“Figure Skating in Harlem” Helps Young Women of Color See Themselves on Ice

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Founded in 1997 by Sharon Cohen, ‘Figure Skating in Harlem’ continues to provide young women of color a space to build confidence. While receiving academic support, the students develop leadership abilities and figure skating instructions on & off the ice. Photographed by Flo Ngala, the images show different members of the skating team at dress rehearsals, as they gear up for an upcoming competition.

Check out the article in today’s NYTimes style section!

Click Here.

Meet The 9 Year Old Artist and Fashionista That Everyone Should Be Following

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Giana is a 9 year old Filipina-Mexican American Artist most notable for recreating high-end fashion ads using freehand drawing techniques, with various mediums outside of color crayons. Her mother’s extensive collection of books and numerous print issues of VOGUE, I-D Mag and Harper’s Bazaar, gave Giana no shortage of subject matter to hone in on her creativity.

Both parents have encouraged Giana’s will to create and pursue her love for the craft by building a home environment filled with art, design, color and modern furniture. Over the years, Giana has continued to develop her work and display growth with each new piece while showing a greater interest in art, color, fashion and design.

 

Saint Heron Partners Up With Ikea To Create Architectural & Design Objects With Multifunctional Use

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Who remembers when Virgil Abloh partnered up with Ikea to create some ‘fire’ furniture? Well, our good sis Solange Knowles and the Saint Heron team have just announced their upcoming creative collaboration with Ikea. The line will explore architectural and design objects with multifunctional use.

We couldn’t be more excited about this decor collaboration. Solange is known for her unique aesthetic and style, especially when it comes to her stage sets. The masterpieces that have been created through the Saint Heron team over the years have always been uniquely theirs and now we get a chance to have a little piece of the greatness in our homes and office spaces.

If you aren’t aware of the history behind Saint Heron, we’ve got you covered. The multidisciplinary cultural hub was founded in 2018 with a focus on  “building the community that we wish to see exist” through music, visual art, and performance art mediums.

“The hub has been centered on artist and artisan collaborations with previous works with Mickalene Thomas, Jacolby Satterwhite, Kenesha Sneed, and Phlemuns to name a few. Their founder, contemporary artist Solange Knowles and the company’s co-curator artist Armina Mussa have partnered to create original multimedia installations that creatively reflect on intersectional art and culture themes, foster thoughtful fellowship, and push the conversations of our communities to the forefront. With their help, Saint Heron immediately outgrew normalcy’s insular web of creative collaboration by hosting pop-up events in various cities, collaborating with popular festivals like FORM Arcosanti, AfroPunk Fest, and Pitchfork Music Festival – and even offering curatorial music contributions to The Met and The Whitney Museum’s annual member’s parties.” – via Saint Heron

They plan to further push their vision and boundaries further with the collaboration.

Who’s copping?

Henrietta Lacks Honored With A Portrait

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In 1951, at the age of 31, Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer. Unbeknown to her family, some cells had been taken from Lack’s body. The cells grew in a lab and were referred to as the “HeLa” line of cells, which became one of the most important cell lines in medical research. The HeLa cells were cells that could live forever. They did not die after a set number of cell divisions and the cells could be used for conducting a multitude of medical experiments. The HeLa cells were instrumental in the development of treatments for hemophilia, herpes, influenza and leukemia.

 

Although Lack’s family was never compensated for the use of her cells, on Monday (May 14th) The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., honored Lacks by placing a portrait of her inside one of its main entrances and three of Lacks’ grandchildren were there to celebrate the occasion.

 

NPR reports,

HBO commissioned this painting after the company made a movie based on the award-winning nonfiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The canvas is co-owned by the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Bill Pretzer, a senior curator at the African-American museum, says the story of Lacks is also one of racial history, bioethics and medical history.

“Doctors had been trying for half a century to grow cells in laboratory circumstances that would reproduce,” Pretzer said.

Lacks’ cells did. What’s become known as her “immortal line” is represented in the painting, said Pretzer, by a pattern in her cheerful red dress that resembles cell structures when you look at it closely.

 

The Henrietta Lacks painting will be available for viewing until November 2018.

 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks premiered on HBO on April 22,2017. The drama television film was directed by George C. Wolfe and starred Oprah Winfrey as Henrietta Lacks.  The film derived from the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and documents the story of Henrietta Lacks, who was diagnosed with cervical caner in the 1950s. Her cells went on to change the course of cancer treatment.

11-year-old Khloe Thompson Releases Socially Conscious Children’s Book

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Meet 11 year old Khloe Thompson who is the founder  Khloe Kares, an organization founded with love to serve the homeless community through the production and distribution of handmade totes also known as ‘Khloe’s Kare Bags’, is thrilled to announce the release of her latest project, a book titled Marisol’s Helping Hand written by herself and illustrated by Nabeeh Bilal.

 

Mini activist and entrepreneur partners up with Callaloo to launch a cultural book aiming to promote social awareness and social entrepreneurship. In the book, Marisol and her cousin Nina learn ways they can help those less fortunate than themselves, in particular, those dealing with homelessness. Marisol learns ways she can contribute with tips and inspiration from her friend Khloe. Like Khloe, Marisol’s mission is to create an entity to serve others.


Because Callaloo’s mission is parallels to Khloe’s, she decided to partner up to create, produce and distribute educational content that encourages literacy, cultural understanding and social awareness for children. Through their brands’ missions, Callaloo and Khloe, aim to empower all children to take pride in themselves and expand their horizons.


The story is now available to purchase on iBooks with 50% of the proceeds going directly to the Khloe Kares organization in order for the young heroine to return to Ghana after being able to raise enough money to install a water pump and bathroom facilities and empower young girls last year in the rural parts of Ghana by hosting workshops.


Watch the digital book on Callaloo TV, buy your digital copy on iBooks , and learn more about @khloekares.


Alicia Keys Set To Produce Biopic On Choreographer Alvin Ailey

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Alicia Keys will bring the story of legendary choreographer and performer Alvin Ailey to life. Keys is set to produce the biopic with Susan Lewis through AK Worldwide, her production company, along with Judy Kinberg, Rachel Cohen, and Jana Edelbaum from iDeal Partners.

The biopic, in the works with Fox Searchlight is working closely with those known  to Ailey. The project which has the support of the Ailey Organization will be working with the dance theater’s creative directors Robert Battle and Emerita Judith Jamison.

“We are thrilled to be working with these incredible partners to bring to the screen the amazing journey and revolutionary choreography of Alvin Ailey, whose life and legacy profoundly impacted people of all backgrounds around the world.” said Battle.

Alvin Ailey ushered in a new generation of dance when he founded the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in 1958.  One of his most popular works “Revelations” has become one of the most performed dance pieces in history.  Ailey has earned the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP in 1977, received Kennedy Center Honors in 1988 and in 2014 then President Barack Obama awarded Ailey with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom.

Ailey who passed away in 1989 from AIDS related complications left a legacy of tenacity and creative power that is sure to inspire anyone who watches his story be told.

Lupita Set To Star and Executively Produce ‘Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood’

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We haven’t been able to get enough of Lupita Nyong’o since she came on the scene as an actress and even more so after her most recent performance on Black Panther.

We have something to look forward to post the greatness that is Wakanda from the Kenyan star. Lupita is set to star in an upcoming film adaption of Noah’s best-selling autobiography, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.

Lupita will play Patricia, who served as an important person to Noah during a monumental moment in his life. Noah’s mother was shot and killed by his stepfather. Noah will produce this project and Lupita will not only be staring in the film but she will also be an executive producer!

The film was first released back in 2016 and was a bestseller for 26 weeks.

Black Panther Has Inspired An Upsurge In Fan Art and We Are Absolutely Here For It

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In case you have been living under a rock, #WakandaForever is the current moment that is catching fire since the record breaking premiere of ‘Black Panther’ this weekend. To kick this feel good movement off, artist and graphic designers have been cranking out fan art left and right. Lets take a look at some of our favorites:

“Shuri”

@cyanwhisky

Basotho Print

Seitlheko (@Seeizy_king)

“The King Is Mine”

@lovelychuhtha

“Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (born N’Jadaka)”

@noksindra

“Wakanda Forever”

Mirelle Ortega @moxvi_

 

 

 

The True King Of Wakanda

@TadMichaell

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfR5Pt6hKox/?taken-by=tadmichaell

Amanda Seales’s ‘Smart, Funny, & Black’ Comedy Game Show Is A Must See & Must Feel

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Game shows are a huge part of Television culture, from Jeopardy to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire to The Price Is Right, these classics are staples in every family’s home in America. Diversity in mainstream television has always been an issue. While creators in the POC community continue to fight for the right to see representation in this industry, people like comedian and actress, Amanda Seales has already started thinking outside of the box.

Amanda Seales is known in mainstream entertainment for her role on HBO’s trailblazing TV series Insecure. Beyond her role on the show, she has been curating a masterpiece that has been dubbed as Smart, Funny, and Black. Amanda told us during her NY show that Smart, Funny, and Black is “where black laughs matter and white tears don’t and we were totally here for it.

The game show celebrates black culture through various games that explore black history, the black experience, and black pop culture in front of a live audience. Amanda was tired of seeing a number of negative images of black people in media outside of the comedies face but on the news.

Here’s how it works:  

The players of the show are some of your favorite funny folks. The roster has been filled with people like Issa Rae, Bresha Webb, Charlamagne Tha God, Kid Fury, Bevy Smith, and more. The hosts battle in the “Hall of Flava” to compete in a head to head battle of wits that test their knowledge of black history, black culture, and the black experience. After a night of fun as hell games, flanked by a live band, and a turnt up audience, each show ends with one guest, literally, taking the “L”, the other, taking the crown, and being inducted into the “Illustrious League of Master Blacksperts”

Other than bragging rights, the winner of the night receives the most valuable weapon that can be used for anyone, especially African Americans, a book. All of the books given out as prizes are written black authors, which is dope af. The show is honestly a must see and a must feel. In order to truly capture the essence of it, we recommend that you attend one for yourself when it comes through to your city. After experiencing it in person we put together some of our favorite stand out thoughts/moments. Explaining what the way the show works can get confusing for some so we asked our self, “What is Smart, Funny, & Black?”

Smart, Funny, & Black is filled with hip-hop/R&B quizzes. Throughout the show you will either learn a new song that you should have probably known before if you consider yourself a hip hop fan or have a blast singing a long to your favorite old school classics with a room full of beautiful people.

Smart, Funny, & Black is Interactive, although the audience is not playing the actual game to win we are all in it together. You will feel apart of something greater and interact with the hosts and everyone around you.

Smart, Funny, & Black will teach you something you did not know about our history.

Smart, Funny, & Black brings about friendly yet constructive and necessary conversations through a game show. Along with those conversations doable solutions are discussed when it comes to the issues that we face as people of color.

Smart, Funny, & Black has an amazing live band that will have you singing, swaying, and jigging all night long.

After the show we we spoke with New York Times Best Selling Author, media personality, co-host of The Brilliant Idiots podcast and the nationwide syndicated morning show, The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne Tha God after he lost to comedian Yamaneika Saunders and here’s what he had to say:

Smart, Funny, & Black is a phenomenal show and I don’t why it’s not on TV yet. Amanda Seales is an amazing host and talent, but we already knew that. This is like a real, real live dope ass game show for television and I hate when networks say stupid shit like we don’t want the game show to be too black, because black is what’s poppin’, black is what controls the cool right now so you should want Smart, Funny, & Black because it’s the best game show that I’ve ever been on. I mean, maybe it’s the only one too but still it doesn’t matter.” 

All upcoming shows for the month are sold out but if you would like to attend “do the bright thing” and follow @smartfunnyblack or @amandaseles to see when she’s coming to a city near you.

Happy Black History Month Folks!  

Myriam Chalek’s #MeToo Fashion Show Meshes Fashion & Activism

The #MeToo Movement did not miss a beat during this year’s New York Fashion Week. On February 9th, the movement took center stage as women worked the runway and told their stories of sexual assault.

8 women walked the runway in their threads and then came back out handcuffed to men wearing pig masks. This imagery served as a statement and commanded the attention of the crowd.

The fashion show was created by Myriam Chalek, a creative director of AmericanWardrobe.com. Survivor, Alicia Kozakiewicz gained international attention in 2002 after she was abducted by a 38-year-old man that pretended to be her age that she had met online.

“I don’t think this fashion show is going to change things overnight, but if it can be a step further then I guess I’ve done my part. A woman who has been empowered is a woman who is unstoppable.” – Myriam Chalek

 

Amanda Seales Delivers #BlackGirlMagic Spoken Word During ‘BET Social Awards’

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The first ever social media awards aired live on BET and featured popular internet famous comedians, vloggers, musicians and more displaying their talents on a larger stage. Amanda Seales, commedian, actress and woman of many talents took the stage and performed an empowering spoken word about black girl magic.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfEXgVfHdmY/?hl=en&taken-by=amandaseales

Amanda Seales has used her social media platforms to clap-back at racism and sexism, share comedic stories, drop some stylish outfits and express her passionate opinions on a variety of subjects. Her voice aligns perfectly with many social media superstars who never shy away from sharing what they deem important and do so on their own terms.

Seale’s who most recent appearances include starring as the bad and bougie Tiffany DuBiois on HBO’s Insecure performs this original work without hesistance.  While performing, Seales stood solely on a BET stage with minimal lighting, only the tag #blackgirlmagic lit up in her background. The spoken word wonderfully uses African American Vernacular English, pop culture and historical references and an unapologetic vibe.

Watch the entire spoken word below:

View this post on Instagram

(Feel free to repost) #BlackGirlMagic By: Amanda Seales First of all We make this look easy Us black girls with all kindsa curls Smellin a cocoa butter Out here every damn day savin the world. Time and time again We find the ways and means Between packing lunches, planning launches, and *act out* patting weaves To get information And stay in FORMATION, “Girl you heard what they’re sayin?” “Ain’t no games to be playin”. So we show up And show out And Turn up And, “turn this motha out” And flip it And Yasssss biiihhhh Throw sideyes Gather Get folks all the way together With edges still in place Skin defying time and space They call it magic cuz ain’t no way to explain our *sing* “amazing grace” How sweet the sound Of a black girl’s point of a view Knowing that nobody does it like we do, boo Pride in our power Strength in our strides You can attempt to imitate But soul you cannot buy. We work twice as hard And must be twice as perfect, Purveyors of potent truths We deliver in small doses Cuz folks is, shook when she’s movin “OH NO, IT’S ANOTHER ANGRY BLACK WOMAN!” Bump that We’re not hostile, We’re passionate; Clappin back is our way of declaring (claps) we aint havin it They go low, we go high They say no, we defy They didn’t want us to read Kept us out of libraries they built Now we are the biggest buyers of books So, we can read you for filth!!! Our magic is in our love and tears Our fears and our flyness Our sistahoods and insecurities Our ride or, don’t even try it. We are not the one, And still we rise, This is for colored girls who’ve considered gettin your life and are RECLAIMING OUR TIME Copywrite DivaWorks Inc 2018

A post shared by amandaseales (@amandaseales) on

 

Barack And Michelle Obama Portraits Debuted At National Portrait Gallery

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The National Portrait Gallery a part of the Smithsonian group hosts presidential portraits for all former presidents and the latest to be added are former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The paintings were comissioned by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, making them the first Black artists to create Smithsonian commisioned portraits of a former president and first lady.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kehinde Wiley, the artist behind Barack Obama’s piece is widely known for his vibrant and colorful paintings of black people. This background made him the perfect choice for this painting which will be cemented in history.

“The ability to be first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president…it doesnt get any better than that” says Wiley about the experience.

Amy Sherald, the artist who painted Michelle Obama’s portrait is also recognized for her work.  Sherald has created award winning art and was the first prize winner of the Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.

Both artist signature style captured the hopeful nature of the Obama era. The beautiful paintings were well recieved by many, garnering social media buzz praising the artists interpretation of Barack and Michelle Obama.

The National Portrait Gallery began commisioning POTUS portraits in the late 1990s, begnning with George H.W. Bush and continuing from there. The gallery is the only place outside of The White House that is home to a complete group of presidential portraits.

Watch the full ceremony below.