Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Black Artist Spotlight: Ava DuVernay

Screaming Happy Black History Month!!

I know i'm 21 days late but for the remaining days of February I will be shining a light on a successful Black man or woman with careers in either; music, tv/film, art, fashion, etc...basically anything in the Arts!

My first spotlight shines on Ms. Ava DuVernay.

If you've ever wondered who the writer and producer behind OWN's Queen Sugar is look no's Ava DuVernay. The director and producer behind Selma? Ava DuVernay. Director of one of Netflix's most talked about documentaries, 13th? Who but the genius that is Ms. Ava DuVernay. 

Selma (2014) Directed by Ava DuVernay

In 2012 Ava DuVernay became the first Black woman to win the best director prize at Sundance Film Festival! She has also won awards for her work such as; the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for her 2013 film Middle of Nowhere, Critics Choice Documentary Award for Best Director, BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, NAACP Image Award Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series for Queen Sugar, NAACP Image Award for  Entertainer of the Year, and not one, not two but FOUR EMMYs for 13th. DuVernay is also the first African-American woman to direct a film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. 

Before the history she's made, Ava DuVernay worked as a publicist and marketer for 14 years. She serviced many notable films such as; I, Robot, Beauty Shop, Waist Deep, and Dream Girls. DuVernay has had huge success and she is showing no signs of slowing down. For her new film A Wrinkle In Time (releases March 9th) iconic singer, Sade will be releasing her first song in 8 years! Not only that, but she is making history AGAIN as the first Black woman director to have a $100 Million dollar budget for a film. Ava continues to set the bar and serve as an inspiration to every girl around the World (including this girl right here). 

Ava DuVernay's emotional speech at the ESSENCE Woke Awards.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Best Dressed: Grammys Red Carpet 2018

The 2018 Grammy red carpet was full of style and glamour, and not just the women but the men too...
I picked my top 5 best dressed ladies as well as my top 5 best dressed gentlemen.

I made some hard decisions but here my final choices for best dressed at this years Grammy red carpet. 

My top 5 Ladies...

1. SZA

Wearing Atelier Versace.

2. Janelle Monae
Wearing Dolce & Gabbana.

3. Ashanti
Wearing Yas Couture.

4. Lady Gaga 
Wearing Armani. 

5. Bebe Rexha 
Wearing La Perla.

Top 5 Gents...

1. Big Sean
Wearing Salvatore Ferragamo.

2. DJ Khaled and Assad 

3. Fabulous 
Wearing Billionaire New York.

4. Childish Gambino 
Wearing Ermenegildo Zegna Couture.

5. Rick Ross

Sunday, December 31, 2017


There's a new wave of R&B on the rise. 

These singers and song writers are on the come up, and they're bringing something you've never heard before.

This is R&B’s new wave. 

2017 has been SZA's year. With her debut album Ctrl being recently named the top album of the year by Time Magazine she’s been taking nothing but wins. Album of the year is exactly the title it deserves being crazy relatable. When Ctrl was released in June of this year it was like therapy for me. It's no surprise it is certified gold with platinum hit songs such as “Love Galore” featuring Travis Scott and “The Weekend”. SZA’s been around for awhile being signed to TDE back in 2013 but now, thanks to the masterpiece that is Ctrl she’s getting the recognition she deserves.  

Although SZA is on top this year she isn't the only one being recognized mainstream with a debut album. Daniel Caesar also released his debut album this year, Freudian. The 10 track album has been Grammy nominated for Best R&B Album of the Year. His most popular track “Get You” featuring Kali Uchis was released last year via Soundcloud and was the first time I heard Caesar’s melodic voice. He was named one of Apple's 'Up Next' artists. With classics like “Get You” and “Best Part” featuring H.E.R., Freudian has heads turned towards Daniel Caesar

Here’s his performance on The Late Late Show With James Corden of “Get You” along with another popular song on his album “We Find Love”. 

If you listen to Tyler, The Creator you’ve heard Kali Uchis, a soft bluesy voice, on songs like "Perfect" and most recently on his latest album “Flower Boy”. You might've heard, “Loner” which was on her debut EP Por Vida, her single “Only Girl” featuring Steve Lacy and Vince Staples, or a recent single “Tyrant” featuring Jorja Smith. I didn't know if I wanted to put Uchis in the category of R&B because of her diverse sound. Not only is she R&B and Soul with a fusion of Funk and Pop but Latin as well. But, what I do I know is 2018 Kali Uchis is going to make a come up.

Jorja Smith’s the main attraction of Drake’s More Life with her feature on “Get It Together” and an interlude in her name “Jorja Interlude”. It was just last year that the British singer introduced herself into the music scene with a debut song called, “Blue Lights” and her debut EP, Project 11. Since then she's released trendy singles like, "Teenage Fantasy" and "On My Mind". If someone of Drake’s caliber having found her talent reputable isn't enough, Smith won Brits 2018 Critics Choice Award. She’s just getting started but Jorja Smith is already building a resume higher up than most. 

Jorja Smith music video "On My Mind"

Her vocals went viral on Twitter just a couple years ago, you’ve probably heard the soulful melody “Confidently Lost” from her debut EP, Confidently Lost.  In October, Sabrina Claudio released her second  EP titled About Time which peaked number 10 on the Billboard charts. The EP, includes popular songs like “Belong To You” and “Unravel Me”. If I could describe Sabrina Claudio’s music I would describe it as going on a ride on a water fall...if that makes any sense at all. Basically, what I'm saying is her voice flows like water so pure and gentle. Claudio was named Apple Music's 'Up Next' artist and in her interview with Ebro Darden on Beats 1 Radio he described her sound as timeless and I would agree.

Sabrina Claudio and Ebro Darden Beats 1 Interview.

[“You see money all around me I look like i’m the man…”
 I’m sure you can hear “Crew” by Goldlink playing in your head. Brent Faiyaz’s hook is what has made “Crew” to me, a certified classic. When I came across his debut album Sonder Son I honestly wasn't expecting what I heard. I thought I was listening to 90s R&B, his sound is nostalgic. Faiyaz's lyrics about struggle, love, and self are raw and real. His voice is something that's been missing from R&B for a while. 

With a hidden identity, H.E.R is a mystery songstress with big curly hair. We only saw her figure against the blue and orange backdrops which are the cover of her EPs; H.E.R. Vol. 1, H.E.R. Vol. 2, H.E.R., and H.E.R. Vol. 2 - The B Sides. H.E.R. is an acronym for "Having Everything Revealed" and ironic  enough she has been revealed as singer song-writer Gabi Wilson. Although, Gabi Wilson has been in the music industry from 10 years old, she wanted to change up her image to having no image and making it solely about the music. H.E.R.'s songs like "Focus", "Every Kind Of Way", and "Losing" show us exactly how it should be just about the sound and her sound is undeniable. 

All of these artists have a unique sound to bring to the R&B table. I can't wait to hear what they're bringing 2018. 

Listen to them here: R&Bs New Wave - Playlist 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Grammy's 2017: Best Looks

Sunday night our eyes and ears were blessed by talents like Queen Bey, Adele, Chance the Rapper, Tribe Called Quest, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, and more...

Powerful messages were the highlight of the 2017 Grammy's. Beyonce, the expecting mother of twins, gave us Goddess Oshun and Virgin Mary vibes in her all gold gown and head pieces. Holograms of Beyonce dancing elegantly, pregnant belly exposed appeared on stage while Beyonce's voice projected spoken word.  Holograms of black women surrounding Beyonce in shades of purple, orange, and brown while Bey in yellow also appeared. The color yellow shined bright being a staple at the begginning of this brilliant African culture inspired performance. After a powerful beginning, Beyonce kept us on our toes (when she leaned back in the chair, woah!), singing "Love Drought" and "Sand Castles" from her highly accredited album, Lemonade

A hologram of Beyonce's mother, Tina Knowles and daughter, Blue Ivy during her Grammy performance. 

Other powerful performances include A Tribe Called Quest with Busta Rhymes and Anderson Paak, they brought up people from all religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds during "We the People" from their 2016 album, We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service and Chance the Rapper who brought the Church to the Grammys with Gospel artists, Tamela Mann and Kirk Franklin. Chance also took home 3 grammy's that night, one for best new artist!

A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson Paak., and Busta Rhymes during their Grammy performance.

Chance the Rapper during his Grammy performance.

Here are my best dressed picks from this years' Grammy's:

1. Beyonce 

Wearing: Peter Dundas

2. Demi Lovato 

Wearing: Julien MacDonald 

3. Alicia Keys

4. J Lo

Wearing: Ralph and Russo

5. Beyonce...Again

Wearing: Peter Dundas 

6. Remy Ma

Wearing: Karen Sabag

7. Camila Cabello 

Wearing: Miri Couture 

8. Sophie Beem

Wearing: Jean Louis Sabaji 

9. Solange 

Wearing: Gucci

10. Kelsea Ballerini 

Wearing: Ines Di Santo

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Seat at the Table x Solange [Album Review]

This album is GOLD.
It is black, it is us. Like track 13, "F.U.B.U." which if you've never heard of FUBU the clothing brand it stands for "for us, by us". That's exactly what Solange Knowles 3rd studio album is all Us, that live in a country, a world that does everything in its power to keep us down. Us, who get gunned down by police without questions asked. Us, because we're told we aren't good enough.

It's clear that Solange has found her voice. Her soft melodies hold power and range. She Rises in the first track which is the perfect lead for the rest of the album. Rise is about staying true to oneself good or bad. In her interview with The Fader Solange describes A Seat at the Table as a "personal journey".

Solange's third album is accompanied by vocals from artists like Raphael Saadiq, Tweet, and The-Dream. Tracks like Weary (which gives me chills, features amazing vocals from Tweet) and Cranes in the Sky are thought provoking and emotional. As a black american and as a black woman I can relate to songs like Mad and Don't Touch My Hair (featuring Sampha). Seriously, I don't want you touching my hair, it makes me mad, i'm allowed to be mad about that! Of course there's more depth to it than that but that is what makes this album GOLD. Solange took the surface of not wanting our hair to be touched by curious white folks to defining what that exactly means to us. I don't want you touching my hair because it's a part of me that is shunned by YOU, I don't touch yours because it's not seen as different or exotic.
White people continuously try to tell us why we shouldn't be mad or that we have no reason to be because there's nothing to be mad about. "I ran into this girl, I said 'I'm tired of explaining", man this shit is draining, I'm not really allowed to be mad",  this is true, we are tired of explaining why we are mad.
Interludes help tie it all together with commentary from Master P and Solange's parents; Matthew Knowles and Tina Knowles.
"None of us are perfect. We live in an imperfect world 
You know only God can judge me, that's how I look at it.
...You know we're putting people on a pedestal that's human just like us. 
You know, I mean, they got more drugs in the rich neighborhoods than they got in the hood. 
A lot of their kids are dying from a overdose and things like that, think about it. Black kids have to figure it out! We don't have rehabs to go to. You gotta rehab yourself. But for us, you can't pull the plug on us and tell us it's over. Not me!" - Interlude: Pedestals, Master P 

When listening to ASATT I can feel the anger, the sadness, the passion, the rejoice, I can feel her journey, my journey, and the journey of black America.

Solange's recent SNL performance of Cranes in the Sky:

She also performed Don't Touch My Hair which I couldn't find on Youtube but here's the music video!

Let's talk about that visual! It's powerful, it's art, it's brilliant. Directed by Husband Alan Ferguson and Solange herself, the visuals for both Don't Touch My Hair and Cranes in the Sky are as thought provoking as the music.

Track list:
1. Rise
2. Weary
3. Interlude: The Glory is in You
4. Cranes in the Sky
5. Interlude: Dad Was Mad
6. Mad
7. Don't You Wait
8. Interlude: Tina Taught Me
9. Don't Touch My Hair
10. Interlude: This Moment
11. Where Do We Go
12. Interlude: For Us By Us
13. F.U.B.U
14. Borderline (An Ode to Self Care)
15. Interlude: I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It
16. Junie
17. Interlude: No Limits
18. Don't Wish Me Well
19. Interlude: Pedestals
20. Scales
21. Closing: The Chosen Ones

You can also see the BTS of the making of ASATT:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Raining Purple Forever

April 21, 2016 we lost a musical genius, a legend, Prince.

Prince was one of a kind, there's nobody like him and there never will be. Not only was an iconic figure in music but his style was unmatched. 

With his sequins, glitter, and high heel shoes Prince made history. Androgyny was a trend in the time the late Prince was gaining fame but like his voice, his style was uniquely his own. 

In honor of Prince here's some of his great fashion moments:

You were a King, Prince. Gone but will not be forgotten. Rest in Peace. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

GOOD Music: Chasing Lovely


2 sisters from Minneapolis, Minnesota traveled to Nashville, TN to pursue their singing career.

One with ginger hair and business savvy; the other with dark hair and wit. Both with their own unique voices and musical talent.

With guitars in hand, Taylor and Chloe Turner A.K.A Chasing Lovely sang with soul for students of Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, IA. Being that I am in Bridges to Harmony Gospel choir at Roosevelt I got to witness the duo. They performed specifically for our choir and blew everyone away. It's something special to see true talent take place and as intimate as it was.

They started with their song, "Kiss Me", their catchy and intriguing approach to a guy, telling him straight up "kiss me" or else.  The single is featured on their "Unbridled" EP released this year and is available for pre-order on iTunes. Taylor who is the older sister and writes most of their songs got inspiration from the dramatic movie scenes when writing the chorus "kiss me like they do in the movies, take your last breath all you have left surrender it to me".

The sister duo have been touring all around the country, typically performing at concerts people host in their homes. What I find most inspiring about Chasing Lovely is that their tour vehicle isn't a tour bus but their own car. They perform and make music regardless of circumstances because it's what they love to do and they're happy doing it. If that isn't inspiring then I don't know what is.

After the Q&A took place it was asked of the duo to perform a second song at which all of the choir agreed. They sang another song from their EP, "When My Heart Says Goodbye". I recorded the performance but sadly it wouldn't upload on here. The Turner sisters were entertaining, vibrant, and bold.

You can visit Chasing Lovely's website to hear their EP and more!
Be sure to follow them on social media: