YPOC Self Love Sessions in NYC during Black History Month

Just received the first sponsors package for the YPOC Self Love Sessions

Thank you Estacy Porter !!

No previews but I can tell you the mommies and baby girls at spa day will love it!

She even sent me a thank you note! Even though she’s the one doing me a huge favor!

What a beautiful thing it is when beautiful spirits align for a cause.

Check out the details and sign up here!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ypoc-self-love-sessions-tickets-15126500771

Join YPOC for Super Hero Day on Friday 2/20/15 from 5-9pm in Brooklyn! In honor of Valentine’s Day and Black history month we will be hosting the #SelfLoveSessions where We will be honoring our historical heroes, discussing the heroes in our own lives, writing them letters of appreciation and having day full of superhero themed activities including a costume contest, a super hero movie, goodie bags & more! Tickets are just $15 online or at the door. For more info & to RSVP/ get tix visit link above!

Join YPOC for Spa Day on Saturday 2/21/15 from 2-6pm in Brooklyn! In honor of Valentine’s Day and Black history month we will be hosting the #SelfLoveSessions for our young women where We will be discussing our individual and communal struggles with self love and indulging in spa activities such as facials, nail touch ups, and yoga, as well as creating vision boards reflecting how self love can positively impact our futures. Complimentary goodie bags & more! Tickets are just $15 online or at the door. For more info & to RSVP/ get tix visit link in bio!

Join YPOC for its #100LettersToMakeTheWorldBetter project each Saturday this February in Brooklyn! In honor of Valentine’s Day and Black history month we will be hosting the #SelfLoveSessions including a spa day for our young women, super hero day for our young men and this community writing workshop. The goal is to accumulate 100 letters from students, parents, law enforcement officers, community leaders, teachers and other concerned citizens to send to various elected officials, police unions and publications in order to keep the national conversation about police brutality going in an inclusive and productive way. If you can’t make it to evil olive pizza bar in Bk (198 union ave Bk NY 11206) you can submit letters via youngpeopleofcolorinc@gmail.com

Spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! The more letters we submit the more seriously we will be taken!

You don’t want to miss the self love sessions and the work Young People of Color Incorporated will be doing throughout 2015- trust me!

Like, comment, share & most importantly come through and encourage the young people and parents/ teachers/ concerned citizens you know to get involved!

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5 Funky Black Girls Making Kick Ass Music

Just an attempt at writing something lighter than my usual political/ social commentary and academic critiques. Considering submitting to some blogs/ publications. Feedback welcome : )

In an era of music where the likes of FKA Twigs, Sza & Dawn Richard are celebrated by die hard fans it’s high time we celebrate some new talent and keep the momentum going for a movement of multidimensional music created by women of color.

Here are some of my personal favorites.

Doja Cat

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The facts: she released her debut EP: Purrr! In August 2014 and has already opened for the likes of Asher Roth and Wale.

Her sound is a mixture of Jhene Aiko’s soft vocals and Nicki Minaj’s bravado & quirk. She’s equal parts dainty and dastardly, and I’m totally here for it.

Favorite track: ‘No Police’

Favorite lyric: ‘Watching Brandy/ sippin’ Brandy/ Panties on the marble floor/ guess my pants is fancy’

Listen here:

Lion Babe

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The facts: Lion Babe (comprised of Lucas Goodman & Jillian Hervey) dropped their debut EP ‘Lion Babe’ in 2014. They’ve been featured in the New York Times who described the duo as ‘dynamic’ and ‘sensual’ as well as Rolling Stone. It doesn’t hurt that they already have a collab with Childish Gambino under their belt.

Their sound evokes memories of the very best of 90s neosoul. Imagine an Erykah Badu album produced by Yeezy in his Keyshia Cole ‘I Changed My Mind’ days.

Favorite track: Jump Hi ft. Childish Gambino

Favorite lyric: ‘Tie me down/ tryna hold me up/ but the walls ain’t high enough/ and they play so hard/ and the game so rough/ but i still can’t give it up’

Listen here:

Kelela

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The facts: Her debut mixtape ‘Cut 4 Me’ earned her the praise of many in 2013 landing her on multiple end of year lists and even garnering praise from the likes of Bjork & Solange Knowles.

Her multi layered production compliments her soft voice and wide vocal range in a magical way. Think Amel Laurreiux, but raspy.

Favorite track: Bankhead

Favrorite lyric: I’m keeping you close, you know it. And I’m taking my time to show it. You’re touching me like you’ve had it all along, Feels like you’re right.

Listen here:

Jazzy

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The facts: Jazzy’s 2007 debut album ‘Oh Jazzy’ is still on replay 8 years later. Why you ask? Cause its the best of the 90s/ early 2000s R&B we all love and miss by a voice we haven’t heard it from before.

Simultaneously airy and soulful boasting some of the most lush harmonies you’ll experience, you’ll get the best of your Nivea/ 702/ Mya feels back each and every time you hear Jazzy, only better.

Favorite track: Make Up

Favorite Lyric: I need to stop playin with you, cause I’m startin to get the blues. all this back and forth with you, why I don’t know the truth?

Listen here

Imani Coppola

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The facts: From having a song featured on Grey’s Anatomy to having a major label deal with Columbia records at one point, Imani has been around the music biz block, but my favorite album will always be her 2007 release ‘The Black & White album.’

Her sound is ecclectic and versatile with an undeniable clarity in her vocal tone and a lovely twang compliments of her NYC roots. There’s a smooth Sade like vibe to her calmer moments and a Janis Joplin-esque rasp to her high energy cuts.

Favorite track: Woke Up White

Favorite lyric: I walk up in a store/ I don’t get hard looks no more/ I’ll go rob a bank real fast/ and surely they’ll blame your black ass

Listen here:

Let’s consider whether or not you truly believe #BlackLivesMatter

24K vs. 600 followers? This is the bullshit I’m talking about. #BlackLivesMatter is supposed to mean all of us yall.

Male, female, young, old, straight, gay, trans, christian, muslim, atheist, republican, democrat, etc. Please believe when the powers that be are redlining your district, pulling over your sons, catcalling your daughters and disrespecting your elders they are not thinking, ‘Hm, I wonder if this nxgger is straight/ gay /christian/ rich/ republican etc? Yeah i’d see them as a human being then.’

None of the categories we lump ourselves into to divide the diaspora make us any less black. My caribbean people. My continental people. My displaced fam in America. We in this shit together. Yall REALLY need to start acting like it. Fuck a complexion, a hair texture a sexual orientation or a neighborhood. Do our struggles differ based on these things? Of course. Intersectionality is SO important to consider. But it breaks my heart to see young people ride for victims of police brutality like Kenneth Chamberlain (67) and be told they cant even speak at a rally they spear headed.

It kills me that documentaries like light girls/ dark girls even have to be made, especially since all they’ve done is acknowledge two varying struggles with no effort to reconcile our sisters as a collective or provide the context in which light has been deemed right: RACISM, which was created – NOT BY US – and still functions as a tool to keep us lowly and distracted. The great tragedy now is we inflict these ideas upon ourselves and worse, our children.

I was reading an article today on the Root about the erasure of trans women of color from the black lives matter movement and this cold hard truth was met with such vitriol, hate, misogyny and homophobia that you wouldnt believe.

Do y’all think everyone who marched in Selma was straight? Or christian? Or had natural hair? Or liberal political views? Or could even fucking read?

Think about that shit for a minute. But yall worried about who the next man fuckin when there’s a target on ALL our backs?! And they fucking riding for us to this day! Be clear: it was 3 black WOMEN to of whom are QUEER that created the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag/ movement. So the erasure of trans people from the movement is disrespectful at best, and puts us in the shoes of the oppressor at worst. I rambled when really all i wanted to say is that @blackwomenmatters should have the same amount of followers as @blackmenmatters But there you have it. My $0.02

When ‘conscious’ is pompous

The face I make when them ‘conscious’ folks get salty when my progressivism is too much for them. It’s all ‘Hotep Queen!’ ‘Ashe!’ ‘I met God she’s black!’ Until I don’t hate on a healthy interracial relationship (keyword HEALTHY- no fetishization or lack of understanding the struggle bullshit) or when I suppose having a vagina makes my struggle a wee bit different (fuck that intersectionality shit ma you dividing the struggle! You selfish!) or when I suggest that instead of expecting the corporate media and celebrities to represent us holistically and be appropriate 100% of the time we should take the time to show our kids that true value and wealth lie in intelligence, finance, community and family, not name brands and sex appeal (I’m saying though they killing our kids minds! We can’t control that! Wake up sis!) chile please. I’m hella woke. The crib was smelling like incense before you ever heard your first Erykah Badu album, started your locs and were reborn into the self righteous ass you’re proud to be today. All this talk of unity but yall still silencing voices and creating divisions within the struggle smh. I still love yall though. I know your heart is in the right place but you need to get your MIND right. #JaylasUpturnedLipIsHenceforthMyDontComeForMeUnlessISendForYouMeMe

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On The Whitewashing of Corporate Media, the power of the web & fact checking

I really need people to stop sharing accurate accounts of brutality and violence in countries populated by people of color along with INCORRECT visuals and photos from other occurrences.

For me personally, it will not distract from the ACTUAL brutality happening to my people in the struggle across the globe, but to individuals who cannot see how we all lose when these atrocities go unnoticed and unchallenged, they will be QUICK to nullify any dialogue about state sanctioned, race based violence across the world because someone, somewhere wanted you to actually FEEL something when you read about this story and felt like the only way you would is if they connected it to the most gruesome visual they could find.

The same way I challenged the world to focus on the PROTESTERS in Missouri and not the LOOTERS I must ask that you now focus on the CONTENT of the news being passed around and not the unrelated PHOTOS being attached to them.

We also need to ask ourselves why people feel that the only way to illicit a response from the world about the atrocities in Nigeria is to attach graphic photos of charred remains and dismembered corpses to the stories about the men, women and children slaughtered in Africa.

Ask yourself why an entire nation turned blue when two cops were gunned down in cold blood in New York City but 2,000 lives don’t even warrant a blip on the radar of the American conscience.

Ask yourself why so many people on your timeline had an opinion on the #CharlieHebdo shooting that they were ready and willing to share but all was quiet on the Western front when the #NAACPBombing should have been a top story internationally.

I already know who’s going to like this post and comment. I already know who’s going to skim through it and think, ‘Tajh is on that preaching bullshit again!’ And keep scrolling. I know who’s going to try (and fail miserably) to derail the conversation or trivialize the point I’m making. And I know who agrees with me but is still uncomfortable discussing these things online and therefore keeps out of the conversation altogether.

It’s very important that each of us do some self reflection and make a conscious decision to positively effect the world we live in for ourselves, and others.

You may not feel like talking about these things on social media ‘changes anything’ and maybe you’re not the protesting ‘type’ but there are a million ways, big and small, to make a meaningful difference and help guide history and human consciousness in the right direction. The first step is awareness.

How self aware are you? How cognizant are you of the choices you make? Why is it you only PUBLICLY mourn certain individuals/ groups? Why is it you find yourself aggravated by certain viewpoints? Do you fact check information critically or go looking for information that will confirm your pre existing bias? Are you capable of perspective sharing? Do you even care to know the cold, hard truth?

Some of you may not. And I can’t change that. But those of you who realize the stakes of living a life of stoicism, complacency and apathy or feigned ignorance should be doing the absolute most to lift your voices and those of the people who’s struggles you are privy to.

#JeSuisNaija

Signal boost! Mask Mag & Black Women Matter Zine by Underground Sketchbook

‘While the killings of black men still receive much more media attention and their names much more mobilization, some are chiming in to exclaim: what about black women who disproportionately face violence at the hands of the police?

”Black Women Matter” tells the story of 11 black women who were murdered by the police. Put out by the art collective Underground Sketchbook, this zine follows a sentiment being pushed for across the country: don’t simply “remember us when we’re gone and ignore us while we’re here”.

Notably still, no stories of trans women were included in this issue of the project.’

Via @maskmagazine

Important and informative. The goal is to inform, not divide. If you understand why black lives matter is a necessary rallying cry and all lives matter isn’t enough, you should understand why recognizing black women specifically is important to the struggle. #BlackLivesMatter #BlackWomenMatter #Intersectionality #MaskMagazine

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Why Azealia Banks is worth celebrating and Black celebs need to chill with the victim blaming

Guys. Seriously. I have been waiting for ‘Broke with expensive taste’ to drop since I heard the beat shift in ‘liquorice.’ Then shawty starting singing. And I said oh shit, and life was given.

Yes I said liquorice. I was late to get up on the phenomenon that was and still is 212 but Damn it I caught up and I am deeply dismayed at the flack Banks is getting online for, quite frankly, being a foul mouthed and unapologetically intelligent, opinionated and most importantly- socially aware young Black female artist.

I know why other people may not like her. Teen Twitterholics who would like to believe they’re Cher from Clueless are not here for her Igloo Australia jabs at ‘Fancy’ creator Iggy Azaelia. (Appropriation? What’s that?!)

Men are always slow to give female emcees the props they deserve and quick to categorize a scantily clad female as ‘trashy’ (while simultaneously telling the homies they’d still smash.)

White people are simply not hear for all that truth she is letting loose in the twitterverse, most recently about Kendrick Lamar and other artists excusing police brutality by bringing up violence in Black communities, which Apparently means we deemed ourselves worthless and therefore makes the hood an obvious hunting ground for the authorities.

Or nah.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of Kendrick Lamar, David Banner, Lupe Fiasco, Novel and other emcees who have made this troubling, trivializing and dangerous remark. And I even understand why they would say it.

But I vehemently disagree with them saying it in white media and publications, without adding context or commenting on police brutality itself and instead placing blame on their constituents.

Don’t get me wrong. Self love and community building are huge components to our success, survival and revival as a unified and healthy diaspora. I totally get the train of thought that believes ‘it starts with us.’ We are the masters of our own fate and the creators of our own destiny no matter how the deck is stacked against us. But our successes, advancements and accomplishments do not stop us from falling victim to systemic and systematic violence in the form of prejudice, profiling and too often, cold blooded murder.

No one who makes the ‘it starts with us’ argument ever addresses the intricacies related to why communities of color operate the way they do or how the same system that allows the murder of a black person every 28 hours has a hand in the poverty and destruction running rampant in the same communities they have deemed it necessary to over police.

If Black celebrities are going to keep fueling white media’s ‘they don’t care about themselves so why should we?!’ Narrative, they could at the very least condemn both state sanctioned police brutality AND the crime we inflict on one another. But to completely ignore commenting on the racism prevalent in the judicial system and point fingers at ONLY those with the most to lose is an absolute travesty.

I’m having a very hard time figuring out why so many black women aren’t supporting her craft and more importantly, defending her in her glorious black womanhood on social media while she addresses issues we should ALL be just as passionate about.

She may curse like a sailor, sure. But is she wrong to call out appropriation in music, and in the culture of hip hop especially, as the theft it is and has been for decades? Is she crazy for thinking affluent black people in positions of influence should watch their words or run the Risk of sounding like bitch ass apologists and giving racists everywhere the impression their views are justified, as they watch one of our very own minimize police brutality and shift the blame to the black community?

I don’t know about you but I think she may be on to something. And I think we should be on it with Her.

Intersectionality & Bill Cosby

Haven’t been paying too much attention to the Bill Cosby fiasco because I literally can’t keep up, and since I don’t have all the facts, I can’t speak on his guilt or innocence. (Not on some I wasn’t there so I’ll never know tip, cause facts are facts, I just haven’t sat down with his interviews and compared and contrasted them with those of alleged victims, which is all I can do as an outsider looking in to try to find the truth) but what I can say when I’m looking at the commentary surrounding the situation, is that it’s a crying shame how often I feel like I have to choose between my race and gender, because neither one is respected or protected. Seeing an iconic Black mans image destroyed is hard. The Suggestion these allegations originated and resurfaced amidst news of Cosby purchasing a multimedia company and becoming a force for the positive representation of Black people is something I can’t write off, because I’ve witnessed the purposeful character assassination of numerous Black people, famous and unknown, a thousand times over as a tactic to make them seem unworthy of the trust of the public. Still, seeing all those comments about how all the women coming forward are ‘sluts’ ‘gold diggers’ and ‘liars’ because if they were ‘really raped’ they ‘would have come forward already’ is hard as well. And it’s a painful reminder of why so many victims don’t come forward. Celebrity news aside, and whether this one particular man is innocent or guilty, rape culture is alive, well and rampant.

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What a tangible way to slowly but surely change habits of consumerism and complacency. This really hit home for me. So many people talk the talk on social media knowing damn well they got all their kids Christmas/ Kwanzaa gifts from Toys r Us and FAO Swartz between Black Friday and Cyber Monday lol. And I’m not mad at you! Old habits die hard. But it’s REALLY time to unify economically and in every other way so we can return to our ancestral greatness. I’m encouraging everyone on my friends list to do this regardless of your ethnicity. If all 900+ of you donated just $10 to the charity of your choice that’s over $9,000. Imagine if you did it every month?Most of you spend $10 a day on lunch without a second thought. Imagine if we all volunteered just 10 hours a month? And someone who otherwise may not feel seen or heard or be fed benefitted from your small contribution of time? Imagine if we kept the mom and pop shops afloat instead of buying everything at Target and BJs? We’d all be better off. And U.S. Brown folks need to unify and assert our buying power now more than ever. Money is the only language the powers that be understand.

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YPOC Self Love Sessions

After ending 2014 with a successful 6-Saturday long workshop series and introducing the community to the YPOC student centered, judgement free environment in which we hope to empower our youth and hone their talents & critic thinking skills, we are kicking off 2015 during black history month like only we can!

The ‘Self Love Sessions’ will run the entire month of February and include the following activities:

1. Spa Day

For our young ladies ages 4-12 & 13-18 we will be having a spa day- complete with facilitated meditation, aromatherapy, facials, nail care, vision boards & healthy snacks as well as a discussion about our individual and communal struggles with self love. Complimentary goody bags will be given to each participant!

2. Superhero Day

For our young men ages 4-12 we will be having a Superhero day- complete with a superhero movie marathon and a discussion about our individual and communal struggles with self love. We will also remember our real life heroes in addition to made up ones And write letters of appreciation to those who remind us to love ourselves. Boys are encouraged to dress up as their favorite super hero or real life hero. Complimentary goody bags will be given to each participant!

3. Letters From The Community

We all have different ideas about how to most effectively challenge the oppressive status quo, but what we can all agree on is that we need to come together as a community and hold those in power and one another accountable for our present in order to create a more equitable, safe future for all under the law.

In order to keep our community actively engaged in the global uprising against police brutality, racism, consumerism and How these and other structural mechanisms intertwine to disempower people of color, we have decided to combine community action and our right as citizens to speak truth to power by engaging in a month long letter writing project outlining Greivances, demands, hopes, dreams, fears and suggestions- from concerned youth, parents and educators among others.

At the end of Black History month (which should feel like every month!) we will send them to a selected group of faith based organizations, youth led activist groups, elected officials, and precincts in an effort to create meaningful dialogue with those who can create the change we desperately require in order to feel Like progress is being made and the safety of all citizens is a top priority.

Spa Day & Superhero Day Dates & Locations TBA

Letter writing sessions will take place at Evil Olive Pizza Bar at 198 Union Street in Brooklyn from 2-4pm each Saturday in February. You can also contact me if you would like to submit a letter but cannot attend letter writing sessions. The more the merrier, and the more letters we accumulate, the more people we can send them to, and hopefully, the more serious we will be taken.

Please spread the word to your favorite parents, kids, teachers, pastors, activists and whoever else you can think of with a child who could attend these events or a concerned citizen who would appreciate being part of the letter writing initiative.

To sponsor YPOC by lending a space for spa day/ Superhero day or contributing to gift bags for participants, please email youngpeopleofcolorinc@gmail.com

RSVP, sign up & purchase tickets here!

click here for tickets!