Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bandz A Make Her Dance: Examining Hip Hop's Strip Club Love

A throwback from 2012...

Money, cars, women, liquor, clothes, and jewelry. For many years these items have been constant themes in Hip Hop music. It’s very rare to hear a rapper not mention one of those topics in their music or not feature all of them in their videos. Some would even go so far as to say one cannot have a hit without having a song based on one of those themes.  

As Hip Hop music continues to grow, one theme has started to take precedence over the others; the strip club. The strip club is certainly not a new topic in Hip Hop, as artists have been rapping about it forever.

Within the last couple of years it seems the actual strip club itself, and all that goes along with it, is fair game in Hip Hop now. It certainly has become the go-to topic for a hit record. There are even rappers that say they make music specifically for the strip club; with lyrical content that is solely based on things that happen there. With Hip Hop being such a masculine enclave, it’s no surprise “Strip Club Culture” is taking over.

But where did Hip Hop’s fascination with the strip club come from? Luke and the 2 Live Crew might be a good start. We could even classify them as the originators of strip club music, or booty music as they called it. The crude lyrical content on their 1989 album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” created much condemnation. It even caused group members to get arrested for breaking Florida State obscenity laws. The album was deemed legally obscene and was banned from radio stations and retail stores. The controversy that surrounded this album brought awareness to the role that the First Amendment plays in Hip Hop music.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Material Girl: Temporary Fashion Tattoos

You have to excuse my tardiness of this trend and for posting this right as summer is coming to end. BUT, I love this idea. As someone who constantly goes back and forth about wanting a new tatt, 
I've often said I wish I could have a temporary one for a few weeks. Kind of like a trial run. 

Well that exactly what these fashion temporary tattoos are. Plus, their super stylish and are great accessories- and y'all know I love my accessories!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Write

"Writing is an extreme privilege but it's also a gift. It's a gift to yourself and it's a gift of giving a story to someone."- Amy Tan

My biggest pet peeve is when people are unaware of their tone of voice. Regardless of what their saying, their tone is what I always respond to. And often times it will shape how I respond to them. But the opposite holds true for my writing.

A few years back, I attended a writing class in which we always read our pieces out loud. I would listen to my classmates’ pieces and think, "Wow, these people write so beautifully. I wana write like that too." Their work was filled with these big words that I’d never heard. And their sentence structures literally made their words sing. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Starting Over At 30

When I started college I couldn’t figure out what to declare as my major. I just knew I wanted it to lead to a fun career. I didn’t want to get stuck in a job that I hated.

After taking a required public relations class I found myself interested in the field and decided to pursue it. I spent the summer after graduation applying for many PR positions only to end up not finding anything. After a three month long job hunt, I got a position at an advertising agency. Although I had no interest in the position, I accepted it for the money.

After two years on the job I was not happy and started looking for something new. No longer interested in PR, I didn’t know what to apply for.

Day after day I went to work feeling trapped and unstimulated. Feeling like I had no other options; the dislike for my job was on my mind so much that I stressed myself out and ended up in the hospital for three days. This was literally the darkest period of my life.

Read more: Here

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Could Be Wrong, But...

The older I get the more I realize that our viewpoints are shaped by things that we saw while growing up. For example: if you grew up in an area where the police were corrupt and untrustworthy, as an adult, your image of all police officers will most likely be negative. This logic can be applied to many other things, including our perceptions of people who are of a different race and culture than our own.

Now on to my point: The other night someone posted a comment online saying parents should not let their children get fingerprinted by the police. Their reasoning against this was that the child's fingerprints go into the police database. And if the child commits a crime in the future, the police can find them quicker because they already have their fingerprints.

If I ever have a child and the police are conducting fingerprinting, me and mine will be FIRST in line.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Keep Encouraging Yourself

Encouragement is all around us. It can be found in one simple word, within a lengthy conversation, or through an act of kindness. My main source of encouragement comes from seeing those around me doing well and prospering. And with constantly seeing all the different endeavors discussed and promoted on social media, there’s rarely a time when I don’t feel encouraged by the determination of others.

But every now and then there are those occasions when anger sets in. Instead of feeling that push of inspiration to keep going, I see others prospering and wonder, “How are they winning while I continue to struggle?” Then I start comparing my path to that of others.

Because I am usually encouraged by what I see, encouraging myself is something I often forget to do. I am a creature of habit. I am the type to go through the motions of knowing exactly what has to be done daily. My mindset is always, this is what I have to do so let me get it done. But sometimes going through the motions, in addition to seeing others prosper, takes a toll on me. It also causes me to lose focus of why I’m pushing so hard, and then I think about giving up. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Malika Favre

If you've been following my latest music posts you've probably noticed I'm loving the R&B artists from across the pond. Malika Favre is another person that I'm adding to that list. But instead music, Malika is an illustrator; who explains her work as being "about paring things down as much  as possible. I try and get to the essence of my subject by using as few lines and colours as it needs to convey the core idea."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I AM Photo Project

"In August 2013, a few weeks after the verdict for the murder of Trayvon Martin, I found myself reflecting on my life experiences as a black man and the conflict between who we are versus who people think we are.  A year later with the murder of Mike Brown, I find myself in the same position. Despite how we define ourselves, we are often misunderstood and misjudged.  Our identifies are too often limited by our complexions, the style of our clothes, the music we listen to, the side of the law we stand on, the mood of the cops we encounter, and the history of our struggles for citizenship in our own country.  Yes, we are black men, but before that we are human.
This photo project is a year-long effort to capture the identities of black men across the country. Through the project, I share just a snippet of how we define ourselves: fathers, sons, friends, artists, teachers, men full of passion and love… the list goes on. I ask you to see us as we see ourselves." -Tesfa

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I Have to Stay Here

"New York, New York big city of dreams."
When I first moved to NYC, almost two years ago, I had somewhat of a seamless transition (you can read about it Here). Of course I experienced challenges that everyone deals with when moving across the country, but overall I honestly felt like I'd made the right decision. I was excited for all the endless new possibilities- friends, love, and career. Having lived in California my entire life, I had no idea what NYC would be like. But I was ready, I was determined to make it.

Within my first year I'd grown so much personally and professionally. Even though I moved here with my set plans, things took a serious left turn- which actually turned out to be the RIGHT turn. But again, regardless of the setbacks and changes, NYC never broke my spirit. I was confident in my decision to move here. It was the first time in my life that I did NOT do what I was "supposed to do." I did what I wanted to do.