falsehood.

At a dinner party a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being in conversation with two of my black femme friends that both happen to be involved in polyamory/ open relationships. One is planning to marry her partner whom she’s been with for several years and the other has newly been introduced to polyamory through a partner who has a live in partner already. Both women shared their experiences and I shared my story of an open relationship gone wrong from a few years ago. My friend shared her own wisdom and gems she’s learned over the years- what works and what doesn’t. I’ll boil it down two main vital components: honesty and communication.

She explained there are “rules” boundaries that must be set at the onset with all partners. Her partner that she has been with the longest she stressed the importance of the strength of their communication- discussing everything so that nothing is left to question. If there is no doubt, in whatever capacity the relationship is, makes it so much easier to show up as our full selves in. Imagine for a moment airing everything out openly and being able to be in relation with no fear of the unknown lurking.

Also something that stood out most from the conversation was how she interacts with possible new partners, who either show interest in her or if she feels the vibe is mutual. Once that interest is established she explains that she is in an open relationship and would like to kick it or hang out and do something(taking sex off the table as the first interaction because it’s Not about the sex)- explicitly making it clear that she is not the girl that will be in a serious relationship with them – but that all other areas of relationship are open outside of that. With doing that she gives the person the opportunity to entertain that relation or leave if it doesn’t fit their needs.

From my experience and listening to the experience of others, polygamy is more about respecting folk’s autonomy and communicating properly,and less about that possessiveness that commonly shows up on monogamy. Yes, sex is apart of it- just not the myth that folk believe is All of it. “It’s that open door, that if something is to happen or happens it’s okay, not necessarily encouraging it but being accepting of whatever happens” (I may have not quoted my friend verbatim, but y’all get the premise of it).

“She’s gotta have it” failed to break that myth, instead it acted as kindling fueling it. Too many times did Nola, Greer, Jamie, Mars, and Opal deny each other mutual autonomy over bodies and beliefs.

Nola was honest about her partners but not boundaries, which is where problems in the storyline occurred from. She cherry picked what and when communication would happen which also added even more to those problems. I completely get, I understand the story it’s telling – relationships are messy and hard and most of the time we go in unprepared with the right tools to navigate them. At the same time I’m pained to see the myths of what polygamy is portrayed this way. I crave to see the stories of black women/ femmes in their full power of autonomy, I can guarantee drama and great storyline can still come from these.

It was also interesting to note that despite her relationships /friendships she desired to have children of her own one day – which could possibly require the audience to question the “normal” family/ community dynamic. She ends the movie saying that she is not a ‘one man type woman’, and I wonder what a black woman in an open relationship with a family would look like.

Lady Entrepreneurs: Produced By Girls – Zine 1 (Review)

I was overly excited to read this Zine by looked at it alone. The classic black and white marble composition notebook cover felt nostalgic to adolescence: the way it would become decorated with amateur graffiti, magazine cut outs of favorite celebrities and teen heartthrobs glued onto the few empty spaces. Also, 3D Glasses were included to be used on certain pages! 

This zine featured 5 talented young women of color, that were pictured on the cover in the cut out form.  

Each page reflects the personality of the young woman it shared itself with in a magazine cut collage form. 

The first page featuring Megan Harris- model, artist, graphic designer and part owner of Beatnik Parlor Ice Cream , is covered in a variety of ice cream cones, palm trees and California vibes reflecting Megan’s hometown. Megan is pictured in the lower corner with thick coiled shoulder length hair looking directly into the camera. Megan’s story was deeply inspiring for myself personally with her being just two years older than myself. At 26 she has left her hometown in Sacramento to NYC to further her career. 

Her advice for to aspiring entrepreneurs was simplistic which made it seem even more achievable for myself and all who read. 
On the back of Megan’s page is a goals worksheet for the reader to list what goals they have for themselves and business! 

Annabel’s page is covered with a variety of foods as well as pictures of her food truck/ mobile kitchen. Anabel is pictured in the lower corner, a beautiful young girl smiling holding a toddler in her arms. 

One of the impressive things about Anabel is that age of eight years old she has already created a delicious diverse menu that feeds many in the DMV area. Her words echo the importance of seeing women and girl bosses, starting as young as herself, proving anything is possible. 

Alias Kadir’s page background is decorated with large frosted green grapes and light pastel colors. Alias is pictured in the corner with shoulder length curly hair looking away from the camera over her shoulder. This seventeen year old explains how she found comfort in music. Alias also included how she is looking for queer artist and artist of color’s work that she wants to share via her platform. This is also something near and dear to my heart, the inclusion of queer and all artist of color is needed, our work is truly unique and needs more visibility. 

Essence Hayes’ name is spelled out in bold red block letters. Across the back of her page is a city’s outline with building lit up a night sky . By her name and along the bottom of the page are some of her pins. Essence is pictured at the bottom of the page looking directly into the camera. Essence is a painter and jewelry maker that came up with Coloring Pins, a collection of pins that are inspired by black hair styles. Looking at these pins give a more nostalgic feelings as it showcases classic black hair styles as Bantu knots and braids. 

Essence describes her journey to get her business to where it is today. From her set backs and obstacles, Essence continued on pursing her vision and has no intentions of stopping now. 

The last lady entrepreneur in this issue is Eli. Using the 3D glasses given at the front of the zine you can see the overlapping red and blue clustered pictures of Eli come to life. Eli’s outlook on art medium and Philosophy was both refreshing and left me excited to see what she will accomplish artisticly. 

On the next page PBG has an important reminder that the reader can see with the 3D glasses. The last two pages are interactive for the readers encouraging the reader to bring their ideas to life.  

After reading this Zine I felt revitalize to continue the work that I’ve been doing : with writing, with organizing and modeling .

What was most inspirational about these young women is how at their age they have envisioned their dreams and brought them to life. To find out how they succeed and overcame their adversity, read this Zine ! 
Also show support to these wonderful women by following their social media accounts and their work. 

Their presence in their fields are needed, let’s make sure it can remain. 

Salon Talk Podcast One Year Anniversary Celebration !!(Review)

Over 20,000 listeners, 46 episodes and many special guests later, (one of which is our very own Rhonda Lowe in episode 16!) the past year has been eventful for the ladies at the Salon Talk Podcast and definitely worthy of celebration! 

This one year anniversary podcast party took place at the 9th Ward at Babeville, a snug venue with exposed brick walls and intimate seating around a low platform stage. Dj Mr. Illmatic kept the party flow going before and over the course of the night’s show. 

Kicking off the celebratory live anniversary episode, Yolanda Smilez, comedian and past podcast guest, opened with a raunchy comedic set. Her set was engaging and hilarious take on her own sexuality, the audience’s , and her relationship with the podcast had everyone reeling in enthusiastic laughter. 

When Arica and Fee took the stage the energy was high and emotional as they both took turns recapping their first year together and the success it has amassed . They praised those who have been supportive of their growth and that played huge roles by honoring them with gifts and shout outs.

 

The Salon Talk Live podcast episode featured some the the podcast’s iconic conversations starters with the addition of audience engagement. They addressed popular culture topics like Insecure’s #TeamIssa and #TeamLawrence debate (#TeamIssa over here!) and theories on what will happen next on Power. 

The open conversation with the audience remained after special guest and musician Mickiee Moscoto took the stage from the the icebreaker question to the visuals of her an impromptu twerk lesson with Arica – which was a definite bonus! 

Salon Talk represents blackness in its fullness while highlighting the growth and success within the local black community here in Buffalo. Salon Talk’s one year anniversary is the celebration of black Womanhood: our life, beauty, and sexuality. 

I feel so privileged to have been apart of this celebration and look forward to listening to new episodes every Wednesday!