Favorite Podcasts 2017

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At some point in 2016 podcasts completely took over my life and became a huge part of my self-care routine. Some people schedule their lives around football season; but for me it’s these podcasts below. They each provide something unique. Whether it’s a laugh, a book recommendation or some real life motivation –I’m pretty FULL from these podcasts below. Below are my ten favorite podcasts that I currently listen to.

  1. Princess Nokia Smart Girl Club – listen if you’re an “excellent bitch
  2. #Girlboss Radio – listen if you are a girl boss or female entrepreneur
  3. Jade & X.D. – listen if you like “The Read” but drink wine and possibly have children
  4. The Brilliant Idiots – listen if you like Charlemagne and want to hear him discuss race and life with Andrew Schulz
  5. E The Hip Hop Preacher – listen if you need some inspiration
  6. Melanin Millenials – listen if you are interested in the U.K. and a millenial professional
  7. Another Round – listen if you’re an awkward black girl who likes to laugh
  8. Black Girl Nerds – listen if you are an awkward black girl
  9. The Read – listen if you are a Bey hive member and love pop culture
  10. The Friend Zone – listen if you don’t want a musty brain and essential oils are on your wish list

What are your favorites? Share them below.

xo So

 

Solange at Yale- “Everybody Still Wants to Fly”


Last night eager and cold fans lined up outside of the Levinson Auditorium of Yale Law School in New Haven to see Solange speak with Professor Daphne Brooks in a keynote discussion titled “Everybody Still Wants to Fly”: Activism in Pop from Prince to Solange. The event was free and open to the public but sold out with a sold out wait list.

The event opened with a round table discussion on Prince and David Bowie. The discussion included musicians and scholars: Alan Light, author of Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain; Kandia Crazy Horse, author of Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock ‘n Roll and was moderated by Sherae Rimpsey, Lecturer in Liberal Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

I had no idea David Bowie was so woke! Prof. Brooks discussed how Bowie was a full-time activist. We watched his infamous interview with Mark Goodman. The conversation shifted to Prince. They showed exclusive Prince performance clips including Housequake, It’s Gonna be a Beautiful Night and If I was Your Girlfriend. As a millennial I only knew Prince’s major hits but I hadn’t experienced the splendor of his live performances. I now have a newfound appreciation of the complexities of his work. Both of these artists were before my time, but I realize I have some catching up to do.

Solange began speaking around 10:30pm and the late night was worth it.  I absolutely loved Solange’s album “A Seat at the Table” (my review here) For black women, and men, it was like a diary written by someone else who just knows what the collective conscious is feeling. Touching on mental health and self-care in a way that isn’t usually discussed in R&B. If you’d like to hear the entire audio stream of Daphne Brooks and Solange, click here.

For 90 minutes Solange spoke graciously and candidly about her experience creating the record. She mentioned that she is even a little uncomfortable performing it because it is so personal. She worries how it is going to translate as a live performance. Well, if her performance on the Tonight Show is any indication I say it translates perfectly. She mentions she inserts pauses as to say “do you see me?” She understands this record is a private experience for many listeners. Enjoying it in the company of others is a different experience. I prefer to listen to it alone like I am reading my diary, because that is what it feels like. She mentioned that many other people feel that way, but that doesn’t prevent her from finding ways to connect to her audience through live performances. She is currently working on her tour for A Seat.

She spoke about her artistic journey. Her first two albums didn’t really represent her. She wanted to make a Sade-esque album at the age of 15 and the labels laughed at her, the audience laughed too. So she experimented with different styles until she realized that she had to create her own lane. Create her own space. She wanted this album to speak to black women and weave a thread of connectivity. And she succeeded.

Prof. Brooks posed the question “Do you think your music is protest music?” the answer was yes. When I think of protest music I think of Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit” and Nina Simone “Mississippi Goddam” Protest music is also “Mad” and “Don’t Touch My Hair.”She is defying expectations about what black women can sing about. She said, and I quote

“Why do our songs always have to be about a nigga?”

That got many snaps from the audience. Nothing against love songs, because love is awesome. But why is it that women sing primarily about love and men? There are so many other noteworthy topics. I think about the conversations I have with friends and not many of them are about romance. At least not the way the radio portrays. Why doesn’t our music represent more of who we really are?

Overall it was an inspiring and eye opening evening of pop culture analysis. As a music lover it was amazing to be around intellectuals who are fully immersed in the study of music and pop culture. Daphne Brooks organized an outstanding program with interesting dialogue surrounding black art and theater. It made me miss being a student. It also got me thinking about how I can create my own space within m Solange was a gracious guest speaker who was visibly humbled by the crowd’s outpouring love for her. Is it possible to love her even more?

xo So

Life Outside the Comfort Zone

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They say that life happens outside of your comfort zone. As an introvert my entire life is outside of my comfort zone! Stepping outside of my comfort zone doesn’t mean I’m not an introvert anymore, it just means that I work with it. Stepping outside of my comfort zone took me to New York Fashion Week, modeling gigs, and launching this blog. I’ve become comfortable with being uncomfortable. But let’s not get it twisted –I could go on a solo trip or sit in bed reading alone any day. Social interactions drain me and I don’t like small talk. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy myself at parties. It just looks different for me. I have a great time chatting with a few people in small clusters, yet I have no desire to be the center of attention. I am not afraid to speak my mind –I just don’t have to speak to everyone. Because I observe and think about what I say before I speak, people listen more when I speak up. Did I tell you I despise small talk? Continue reading “Life Outside the Comfort Zone”

Is it in the Stars?

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As a self proclaimed astrology enthusiast, I come across many people who say that they don’t believe in astrology. Perhaps because they don’t feel represented by their sun sign. Mainstream media focuses a lot on the sun sign, so it is easy to feel that one sign doesn’t aptly describe you. You are, after all, a  complex and beautiful creature who can’t be pigeonholed into one set of characteristics. Your sun sign is just one aspect of astrology.  For example, I am a Gemini sun. The general population seems to agree that Gemini’s are loud and crazy. I don’t blame them– some notorious Gemini’s are Donald Trump, Kanye West and Azealia Banks. On the contrary, anyone who knows me knows that these characters are vastly different than me. There are some aspects of Gemini that resonate with me, however. Geminis are said to be adventurous, quick-witted, interested in communication and (I hate to admit it but…) fickle and indecisive.

Your Sun sign describes your basic ego, your Moon sign describes your emotional inner self, and your Ascendant describes the facade you show the rest of the world.
(from SelfGrowth.com)

Most people probably see me as my Ascendant, or rising sign –Pisces (generous, compassionate caring) Close friends know the Capricorn side of me because I do have Type A tendencies. If you don’t look further into astrology you might resign to the fact that astrology is b.s. Try something first before you do that –look further. If you know the date, time and location of your birth, you can calculate your entire natal chart. Cafe Astrology has one of the most comprehensive and digestible guides. Click here  If you do not know the exact time of your birth take a stab at it.

When I first read my birth chart I was astounded by how accurate it was. Everything from my money spending habits to my job preferences to my relationship with my family. It’s very detailed.

Astrologer Danielle Ayoka, also known as @MysticxLipstick provides modern and witty astrological musings on twitter. Answering questions like… “What sign is Miranda Priestly from Devil Wears Prada?” Her answer? Capricorn or Gemini. 😂 If you haven’t yet –follow her on twitter. You will certainly be equipped and entertained.

I’m interested in astrology as a means of understanding the behavior patterns of people. What drives them? What do they value? What’s their perspective? I want to learn more about myself as well. Thanks to the internet there’s a wealth of knowledge on astrology.  I encourage you to find your natal chart done and share your findings.

 

xo S0

Realize Abundance

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2017 –
Intention: realize ABUNDANCE

We’re three days in, but it is still the beginning. New Years is one of my favorite holidays. There’s something magical about champagne and sequins and everyone staying up into the wee hours. It’s inspiring to see everyone re-committing to their goals. Instead of making a list of things that I want to do, I have a list of things I want to stop doing.

-Stop letting shame and guilt guide my actions – inspired by shamelessmaya

-Stop drinking alcohol (for 31 days) a reset and detox

-Stop procrastinating – you think you have time, but you do not!

-Stop comparing myself to others – you don’t know their struggle

-Stop being fearful and playing small – toot your horn and back it up

-Stop holding onto things – tangible and intangible

-Stop using my phone while driving – safety first

I wanna know, what do you want to stop doing in 2017? Feel free to share this post on your favorite social media platform.

xo So

All my Negus in the Whole Wide World

 

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@negusproject
It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’m scrolling through my IG feed looking for funny memes and interesting photos from friends. I come across a mysteriously striking black and white photo of beautiful reverential black people. I had to learn more. Turns out this photo, featured above, was part of a larger series called “Negus”
The Negus exhibition took place on October 27 at the Grove, Downtown New Haven. The creators purposely offered very few details about what exactly “Negus” was, in hopes that they would attract their tribe with the visuals. The creators are even reluctant to call it a “show.” The artists responsible were Ike Abakah, Angel Dahfay and Jeremy Grier.
When guests entered The Grove they were instructed to take a note-card from a wall. the notecards featured the names of black people murdered by the police. With that notecard guests entered a vintage elevator and posted their notecard along side the others while posing for a photo. This set a reverential tone for the evening.
 
In the gallery room the DJ was playing songs from Solange “A Seat” and cuts from the Internet. The room was filled with photographs from the project.Guests mingled in anticipation of what to come next. About 20 models enter the room, dressed coolly and creatively. They each introduce themselves and state their cultural background. The focus was on the unique aspects of blackness. There was brief dialogue about the N- word.
Negus: a ruler, supreme ruler, of Ethiopia (Origin)
from Amharic n’gus ‘king.’ Shamelessly, I was first introduced to the word in 2015, when hearing Kendrick Lamar use the word as a replacement of the word, nigger/a. There has been many discussion focused on the correct usage of the word; for me I am glad that people are having the conversation. This is a start and I do believe there should be room for people to define the word as they see fit with respects to its origins.
-Jeremy Grier
The artists are currently working on a print publication focusing on unique experiences of people of the black diaspora. Head over to @negusproject to stay updated on the upcoming publication scheduled to release Spring 2017.

Election Fatigue 2016

 

politically-pissed-1President Barack Obama has roughly 70 more days left of his presidency. He will go down in history as one of the greatest American presidents. According to the New York Times life got better under Obama. Barack Obama was the first candidate I voted for as a 19 year old college student. My generation, many of us first-time voters, was galvanized by his policy, demeanor, promise for change. He delivered on those promises, despite a stubborn congress.

How do we go from this leadership to a president-elect who is endorsed by Neo Nazi’s and the Ku Klux Klan?  America has always been racist but this right here is downright shameful. Not only is he a bigot but he’s unqualified. Many of us are trying to wrap our heads around what is occurring in this country. What will this change look like? So far we know that the Affordable Care Act will be reversed in due time. Looking forward with our president elect I am not sure how the future will look. I am weary and I feel like I am mourning. Continue reading “Election Fatigue 2016”

A Seat at the Table

 

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A seat at the table. What does that mean? It draws me back to the old saying “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” Speaking to the idea that if you are not invited to the party, you are less than, therefore prey to your more powerful counterparts. But if you get an invitation there is a leveling, being higher on the social ladder. There are many reasons one may not be invited to the party. Perhaps there’s the assumption that your contributions have not been enough. Or that you do not have anything in common with those at the dinner table –they feel that you do not measure up. For whatever reasons you are not invited, those are the reasons you become their prey.  Solange’s “A Seat at the Table” is an album that explores those feelings of inadequacy and proves why we should pull up a seat at the table. Continue reading “A Seat at the Table”

My First Country

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“My mother was my first country, the first place I ever lived.”

Nayyirah Waheed


Patricia Haley Paige was born 1955 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My dad is a professional photographer, so naturally mom was often the subject of his photos. This photo was taken months before she made her transition.

Today, October 3 is a marked day for me. Four years ago today is the day that my mother made her transition to an eternal life with God. This post is personal, but I have an urge to share it. Because what I’ve gone through is not uncommon –it has happened or will happen to most people. My mom passed away when I was 23 years old. Not a child, but not fully an adult. I knew the moment it happened my life would never be the same. And it hasn’t. Continue reading “My First Country”

Afro Punk Brooklyn ’16


This past Sunday I attended the annual Afro Punk festival at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, NY. It was inspirational, intriguing and spiritual.

The Afro punk movement started in 2003 when Matthew Morgan produced a documentary highlighting black punks in America.

AFROPUNK has evolved into a touchstone of a cultural movement strongly reminiscent of the early days of Hip-Hop. Alternative urban kids across the across the globe who felt like outsiders discovered they were actually the core of a boldly innovative, fast-growing community. (source)

I couldn’t have said it better. Afro punk is the alternative black experience. And it can’t be contained in a stereotype. Everything from the festival goers the lineup and the food was diverse. Afro Punk is the best music festival in America – I might be biased.  Continue reading “Afro Punk Brooklyn ’16”