“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.

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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! 

‘Along The Edges’: An Artistic Wonderment of Black Femme Imagination 

Along Allen Street in a quant buffalo art space called Pine Apple co. is featuring the art instillation ‘Along The Edges’ by Obsidian Bellis, a local black femme artist currently on raise. 


“‘Along The Edges’ is predominantly inspired by the emotional labor of black femmes through adversity expressed with elements of mysticism and nature.” -Best described by the artist herself Obsidian. 


Obsidian’s artistic style can be described as a mixture of mythical creatures with strong influences of black Afro- American culture. Obsidian also highlighted that her work is inspired by thriftier trinkets and items she would see at her grandmothers house .


On August 4th, opening night of this exhibition, Obsidian featured the talents of Curtis Lovell vocal accompaniment to Ebony’s Burlesque performance that embodied all the elements of Obsidian’s pieces. Curtis Lovell’s original songs vocalized the imagination and Ebony’s hypnotic movements brought the fantasy of the night alive. 


The collision of still , dance, and vocal art entranced the audience to a silence, stopped and brought people in off the street to witness this magical performance. The celebration of black femmes creativity created a warm radiating energy that consumed the artists as well as everyone in that space. 

All the pieces featured and what remains , are currently up, but won’t be for long! 
‘Along the Edges’ instillation ends on August 27th! 
Stop in for the last weekend to experience the fleeting moments of this black girl magic instillation! 

Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival Review 

The inaugural Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival kicked off its event with an amazing blues performance by Zuri Appleby, best known for playing with Nick Jonas as his bassist and closed with the anticipated performance of Venzella Joy, best known for playing with Beyoncé as her drummer. These famous Buffalo natives performances got the crowds excited and secured the heightened energy throughout the Festival. 

Beau Fleuve was held at the Buffalo Riverworks, a new and unique venue for an festival that was quiet the same.Upon entrance to the venue, there was a restaurant and bar with a large open space that would be used as an Exhibit Room featuring art exhibits, fashion art, speaker series and vendors. 

Along the back wall there was an entry way down to an arena that offered space to two main stages ,the river stage, more vendors and a stair case that lead to the silent disco located on a stage above the middle of the two main stages. 

On these three stages every art form imaginable was on display: all genres of music from country,Hip Hop, R&B, Neo Soul, Jazz, Indie and more, dance, spoken word, and live performances by painters & barbers. 

Amidst all this talent performers often found themselves competing with each other for space to be heard by their audiences. The amount of talent showcased at this event was astonishing and at time confusing.

 From the festival goers I had the pleasure of speaking with they all wished there was an event program given upon entry detailing the time/location of each performance to ensure they didn’t miss certain sets, but were also optimistic that by next year’s festival these minors kinks would be worked out.

Some of the highlights of the night were the Neo -Soul performances from Drea D’Nor and Lindsay Niccs that drew some of the largest crowds. We Stole the Show and The Pit Dance Crew raised the energy of the crowd as they interacted with festival goers within their sets. But above all, it can be agreed upon that the Silent disco was a definite favorite. 

Upon arrival to the silent disco stage each person is given special headphones that can switch from the three different dj’s mixing on the stage in front of them, these headphones would light up the color of whatever station they were currently listening to. The liveliest time of this was during Truey V’s set where crowds swarmed in circles dancing out to current and classic popular music as well as tunes from Buffalo’s own underground scene.


My personal favorites of the festival were the youth performances, the food, and the overall vibe of the festival. 

The multitalented set performed by the students from Buffalo Center of Arts and Technology was both beautiful and refreshing to see the amount of talent these youth possessed, what they were capable of when given creative freedom and a platform to showcase it. The indoor restaurant offered a delicious twist to the traditional Buffalo Chicken Wings with their Duck Wings rendition, which is meatier than their fellow feathered friends but with all the great flavors of a buffalo wing ! 

Festival goers were all in high spirits and friendly creating a welcoming family friendly environment. There was a strong sense of community among the artist that were mostly all Buffalo natives, their support of each other’s crafts extended beyond their performances, but also to their growth and accomplishments. 

I can go on about the wonderful experience I had at this Festival, it was truly a unique celebration. A celebration of a new Buffalo were artists are given not just space to showcase their craft and perform but a community that fully supports them.  

I look forward to attending next year’s festival and hopefully seeing the work of many other artists from the Buffalo & Western New York area. 

BuffaLowe Wants to Know: Where the Haters At? [Opinion Piece]

trump-inauguration-crowd  

  In order for a candidate to become president they must have an overwhelming support of the citizens, right? They would at least need more people who want to see them in power than those who would rather they fail. I mean… isn’t that the whole reason why we’re urged to vote? Told our voices matter and all the other propaganda? The 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama (yes, girl I said President present tense because he’s still my President FOH) had an attendance record of more than 1.8 million according to CNN politics.

    So where are all the self-hating bigots who voted for Captain Cheezit? They have no problem sitting behind a camera and spewing messages of hate, or even attacking defenseless POC for no justifiable reason, but very few showed up to support the man THEY deemed fit to be in power. When listening to Trump’s inauguration speech the reason becomes a bit clearer. At least to me. His speech was littered with the uses of ‘i’ and ‘me’ as opposed to ‘us’ and ‘we’. ‘I can fix these problems’ and ‘I am the answer’.

    So maybe Trump’s followers didn’t show because their lazy asses felt their task was done. They screamed hate to the heavens and their Gods have responded. So all that’s left for them to do is sit back and let havoc wreck itself. Even so, We the People should see this as an opening. Our support of love is far greater than their message of hate. The power rests in our hands and it’s up to us to use it to rectify the problems that have plagued America since it’s founding. Let’s make it right one step at a time! This is our call to action.

    In the mean time in-between time, check out this article with more photos showing the recent inauguration’s lack of attendees.

Flagrant City Spotlight: Convos w/ Friends by Produced By Girls [SHORT FILM]

cwf

Nowadays it seems more and more people are discovering they suffer from depression. Though it may seem common, it doesn’t make the condition any easier to deal with and power through. Creatives, innovators and visionaries always seem to be victims of depression, and most use the void as a means of inspiration. This is precisely what Elyse Fox has done in her short film entitled ‘Convos with Friends’. In the film, Fox shows how friendship, music, and travel aide her in fighting her demons so she can continue to bring necessary art to her viewers.

You can watch the short film below.

Conversations with Friends. from Elyse Fox on Vimeo.

And read a few words from the creator herself below:

“New year, cooler tings! Thank you all for viewing/sharing #ConvosWithFriends. We’re so excited about the conversation the film has ignited. With the release of the film many amazing women have been reaching out for advice/answers regarding life, womanhood, depression (etc) We want to create a place where we can discuss freely and anonymously. PBG presents ‘Sad Girls Club’ email sgc@producedbygirls.com to chat with us XO<3″

Don’t forget to follow her on IG

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