Tag Archives: Politics

Chance the Rapper will be honored with the BET Humanitarian Award

Muhammad Ali, Alicia Keys, and Dwayne Wade are just a few of the celebrities who have received the BET Humanitarian Award. Now, 24 year old Chicago artist, Chance the Rapper will be added to this list of artist who have used their platform to bring change within the black community.

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Chance has been very adamant about helping out the city he was raised in. In March, he donated a million dollars to Chicago public schools and then raised 2 million dollars for the schools in the following months. Back in November, Chance led thousands of people to the polls to cast their vote, he frequently helps with solutions for violence in Chicago and he even started his own non-profit for the youth entitled SocialWorks. He’s shown that he’s more than a photo-op and is very deserving of this prestigious award.

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BET also announced that New Edition will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards are set to air on Sunday, 25 June.

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17 Films and Series to Watch in Honor of Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, check out my list of films and television series celebrating and exploring black life throughout history including captivating documentaries, quality biopics, and recent theatrical releases. Remember to celebrate Black History beyond these short 28 days!

 

I am not your Negro (2017)

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The potent words of writer, activist, and playwright James Baldwin on race still rings true decades later. This 2017 documentary, directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, explores race throughout the years and visualizes Baldwin’s words about close friends, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers. Look for this film in your local theaters or local art house.

African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr (2013)

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Follow scholar, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he ventures back in time to discuss the history of African-Americans from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Civil Rights era to the Nations first black president.

Black in Latin America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2011)

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Henry Louis Gates Jr. travels south to explore the largely hidden history of black Latin Americans. Through interviews and discussions in countries, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and Peru, Gates tackles issues of race, colorism, and the slave trade that still affects the black community in the present.

Paris is Burning (1990)

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The birthplace of, “throwing shade” and O-P-U-L-E-N-C-E. Paris is Burning is an early look at the underground LGBT scene centered on fashion, sex appeal, and voguing. Created by people of color, this film delves into the energetic scene and how class, family, and illness affected young gay people of color in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Hidden Figures (2016)

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This blockbuster hit was deserving of its $100 million earnings at the box office. The film tells the seldom heard story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, the three black women who were the brains and strength behind the US sending a man to space.

The New Edition Story (2017)

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BET and the creators of The New Edition Story took their time with this amazing biopic. The 3 part miniseries follows the iconic group from their humble beginnings in Orchard Park projects to their most successful sold out tours. The series doesn’t sugar coat the intense drama that went on behind the scenes, detailing financial rip-offs, drugs, and physical altercations between the members. The acting, story, and of course the music are all on point.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)

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A cultivation of found footage and interviews of Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Louis Farrakhan and others associated with the black power and anti-war movements, all from the perspective of Swedish journalist and filmmakers.

The 13th (2016)

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Ava Duvernay explores America’s exploitation of the 13th amendment and how policies throughout time have disproportionately targeted black men and women in America.

Dark Girls (2011)

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A discussion and stories about colorism and how it immensely affects the lives of black women across the nation.

Barry (2016)

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Follow Barack Obama as he enters Columbia University to world of self discovery, love, and perseverance.

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

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Unapologetic, talented, and beautiful describes Nina Simone. Through vintage interviews, performances, and stories from her family and friends, you’ll learn the vibrant yet dark story of the legendary artist.

Queen of Katwe (2016)

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Based on a true story, Queen of Katwe follows 10 year old Phiona as she overcomes huge hurdles to become a world chess champion.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

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Shirley Chilsom was not only the first black woman elected to Congress but the first African American and first woman to run a high profile campaign in the US! Watch as she challenges sexism, racism, and patriarchy in this untimely piece.

 

Unsung and Unsung: Hollywood (2008-present)

Unsung opens the door to all the trials and tribulations of some of America’s most talented but underrated black artist. Debarge, Xscape, Big Daddy Kane, The Whispers, Yo-Yo, David Ruffin, and Al B Sure are just some of the artist who have been documented on the show. Also, check out Unsung: Hollywood for stories on black actors, films, and series who were deserving of more recognition.

Madiba (2017)

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This six hour mini-series chronicles Nelson Mandela, played by Laurence Fishburne, and other leaders of the African National Congress who fought to end apartheid in South Africa.

Fresh Dressed (2015)

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Remember Kangol hats and gold rope chains? What about Cross Colours? FUBU, anyone? Fresh Dressed digs up the influential contributions of black style throughout the years and the ups and downs of clothing brands that were for us and by us.

Race (2016)

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Race, the story of American track star Jesse Owens, exemplifies courage and strength in the face of white supremacy. Not only did Owens battle racism in the US but he challenged and then crushed Hitler’s Aryan supremacy fantasy in 1930’s Berlin.

Unapologetic and Proud: Photos of Women of Color at the Women’s March on Washington

The Women’s March on Washington was a monumental event that not only filled the streets of our Nations capital but the entire country and world including Melbourne, London, Nairobi, Paris and Cape Town. People from different religious affiliations, sexual identities, and ethnicities attended the rally to address dark future of the upcoming presidency. Speakers included newly elected California senator, Kamalah Harris, Angela Davis, America Ferrera, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, Janet Mock, Scarlett Johansson, Van Jones, Michael Moore, and many more.

The diverse group of speakers addressed issues related to African Americans, police brutality, environmental issues, Native American rights, Hispanic American rights, the LGBT community, and more. What wasn’t so diverse were those in attendance. Majority of the 500,000 attendees were white women with pink hats that stereotypically represented women’s rights. I attended the march and felt like a true minority amongst all of these women. Between the, “I’m with her” signs and the “We are all equal” shirts, I wondered if these women really cared about the other women and men that are not only affected by this presidency but have been affected by sexism, racism, xenophobia, ableism and homophobia throughout their lifetime.

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The diverse group of speakers addressed issues related to African Americans, police brutality, environmental issues, Native American rights, Hispanic American rights, the LGBT community, and more. What wasn’t so diverse were those in attendance. Majority of the 500,000 attendees were white women with pink hats that stereotypically represented women’s rights. I attended the march and felt like a true minority amongst all of these women. Between the, “I’m with her” signs and the “We are all equal” shirts, I wondered if these women really cared about the other women and men that are not only affected by this presidency but have been affected by sexism, racism, xenophobia, ableism and homophobia throughout their lifetime.

In this sea of white women, I managed to get beautiful photos of unapologetic women of color and other attendees at the historical march. Check them out below and visit http://www.womensmarch.com for more info on the event.

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Goodbye Vine! A list of my favorite Viners and where to follow them

January 17th, 2017, the day the video app, Vine will transition to, “Vine Camera”. A platform that will allow users to create videos and download only to their phone or upload to Twitter. Who would have thought 6 second videos would be so entertaining and make average people multi-millionaires. Viral dance crazes, crude voice overs, mind bending visuals, and comedy catapulted Vine as one of the most popular apps between 2013 and 2015. The platform launched lucrative careers for some of its most popular stars including King Bach, Brittany Furlan, Reggie COUZ, and resuscitated some careers like Nickelodeon actor, Josh Peck. Between Instagram’s introduction of videos, to the rise of Snapchat, to internal conflicts, Vine’s popularity started to plummet around 2015.

The social media platform had it’s pros and cons especially in regard to black youth. It displayed how creative and humorous we could be but it also reared it’s ugly, “minstrel show” antics (I mean, do you really need a watermelon, fried chicken, and Kool-Aid in every video?) Either way it was fun while it lasted. I, personally, had around 300 Vines and around 127,000 loops; most of those stemming from a Vine I did at a Tyler, the Creator show. I’ll miss the app but before it disappears, I listed some of my favorite Viners throughout the apps short lived life and how you can keep updated with their content.

Remember to download all of your personal vines or favorite vines from the website or app by January 17th!

1. Tyler, the Creator

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One of my favorite artist, Tyler, the Creator, was the reason I joined the platform. After constantly viewing his Vines through the browser platform, I finally downloaded the app for myself. If you’ve followed Tyler and Odd Future throughout the years then their energetic and immature antics come at no surprise. Pranks, concert footage, and jazz music filled up Tyler’s now deserted Vine account. In true hipster fashion, Tyler jetted out of the platform once it became popular but he can still be found on twitter under his renamed handle @tylerthecreator (previously @fucktyler) or his Instagram, @feliciathegoat.

2. Rickey Thompson

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He’s funny, sassy, and loves his food. Rickey Thompson was one of Vines most popular stars with 2.5 million followers and around a BILLION loops. He created his own YouTube channel back when Vine was dwindling in popularity. You can catch his hilarious stories and commentary on his channel, Rickey Thompson, and check him out on the original YouTube show, Foursome.

3. FUZZOSCOPE

Around 2015 or so, I popped in and out of Vine just to see if anyone still used it. At that time, most of popular users and traffic had moved along but I came across an interesting account entitled Fuzzoscope. The record label produces soothing hip hop/ jazz infused instrumentals and through Vine they paired the songs with psychedelic visuals. MP3 downloads and cassettes are available on their website, www.fuzzoscope.bandcamp.com/ and you can follow them on twitter @Fuzzoscope.

4. The Golden Corndog

She has a very unique sense of humor and a killer sense of style. How to explain her earlier Vines? Think amateur comedy night mixed with elevator music (eh, I can’t explain it, you’d have to be there, sorry). You can follow her on twitter @ElGoldieCornie and Instagram at @thegoldencorndog.

5. fLEshtoneCraYon

FlestoneCrayon is not here for white supremacy (neither am I) but is here for black empowerment with a little bit of humor. He took aim at the new elected president and anyone associated with racist behavior while also posting quotes from our favorite civil rights leaders and videos of current social issues. Follow their twitter @fLEshtoneCraYon.   

6. Yotsu

You’ll either ask, “What’s the song title?” or “What’s the anime title?” with these videos. Similar to Fuzzoscope, Yotsu Vines paired relaxing instrumentals with various anime shows and films. Their YouTube channel by the same name includes longer clips for your viewing pleasure.

 

7. Tragic Tofu

I don’t know where Tragic Tofu found all of their vintage commercials and movie clips but they fit perfectly with a diverse music catalogue and perfect loops. Follow their twitter account @TragicTofu.

8. Summerella

O mah gud! One of Summerella’s signature phrases. Not only does she slay in the looks and hair department; she makes hilarious videos as well. She sings too! Right now, she has a song out with the artist Jacquees entitled, Pull Up. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram under @_Summerella_.

9. Mystery Mansion

Dream like production fused with pixelated greatness. The music from Mystery Mansion sounds like it jumped out of an 8-bit video game. Follow them on twitter @mystrymnsion and their SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/mysterymansionmusic.

10. Mr. Mase

By now, you can tell I love music and the Vine accounts associated with music. Mr. Mase account consisted of a great vinyl collection and tunes with a mix of animation, vintage clips, and outdoor visuals. You can follow him on twitter @supercrab and his website, http://www.marcusmason.net.

11. TheRealJet$ki

I think a few marbles might’ve gone missing with TheRealJet$ki aka Jet Wavy. He loves dancing to trap music in an array of costumes and outfits; Lil Wayne, Luigi, and one of his more popular videos, the blue power ranger, are just a few characters he’s taken on. Check out Complex’s video about Jet Wavy below and follow him on twitter @JET_Wavy and YouTube under, The Iggnant Show.

12. JusReign

He created very funny videos including a strict father, paranoid boyfriend, and Punjabi renditions of the latest hip hop songs. JusReign has been one of Vine’s biggest stars with over a billion loops and a million followers. He’s been a red carpet correspondent for the Much Music Video Awards, starred in a few films, and won The YouTuber of the Year award at the 2016 Next Media Awards.

13. 4EverKelz


He is so funnnyyyy! Don’t believe me? Watch a compilation of his best vines below and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @4everKelz.

Honorable Mentions

Mike Q (SoundCloud: Djmikeq/ Twitter: @TheOnlyMikeQ)

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Yung Poppy (IG:@theyungp/Twitter: @therealyungpoppy)

Nicholas Megalis (Twitter: @nicholasmegalis)/ Youtube: Nicholas Megalis

Taran (IG: @taranpoke)

 

Bye Vine! I’ll Miss You!

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2016 in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Side Eyes of 2016

2016, a year of celebrity deaths, protests, a horrible election outcome, Olympic history, and unapologetically black movements, films, television, and albums. Let’s a take a look back!

The Bad…let’s start and end this one real quick.

He who shall not be named

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He didn’t win the popular vote but enough Americans voted for him and that’s an issue! It did however open some of America’s most ignorant and blind to the rooted racism, xenophobia, and sexism in the USA. If Hillary would have won, the same mindset would continue to prevail.

The Obama’s Leaving

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So much progress and achievement from Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and their family. The Obama’s showed how poised and mature they were in a firestorm of racism and ignorance. Obama ended the 2008 recession, provided affordable health care, lowered gas prices, brought diversity in ethnicity and gender identity to the White House, all with no personal scandals. Michelle Obama was one of the most influential first ladies to step foot in the White House. Her may initiatives towards food reform and education caused many to wonder if she would run for president in 2020 (she denied and I don’t blame her). It’ll be hard to see them and their legacy leave the White House.

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Police Killings and Mass Shootings

2016 brought more murders at the hand of the people who are supposed to protect us. Philando Castille,Korryn Gaines, Alton Sterling, Keith Scott, Janet Wilson were some of the high profiled cases along with the many who were not reported in the media. 2016 also brought no charges to the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.

The Pulse Nightclub Shooting

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The mass shooting at Pulse Night Club, a gay bar in Orlando, FL, took the lives of  49 innocent people. This and countless killings of LGBTQ individuals in the country showed the pervasive homophobia that is still widely ignored.

The Birth of a Nation and Rape Culture

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I, like many, was excited for the film adaption of America’s controversial figure, Nat Turner. The directorial debut from Nate Parker was about the famous slave revolt led by Turner in Southampton County, VA. There was early praise and accomplishments attached to the film; it was the highest selling film to date at Sundance. Then, a past rape case involving a fellow female student, Nate Parker and friend Jean Celestin, who was also a writer on the film, resurfaced. Parker was acquitted while Celestin was convicted and then the case was later overturned.

The whole situation opened the gateway to continued lack of empathy for women and rape victims, a dialogue of possible racism, and a moral tug of war in supporting the film. Some felt as though there was a witch hunt against Parker because of the topic of his film. Tons of black people suddenly sided with the very broken justice system when it came to Parker’s “acquittal”. Of course, compared to other controversies surrounding white filmmakers, the backlash was stronger. Case in point, Casey Affleck continued to receive praise towards his film, Manchester by the Sea while having multiple sexual assault and harassment accusations against him. Parker didn’t help the situation by giving a roller coaster response to the incident; one minute he was apologetic, the next he didn’t understand what was going on. One of the only organizations to show the film love was the The NAACP Image Awards.

Celebrity Deaths

I’m just gonna leave this photo collage here. Listening to Purple Rain, Dear Mama and watching Martin won’t be the same.

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Phew! That was a bad rewind…Now

The Side Eyes of 2016

The halt of the Dakota Access Pipeline

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The protest against the North Dakota oil pipeline, demonstrated how unifying together to protect humans and nature can go a long way. Thousands of indigenous people of America along with people of different ethnicities banded together to protest a greedy initiative that could potentially poison the water of many. The protectors were met with dog attacks, mace, and freezing water while demonstrating peacefully. In early December, the Obama administration halted plans for future construction. Time will tell whether the pipeline will continue especially under a new bigoted administration.

Possible Solution to the Flint Water Crisis

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The unfortunate Flint Water crisis has made national news for the past few years. To save money, Flint officials made an unethical and dire decision to switch its water source from the Detroit Water Department to the untreated water of the Flint River. This resulted in a high level of lead in the water which caused death and sickness amongst the Flint community. On December 8th, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act passed Congress with $170 million for Flint. Hopefully, it resolves the situation and the rest of the world does not forget about Flint and the other cities affected by pollution.

Ok, I want to end on a positive note

The GOOD of 2016

With devastation came tons of amazing and unapologetic black work from artist, filmmakers, writers, politicians and athletes.

Athletes

Colin Kapernick and multiple WNBA players used their platform to stand against racism in 2016. In true American fashion, a barrage of insults, threats, and “protest at another time” comments followed the events. Kapernick also held multiple events including the, “Know Your Rights” camp for underprivileged youth. He was not alone in 2016; many NFL players, high school players, and other athletes kneeled in support of the movement.

The 2016 RIO Games

The 2016 Summer Olympics brought the world the first competing refugee team, the first woman to compete wearing a Hijab (Ibtihaj Muhammad), and the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event (Simone Manuel). Gymnast, Simone Biles showed up and showed out winning four gold medals and one bronze. Usain Bolt continued as the reigning gold medalist in the men’s track and field races, the US Women’s 4×100 defended their Olympic Gold title, and Michelle Carter became the first American Women to win gold in the shot put.

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Unapologetic Music and Legendary Releases

Artist who have relatively been on hush mode about social justice let it loose in 2016. America’s favorite R&B/Pop Queen Bee decided to make a statement with her liberating project, Lemonade. She collaborated with talented artist and filmmakers to bring forth a project that celebrated Yoruba culture, paid homage to police shooting victims, and uplifted black people specifically black women. Let’s not forget her amazing super bowl homage to the Black Panther Movement.

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Solange dropped her third release, A Seat at the Table, with stunning visuals and performances to follow. The project represented her creativity, vocals, and her unique sense of style. 2016 also brought us the highly anticipated release from Frank Ocean and albums from hip hop legends, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Vic Mensa, J Cole, Abdu Ali, Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, Princess Nokia, Anderson Paak, Kaytranada, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino all released stellar projects as well.

Film and Television

There were so many great television debuts this year. Donald Glover’s, Atlanta, took a unique and sometimes bizarre look at the music scene in Atlanta, Marc Lamont Hill debuted his talk show on VH1, and Luke Cage brought enough soul to fill the entire Marvel Universe. Issa Rae’s Insecure gave black millennials so much life; between the humor, the music and the realistic code switching, Insecure brought it every Sunday.

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Queen Sugar brought such great talent and diverse characters. It shined a rare light on activism, farming while black, and mental illness in the black community.

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We can’t forget about one of the saddest losses in television history, Poussey Washington! I never cried that hard for a fictional character in my life. The entire time I thought “why her!”. After reading that Poussey’s death symbolized the high profile police fatalities in recent times, I thought differently. The way fans felt about a fictional character’s death is the same way families around the world feel with their own loss but quadruple the emotion. We also lost Glenn and Abraham in a gruesome season 7 opening of The Walking Dead. RIP to them all.

Diverse Representation in Cinema

Along with great television came more diverse stories from talented writers and directors. Moonlight continues to gain praise throughout the award season for its dark but uplifting story of a young black male struggling with his identity. The film introduced some very talented new actors (hey Trevante 😉 ) and proved that our stories can be presented with quality and artistry.

Hidden Figures reveals one of America’s best kept secrets, unheard and unseen in cinema; black women contributing to the field of science and math. Fences, Queen of Katwe, and the 13th also showcased diversity and will continue to make waves in 2017.

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Politics and Activism

Not everything related to politics was a circus act. Many black and brown men and women were elected as mayors, senators, and representatives. 21 year old Jewell Jones was elected as the youngest state representative ever in Michigan, Michael Tubbs became Stockton, California’s first black mayor and youngest at only 26 years old, and Kamalah Harris became California’s new Democratic senator-elect, and only the second African American woman to be elected to the Senate.

Here’s a glass for your white tears

It’s so refreshing when black folks not only stand up for their people but do it unapologetically. No “all lives matter” bs, no “all cops aren’t bad” bs, and no “can we all get along” bs. Jesse Williams did just that at the 2016 BET Awards when he accepted his Humanitarian Award. He thanked black women, organizers, and got right to the point about Americas racist actions against African Americans.

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Taylor Amari Little perfectly summarized what most “woke” black people have known or deal with in regards to the colonization of black culture. Her presentation entitled, “white people stay colonizing” took a historical look at American “slang” and “dance crazes” rooted in black culture. This goes for music, fashion, and hairstyles as well. Little also started “The Temple Project” which services the homeless in Detroit and “Queer Ummah” an organization for queer Muslims.

Ericka Hart represented so much in 2016. After being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Hart realized there was little visibility and knowledge of black queer women with regards to the disease. She wanted to show that she was no victim and felt just as sexy as anyone else. Her photos from Afro Punk 2016 were liberating and inspiring.

Oh yeah, one last thing!

The creation of Neon Fade. I started this blog in the summer of 2016 and I hope to continue to bring unapologetic, fun, and informative articles in 2017. Thank you to everyone who has contributed, liked, or followed NeonFade!

Here’s to a great 2017!

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Towson University Students and Faculty organize an Anti-Trump walk out

Hundreds of students and faculty met at Towson University’s Freedom Square to speak out against racial injustice, homophobia, Islamophobia, and discrimination following the presidential election. The faculty ahead of the Social Justice Collective organized the event to provide support and a platform for students to voice their opinions and concerns.

Students and faculty of different races, sexual orientation, and backgrounds spoke of support and oneness for one another but some students got right to the point. In regards to the safety pins that some white allies are wearing, TU student Bilphena Yahwon stated, “I want you to understand. A pin is not enough action. When lives are literally at risk, when people are being assaulted, when people are being killed, when Muslim women are having their hijabs pulled up in public, I don’t care about your goddamn pin.” Her and a few other students spoke about getting past abstract language like, “We’re all one people”, “We all bleed the same blood”, and resolving and speaking about the blatant discrimination that has and is still affecting millions of people in this country.

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I was there with the Freedom School, an organization created by TU student, John Gillespie. The organization is a space for Black Radical teachings and discussions open to all every Thursday at the institute.

Black&Sexy TV debuts web series, Dope Deconstruction

The online streaming network, Black&Sexy TV, premiered their new web-series, Dope Deconstruction this past Sunday with host Shanika (@ShanikaPowell) and Sam (@Slamriddb) who together make Slam Pow Productions. The two have a current podcast entitled, Inner Hoe Uprising, which as they quote is about “Sex, love, and dating from two black polyamorous 20 something’s in NYC. Sounds pretty cool.

Their web series will be a part of Black&Sexy’s #BlackGirlMagicSundays along with the series, Dear Miller. The first episode of Dope Deconstruction features Nigerian artist, activist, and musician Lalou Senbanjo (@laolunyc). Sebanjo’s work, Sacred Art of Ori, originates from Yoruba rituals and some of his clients have been Ibeyi, Alicia Keys, Jidenna, and Beyonce. Tune in every Sunday for new episodes of Deconstruction!

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