BAM Dance Africa Cool Finds

This year at Dance Africa, I found so many great things I want to share with you guys. As you know, Dance Africa is an annual event that happens every memorial weekend at BAM where Brooklyn locals celebrate Africa in all its glory through performances, amazing food and vendors. This year I bought so much cool stuff that I’m so excited about:

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 Tribal Print Dress

Besides the beautiful tribal print, what I love about this dress is the pockets and the racer back. It’s such a well made dress and I never want to take it off. Price: $20

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Earrings 

I’ve wanted Fulani earrings since 2011. Finally I found these rare finds from the country of Mali and put them on as soon as I bought them. They’re a dream come true. Price: $20

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Shea Butter & Black Soap

These two necessities speak for itself. I haven’t used Shea Butter in my hair since 2014, so this is a real treat and my hair loves it. As for the black soap, I am hoping it performs miracles on my dark spots. ($3-$5)Black Soap

My Top 15 Moments in 2015

  1. My Vision Board Party

I think having a Vision Board party in January set the tone for an amazing year. I still get comments from my friends saying their vision boards helped them check off goals on their list that they probably wouldn’t of done without the help of their boards reminding them. My board is still something that empowers me when I look at it. I am encouraged to remain strong willed and grounded.

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  1. Dubai

That glitch fare on Christmas day last year allowed me to go to Dubai for only $200. What a blessing that was. Dubai’s desert was probably my favorite part. That vast landscape of beautiful sand and horizon is something that will forever be embedded in my heart.

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Continue reading “My Top 15 Moments in 2015”

4-Years!

4-years ago I graduated from college. Unlike my peers I was not happy about this accomplishment. During my senior year I applied to Teach for America and did not get in, which wasn’t much of a surprise. Teaching was not in my destiny in this context (I later became a Sunday school teacher which was more aligned with my purpose), but what the application process of Teach for America did reveal to me was how much debt I accumulated during my four years of college.

When I saw all those zero’s, I couldn’t believe it. I cried, screamed, yelled, and resented my degree. I resented everything it stood for because the knowledge that I gained in undergrad wasn’t worth that kind of money. I wrote to President Obama because the government was also on my angry list. I couldn’t believe we lived in a country where an education, to ultimately make a decent living could be so expensive, especially when there are countries like Sweden, Denmark, and even Germany that sponsors their citizens college education. The President responded but clearly there was nothing he could do.

When I walked across the stage I reluctantly took my degree. A few days later, I packed my bags, got settled back into my apartment in Brooklyn and began to search for jobs. I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I only had until December to figure out my life or else I would be in big trouble with those loan sharks. I applied to jobs daily. I was desperate willing to take on anything, but what I noticed was that a lot of these positions wanted people with 1-3 years experience. Immediately, I felt like I hit a wall. Finally I decided to put my life in God’s hands. I prayed for miracles, started going to church and most importantly living my life and taking advantage of this time off. I started to volunteer. I worked for Catholic Charities for 2-months until I was offered a paid position there. My starting salary would be $26k. I remember being so excited when they gave me my offer letter. I called my mom and told her my volunteering efforts landed me my first job. Continue reading “4-Years!”

A Lesson in Culture and Black Masculinity

Black Masculinity and the socialization of black men in America were themes in some of the popular exhibits of the night. First Saturdays is when a large majority of Brooklyn locals flock to the Brooklyn Museum for a night of entertainment and culture since it’s free admission to all exhibits. I’ve been hearing rave reviews about Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic so I decided to go.

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I discovered Basquiat’s Notebooks before heading to Kehinde Wiley. I am so happy this happened, the exhibit just opened the day before and it was very high profile. Everyone wanted to get a glimpse into the mind of Basquiat. As you walk in you are graced with a video of Basquiat working in his element of street art and graffiti. I became entranced as I watched this video of a young artist spray painting words that obviously had deeper meaning behind it- THE WHOLE LIVERY LINE BOW LIKE THIS WITH THE BIG MONEY… He had on a long trench coat and wild natural hair. He looked modern, like someone I would meet in the Lower East Side, which seemed to be his stomping grounds back in the day.

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I walked into the exhibit and noticed that, as the name details, this exhibit would be a display of his notebooks throughout the years. I rubbed my head trying to figure out the depth behind his words. Was it to be analyzed or were his notes just like any other person jotting down things he viewed in the world. How was his notebooks art? His words were simple, some were poetic. He obviously appreciated his African American heritage and wanted blacks to be the focal point of his art–the heros. He also wanted us to pay attention to the words he crossed out. According to him,“I cross out words, so you will see them more. The fact that they are obscure makes you want to read them.”
Continue reading “A Lesson in Culture and Black Masculinity”

Afro-Punk

BROOKLYN STAND-UP. I still remember a time when I was afraid to say that. I was 12-years old in Las Vegas riding the gondola in the Venetian hotel. There was a couple riding with me who asked where I was from and I abruptly said “Manhattan” before my cousin could say Brooklyn. That was one of the biggest lies I had ever told as a child. My cousin looked at me completely bewildered and later asked why I would tell such a lie. To be honest, I was too ashamed to admit in front of these suburban white people that the two black kids in the gondola with them was from Brooklyn, Manhattan was so much more upscale at the time. The couple serenaded me with questions about city life as I dug myself deeper and deeper into the lie. Brooklyn for me was not a source of pride when I was younger. It represented dodging gun shots at parties and drug dealers on every corner. It was a place that I desperately wanted to escape.

When I returned home from college, so much change took place. There were cute little shops, cultural events and Brooklyn somehow emerged as the center of New York. I fell in love with “my hood” that I took for granted of for so many years. My backyard was the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, The Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park, landmarks that people travel from all over the world to encounter. Why did it take me so long to realize the value in that?

Brooklyn is my soul. It shaped me into who I am and showed me who I didn’t want to be. This summer the most profound thing happened; not once did I have to leave the comfort of my borough to have fun…Brooklyn became the new Manhattan. From the beer gardens to the beautiful summer nights at the museum, I am proud to say that I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I AM BROOKLYN.

A few Sunday’s ago marked the 9th Annual AfroPunk Festival in Commodore Park. My friends and I decided to go and ultimately had a blast. We listened to the funky mixed beats of Quest Love and the hard core conscious rap of Public Enemy. We danced in the dewy grass and signed petitions to help women in Africa gain better health care. We ate from the fish taco food truck and sipped the foam off of our beer cans. We enjoyed a day of fun in the park while simultaneously the MTV Video Music Awards was going on at the Barclays center. By 11PM  we didn’t want to go home; we were in Brooklyn during one of it’s biggest night’s, ever, so we headed straight to Myrtle avenue to watch the VMAs and listen to the dope 90s musical vibe of Va$htie and Oscar. Never in my wildest dreams would I picture the day when Va$htie would bring her 1992 party out of the Lower East Side and into Brooklyn. As the lyrical flows of Brooklyn rappers Biggie and Jay Z blasted through the speakers of Brooklyn Tap House, I couldn’t help but feel proud of how far my borough has come. A place that once served as a source of shame was now a name that I could proudly wear across my chest.

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