CHAPTER 8. CHILD OF GOD

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chapter eight. with responsibility, foundational understanding of people and regard to a higher power- all things in life are guided. existing within a world of many choices, we are empowered by our decisions, are given ample opportunities to liberate ourselves from our struggle in coming together. in my own independent processes of creative discovery, i exist by choice- alone. left to deal with my own instinctual terrain. so if i make a mistake, i am left to deal with the discovery of resolution and betterment. in that process, i’ve learned to develop accountability. i’ve applied said lessons of accountability to other aspects of life- in learning of others, i have learned more of myself.

fearlessly, i have loved. hopefully, i continue to try. and now openly, i connect with like minded individuals who are helpful in building with me. no longer do i feel it necessary to go it alone. i accept all challenges and invitations of wellness from above. i find comfort in knowing that this phase is now a shared instinct. understanding myself, and who i am to the core is paired with who i am in the eyes of god. instructed through instinct, i follow the signs, stay awake and understand that my power in creating limits provides me with many more freedoms and leads me to greater liberation. while aspects of privilege have not always been readily available, i lead my mind to thinking of possibility and strategy, rather than loss and discomfort. i lead my mind to think of how we can come together, instead of segregating. a range of greatness we have within us that we are unable to tap into; being distracted by the choices of others; knowing that these decisions cannot alter the realities in which we live everyday.

in our lives, we tend to look outward when we should be looking inward. when facing adversity or struggle to create, we should remember that all answers exist within us. much like our mistakes, or regrets, our power- it all exists within us. achieving balance in this process is no easy feat, there are moments of surrender, resilience – thus is the circle of life. in circular motion, we should be vibrating upwards, using each moment and each motion ever thrusting to use that momentum to push ourselves through each lesson learned. many of the trappings are created for us, we just need the awareness to surpass each along the way. for every moment we’ve discovered a loss, we must remain hopeful for the gain that is to follow. and we must continue to keep going.

in our eventual quest to find whatever it is each of us are looking for- love, purpose or inspiration; we’re all looking ahead when we should try more to look within, and to know when it is time to look into one another. knowing that each of our individual power, though great, can be limited without the sharing and support of our brothers and sisters- who exist in our world, sharing a guided light with us, generated by god. often times religion and spirituality are weighted topics that appear darker than needed; but in this darkness is greatness. things greater than us, bigger than our visions can contain, much more expansive than our love can envelope, or our minds can comprehend.

in this open, unknown of greatness that is created from such a purified space of love, exists our true existence. but we need not be distracted by all the things that hold us from that- we must choose properly, speak with understanding, and look into the things we do not know, to gift to ourselves greater understanding and greater power. weakness temporary, our stories of love live forever. we should lean on the everlasting, and the overpowering nature of these lightings of glory. as children, we are always learning and should follow the guidance of the beauty placed in front of us, within us. let us not cover our eyes to what surrounds us every day. to look at the gruesome, to highlight aspects of beauty further. to understand that challenges preface every accomplishment, and our fight will result in the victory, greater than we could have imagined. possibility should lead our hearts, fear should only exist momentarily. born from love, guided by light- inside. permission to be angry, with knowledge of how to process that into action.

our vision may get clouded, but we must challenge ourselves to see. our understanding will only grow as we approach, learn and grow into it. in closeness, more will become clear. we must be aware of dangers, or distractions from the course. coming into the unknown with boundless hope to conquer is how victory is won. everyday, we will face these challenges. so expect to be tested, but hold onto yourself, and the discoveries you’ve made from within. it’s time to sing a new song, to write the lyrics for memories that we’ve wanted to contain. let us not forget the pain which inspired and motivated changes. let love ground us in proper action. so we can look back and remember all the ways we’ve grown. into ourselves and into each other, through struggle, accomplishment and joy in connecting.

for the everlasting memory of all black people
who have lost their lives to prejudice 
and the families still trying to cope

CHAPTER 7. LETTER TO LOST LOVE

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chapter seven. “you carry the burden of a heartbreak that is not your own” she told me, as i sat there with her in target where they were serving starbucks coffee. i was wearing nike running shorts, my signature five panel cap and had come in for nothing more than a gallon of water and gum. she spotted me, and i suppose was responsive to my energy. she told me other things that were more validating for me. that of which will remain private and locked away, as many of her readings were very personal stories about life-long struggles i have carried and taken on for others who have both loved, and lost in my life.

from school boy crushes and love letters penned, long ago are the beginnings of my love stories. in this phase, love lost is never love forgotten. and this history with love, though longing, is a record that i am proud of. my stories of love show resilience, belief, hope and adoration. from the days i would sit in my room, against the speaker, listening to love songs and resonating with the feeling. or when i would sit and write to sort through my own developing feelings for someone- i’ve mastered the process of falling in love and securing what comes next. in today’s context, these moments still complicate realities for me. as a foundational element of my development, this part of my personality drives all aspects of passion. whether in contrast of shy or reserved nature, or the gunning emotion i feel to just go for it- it’s all inclusive.

these aspects of myself bleed into my love of inspiration, my love for development and my compassion for moments of struggle, seen also in my hope and strength to continue the good fight. many of my stories of love lost include moments of abandon, my worst fear being, ultimately, to be forgotten. in many of my artistic skills, i try to make each moment an experience. to touch a heart, move a mind or shift perception- all sourced from the fear that love will be lost, or worse- forgotten. whether i’ve created boundaries or walked away from past loves in life, the love has always lived on. in my current space, lingering like smoke- the same concept persists. yeah, i may have pawned the engagement ring, but i kept tattoo, and i still show respect. i still have hope, even though moments have past, in some cases years have gone by, but i still hold to hope. as crazy as all of it sounds.

love, to me, is an investment. if i love you, i respect you and allow you in where no one else can enter. i’ll hold you close and never let go- as a challenge, not even when you ask me to. it’s ever fleeting, unrelenting, it’s consistent- persistent and can suck you in. it’s pure, and to some, unrecognized. it’s confident without being overwhelmingly so, and it thrives on the nature to connect, reshape and revitalize with each smile shared or disagreement looked past. it’s the thought that keeps me up at night, or the light tug that i feel when i remember that i can’t call you or i miss hearing your voice. it’s an idea of romance that is forever inspired, keeps you looking toward the future with a little bit of sadness from the past. but you can never forget that it happened; maybe it’s not lost- just hiding somewhere, or looking for you while  you are looking for it at the same exact time.

in my own literary world, in my emotional story board- these moments haunt me. some comfort me, and others remind me of what i’ve overcome. my love is forever forgiving, forever thriving and boundless. all it takes is understanding, patience and time. to all those i’ve loved, i have pushed myself to love more beyond you, in an effort to rise above and past the pain from our interaction. where i am now, i have been willfully equipped to love in stronger, more resilient ways. love is my strongest suiting of armor. though i spare no space in being quick to respond, at time easily angered, i am also sensitively forgiving and vulnerably available to reason, talk and reconnect. with pain acting as the teacher, and love remaining the connector- i push forward, knowing which love i’ve lost and which love will live forever. i’ve learned to depart, remain connected and rediscover with strength in love. and now, this love story will reveal itself in a new way. i’ve collected only a few, but in this collective each of you wear crowns, some shining brighter than others but each in your own special way. while you may have lost your love for me, just know that somewhere, not too far from where we used to be, i still sit and wait for you. and i always will.

for my greatest moments of love
may your memories shine forever

CHAPTER 6. THE SOUND OF CHANGE

 

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chapter six. much of the experience i have created for you, as a reader, and within your setting as an audience is vividly realistic of who i actually am. if anything, i am more animated in person than i appear in photos or some of the more serious content i’ve created in this space. all the social media, it’s just a vehicle- any platform you come in contact with; it’s up to you to define the ways you are seen, and to use those spaces responsibly. on both micro and macro levels, i think of everything. understanding that image is so important. and to remain genuine and organic, i have learned to master a way that represents myself accurately- to become my full, self actualized self.

understanding within that framework, that i can be whoever i want to be so long as it inspires, connects and supports growth, love and hope for what changes are needed for the world around me. sharing inspiration, finding a voice, helping others find their own. this whole site started as a learning space. we both studied fashion together, after the music industry was punctured by the internet. my passion has always been, first, music. and in this space, the fashion direction caught the most heat- so i went with it. i think there is a large misconception to some of the things that i do, in the digital space. i think some people might write off what I’m doing as trivial, or possibly they won’t see the connection, on a macro level, with things that are happening in media at a potentially micro level.

the truth of the matter is- its all connected. and while i take great pride in fostering, discovering and highlighting those connections and bridging that gap, i questioned my sense of connectivity since my arrival here to new york city. it’s been quite a challenge trying to break free from the structure that i have known. faced with challenges of opposing views, i’m not naive or easily impressionable. i have very strong ideas that have been proven within my own experience – proven through reactions of others, proven through devastation, through loss and gain. life is really about conflict, and how you rise to the occasion, venturing onto the next level just to arrive at the gateway of a new set of challenges; which utilizes what you learned in the previous phase.

and so, in an effort to return to more classical ideas; there has been an revisiting of old inspiration and ways that have been more triggered with a sense of purity. childhood activities now steeped in adult fascination and psychological grips. to return to ideas of sound, or style and to revisit in an effort of self examination. while much of my life has changed drastically, there are still many moments that have gone undocumented. conscious as that may be, i am looking for ways to share the stories. to again, build that bridge and connect myself to you. in being terminated from the agency where i worked to develop and cultivate talent, i have had time to recalibrate.

thinking of my past life; thinking of what i felt connected to, happy about and pleased with before i started making all of these changes. while i came away from the whole agency experience unscathed. i’ve always been able to adapt, make changes and push myself forward. i’ve taken meetings with one model management, wilhelmina, the society and yes, IMG. but the idea of going back into a field where the girls aren’t always as respected or nurtured in the ways i would have personally done it myself; i had to stop myself. getting back to me, who i am and what has made me- as intelligent, capable and tenacious as i am- the last laugh has not been had. battles lost, war not won.

this next phase will see more concentration on inspiration, documenting experiences and reporting on micro elements of media that affect the macro, bigger picture that affects us all. to return to a strength, not forgotten, but possibly covered by other ideas that weren’t my own. i am still here. i won’t allow my sense of leadership, my ability to conquer any task or provide informed decisions in pursuits of business to knock my stride or catch my rhythm and affect my pathway. all things possible in the eyes of god, and through his greater will for me to succeed. a personal marination process will now exist here. enriched through music, inspired by image and carefully translated through culture and viewpoint. i’m not done yet.

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THE ICON LEAGUE: JANET JACKSON

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i remember sitting with my auntie gie watching “the pleasure principle” and listening to my auntie tell me all the ways that janet jackson was already iconic. that was in 1991. with a career spanning over 40 years in the business, janet jackson is the first to be added to my  icon league. this series will spotlight and recognize women in music for their contributions to music, style and culture. with no need for introduction, janet is from the royal family of entertainment, the jacksons. throughout her iconic reign, she has dominated areas of dance, performance and style. representing black women with an unabashed approach to independence, and sexual dominance- there is no other like janet.

janet joins my icon league with 11 albums, 5 major motion picture roles, 2 television show roles, 7 world tours and 51 music videos. through her albums, janet became the voice for women looking to break free from restriction, demanding more control in their relationships both professional and personal. demanding respect and individualization in her career, she successfully created her own lane- striking a balance between her and her famous brothers. she became an industry leader in the process, creating a blueprint for what female artists in the pop genre were expected to do. janet’s influence created the pathway which pioneered the careers of madonna, britney spears and beyoncé. this influence trickled to create and influence other artists like lil’ kim, ciara and rihanna. many of these women have utilized sex appeal, high powered choreography and a feminist dialogue to alter the ways in which females are seen in music and media. involvement with janet has also spurred success for celebrities like choreographer tina landon, jennifer lopez who danced with janet before her success as an actor and entrepreneur. janet also worked with paula abduhl before she had her run of mainstream success and appeal in the 1990’s.

criminally underrated for this pathway of influence, and a third tier level, janet jackson’s influence touches every other artist that has come and gone in the industry. image industries have followed her lead of sex appeal, and her transformation and growth as a women, chronicled through each era and album over the course of her life have championed trends of beauty, body and sound. within her career span, she has introduced aspects of military inspired dance formations, has further advanced the pro-black musical dialogue in which leads all of the music industry. unapologetically, at the ripe age of 50 years old, janet jackson is a living legend and the full crux of her relevance and emblematic stance as a powerful woman in music cannot be summed in so many words.

wishing a happy birthday to janet,
we thank you for all you’ve done for culture
celebrating your life and legacy always

CHAPTER FIVE. FINDING FREEDOM

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chapter five. in certain spaces, freedom can feel like being lost. open spaces of light when eyes are shut can seem like spaces of darkness. fucked up because im so used to functioning within entrapment. shackles held tight to my feet and wrists that i sometimes wake up with a longing feeling of being connected, because thats the only connection that is familiar. disconnected looking more like reconnecting; while discovering a sense of self that only leads to trap doors, leading me further into an isolation and dissection of me.

who am i? not a lost one, but still i keep looking for shit. continually searching, because it’s not enough. i’m not enough, i’m too much. cross examination of who i know myself to be, with who i one day hope to be. who i am today, being a reflection of years past, which unlock the doors with keys into my future. it’s all tied up. the layers are stacked within one another. everyone seems to want a piece, but no one handles with care. yet i’m the one who has an air about him. as if i’m expected to remain confined to your idea of me, and be secluded to your idea of humility? searching within a circumstance i traveled to; while you were searching for a reason to mark my exit. and speaking of exits, i had to make way for a greater freedom for him, running into the rails of my own fear of losing him forever. and while that forever seems in progress, and speaking of finding; i know what i found, and I’m hoping in many ways that all this shit is profound; enough to for me to get you back, because without you, i’ve fallen off track.

and it was me sitting back, bitching that you couldn’t love yourself because you didn’t love me. when i was the one leading, and perhaps most blindly. covering myself with you, and worrying about you, and worrying about us, now looking back i ain’t even have to make such a fuss. should’ve just let it breath, leave you be; and let you come to me. controlled while out of control, gripping on shit while i ain’t even have a grip on myself. paycheck to paycheck, fucking with the structure, organizing the unorganized; but setting myself up in the process. my sister came back around, not like i ever doubted that; but now the other one won’t even respond when it’s inspired by life and death moments. so, why try? am i trapped with the thought, or stuck mourning the loss of a certain freedom? a freedom that really wasn’t free at all? i remember shaking with tears in my eyes as i got on that flight, leaving the sunshine in the west, a job where i was vested and moving into the abyss, risking it all for love. but where did that take me? have i now become more lost?

finding the faith, understanding patience and trust; most of all of self, but through you, because nothing else greater exists over you. and while i play my own consciousness, grappling with pseudo-patience, like i’m in control because i can’t learn to let go. cause what the fuck is freedom when i can’t afford to go out to dinner, or buy new shit to wear? head down to a skin fade to escape the new york summer humidity; but was i only escaping that in which was within me? always looking to change, willing to grow- but still, cannot fucking let go. aware, and still numbed; because the control i surrender is the control that you’ve earned. fucking around with fire- always getting burned. except i’m used to it; so the scars i wear as badges of honor, while i move from level to level, unscathed and unmarked. my emotional processing is the key to my survival, and yet every step of the way there are questions. questions that become answered when i speak or write. so, all in all; what is learned here is that there is no freedom in silence. freedom is in my voice.

BEYONCÉ X LEMONADE

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the concept of visual albums, truly, are a concept that has only existed within the realm of musical superstars. with the recent passing of prince, i seen “purple rain” at AMC 25 here in new york city. as i wiped tears from my eyes through every scene that seemed to slowly climax to the performance of “purple rain”, i thought of beyoncé. from insiders involved with production on the visual aspects of the body of work coming, i knew a full album would be dropping last night, so i went to bed and put my phone on sleep mode.

in an effort to absorb the creative content, as many of us should do with any full scoped body of work by any artist. i absorbed the message of freedom laid in the foundation before the days of beyoncé by prince. i thought about other legends, i thought of whitney houston and the bodyguard soundtrack, which was wildly successful in the musical market place, still being the best selling soundtrack of all-time. i thought of mariah with glitter, and though much can be said of that project, it still sold triple platinum across the globe. and who could forget the many visual films of michael jackson? of course, in the wake of our loss of prince, purple rain continues to reign across 80 nationwide participating AMC theaters, a true testament to the work of prince, and his artistic approach to curation of visuals, emotions and experience.

what beyoncé has done with this album, in contrast to what was done with her self-titled visual project from 2013 is expand her vocal textures through production. visually she has paid poetic tribute to being a proud black woman. in a coordinated balance of vulnerability and power, beyoncé understands more perfectly in this time now; how to play the foreground and background in a beautifully balanced form. her sensitivity to time and culture are so closely intertwined that there isn’t many other ways to refer to her outside of exceptional. an individualized artist of sound and style, what exists in this body of work is a careful crafting, that cannot be planned; it pours. the timing is spot on.

many of the albums visuals hint at moments in beyoncé’s career over the last, almost, 20 years. moments that showcase her love for her mother, her recognition of her father. it includes elements of creole ethnic make-up, the legacy of her grandmother, while much of the outspoken character traits of free artistic form, similar to those we’ve seen with solange, her sister, also make their way into the trenches of the albums overall message. there is a reality that is applied to love, that leaves questions when listening and watching the visual story unfold. by the albums end, the questions are answered- thus, the importance of seeing the body of work in totality before having any response at all.

i won’t take time to reveal my favorite tracks on the album, i will leave you to your own time to decide for yourself. to find the ways that you identify with the story being told, so you can come to a place of relativity within yourself and what beyoncé has put forth. i am one for love stories, i am one of loyalty and one who is always for the fight for what is right. here, beyoncé introduces a narration that is necessary for culture, for black people and for music as a whole. no borders are left unturned, no boundaries are left un-challenged and for that, beyoncé holds her strength of self close to heart. in that closeness, we as the audience are drawn in. for artists to recognize greatness of present time, nothing is impossible.

view ‘lemonade‘ now exclusively on tidal
album not yet released to iTunes

PRINCE + THE AFTER LIFE

PRINCE

unrestrained, and in creative control; the life, legacy and career of prince is transcendent. beyond genres, generations and even mere identities, sonically he was just as much of an experience as he was a living breathing artist. a lyricist, and multi-instrumentalist- his career spans over three decades, and much of his influence seems to only scratch the surface of what will come to be many, many years from now. in the league of legends, now passing, prince, i will say; is among the most criminally underrated, and yet his influence knows no bounds or limitations. a legendary original, without compare or compromise.

escapism at it’s finest, the early years of prince, born prince rogers nelson in 1958; seen him honing his skill set and playing multiple instruments with a band in high school. before his record contract signing, record executives often mistook prince as an entire band, since his wide ranged vocal abilities and multiplied use of instrumentation in production appeared almost impossible for one person. signed by warner brothers at 17 years old, and was originally intended to work with maurice white, of earth, wind and fire. since the beginning of his career, prince was adamant about creative control. and always took every effort to be at the forefront of his creative process from start to finish. he excised such passion though full force production of his musical recording sessions and in his stage shows as well. throughout his challenging of culture and reformation of musical genre bending pursuits of expression, prince’s catalog became so intertwined with the musical experience that they were fixtures within our cerebral cortex. it’s the type of influence that is cultivated through several elements, that tie memories, senses and beauty together all in one musical microcosm. as i sit here and write, the more words i pour into this space, it seems unfit for the experience.

among his expansive discography, words do not to the influence of prince much justice. he existed in a world that peaked through sexual exploration, artistic eminence and domination of creativity. what prince did was create music. among his influence and even his many proteges throughout his career and beyond, spawned were many others who were also touched by his influence. a true marker of R&B evolution through use and application of jazz, blues, rock and pop magic- there is no other artist who has or will exist within the purest forms of inspiration like that of prince. notoriously shy, opinionated and strong- prince’s legacy has yet to be revealed. among the many wonders he always left unanswered, with his death, many may recall the speculation of ‘the vault‘; a secured arsenal of music, that has never been heard by the public.

prince, in his early days in minneapolis, was referred to a younger stevie wonder. conceptual in nature, many of the concepts in which housed each of his musical projects, themes were of great importance to him. since the late 70’s the vault reportedly houses upwards of 2,000 unheard and unreleased songs by prince. an actual vault, which is located at his minnesota estate, holds these records; and many fans through the years have wondered when all of this music will be released. notorious for his mystique and desires for privacy continue to keep us wonder up to today. is it possible that prince has planned the posthumous release of all this music? before digital, many have questioned whether the vault and it’s musical treasures will remain preserved or if they are planned for release. time will tell, but it seems as though, even today, with the expansive musical offerings we have, and have heard; production elements were lightyears ahead, innovation at it’s finest. his recording process has reportedly seen him producing one album per week, a process he had already implemented well into the 80’s. his compound, paisley park, houses the vault and was his main residence where he created music.

a revolution of incredible influence, i cannot say this enough- prince crosses all borders of gender, sexuality and artistry. a pioneer for creative control, and an opinion which has shot past many others, in the realm of industry. the story, for me and many others, of prince- is not now, nor will it ever be over. i offer you the opportunity to not read into my interpretation of who this artist was in life, but to think about it, originally, and understand the cultural impact of his work; and to listen to the music, to come to your own opinion of what he has created. of beauty, prince remains untouched in his curation of experience through sound. through sound, his penetrated emotions, and was able to resonate through memories that have always kept him timeless. this will not change in death.

a visual history through prince’s discography
the complete prince album discography