Photo By: ShockTV
For Black History Month, The BLACK Magazine would like to highlight a recent cultural experience that sets the underground realm of the city apart from the mainstream crowd. Conkrete Jungle Productions, a performing arts company founded by Régine Bellinger gave face, rhythm and a whole lot of attitude last month at their showcase which was held in one of the city’s finest local theaters, Dixon Place. What was thought to be a show depicting a variety of dance numbers, turned out to be a story told through acting, spoken word and interpretive dance with a variety of other dance styles and art forms. Now you see why we called it an experience! What was most interesting was that the company showcases a diverse group of artists who come from all ethnicities and backgrounds, yet still embodied reenactments of black history and relived the stories of individuals all throughout the African Diaspora in captivating ways.
At one point in the show, as two women told a story through spoken word and movement the question “Why do you run from what’s inside your head?” flashed before the screen which left an open thought in the atmosphere. What are we truly running from in this concrete jungle called New York City? How do we express the beauty spilling out of cracks of our concrete walls and iron gardens? How do we face the challenges of being different in a city when everyone is “different?” Conkrete Jungle Productions has given us quite a few answers to these questions.
Photo By: ShockTV
Who else can make you think about peace after seeing a solo number done by a heartfelt artist in a lace dress engulfed by blue set lights filled with sorrow and patience. At what other show could hip hop, ballet and West African dance intertwine so smoothly without being questioned? Want to get involved with the experience? Conkrete Jungle will definitely leave you thinking if there is anything an underground performer in New York City CAN’T do. Get in the mix: Visit: Conkrete Jungle Productions & Tumblr.com
Photos By: Instagram; @TheRealShockTV & @Shock_Medusa Facebook; The Real Shock TV
Photo By: ShockTV
Photo By: ShockTV
Photo By: ShockTV
According to it’s website, the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen is New York’s largest emergency food program. They serve meals to more than 1,000 homeless and hungry New Yorkers every day. This soup kitchen also helps their guests with supportive services and helping them find jobs. Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen is open for serving Monday- Friday 10:30-12:30. For more information visit their website holyapostlessoupkitchen.org
New York Cares is one of the most well known volunteer initiatives in the city. Every year they have a coat drive for the homeless people who live on the street. This is their 27th Annual Coat Drive this season. The coat drive begins in November and runs until December 31st. To donate a coat you can drop one off at any police precinct and they can also be dropped off at the New York Cares Warehouse Monday- Friday 9am – 5 pm. For more drop off locations and more information visit their website: newyorkcares.org
Like New York Cares, City Harvest has also been around for a long time. During the holiday season, they help groups and individuals organize food drives at other places. They also take donations of non-perishable foods and money to help give food to many people around the city. If you’d like to donate money visit giving.cityharvest.org For other ways to help during the holidays with City Harvest visit cityharvest.org
At the Covenant House, they take donations and gifts from people to give to the young people that they service. Covenant House is a shelter and community that helps homeless and less fortunate youth. Every year they hold a drive for bags, coats and toiletries so that the children can have some things for the holidays. If you want to help out or know of any youth that need these services visit the website covenanthouse.org
Food Bank for New York City serves approximately 10,000 free meals every month, according to their website. People can go there to have dinner Monday – Friday and they even have services where they package food to take home. This soup kitchen is open Monday – Friday 4-6 pm. For more information visit foodbanknyc.com
The BLACK Magazine wishes you a Happy Holiday!
Photo Credit: wadevenden.wordpress.com
I see them
Walking down the street with large bags of everything I cannot and do not have.
They walk by me.
Filled with my desperation,
But empty of their spare change.
Their stomachs are full,
While mine is so hollow you can hear my internal screams echoing inside of me.
I need help.
But no one sees me
They only see the gleaming lights of window displays.
They only give to each other, and forgot about people like me.
They don’t change their ways and give to the Cratchits of the world.
But shouldn’t the holidays be a time to give.
In the warmth and comfort of their homes they are protected from the harshness of the Winter.
Myself and many others suffer.
We are not protected from the cold.
Many complain about not receiving the gift they wanted all year,
But today I ask,.
Would you trade your situation for mine?
What would you complain about if you were homeless during the holidays?
In the mid-80s Queensbridge’s own Roxanne Shanté became the teenage poster child for female rap. Her collaboration with the infamous Marly Mar on her diss track “Roxanne’s Revenge” set the pace for battle rap. The track was laced with profanity and confrontational lyrics, but it became an instant hit in NYC. In 1988, MC Lyte’s “Lyte as a Rock” made her the first female solo rapper to drop an album. Soon after, femme fetale acts like Queen Latifah, Salt n Peppa and Ms. Melodie took the stage as femcees. Females never had a prominent presence in hip hop, however the ones that did, were accepted for standing for something with their own styles.
The 90s marked the age of raunchy female rap with the exception of the eccentrics like Missy Elliot and The Brat. Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and Eve used their sexual appeal to get their messages across. At this time, hip hop was extremely male dominated and hyper-masculine. These ladies adapted and used these constructs to their advantage.They were strong, sexy, and just as talented as their male counterparts. Unfortunately, none of these women reached heights that they deserved. Why? What was the missing element?
Media outlets run the world and femcees do not get the same amount of coverage as male rappers resulting in a smaller fan base. With the omission of Nicki Minaj, whom I believe deserved woman of the year award and hardest working woman in entertainment. She has managed to be a sexy lyricist but I wouldn’t say she’s a raw female rap act because a lot of her success is a direct result of her pop ventures.
Despite the excellent music being conceived, femcees face major challenges when trying to become popular in a misogynistic industry. Appearance is the main attribute a female can bring to the hip hop table and very few become popular without emphasis on their sexuality. Femcees have become objects of male fantasies making it difficult for society to view them as credible artists. The history of femceeing also gives the impression that there can only be one successful femcee at a time. This notion makes female rappers view each other as enemies as opposed to colleagues. Due to these elements in addition to the dreaded biological clock that all women face, the career of a femcees is half that of a male rapper. Therefore, the explanation behind the lack of raw female rap acts can be the result of many different things.
One can’t gain media coverage without less bodily coverage. Less body coverage only makes sense if you’re rapping about a promiscuous lifestyle so throw away that conscience, you must begin under a popular male dominated camp to get noticed, not a female one because she’s your competition and there’s only room for one. Oh! but please have a dope flow and bars that you’ve written or you’ll get dragged, poor Iggy. You’ve got about 10 years to get to Jay Z’s level if you really want a family and if not, make sure you stay young and fresh because once the age shows the fans don’t. It’s amazing to think about how stressed out the femcee must be!
Photo Credit: Twitter.com/Synchrkj
For years, we as a people have witnessed how many are horribly beaten, brutalized and sometimes killed by the hands of police officers and they are not facing the justice that they deserve. One of the most horrific memories of police brutality dates back to the Rodney King beating by four white police officers, that left him deaf in one ear, with broken bones,and physical, mental and emotional scars that followed him until his sudden death in 2012.
Police Brutality has become a tragic, recurring factor in society today Although we are growing up in the age of technology and social media, it just doesn’t seem like it is enough to put an end to this misuse of power. There are many people who are tired of police walking away red-handed, so to help spread the word about putting an end to police brutality, three publishers came together and made APB:Artists against Police Brutality.
The concept of APB came about shortly after the four cops in the Eric Garner murder case was not going to stand trial. Publishers Bill Campbell, Jason Rodriguez, and John Jennings, who were outraged and appalled by the verdict, as was most of America, the trio decided that something had to be done. Collectively the three gentlemen put together a series of different pieces from artists, writers, scholars all across America in the form of short essays, comics, pin-up, etc to get a sense of perspective on this police brutality crisis. According to Mr. Campbell, “It was not assembled in the hopes of somehow changing the world; sometimes, artists just have to do something. This charity comics anthology (the proceeds go to the Innocence Project) is the end result of these talented people’s anger and frustration and concern and love for their fellow human beings.”
Photo Cred: Thefreethoughtproject.com
His colored arms held up high.
Praying to God that his life won’t be snatched from him like his brothers and sisters.
Their index fingers on the trigger.
Itching to take the soul out of his heart,
when their hearts are as cold as the guns in their hands.
Seeping through the holes shot into the community.
Family homes raided.
Ak 47 pointed at kids only 4 and 7.
In another country it’s used to fight against terrorism,
But in this country it’s used to impose terror.
With every life taken goes a mind so rich and powerful to move the nations.
Our next cure for cancer is now 6 feet under.
Our next prophet is now mute in a hospital.
Our future was afraid to stand up for themselves.
With every act of brutality adds another voice to the voiceless.
With every act of brutality adds another reason to fight.
His arms were held up high,
And his voice was silenced.
We are hand in hand,
And our voices will be heard.
Kid Xandre, a music artist from Brooklyn, has a new song out entitled “Good Enough”. The song was inspired by wanting people to know that they don’t have to seek satisfaction from others to prove they are worthy. He says, “I want people to know that they are good enough, even if it seems like all your efforts invested into someone doesn’t add up to it.” “The problem isn’t with you, it’s with themselves,” he affirms.
In “Good Enough” he’s dealing with a long distance relationship which seems to be going nowhere. He tries hard to keep the relationship together, but it’s just not working out. “Should I stay or should I go, I don’t know,” is a lyric repeated throughout the song by Kid Xandre and his backup vocalist and producer Tone Jonez. The song is very catchy and you will find yourself bobbing your head to the beat, it hits the core and everyone can relate to it if not now, definitely later.
Kid Xandre was inspired at a young age to write music. His musical inspiration derives from a scene from Disney’s, “A Goofy Movie”. In the movie, Max promises his crush, Maxine that he would make it on live television to perform with pop singer, Powerline. This triggered something in little Kid Xandre’s mind and since age 11, he’s been writing music. His passion and focus is mainly Hip-Hop and Christian Rap.
Take a listen to the song by clicking the link: Soundcloud
Also follow Kid Xandre on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter