new york

philanthropy in action: why you should support open space

we all have the responsibility to give back to our communities and support causes we find valuable.  there aren’t nearly enough spaces aimed at connecting and cultivating artists of color, so when i saw folasade adeoso’s instagram post seeking support for her newest venture, open space, i jumped at the opportunity.

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test shots by rog & bee walker

remember when solange knowles’s wedding pictures broke the internet? well, those epic images were credited to new york-based photographer rog walker.  he and his wife bee ( bottom left) captured some of new york’s most creative beings in their “test shot” series.

 

check out rog’s visual biography on rogwalker.com.

photo credit: rog walker

game changer: hood by air

hood by air is not just a fashion label.  it’s a movement. this counter cultural artistic expression fearlessly emerged among new york’s most marginalized.  the tribe’s gender-bending street style is leading a call to break down the barriers between high and low fashion as well as calling forth a more androgynous aesthetic.  created by 26-year old shayne oliver, hood by air is closely linked to the ghe20 g0thik scene and has celebrity fans such as rihanna, kanye west and a$ap rocky.  the latest collection will be presented today at new york fashion week and will explore freud’s id, ego and superego.  heady stuff, definitely not for those who fail to see fashion as an art form.

 

a subtlety up close

DSC_0124

DSC_0131 1 when you walk in the smell hits you. the air seems thick with sugar, and i had an urge to stick my tongue out to taste the invisible molecules. then i turned the corner and laid eyes on something magnificent. with the sun beaming down on her face, kara walker’s sculpture of an enslaved african woman almost brought me to tears.  wearing a scarf on her head while posed like a sphinx with large breasts and a round behind, the woman represents both caretaker and the overly sexualized black woman.  by using something sweet to represent the tortured lives of slaves working on sugar plantations, the artist puts us at the epicenter of an american paradox.

DSC_0153 DSC_0174 sugar triggers serotonin in the brain — the sweet substance is like a drug that can give people a physical high.  however, instead of experiencing bliss, slaves lost their limbs and lives to feed the american sugar economy. DSC_0211

solange knowles opens up to harper’s bazaar

hbz-april-2014-solange-knowles-smone of the many reasons i love solange is her effervescent-i-don’t-give-a-eff attitude that exudes a realness you don’t get from most celebrities. this is most certainly not what’s expected when your last name ends with “knowles.” in an interview with harper’s bazaar solange was as open as ever as she talks about her teenage pregnancy, marriage and divorce by age 21.

“in a lot of ways, emotionally and mentally, i feel far older than 27… just going through a marriage and a divorce—which i essentially did by 21—will give you an insane amount of perspective on life.”

recently relocated to new orleans, the musician, record label owner and art director for puma is trying to de-clutter her life while she finishes her forthcoming album.   i’m amazed by how place has had what appears to be a profound affect on her trajectory.  in a previous interview with NPR, solange talks about being influenced by cash money records artists and chopped and screwed music while growing up in houston, texas. fast forward 10 plus years and harper’s bazaar captures her evolution into a tastemaker while submersed into brooklyn’s artist scene.  thanks solange for the reminder about the role culture and locale can play in igniting personal growth.   

solange 3 solange 4images by julia noni for harper’s bazaar

that time spike lee went OFF about gentrification

spike-lee1during an event at brooklyn’s pratt institute, spike lee compares gentrification in new york to european colonization — some may call this an exaggeration, but similarities definitely exist.  i totally agree with his call for respect by white people moving into a previously all-black or latino neighborhood.  a community’s culture and traditions shouldn’t change because the dominant group comes to town.