Environmental Racism as a Public Health Issue | By: Emeka Ezeokoli

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Four years have passed since the last election was held to determine the candidate most worthy of occupying the highest political office in the United States of America. Since then the disproportionate deaths of Black people at the hands of police (most notably the murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and most recently Sandra Bland) became a central issue in a national conversation about race and policing and was the catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement which in turn became the impetus for increased community mobilization around issues like police brutality and mass incarceration.

The youth led movement has been responsible for putting political pressure on 2016 presidential candidates to confront an issue traditionally ignored by mainstream media outlets that disproportionately affects voters from marginalized communities of color. But the concerns of voters from these communities transcend the most overt forms of state sanctioned violence (police brutality and mass incarceration) and include less visible effects of institutionalized racism that are so subtle so as to be nearly imperceptible, but nonetheless have dangerous and devastating implications and harmful generational effects on the community residents and therefore, environmental racism must be addressed on the national stage by any candidate who considers themselves a serious contender for the presidency.

One of the most inconspicuous public health issues facing Black people is the quality of air in urban communities. While global warming predominates the discussion on environmental issues, the effects of what has been termed “environmental racism” has negatively impacted residents in the more resource deprived and impoverished communities in America for decades. As defined on the website http://www.ejnet.org environmental racism is “the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color”. In a film entitled Straight Outta Hunter’s Point–a documentary about a marginalized San Francisco neighborhood in California–physician and community activist Dr. Ahimsa Sumchai delineates the catastrophic effects that high toxicity levels in the air has on the health of Hunter’s Point residents. “One of the greatest risks to this community arises from the potential for exposure to radiation that exists on this shipyard. Additionally there are other toxins like lead, and asbestos and manganese. There are the toxic gases that I talked about, the volatile organic compounds. There’s diesel, there’s petroleum, there are toxins in the environment in the Bayview Hunters Point community that are directly contributing to the high incidents of diseases like childhood asthma, adult respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and congestive heart failure, and pulmonary asbestos.” She goes on to state that increased rates of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer are also byproducts of rising toxicity levels in the area. For this reason, whether its Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson or Rand Paul, or any of the third party candidates, it is necessary for us to demand a detailed and strategic plan for reducing the toxicity levels in the air and water in urban communities of color from all political candidates vying for the national office in 2016.

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Elessar Thiessen: A Rainy Week In Paradise | By: Megan Felix

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Canadian singer/songwrtier, Elessar Thiessen always had a thing for music. He got acquainted with his first guitar at 8 years old, and at that moment, his relationship with music grew into a life-long passion. As a jack of many trades, Thiessan spends his day producing music full-time and writing self-written songs at night.

In his newest, full length album “A Rainy Week in Paradise” listeners take a walk with Thiessen through a bag of emotions including pain, fear and lack of self confidence overcome by joy, love and truth. Fortunately for Elessar, his creative process takes notice on all eleven songs from the album which are self-written and produced by him, along with the help of supporting vocals by Catherine Wylee in “Love Dear,” leading vocals by Alexa Dirks in “You Girl” and the mixing/mastering done by Jordan Jackiew.

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Right now, Elessar is working as an independent producer while venturing out on his own musical endeavors but collaborates with Jordan from time to time. His talents has taken him to the production a variety of styles ranging from hip hop to pop. To hear more from Elessar visit:

http://elessarthiessen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ElessarThiessen

https://elessarthiessen.bandcamp.com/

https://soundcloud.com/elessarthiessen

https://www.youtube.com/c/ElessarThiessenVideos

https://instagram.com/elessarthiessen/

https://twitter.com/ElessarThiessen

Bitter’s Kiss: Music & Poetry, The Perfect Blend | By: Megan Felix

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Indie Pop singer/songwriter Chloe Baker who goes by the alter ego Bitter’s Kiss, has been making a name for herself ever since the release of her debut album earlier this year. The New Jersey native was exposed to music at a very tender age which played a role in developing a platform to showcase her talents. With over 55,000 plays on Soundcloud and a growing fanbase, you probably wouldn’t believe that Chloe is only a high school student with such a long way to go.

Bitter’s Kiss” the first track on the album, opens up with a fun yet soulful melody that builds behind the sound of drums and guitar strings. The moment Baker begins to sing, she creates the atmosphere for the amount of vocal ranges to come. “Love Won’t Make You Cry” is a heavenly number which pieces strong lyrics with gradual guitar strumming and a strong bass. The poetic ballad speaks on Baker’s idea of good love, a twist on the cliché “love hurts” theme heard in many songs these days.

As you make your way from one track to the next, you begin to see a pattern of journal-like entries transcending off the pages into the speakers. Baker is said to “use songwriting as a diary and a means of exploring her world,” and in “The Rope”, the fifth track on Baker’s album, she tells a personal story as she recalls the suicide of her a late cousin.

Who knows what else Bitter’s Kiss has in store for her listeners. To hear more visit:
Bitterskiss.com

Bitter’s Kiss Facebook

Bitter’s Kiss Soundcloud

 

Era of the Revamp: Four Popular Recycled Trends in 2015 | By: Phylicia Bernard

It’s pretty safe to say that most if not all of our fashion choices today stemmed from past fashion trends. We kind of just recycle and reinvent styles and it just works! Here are a few popular ones:

Fringe

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Don’t mind the fringe overload in this collage, you guys get the idea! Fringe can be dated back to the 70s as a keen part of that era for hippies, our black panthers and pretty much anyone who enjoyed trends. We kept the distinctive cut but modernized it.

Crop tops

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If we pulled together a scrap book of all our favorite 90s actresses, singers etc. we would find that most of them wore a crop top at some point in their career. Trust me I did the research! However, in this era we seem to be doing a much more refined crop top ensemble.

Jelly Sandals

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This is an 80s trend that came out to show once more. You either love it or you hate it but if done well can add a nice touch of color and fun to your wardrobe.

Bucket hats

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This is one for the fellas (although ladies wear them too). This hip hop trend rose in the 90s among many famous rappers. Today guys have switched it up a bit from baggy clothing to a cooler relaxed look.

What are your some of your favorite recycled trends? Tell us in the comments below.

Back-To-School: Top 10 Playlist | By: Jazmine Abner

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Surprisingly, Summer 2015 is already coming to an end and Labor Day is here ! This has been a refreshing summer for music, especially those underground artists finally getting their shine like Tory Lanez, Kehlani and Bryson Tiller (just to mention a few). Summer 2015 also hosted the latest and most exciting hip hop feud between Drizzy and Meek. Discover and share some of the hottest tracks for Back to School season:

Hotline Bling – Drake

Check out Drake’s melodic hit.

On Your Body – Chinx Ft. Meet Sims

Queens’ own Chinx was taken from the hip hop community this year (may he rest in peace). His summer hit “On Your Body” blew through the airwaves for the entire season. Check out the visuals featuring his wife and children whom we keep in our prayers.

Back to Back – Drake

Drake’s infamous diss track to Meek Mill is going down in history as one of the hottest battle records of all time. Check it out on Soundcloud

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Stick Talk – Future

Future may have been the most consistent artist of 2015. Of course he made the list with “Stick Talk.” Check it out on Spinrilla

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Don’t – Bryson Tiller

Bryson Tiller has an EP on the way and even caught Drake’s attention with his hit single “Don’t.” Hailing from Louisville, KY, home to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, we’re expecting plenty hits from this kid. Check it out on Soundcloud

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The Way – Kehlani ft. Chance The Rapper

Oakland’s own Kehlani won the hearts of many with her latest project “You Should Be Here.” It’s almost as though her fanbase is growing along with her talent. Her crisp voice and California style will take her far.

Like Me Remix – Lil Durk ft. Jeremih x Lil Wayne x Fetty Wap

This start studded collaboration is an interesting banger. Check it out on Soundcloud

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Like Me Cover Art

Tell Your Friend – The Weeknd

The Weekend’s latest album “Beauty Behind The Madness” is a chart topping monster. With Kanye West production and features from Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey the album was meant to be great.

Just a bonus! Drake’s remix to “Tell Your Friend” is definitely on repeat for Labor Day Weekend. Here it first on Soundcloud

Say It – Tory Lanez

Tory Lanez is finally getting a midget of recognition that is long over due. Check out his summery visuals for “Say It” featuring the beautiful and trendy London Zhiloh.

I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) – Jamie xx Young Thug & Popcorn

Unusual mix, but great song with great vibes.

What songs will you add to your back-to-school playlist? Drop some hits in the comments below!

 

Helpful Tips to Overcome Student Loans Depression | By: Krista Bryant

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Photo Credit: Twitter.com/thevice

We all know or may know someone who has dealt the struggles of having student loans. If you have ever had to deal with student loans, then you know the amount of unwanted stress that they can bring. Not only are student loans hard to pay off, you also have to worry about the interest rate that comes into effect after a certain period of time. Although I was fortunate enough to not go through the stresses of student loans, I have some friends who know this road all to well. In speaking with one friend in particular, I was informed of the steps that she takes in reducing and/or paying off her loans completely. Take a look at some of 5 best tips below:

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Have a positive attitude

When taking out your loans, always have the mindset that you will pay your loans off and be debt free.

 

 

 

 

 


Read before you sign

It is always important to read the print and understand what kind of loan you are going to apply for. Knowing what you have can definitely help you out in the long run.

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 11.29.49 AMSet up a budget/payment plan

Managing your finances play a huge part in paying off your loans completely. Set up a budget plan that works best for you and you will have them paid off in no time.

 

 

Start your payments as early as possible

While in school, most students who have loans are also working. It is always good to be one step ahead and start paying back, little by little.

24123cda05d0402c52dc218e7a66a056Ask for forgiveness

President Obama has released the loan forgiveness plan that helps students with outstanding loan balances pay back amounts that they can afford which is based off of their income and family size. If you want to learn more about this check out the following video on it.

 

 

 

 

Send Those Nudes: Nude Skin Lingerie | By: Megan Felix

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There are countless reasons why it is tough being a woman of color in a society that claims to see a colorless world. But nothing is more frustrating than rummaging through a pile of hosiery, only to find “nude” stockings and under garments sporting color schemes of tans, beiges, and pinks.

According to Webster Dictionary, the word “nude” is defined as “having a color (as pale beige or tan) that matches the wearer’s skin tones <nude pantyhose><nude lipstick> (nice try Webster, but we see what you did there). In other words, for girls with darker skin tones, finding nude-based clothing is almost like running through a never-ending marathon, including an obstacle course filled with department store hurdles and online shopping downfalls. Imagine this, a Willy Wonka factory holding all the best chocolate-colored spandex, lace and mesh you can think of, now that’s pure imagination indeed.

Finally, our prayers have been answered. Meet, Nubian Skin: a lingerie fashion line originating in London, geared towards women with darker skin tones. Not only does the line make it easier for darker women, it promotes “empowering women, embracing our colour [and helping women who are] frustrated by the lack of skin-tone choices to go with her ever-expanding wardrobe.”

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With a large variety of bras, panties, tights and hold-ups, with color choices like “berry,” “café au lait,” and “cinnamon” women of color now have a place to find all their essential nude needs. As said on the website, the owner Ade Hassan, decided “it was time for ‘a different kind of nude” and right she was, because ever since their appearance on social media sites like Tumblr and Facebook, Nubian Skin has taken many heights.

Hopefully one day Nubian Skin can be the voice for women who do not have the luxury of seeing their own face gracing many advertisements in magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan. But in the mean time, a world that sees beauty in ALL colors (especially darker ones) can be created one step at a time if we can just open up to new and innovative ideas like these.

Visit NubianSkin.com to purchase your very own nude lingerie.