FUNK PUNKS

J-MOE- CHICAGO RAP ARTIST

INSTAGRAM: earlygang.jmoe

youtu.be/UhMjXZe7ar8

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SB: How would you describe your sound?

JM: New. Different. Urban.

SB:  Describe your feelings when you first heard your song on the radio.

JMI immediately thought it was early. I was inspired but I knew I had to apply more pressure now that I had reached one goal. I want to be on the radio spinning all the time.

SB: What kind of impact would you like to have on the music industry?

JM:  I want to show different point of view and create new waves.

SB: What inspired the creation of the “early gang” movement?

JM: To be early is to be aware. Early is really a way of thinking. The gang part comes from creating a wave that people can relate to and almost being rebellious in a way.

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SB:  When and why did you decide to pursue music?

JM: Freshman year in college I released my first song. I caught a buzz and fell in love with creating music so I took it serious.

 SB:  What are some of the main misconceptions about rap artist from Chicago?

JM: That every rapper has the same story or point of view or way of thinking. That’s why I know my sound and story will catch because it’s different.

 SB: Who are some of the artist that inspire your craft and why?

JM: The main people that inspire me are the producers and artist I work with daily. Also, the team I keep around me. My team hella’ talented and we inspire and feed off each other.

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“SWORD GIRL”: SHORT STORIES

WRITTEN BY: SYNIA

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Introduction:

Once upon a time, there lived a special girl who could see the future and sword fight. She went to a special school where she could practice using her powers. She enjoyed living in her school because it was filled with lessons, spells, and legends. One day, she woke up and she heard banging and rumbling. She got up out of her bed and she saw people with black air suits evacuating the school.

She quickly grabbed her katana and put her suit on and left her room. She moved carefully and silently. She made her mark and attacked 4 guards. She went to a classroom and saw that all the students and teachers were trapped in cages. She cut everyone’s chains.”What are those people doing here?” she asked.”They are trying to take us down.” said a teacher.”Well I’m going to stop them!” she responded. She went to the lab where the intruders were and fought  them until there was one left in sight. She saved her school. Her name was Sword Girl and you could find her somewhere in the school still practicing and learning more about herself. 

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SHORT STORY 1

One day after class, Sword Girl went to the library to get a gem book. Inside the book there is a powerful gem, a green amethyst.This gem gives rock powers.

One night when everyone was asleep, Sword Girl snuck into the counsel office and opened a portal to find the green amethyst. Sword Girl looked and looked but she did not find it.  Suddenly, she saw a green light, it was the green amethyst that grant rock powers! Sword Girl grabbed the gem and suddenly the gem started to glow. The gem held tight to Sword Girl and then BOOM!

 “Where is the gem?” Sword girl said to herself. She then realized the gem was on her belly! When Sword Girl went back to her school all of  the teachers were looking at her in shock.

“What happened to you?” said Mrs.Witch.

“I went after the green amethyst that grants rock powers. Now, I has a new power. I guess I have to practice with my rock powers now, right?” said Sword Girl “Yes!”  said Mrs.witch.

The next day, Sword Girl began practicing her rock powers. 

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SHORT  STORY 2

Sword girl was very excited. A new student was coming to her school and Sword Girl was going to help her with her powers.

“Everyone this is Ally, she has air powers.” The clsssroom starts responding all at once to Ally. “Hi, I’m Sword girl” Sword Girl continues. “Sure you are.” said Ally in a mean voice.

Sword Girl looked confused as she continues showing Ally around. “This is where the council is, that’s where we practice our powers, and here is the library.That is where we do spells.” said Sword girl.”Thank you!” said Ally shouts. 

Later that night when everyone is sleeping. Ally snuck out of her room and went to the lab. Sword Girl heard Ally and followed her. Silently, Sword girl listened to her conversation over the phone.

“I got the information. She is so not smart she did not know I was here to take her school down. I even lied about having powers.” Ally whispers.

While Ally was talking, Sword Girl was recording. “Not so fast, Ally.” said Sword Girl. Sword girl acted fast! She grab a rope and tied Ally up!Then, she called the council and told them everything that Ally did. Ally was never allowed in the school again.

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SHORT STORY 3. 

It was one evening, Sword Girl was practicing her powers with her friend, Icy. Sword Girl and Icy were very close friends. But, when Mrs.Witch’s spell lost control and became a curse and landed on Icy; she started to act bad. Icy even started to be mean to Sword Girl. Icy froze the entire school. Everyone was cold and shivering. It was up to Sword Girl to save her best friend. Sword Girl grabbed her katana and put a snow suit on and left her room. 

As  Icy was still cursed and continuing to freeze everything. “Ha-ha-ha!” said Icy. Sword Girl went into a classroom and she saw Icy. “Icy, control yourself remember we are friends.” said Sword Girl.”NEV ER!” said Icy.Then Icy blasted ice at Sword girl.”Ouch”[gasp] said Icy.”Sword Girl!” The curse was lifted.Together Icy and Sword Girl realized that it was true friendship the ended the curse. 

“It’s good to have you back.” said Sword girl.

“It’s good to be back!” said Icy. 

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SHORT STORY 4. 

It was Valentine’s day, at Sword Girl’s school and it was one of her duties to decorate for the special day.When she was finished, a boy named, Vlad left roses, love notes, and chocolates and heart balloons at her locker. “What is all of this?” said Sword Girl.”It is from a Valentine from a secret admirer”said Icy. “What is a Valentine?” said Sword Girl.”It means someone who loves you!” “WHAT?!” said

Sword Girl. “No, I do not love a boy!” said Sword Girl .Suddenly the two girls heard a knock on their door.”Is Sword Girl in there?” said a voice.”Who are you?” said Sword Girl.”I’m Vlad, your secret admirer!” “But, I do not love you back.” said Sword Girl.”Oh.” “Sorry.” said Vlad.

 Later that evening, Icy was studying on the love bug.”Hmm.” said Icy.”I need to write this down.”When Icy left the desk for one minute, the love bug was gone!”Where is it?!” said Icy.In Sword Girl’s room, the love bug went into Sword girl’s room and bit her.

The next day, Sword girl asked Vlad to be her Valentine. And Vlad said “yes”.The love bug can spread, if Vlad and Sword girl’s love become big, they will be in love forever! Icy needed to get that love bug back before it fully infects Sword Girl. So Icy followed Vlad and Sword Girl. Sword girl took Vlad to a hill to watch the sunset. Icy was right behind them. “Gotcha!” said Icy.”What happened?” said Sword Girl.”A love bug bit you and made you fall in love with Vlad!” said Icy.

“Hey Vlad want to hang out sometime?” said Sword Girl.

“Yeah.” said Vlad.

The next day, Sword girl and Vlad fell in love. Without the love bug! 

 

Meet the Author: Synia 

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SpiritedxKulture

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Spirit is not afraid to go to her dark places to find the light and she thinks with her heart. Love is her life and she loves to share the love that she feels.

Check her out on Youtube under SpiritedxKulture, instagram @SpiritedxKulture and @Sprinkles.of.Spirit for daily inspirational posts

Hailing from Atlanta and currently residing in NYC Spirit is a woman on a mission to heal herself and help others around her. Passionate about spirituality and self-love, Spirit can often be found speaking to many different kinds of people about their dreams, goals and their lives. She loves people and knows that life can be an arduous journey. Spirit recognized herself and changed her life for the better 4 years ago and is committed to sharing the lessons that helped her grow into the confident shining woman that she is today. She recently launched SpiritedxKulture, her platform to inspire her generation to reach for their true selves and get through life’s obstacles all while growing and glowing up. Known for being fly, you can find Spirit at Bloomingdales styling clients in a small boutique. She has worked with celebrity stylists and finds ways to integrate self-love and clothing choice. One of her mottos is that, “when you look your best, you feel your best and thus you treat people better.” Why not look good and feel good?! 

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SB: What sparked your interest in starting a youtube channel? How has that journey been for you?

SK: I have been curious to start a channel for almost 2 years now, but so many things held me back. My first and biggest obstacle was not being spiritually ready to speak to others. Also the fear that people would think I was boring or weird for speaking about spirituality also held me back. On my first attempt at a channel in 2015, I couldn’t even look at the camera straight on haha. Its really interesting how little confidence I had yet I still put those 2 videos out. Being a tough self-critic back then, I never thought what I did was good enough so I stopped. Fortunately, I have grown and experienced an increase in confidence and decrease in care towards how people feel about what I choose to do. I started my 2nd channel at the end of January 2017. It has been an interesting journey and I am still exploring, but I can say its so fulfilling to follow my heart and really cool to see how people are responding.

SB: What are some of the misconceptions about wearing locs?

SK: I would be a pretender if I acted like people have not been really crazy or negative about my locs. I’ve had someone say “my sister with the dreadlocks” and that was weird 1. Because she was white and 2. Because I refer to my hair as locs not dreadlocks. I just laughed it off as ignorance. Other than that people seem to like them or ask why I got them. Not many misconceptions that I’ve experienced personally or that I even noticed enough to remember if I have.

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SB: Tell us about creating a new identity for yourself and what it meant for you?

SK: This question threw me off for a second because I’ve never really considered myself as having a “new identity,” however I can see this perception from people on the outside. So, thank you for making me think. Hmmm Spirit came to me in a process that I call growing up and maturing into the adult/person that I wanted to be in the world. I really got down into Eboni (my birth name) and reviewed my life, my experiences, the relationships I attracted, my conflicts, dreams and desires and so much more. At the same time, I began to get in touch with my Spirit and my purpose through reading, writing, meditation and some intense conversations with the Universe. One powerful night, my Spirit came to me and she was so big and bright and beautiful to ME. She told me that we could do whatever we put our mind to and a host of other things; it was amazing because her I was telling myself to trust the giant within. I was nervous to change what people called me and was fearful for how it would be received, but in going with my heart I did it anyways. Spirit is akin to my Sasha Fierce, but I believe she is my higher self. Everything Eboni has the potential to be. She’s Eboni’s spirit put front and center. I did and still am learning to know myself yet alone BE myself in a new way. One that is limitless and mighty in her authentic Divine power. It’s fun and scary, but mainly fun.

SB: How do you meditate?

SK: Different ways! When I wake up I sit up, set my timer for 15-30 minutes and get in touch with some deep breaths. I also meditate after yoga or on the train when I really need to get in touch with myself. It’s a journey and sometimes a struggle to sit, but I am forgiving and patient. Each time is different. I also find meditation in dancing and cooking, they lull my mind into a place where I can only feel and have no room think. It’s special.

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SB: What keeps you inspired?

SK: Trying new things. Challenging myself. My emotions and experiences. My heart. My passion to be the change that I want to see. The desire for myself and others to remember and experience their divinity. Joy. Love.

SB: Do you ever find difficulty in following the advice that you give to others?

SK: I definitely used to, but I am pretty good at remembering who I am even in the midst of tribulation. And if I forget, I’ve got some strong special people in my life that will gladly get me back on track.

SB: What are some of your plans with the new platform that you’ve created for yourself?

SK: I wish I had a million plans, but I don’t. I have this blurry vision where I have my own show and books all regarding creating a lifestyle dipped in love of life, art, others and oneself. I take things day by day and I figure that if I listen to myself and contribute towards my dreams daily I’ll look back and be amazed at what happens. So long story short I’ll keep sharing the love with the world and be surprised by what happens.

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JALEESA LASHAY: FLASHING LIGHTS

Spelman Woman. Media Correspondent. Associate Producer for BlackTree TV

VISIT: http://jaleesalashay.com/ for interview footage!

SB: Describe your most inspiring interview?
JL: To be honest, all of my interviews inspire me because I am constantly learning and growing from the celebrities I’m fortunate enough to speak with. I respect their hustle and always learn from our conversations; however, one definite stand out for me was my interview with Denzel Washington for Fences. Fences was such an inspiring film and important for black history and I mean it’s DENZEL Washington! Denzel has an aura about him that is extremely charming and he’s such a professional. It was very inspiring to speak with one of the best actors of all time and to connect on our childhood. Before the interview we talked about growing up in the Bronx, and it just flowed right into the interview. I was full of nerves, so I wouldn’t call it my best interview, but you can definitely check it out for yourself and tell me what you think. 
 
SB: How did moving from Atl to LA change you? What advice would you have for those looking to make a big move/start new?
JL: Moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles was TOUGH. Making that cross-country move is no joke. I was stressed out, but I kept pushing and I truly have my boyfriend to thank for his continuous support and love. After graduating from Spelman in Atlanta, I felt I was making a good adjustment into adulthood, but moving to Los Angeles really made me grow as a woman. I had to figure things out about myself, my spirituality, my relationship and my friendships. It’s tough trying to make a path for your career and grind, while also figuring out how to maintain relationships with friends and family who are miles away. At the same time, grinding and focusing on your career but also putting God first and prioritizing your relationship. Not to mention the fact that many people tried to project their fears onto me. I really learned how to find peace within myself and to trust my inner voice (trust God within me). I meditate more and I just let the universe guide me toward my purpose. Sometimes we forget that we are NOT in control of this. We work hard to fulfill our purpose, but its already designed for us, so if anything Los Angeles taught me how to find myself. I found myself here in LA and man I have to say I love myself. I am so proud of the woman I am. I feel like superwoman! I am still learning and adjusting to LA, but so far I love it because it is here that I found myself.
 
SB: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about working the red carpet?
JL: That it’s easy. that it’s just all glamorous and fun talking to celebrities. NO. it’s fun if you’re walking the carpet as one of the celebrities but working as a media correspondent is NOT easy. Celebrities are in a rush on the carpet, so they hardly want to talk, so you kind of have to yell at them to get their attention just to get your question in. Things move really quickly, so I’m constantly having to research in advance to anticipate who will be in attendance. You don’t get much preparation on the red carpet for your interviews, everything is in real-time. It’s also hot and most times uncomfortable. We have to stand there a LONG time, usually in heels so by the time the carpet is over you are not even interested in the actual event. It’s not easy at all, you have to really be passionate about it. 
 
SB: How would you describe your style?
JL: It’s weird I don’t really feel I have a style yet. I’m still figuring out what that is. Most of the time I don’t wear any makeup, my hair is wild and free and I’m in my Puma sliders. I only wear makeup when I have a red carpet event, because it looks better on camera. Overall, I’m a real girly girl. I love heels and dressing up. but I’m pretty simple with my style. I don’t have a stylist. I usually just pick an outfit I like for the carpet, and my go to is usually a jumpsuit or a sexy dress. 
SB: If you could interview any one at this moment in time who would it be and why?
JL: Hands down Beyonce and Oprah. Beyonce, because I love the stance she’s taken recently in speaking up for black women and our struggles. She doesn’t do interviews, so it would be an honor to be able to have a heart-to-heart as black women and just discuss motherhood, sexuality, life and everything else that encompasses Beyonce’s music. Oprah because she is truly my inspiration. Before interviews, I usually watch Oprah because she is extremely polished and there’s a lot to learn from the way she conducts her interviews. I’m also particularly interested in how she’s recently transitioned into television and any future plans she has for OWN. 
SB: What are some of your top choices for beauty products?
JL: I’m pretty simple. I get a lot of compliments on my skin, but I tell people all the time I work out A LOT and I only drink water. Occasionally, I may have a glass of wine or champagne. Your physical and mental healthy really impacts your outer beauty. But I love cetaphil face lotion. That’s my go to. It’s a great moisturizer. I use coconut oil for everything (scalp massages, makeup remover and body lotion). I also love Shea Moistures Deep Treatment Masque for my deep conditioner. That’s really about it. I use a Clinique Foundation but the rest of my beauty products are drugstore brands. 
 
SB: What do you have to say to inspire women who are struggling with attaining self-confidence?
JL: Be still. We are TOO Busy and over saturated by content and news. Get off social media. Light a candle. Sit down and be still. Meditate and listen to your inner voice and do whatever will make you feel better. Cry, write, go dance. Do what makes you feel happy and free. and I think its important to maintain healthy relationships. Stay away from friends and men who project negative energy onto you. Only surround yourself with people who love you. But don’t be too hard on yourself girl. We’re still young. We’re figuring life out. LOVE YOURSELF. Literally, stand in the mirror and admire your beauty and tell yourself you’re the shit because you are. 
SB: On social media, you speak a lot about the progression of the Black community. Do you have any new insights to share?
JL: Right now with all the Trump news, I just want black people to realize that Trump is NOT the issue. Without Trump, our system of white supremacy still exists and it disenfranchises black people. We need to build our black economic empowerment, which means we need to get out of debt (ALL DEBT, cars, student loans, credit cards) so we can build our generational wealth. We need to spend our money on black businesses and banks when possible, and we need to start using our finances to gain political power. Prioritize. Stop supporting designers who don’t even want us in our stores. Start being wise about your finances, so we can really build our wealth and political power. 

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KELLEIGH COPELAND: BLACK MOM MAGIC

 WEBSITE:     www.blackmommagicblog.com

INSTAGRAM: @black.mom.magic

My name is Kelleigh Copeland. I was born and raised in Georgia. I graduated from Spelman College in 2013 with a BA in English. After graduating from Spelman I attended The Savannah College of Art and Design (Atlanta campus) and graduated in 2015 with an MA in Luxury and Fashion Management and Marketing. I am currently an office manager for a law firm. Aside from being a mommy, I enjoy traveling, playing tennis, writing, and fashion. I created Black Mom Magic after being inspired by my little Aubrey. He is such a joy to be around and I wanted to share my journey of being a mom. I also hope to help new moms get adjusted to motherhood and to introduce new things to experienced moms! I was also influenced to start this blog when I realized how many of my Spelman sisters have little ones of their own or are expecting. Black Mom Magic shares stories, memories, advice, and techniques from one Mommy to another or a Mommy to be. I have diverse entries ranging from labor to children’s fashion and everything in between. Black Mom Magic also features a section (OOTD) for cute outfit ideas for your little ones! Each month there will be a giveaway for one lucky Mommy and her little one!

Black Mom Magic is also on Facebook and Instagram (@black.mom.magic). Also if you subscribe to the blog (www.blackmommagicblog.com) you will become apart of the Black Mom Magic Club which offers exclusive features including being the first to guess the monthly giveaway question and access to blog entries before anyone else!

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NYLE TAYLOR: Influential Band Director

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Aah the bio.. First born on both sides of the family. Forced to seek wisdom from adults instead of siblings or cousins my age because I had none. After praying for her every single day for years, God gave me Nya Taylor when I was 5 years old. She taught me fearlessness, responsibility, and to live life as if someone was always watching – cause she stayed getting me in trouble by imitating me then taddling. Household was the perfect combination of Godly Wisdom and Street Savvy. Mom, Dewana Taylor, was and still is the God fearing anchor of her family and Dad, Leonard Taylor, was the the child who had to raise himself and learned how to thrive along the way. Mom kept me in church and thus the cultivation of my relationship with God and my love for live instrumentation which eventually turned into my career path.

Church jobs are how I learned the majority of my skill sets; such as being a janitor – humility, playing drums – music, working the sound room – working behind the scene, preaching – public speaking, typing minutes for meetings – organizational skills, and becoming President of the youth group – accountability to the max. Dad’s life stories and his ability to research provided me with the imagination to find angles and perspectives that only the combination of books and life experiences could create. Put all that together and what do you have?? A 25 year old first year Band Director at a Junior High School in South Holland, Illinois who is in love with God, loves making people smile, lives music, and who’s heart’s desire is to completely fulfill every ounce of potential that he was created for before he leaves this here earth.

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What exactly made you decide to become an educator?

I actually fought the idea of becoming an educator for YEARS!! I never wanted to deal with the type of students that I used to be – asking the teacher a million questions to get an understanding and challenging the teacher if I sensed uncertainty. In addition, my mother is an educator and I did not want to follow in her steps. But after working a variety of labor jobs (janitor, stockboy, assembly line worker, dishwasher), I realized that serving people by helping them reach their potential, ESPECIALLY YOUTH, was something that I gravitated towards regardless of any job title. So I coupled that innate desire with the way that I live and breathe music and wallah!What was the last gift you gave to someone? 

What inspires you? 

Seeing potential being reached!! Whether watching the Olympics, watching a superhero movie, or reading about an inventor (Thomas Edison is my DUDE!!). God is such a BEAST that He created things in nature, in humans, in physics that are just…. wow. So when I see ingenuity, or innovation, or grittiness, or patience, or anything that leads to the display of God’s MAGNITUDE!!!…. I become overwhelmed and just try to glean what I can to add to my toolbox.

If you could leave a mark on the world, how would you do it?

I would simply want to be remembered as someone who influenced others by modeling what it looks like to whole heartedly seek God’s Will.

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MADHURI PAVAMANI: LAUNCHES NEW BOOK “DUTCH

(Of course it’s lit and I’m not just being biased)

DUTCH:

I’ve spent years holed up in the deepest, darkest parts of the city, fighting to keep Death and her Poochas from crossing the dead back to the living. My skill with a blade is bested only by my menace, my despair, my anguish – the strongest weapons I yield.

Then I meet Juma Landry and it all goes to hell.

She is beauty and love and sex and light, everything I am not. And she makes me want things I haven’t desired in years. But the monsters of my life, the evil lurking in the dark corners of my soul, those places craven and vile, bind me to a past I cannot shake free. As the most skilled Keeper for The Gate, nothing and no one can prevent me from excelling at a job I never wanted. I do it because it is my legacy, a fate I cannot outrun, but when Juma becomes my next assignment, each of her nine lives to be ended by my hand, I must decide: the legacy I never wanted or the love I don’t deserve.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2o4p5hC

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2obj4ws

B&N: http://bit.ly/2o4zEkL

iBooks: http://apple.co/2mKwhiU
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2kVHDQ3

Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2omC91U

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IG: @madhuriwrites. Twitter: @madhuriwrites. Facebook: madhuriwrites

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VAUGHN DABNEY: Launches New Book “Finding One”

If you are looking for a new source for inspiration “Finding One” is perfection. This book will inspire you and give you a daily dose of wisdom. Check it out! Visit http://www.findingonethebook.com

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Vaughn Dabney was born in Westminster, CA in 1984 then moved to (and ultimately grew up in) Silver Spring, MD when he was 11 years old. He attended college at DeVry University earning a Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering Technology summa cum laude. In his last year of college, he taught himself how to code moving from web to mobile over the course of 10 years ultimately creating his current company, Empty Box Media, in 2009. To-date, Vaughn has personally developed over 30 mobile apps for clients as well as personal apps for both iOS and Android platforms. He is a self-proclaimed renaissance man, delving into: photography, film, art, and music. Currently, Vaughn lives in Los Angeles, where he operates his software company.

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Twitter: @vaughndabney (http://twitter.com/vaughndabney)

Facebook: http://facebook.com/TheVaughnDabney (fan page)

Instagram: @mrdabney (http://instagram.com/mrdabney)

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/emptyboxmedia

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SOLANGE KNOWLES

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A SEAT AT THE TABLE ALBUM

Winning, serving,  unapologetically black all up and through this entire album. Thank you!!

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A BEAUTiFUL MIND: Cherise Washington

VISIT: http://www.beautifulmindsunite.org/

To hear amazing poetry by some talented creatives!

INSTAGRAM: @beautiful.n.mind

My name is Cherise N. Washington, and I am a proclaimed lover of the arts. What exactly does this mean – it means that I appreciate and find so much value in the act of creation. I search for beauty in words, actions, and simply existence… So there is no wonder that, right now, I probably sound just like an artist of abstract thought and fluffy words. Lol

But, Im not just an abstract thinker, and communicator of fluffy words because I can back it up. Because actually, I am the founder of Beautiful Minds Unite (BMU). Which, I like to describe as a home for the poetic arts. At BMU, our culture is shaped by love and wisdom, and warmly welcomes candid expression. Every week, I feature a new poet on beautifulmindsunite.org, and have created an archive of every poem ever submitted – simply visit my site, and click the logo to listen to all of our poems.

Be inspired. Be empowered. Be entertained- because there are some funny ass poems on the site; some spoken, so beautifully, by your favorite brown lady blogger, Sydney M. Blaylock.

In love and creativity.

Yours Truly,
Cherise N. Washington

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ERIC BELL

Introducing Morehouse 13′ Graduate & Navy Veteran Aviator

Vote Eric Bell for District 3 County Commissioner -Clayton County, GA

Early Voting begins July 5th-Election Day July 26th ‼️

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Shop Teddy Winston Brand for men’s accessories, travel, and bags

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VISIT: http://www.Bellforus.com & gofundme.com/BellForUs

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JASMINE MELISSA BLAKE-STEWART

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SPELMAN WOMAN AND JURIS DOCTOR #thatslaw

I would first like to take the time to congratulate all of the graduates of 2016. Especially to my best friend and this weeks FUNK PUNK Jasmine Melissa Blake-Stewart! On May 13th, 2016 her family and friends had the honor of witnessing her receive her law degree at Georgia State University.

I not only salute her for receiving her law degree but also for giving birth to her beautiful son Chase during her last year of law school. If that isn’t black girl magic I don’t know what else is.

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A spark of #blackgirlmagic

Phillippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” After all of the studying, crying, and the hardships she still prevailed but none of that happens without the support of God, family, and friends. It’s almost over! Up next is the bar exam!

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Just a few supportive friends #spelmansisters

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MADHURI WRITES

In honor of my step-mama’s birthday I decided to interview her so the world can see just why I think she’s so damn cool. Learn more about her experiences as a writer and her amazing books below.

WEBSITE: http://www.madhuriblaylock.wordpress.com

INSTAGRAM: @madhuriwrites

where to purchase your books: http://amzn.to/1L0rCyj

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Madhuri is that Indian girl everyone thinks is Black, or Spanish, or Black and Spanish. She’s from down South, has lived in the New York City area for more than twenty years, and is proof that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl. 

She loves whiskey, tattoos, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, her mom’s Indian food, all kinds of naughty, filthy things, Friday Night Lights, coffee, and Martha’s Vineyard. She can wiggle her ears, flare her nostrils, and curl her tongue.

As the great Charles Bukowski said, she writes because it comes bursting out of her. She cannot stop it, nor does she want to.

She’s the author of the paranormal romance trilogy, The Sanctum, and the upcoming erotic romance, The Keeper Series. In a past life, when she was much sweeter and kind of shy, she wrote and published the middle reader series, Ayesha’s Teenage Survival Files.

She does other things to pay the bills.

INTERVIEW

Q: What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing trilogies?

A: It wasn’t so much a desire to want to write trilogies per se as it was a need to get the words and ideas and characters that were bouncing around in my head down on paper somewhere. Initially, I thought The Sanctum would be a series, leaving open the possibility to write as many books as I liked based around the main characters, but as I started putting together the trajectory of the plot, I found the trilogy to be the perfect format to tell my story. As the writer, it provides me ample opportunity to perfect my tale, fully develop my characters, and engage in some serious murder and mayhem while I’m at it. As a reader, trilogies provide a complete and satisfying series of books but also leave you wanting just a little more. I never want my readers to close the cover on one of my books and say to themselves, god, I’m glad to see the end of that series. I don’t think that’ll ever happen so long as I stay true to the trilogy.

Q: Where do your ideas come from?

A: You wouldn’t believe the stuff bouncing around in my head. I can be walking down the street, something will catch my eye, and bam! there’s a new book idea. I can be in a Deep EXtreme gym class and suddenly realize the very last sentence of my current work-in-progress. The Sanctum Trilogy spawned from a desire to create a kickass girl who knew she was kickass, and didn’t need a boy to explain her kickass status to her. The Keeper Series originated from the word for cat – poocha – in my parents’ native tongue, Malayalam. I was thinking about it one day and how cats have nine lives and realized what a great character that could be – someone with nine lives and her lover is tasked with ending all of them – and from such madness came Dutch and Juma. In a similar vein, a friend sent me a photo the other day of his view from his office window in Brussels and upon expanding the picture to see the details of one of the buildings in the shot, I noticed in the far left corner what appeared to be a nuclear reactor. Immediately my wheels started spinning and I thought how cool it would be to write a death scene at that exact Belgian nuclear reactor. And that, good people, is how my brain works. It’s bizarre and sometimes creepy and all the time interesting.

Q: Tell us about your current work in progress.

A: Right now I’m working on book II in The Keeper Series – it’s called JUMA. It picks up where DUTCH left off, expanding upon the deceit and danger surrounding D+J, further developing some of the minor characters from book I, while always being true to the sexy nastiness that is Dutch and Juma. Those two on the page are just so. damn. hot. I love them so much. They’re sexy and smart and hardcore, but also full of vulnerability and despair and gah! They bring out all of the feels.

What is the hardest thing about writing it so far? The pressure of making it as sexy and beautiful as book I. I want to expand the story and the characters, but I also want to stay true to the raw beauty of D+J. That and meeting my July 15th deadline…

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Q: What is your favorite quote and why?

A: I have so many – it’s unfair to make me pick a favorite. Instead, I’m going to pick someone I admire and give you one of my favorite quotes of theirs. I love Charles Bukowski – madly. His words and his poetry and his everything inspire me daily and I can only hope some of his spirit is in my work. One of my favorite quotes of his is: What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.

Q: When you aren’t writing what are you doing?

A: Thinking about writing, hanging with The Kid, doing yoga, drinking whiskey, hiking, being proud of you, laughing with friends, living this second act of my life to the fullest.

Q: What advice would you give women of color that are aspiring writers?

A: Write because it’s your passion, you cannot imagine doing anything else, the words come bursting out of you, and you feel alive. Don’t write to make money or become famous. Do write for love or romance or sex. Love your words and your fellow writers, embrace your community, then step outside your boundaries and experience new ones. And when you feel like you cannot write another word, throw back a shot of whiskey, and get back at it. BE MAGIC.

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—————–SB

THE GUYS OF THE SOUTH SIDE-Perspectives of Chicago vs. “chiraq”

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RASHAWN WALKER

1. How has growing up in the city of Chicago shaped you?

Chicago has shaped me to be conscious I mean I don’t really know how else to be in the city or in this world for that matter. You go through so much being here and I can say for the people in my age group the 20’s and a little younger we lose a lot at our age I think that’s where the hope dies. Growing up around an environment like this has just put me in the state of mine, my people need me. It’s like I’m still growing and I’m still learning and I’m hurt like everybody else is out here really dealing with something on the inside but that’s apart of growth, that is what encourages me to continue to fight and get right with myself so I can spread that message around and after working in a high school and now in elementary school that’s what I’m spreading, self love.

2. When you hear the word “chiraq” how does it make you feel?

Like a challenge, so whenever I hear someone using the word I’m like how can we change that? It’s not like it’s cool if you ask me. It really just represents a time period that we are living in and it’s a sad one. I mean any time you post something on a social site and within that hour you can be killed umm I think that speaks volumes as to were we are as a culture. Chiraq is nothing to be proud of but a message to the people that were going to have to fix these in order for them to get right for us. That support that we seek from the outside won’t come.

3. How has “chiraq” impacted the lifestyle of the youth within Chicago?

Shorties feel like this a war zone. So why am I trying to do the right thing when it’s nothing out here for me anyway I might not make it to 20. See kids are very smart they just don’t always know how to articulate themselves and use their vocabulary to explain themselves in the best light. They see the mistreat of their people so when you’re growing up already not seeing equality and your friends are dying and your dad or moms is in an out of your life because of jail or drugs or just the broken system the mind is broken there. I mean communities aren’t producing anything active or safe for you to be a part of and your culture tells you to live a certain lifestyle like this is how you become cool, umm be a rapper or play ball, disrespect women, or be into drugs and of course it’s commercialize. It’s not bluntly saying it like I just did but that’s exactly what its teaching instead of teaching self love,reading about your history, learning about yourself and all the magnificent things we as a people can accomplish. We have to encourage each other to be great! but this what you get 20 years of no fathers out here. 20 years of no fathers equals “chiraq.”

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MAURICE ALLEN

1. How has growing up in the city of Chicago shaped you?

Growing up in the city of Chicago has shaped me to be a very aware individual. With Chicago being such a diverse yet segregated city, I was able to experience the benefits of somewhat immersing myself in many different cultures and the prejudices that come along with them. As a young black male in Chicago I always had to stay on my toes and be cognizant of my surroundings. I think awareness is a trait that is necessary in life and Chicago forced me to strengthen that trait.

2. When you hear the word “chiraq” how does it make you feel?

The word “chiraq” doesn’t really move me. I don’t think the violence plaguing the city should be glorified but I do understand how the word derived. Chicago is a war zone, I think I’ve read there have been more American casualties in Chicago then there have been in Iraq. I understand the word, but I don’t use it myself.

3. How has CHIRAQ impacted the lifestyle of the youth within Chicago?

I think the youth have more so impacted the word than the other way around. Chicago has always been a tough place where the youth feel like they have to be the toughest. The word is just symbolic of how Chicago has been for a long time. However, I think some youth feel like they have to live up to the word. They think by being from Chicago they have to maintain a certain grit or street cred about themselves. BUT, one word didn’t change the dynamic of Chicago, the youth has been plagued with the same issues for many many years.

————–SB

WARDROBE STYLIST: SANKARA XASHA TURE

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INSTAGRAM/TWITTER: @sankaraxt

Sankara Xasha Ture is a wardrobe stylist and costume designer whose goal is to show the world her thoughts through art and fashion. She feels that we as people all have a form of expression that must to be released. “Anything that expresses your inner souls shall be revealed.” Sankara XT’s main focus is to style from the inside out, making anyone feel good about themselves from their inner spirit.

Q:  What have you sacrificed in order to follow your dreams?

A:  A major thing I gave up to follow my dreams was my education. I quit Howard University in 2011 and moved to NYC with literally a $1.35 in my pocket and a dream. I end up living there for three years so dreams are possible.

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Q:  What impact do you envision yourself having on the world of fashion?

A:  The only impact I want to have is daring people to be themselves. I feel that fashion is a form of expression and how one chooses to express it should be solely up to them. Even when I style, I become closer to my client and learn their personalities so that I can style them from the inside out.

Q:  What does the phrase “Bitch, please I got dreams” mean for you?

A:  Bitch please, I got dreams in my eyes means anyone or anything that has an opinion on my journey can kiss my ass! Society often tries and create this cookie cutter plan on life and that’s just not everyone’s journey or path. Some of us have to take an alternative route. So next time someone has something negative to say, hit them with a Bitch please, I’ve got dreams and show them that you will make it regardless!

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—————–SB

BEYOND ATL: INTRODUCING DA ONES SKATE GROUP

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Remember ATL the movie? Check out the story behind Da Ones skate group. Da Ones has managed to build their own skate legacy and can viewed as one of the most memorable representations of roller-skating in television. The groups discovery by Chris Robinson has led them to make appearances in Boost Mobile Commercial, IPod commercial, Clara’s “1,2 Step” music video, and the movie ATL with hopes of making an appearance in ATL 2.

In 1994, Da Ones skate group was organized and founded by Doug Wynn; he was passionate about skating and introduced his friends Dean and Paul to a Friday night session at Cascade. If you’ve ever been to Cascade, you know the energy is crazy.

Q: Describe your style of skating. How how has it shaped you?

 A: Our style of skating is ATL like the movie we had to teach the actors how to skate like us. Our style is aggressive and complicated as we compile skate moves on 2 different base patterns all in sequence.

Q: What sets your skate group apart from others?

A: There was skating, dance battles, and of course fine women everywhere. We get our skates and get on the floor; Doug goes off doing 360 spins, clapping, and crossing his legs. We said “ Yo we gotta learn that!” Our group got as big as 6 strong in a line. Some stopped skating and others joined us but us 3 Doug, Dean and I was the core group. Here we are 22 years later, I look back and laugh about how we almost were never famous. If we never would have went skating with Doug we wouldn’t have ever been discovered by Chris Robinson, skated for Jermaine Dupree’s daughters birthday party, met Destiny’s Child, or skated with Wingo from Jagged Edge or Andre Miller from the NBA.

We have made more money than all if not most skaters so when people tend to act like skating is not that serious or say it ain’t like were getting paid to do it. I say we do get paid and we still get paid for it so we do take it seriously.

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Q: What was your experience like behind of scenes of the ATL?

A: Wouldn’t trade it for the world. Everyone poured their heart and soul into the skating parts of the movie TI couldn’t skate that well but he never gave up none of them did. I wish we had more time to work with them. Most people don’t know this but we were the only group who didn’t have any choreographed moves in the movie. We had the green light to do what we wanted as long as we stayed in line with the other crew’s.

Q: What misconceptions are you interested in breaking about roller-skating?

A: People say skating is lame and it’s only for kids. Or they say why is Bill Butler still skating at 80 plus years old? Why does Mike Epps, Rajon Rondo, Andre Miller, Cedric Ceballos, Wingo (Jagged Edge) or Jermaine Dupree skate? Don’t knock skating you will be surprised who puts on skates.

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Q: Over the years would you say that the skating scene has changed? If so, how?

A: Over the years there has been a drastic change in the skate scene in ATL. We used to have 4 skate nights now we only have 1 (Cascade on Sunday nights). On a good note there’s new music and skate styles being learned out here. As Atlanta is made up of many different cities and we have inherited their skate styles and music. The sad note is there are only a few ATL skaters left and the way things looking we might never get to pass the torch to the next best ATL crew.

Q: Name a song that really makes your group turn up.

A: Songs that make DA ONES turn up? The Next Movement by The Roots, any Young Jeezy song, any song from A Tribe Called Quest (RIP Phife Dawg).

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—————SB

INTRODUCING MARAWA THE AMAZING

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I am honored to invite you all to learn more about MARAWA THE AMAZING. She is a talented performer, hula hooper, and roller-skater. Marawa holds the world record for 200 hoops at once. She has performed with Kenzo, OC, Nike, and in North Korea. She can roller skate in high heels whilst hooping – but she prefers to do it separately. Check out Marawa’s interview to learn more about her talent and inspiration.

VISIT: http://www.marawatheamazing.com  INSTAGRAM: @marawa

FACEBOOK: Marawa The Amazing

ME: What inspired your interest in becoming a professional skater and hula hooper?

MARAWA: I have been skating since I was 2. It’s like walking! I trained at circus school after high school and thats how I ended up doing shows and performances – It feels right you know? I didnt really make a conscious decision it just happened.

ME: When and how did you decide to heels into your roller-skating routine?

MARAWA: As soon as I started wearing heels I wanted to turn them into skates. It took YEARS to actually make them. Lots of trial and error, but I know it would be possible!

ME : Who would you consider your idol within the performing arts and why?

MARAWA : There are loads,  I made this piece about a few of them https://vimeo.com/96037692   – I did a solo show about the history of exotic women in performance. It is so un documented and its a shame.

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ME : What are some of your other interest that your followers don’t get to see?

MARAWA : Jump rope. Cooking.  I love to cook!- and coffee 🙂

ME : What is your favorite song to skate and hula hoop to?

MARAWA : Ooh – That’s too hard – It’s everything by DRAM.

ME: How would you describe your style?

MARAWA: QUALITY NOVELTY

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ME: What do you have to say to inspire women that struggling with attaining self-confidence ?

MARAWA: Be comfortable. I think there is a real pressure on women to be confident, and be independent. Be pretty and be strong. Be about a million things all at once. TREAT YO SELF ! Do what feels right – If you wanna wear your tracksuit to the club wear it. If you wanna spend 2 hours doing your hair and doing dips in your favourite new heels DO IT. Just don’t feel like you have to be a certain way. You only have to answer to yourself. Don’t take other women’s stank faces to heart. Maybe she had a bad day and does realllly mean it. We need to support each other ! Tell that girl she looks good if she does ! We are on the same team !

—————–SB

ARTIST. INNOVATOR. SANCTIFIER OF FEMALE SEXUALITY

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Danielle Deadwyler is a congregation of artistic personas and firebrand talent. Her sophisticated spunk and ingenuity is reflected on stages, screens, and pages.

The Atlanta native’s artistry is rooted in theatre, dance, and creative writing. Nurtured at hometown staples such as Gate City Heritage House, Total Dance Theatre, Gary Harrison Studios, Atlanta Street Theatre, Henry W. Grady High, and Spelman College, Deadwyler’s skills have been honed almost wholly amongst a distinctly Southern landscape. After venturing north to study under Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley, she deepened her analysis of issues facing women and African Americans while attaining a Master’s of Arts in American Studies from Columbia University.

You may recognize her from her guest-star role in BET’s Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union, as well as joining the cast of Tyler Perry’s and OWN Network’s The Haves & The Have Nots as the hard-nosed sister to Quincy, Quita Maxwell.

My first time being introduced to Danielle as an actress was in the remount of “The Colored Museum” play, which is why I’m so honored to have her as my first FUNK PUNK entry. Aside from that Danielle has literally watched me grow up and being her Spelman sister is just an addition. Check out what Danielle has to say about black artistry, acting, and beauty.

Me: What projects would you say have transformed your career?

Danielle: My first music video (Do Not Resuscitate) and the Alliance Theatre’s Kendeda winning play The C.A. LYONS Project. The former propelled me into creating works independently, establishing the drive to carry out an idea with collaborators to a finish line, holding myself accountable to myself as well as others in the creation of a thing. The C.A. LYONS project was a practice in claiming and driving. This work originated in playwright Tsehaye Hebert and the moment I read it I was LIT! I wanted to create in the world of this play and be in the brilliant room I knew would be in place to further develop the play…not to mention, this was a new push in the physicality and mental stamina of myself as an actor/dancer.

Me: What was the most difficult role that you were asked to play?

Danielle: Hmm…Difficult is hard to determine. They’re all difficult to a certain degree, whether it involves the work of my body (my roles, largely in theatre, tend to challenge my body and its limits) or something that is much more mentally challenging. I can’t fixate on one…they’ve all been a practice in sustaining presence, for myself in the role and myself as a person within the work of the project. I wear a lot of hats…mother being a huge one…this is actually the most challenging and rewarding…motherhood has fueled and influenced much of who I have grown to be to this day.

Me: Tell us your biggest beauty secret.

Danielle: Beauty secret: exercise and meditation. I feel most confident and clear physically (face and body) and mentally with the boost of adrenaline and mental clarity. The rest of it is genes…we have NO control over that…so thank ya mama and keep it moving!

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Me: What kind of person do you envision yourself being in your past life?

Danielle: Oh, I was definitely some kind of energy within a black hole…or a warrior general!

Me: What advice do you have for aspiring young black artist?

Danielle: I encourage young black artists to be aware, READ- or just be as learned as possible in the best way that you imbibe information-, and engage in multiple spheres of influence, environments and disciplines. And LISTEN as often as one can.

Me: What is your all time favorite 90’s dance move?

Danielle: Favorite all time…dang! You know it was all about the combinations…however, if I got to go with all time faves it would be the Tootsie Roll and the Running Man…It’s all about that leg and booty action!

Me: Why do you love blackness?

Danielle: I love my blackness because it is unbounded and liminal and unapologetically kuntry!

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VISIT: http://danielledeadwyler.com

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