Issue 1 of Vol. 2
t r a e h t e e w S s â€™ o g a c i h C Em Jai
indy City w hits The W
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The Usual: In Every Issue 17.Making The Cover 7.The Editor’s Notes Mk writes ATS a letter to our readers. Take a look behind the scenes of the Em Jai .
14.Going Without One Streamer goes with a bra in this month’s Going Without Challenge.
Issue 1 of Vol. 2
In Your Ears 9.Cover Story: Girl Meets World Em Jai’s mix of urban and pop shakes up the Chicago music scene.
Against the Stream (ATS) Magazine is a platform publication for the community. As a platform, we aim to uplift, enrich, and edify our community by showcasing its beauty. ATS Mag prides itself on being a positive source of information in a world of negative images.
Issue 1 of Vol. 2
Within Your Heart 3.Is Sexting Worth It? ATS Mag takes a look at sexy messaging. For Your Eyes 5.It’s About To Get Real The designer consignment boutique, The Real Real, offers the designers we all love for prices we can all afford.
Editor -in- Chief | Markeyla Henton
Girl Meets World page.8 Cover Story:
Photographer | Shaela Gilot
Executive Administrator | Victoria Lamar Special Thanks To: Miranda J. and Family Samantha Ryan Brunswick Zone
Because our readers are our top priority, we focus on stories that make our readers proud of the world around them. Based in Chicago, ATS Mag is all about those noble, pure, and true folks shaking up the streets of the Windy City. We realize that there is a need for positive media in our community. Sick of the constant talk of guns, gangs, and gore, we have started to combat the negative images constantly associated with Chicago. By reading our stories you help support our effort to highlight the amazing people shaping this historic city.
Within Your Heart
What are you wearing? I love You. What you doing? Hey Sexy! Send me a pic. I miss you. What are you wearing? I love You. What Is you doing? Hey Sexy! Send Sexting me a pic. I miss you. What Worth It? are you wearing? I love You. What you doing? Hey Sexy! Send me a pic. I miss you. What are you wearing? I love You. What you doing? Hey Sexy! Send me a pic. 4
For us integrated into the modern world, our cell phones are with us at all times. We take our devices from the office to the bathroom. But should they be used when we are getting naughty? This lovely article is dedicated to that witty little word that takes sex and texting and creates sexting; more importantly, whether sexting is a harmless pastime or if it is unhealthy. Sexting became a national issue at the beginning of the millennium, when questioning if pictures and statements sent via text messaging could be considered pornographic became necessary. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has weighed in on the issue releasing articles about teen usage of sexting for years. The FBI defines sexting as, “sending or receiving sexually explicit or sexually suggestive nude or semi-nude images or video, generally via cell phone.” Much of their research on the matter is based around dangers for adolescents associated with sexting, from child pornography to harassment. It is alarming how many children are engaging in the nip slip picture message. It is even more alarming how many of those pictures are shared amongst teens. But I’m not talking about whether sexting is child’s play. We know it is unhealthy for a teen to be exploiting his or herself, but is it OK for consenting adults? While former studies focus on sexting usage amongst kids, more and more adults are sending sexy messages. I wonder if little thirteen year old Timmy would think sexting was cool if he knew his mom was doing it. Many adults believe sexting adds to their relationship. One blogger, 43-year old Penelope Trunk, aired her dirty sexting in a post on The Daily Beast. She touted that sexting was no big deal. “As long as you make yourself look hot in the photo, you’ll probably be okay.” Trunk claimed that sexting gives her an opportunity to be sexy even when her current situation is undesirable, mentioning a conversation about a blow job she had while eating ice cream with her kids. Trunk also went on to mention the most famous sexter alive, Anthony Weiner. Even AARP is joining in on the rhetoric. Dr. Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist and writer in New York, touches on the pros of sexting in the AARP’s look at the issue. “’Because there’s no anticipation of a direct verbal response, there’s less at stake than if the conversation were being held the old-fashioned method: face-to-face,’ he says. ‘Where there’s less risk of being critiqued or judged, there’s opportunity for greater sexual expression.’” The AARP boasted of the spark that sexting gives boomers but also warned of its downfalls. Issues from= being catfished by an online date to being exploited are very real risks taken when sending an explicit text. In her Huffington Post article on sexting, Emma Gray wrote, “This ease of smart phones can also create a false sense of intimacy for the parties involved, regardless of whether alcohol enters the picture. ‘Phones specifically feel more intimate than computers,’ [Relationship Coach Carol] Allen says. ‘It’s your phone! It’s small, it’s in your pocket. It feels like it’s just you and your phone.’ And although a sext may seem private, it’s just as easy to forward a sext as it is to send. It’s this false security that can get people into trouble when they sext -- especially if they are involved in a separate, committed relationship.” I am abstinent now but I used to think that sexting was a cute way to get my boyfriend’s attention. Now that I am taking on a new understanding of sex I had to rethink sexting. I must concur that sexting has its very real downsides, especially for us young female twenty somethings. There is little out there
Still Wanna Sext? Follow these Do’s and Don’ts to avoid the risks.
o the Recipient Wisely. Being open DChoose is a great thing when its a part of a healthy relationship. Take Too Long. There’s nothing sexy about your response thirty minutes later.
DoGet a Private Box! Most messaging
apps will have a safe spot to store your naughty texts and pics. Be Afraid to Say No! The same rule applies. No means No.
DBeoSpontaneous. Repetitive texts
can drain the fun from sexting. Be adventurous. Get Caught Slipping. It only takes a bathroom trip for all of your sexts to be snooped. There’s nothing worse than someone discovering your goodies.
written by us on the topic. (The main reason why I wanted to address it) While the obvious and most dangerous problem associated with sexting is the fact that nude photos will be out in the ether, we have to think about the consequences that we risk facing if our bodies are aired. First of all it is quite hard for a man to get his mug and his penis in a picture. Women are more likely to have identifying characters (their face!) in explicit pictures. We, therefore, run a pretty crappy chance at claiming it is not us like Anthony Weiner. On top of that, it is a lot more acceptable for men to be sexually explicit; women run the risk of being called names and looked down upon. I asked myself what I would do if my ex leaked a picture of me. I couldn’t formulate an answer because I didn’t consider that when I sent the message in the first place. As I reexamined my views on intimacy I decided that the risks weren’t worth dealing with. I don’t want to have to deny my niece from access to my phone in fear that she might stumble upon the wrong pictures; I don’t want to worry that an x-rated message will come through while I’m at dinner with my parents. For me it’s better safe than sorry. My suggestion is that sexting be confined to the safe constraints of a committed long term relationship. I’m sure my private box will come back into place once I’m married. Until then, my sexy wit will go unexpressed.
It’s About To Get Real
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Real in the Spring
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f. Akris Punto Cardigan in Kaki with Yellow Trim Originally $360, The Real Real $95 g. Kate Spade Mini Bowler Bag in Marigold. Originally $???, The Real Real $95 h. Dolce and Gabanna Pumps Originally $595, The Real Real $125 i. Gucci Sunglasses in Brown Tortoise Shell with Gradient Lenses. Originally $???, The Real Real $95
The Editor’s Notes
the Voter’s Rights Act, the Farm Bill, and Affirmative Action to the reality of the government shutdown. All throughout Washington the personal interest of our elected leaders have trumped the importance of workers, college students, and voters. (Just to name a few) Millions of young Americans were slapped in the face with the tragedies made evident because of the Trayvon Martin case, but were assuaged a month later by watching Miley Cyrus twerk. Salt was thrown on the wound when the news of Micheal Dunn’s death reiterated the dangers awaiting young Black men. 2013 demonstrated a plethora of reasons why it’s necessary to keep your nose in the news and your faith in something greater than democracy. Since the summer of last year, it has become evident that bipartisan interests are more important than the lives of Americans, from the Supreme Court rulings on
As a Black female Democrat the last year has caused me distress. I have questioned everything about my goals. Am I going to school to have 100 grand in debt and to be told that I can’t work until the government sees fit? Am I working hard to secure my future only to come home and find my children twerking in the living room? And I don’t even want to begin
my wish list I Love Purple! Stella McCartney Sunglasses $95 | Red Valentino Dress $95 | Micheal Kors Coat $375 | Charlotte Olympia Pumps $525
on what my son will face.
I’ll admit, I could go on about the disappointments this year has served up to me on a silver platter. But then I realized something pretty great. I care. Ted Nugent may not. KimYe may not. The Grand Ole Party may not. But, I take the lives of those around me seriously. Saying that I’m not disengaged would be a lie. But I refuse to shuffle myself into the mosh pit of users capitalizing on the minds, pockets, and interests of those who will take the time out of their day to acknowledge me. Thank you for taking time to read my rants and stories. Thank you for making this disheartening world worth enduring. Keep reading, I promise I will never let the cares of this world keep me from caring. So there you have it, from my mouth out into the world, the state of the union. -Mk
my to-do list
1.) Organize an ATS Magazine community service opportunity for the subscribers to be a part of. 2.)Find a Chicago based charity to support. 3.)Attend a walk. 4.) Raise money for a cause. 5. Do community serve once a month
this otter is praying for the next two month’s to fly by.... unlike this otter you don’t have to wait until the next issue. You can visit www.atsmag.com
World by: Markeyla Henton | photographer: Shaela Gilot Em Jai mixes Urban and Pop music to bring a new sound to Chicago. ATS Magazine interviews the new star to find out her inspirations and how she started in music.
Em Jai is a rising singer and rapper from the South side of Chicago. “The dope girl next door,” as she has described herself, found her first break in a major way. In 2011, she had her song, I Love Dance, picked up by the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up. Since then Em Jai has released her EP, Love Etc.era, and was featured on blogs and in magazines including Vibe Vixen. To hear her album or to catch up on what Em Jai is doing visit www.em-jai. com
Em Jai: I am the girl next door, I am a hopeless romantic and the last word I would use is dope. I’m the dope girl next door. want to be completely urban because I wanted a diverse crowd. I wanted to be urban pop. So I tried to find tracks and work with different producers that could produce that sound. That process, then the writing process, then getting it all recorded and the mixing and mastering of it all; shooting my video and being the power force behind all of that was really exciting for me to release it. I released it last July. That was one of my biggest moments. I was proud of me because I put so much hard work into it.
Against the Stream caught up with Em Jai and got the exclusive on the woman behind, “Catch 22.” The interview started with Em Jai asking the questions. She got the dish on ATS and its beginnings as we caught up like old friends. I asked her what made her choose the spelling of her name. She responded laughing. “That’s actually a funny question. I’ve never gotten that one before.” And we were off. ATS: So, you would classify your music as Urban Pop? Em Jai: I used to go by Miranda J. Maybe two years ago, when I was demoing records for placements on Walt Disney, one of the producers I was working with at the time discovered I could rap. We came up with the name Em Jai because it was more befitting for me rapping and singing. And I also had as my Skype name and a name on some other account. With the spelling I was just trying to be as creative as possible.
Em Jai: I specifically tried to make sure I stayed within that parameter. My single, Catch 22, is the perfect balance of urban and pop. The chords are really pop-like but then there’s a lot of heavy bass and I’m rapping. I feel like anybody can rock with it, you know what I mean? ATS: A lot of artists in Chicago do flat out Hip Hop, even the R&B artist have a Hip Hop based sound. What influenced you to do urban pop?
Against the Stream Magazine: I’m glad you mentioned your Disney work, how did that experience affect your Em Jai: I’ve always loved urban music. I’m a 90’s baby, so I grew up listening to Faith Evans, SWV, and Lauryn Hill. So I’m artistry? this huge urban R&B lover. But, in recent years, everything Em Jai: It was really a blessing. I was given the opportunity has gone pop. All of our favorite artists have gone pop. to possibly write so me and the producer submitted some Everybody that continues to climb this ladder of success is music and they fell in love with it. The episode aired going in that direction. I didn’t want to put myself behind. I in October of 2012. They got a lot of great feedback, so believe in forward progression. So, I thought it would make they decided to release that song as a single. They had the most sense to flow with where music is going today but the stars of Shake It Up rerecord the song and dropped it also stay true to where my heart: which is urban music. I tried as a single. It was the first single on the soundtrack that to a happy medium and Love Etc.era is the product of me released in March of 2013. So it was really just a blessing finding that. and it created a lot of leeway for me to be on a bunch of different blogs, including your own. I’m a black girl from ATS: What would you say Is your favorite right now? the South side of Chicago and I have songs on Disney. That’s a pretty big deal, just because it doesn’t happen Em Jai: I’m listening to Tori Kelly a lot right now. Her music is so often. It provided more opportunity to me. People pay a relaxing. My playlist is very diverse but she has my attention. little more attention to me. ATS: Who is your favorite artist of all time? ATS: What would you say has been the biggest moment Em Jai: Keri Hilson, because her story is so much like mine. She for you? started off songwriting before she made it as an artist herself. Em Jai: That’s really hard to say. But, I guess, releasing my I’m inspired by her grind and how she was able to balance EP. I actually worked on it for like a year solid. Literally, that. It’s difficult being a writer and people not really checking everything that the EP consists of is all me. I knew I didn’t for you as an artist. You’re always the writer. That’s how it was
for me for a long time. I know she’s not a super old artist but I’m always drawn to people I can relate to. ATS: What inspired your song California? Em Jai: I was going through somewhat of a break up. For me California was a getaway song; just escaping your own reality and getting to a happy place. The song was about me mentally escaping where I was and ultimately seeing myself in another light. You know how they always say it never rains in California. ATS: In California you spoke of renewing your mind. I grew up in the church, so I immediately picked that up. I’ve peeped that your lyrics can have a religious undertone sometime. How has your religion ever affect your writing?
ATS: Is there a love interest in your life? Em Jai: I’m single. I believe at the right time it will happen. You know how they say that you can’t have everything at once? A lot of people are firm believer’s that you cannot have a successful career and a successful relationship at the same time. While I don’t want to say that’s true, I’ve never really had both going full speed at once. I don’t really know if it’s impossible, but that’s what people say. When it happens, it happens. He’ll come, from somewhere. I don’t know where but he’ll come. ATS: How has being Miranda been affected by Em Jai? Em Jai: Being Em Jai has allowed me to talk about more. It has allowed me to be freer because there’s so much you can talk about. With rap there’s so much freedom. I can talk about the sky being blue and if I have a nice beat, people are gonna listen to it. So, there’s a lot more freedom. ATS: What are some of your pet peeves with the music industry?
Em Jai: There are a lot of redundant song ideas and trends, just because people aren’t totally authentic. I feel like if everybody was totally there true selves, there would be so much more flavor. I’m just tired of the redundant song concepts, especially in pop music and even in EDM. Life is real, so I don’t really listen to too much secular music during the week. I need something that will inspire me. Songs that just deal with clubbing and partying are cool ATS: It was definitely discreet. As a Christian myself, I can when you trying to turn up but it’s not gone help you get always hear when something lends to the Bible. What through your situation. advice would you give to a Christian music artist who ATS: Are there any last words that you would like to make doing secular music? sure I get on the page? Em Jai: I would say. “Stay true to yourself.” In this industry and the secular world in general, you can easily steer Em Jai: There is something I would like to share. With away from who you are and what you believe God has whatever you choose to do, whatever your passion is, called you to be. So really, you have to know who you are make sure you do it; really go after it. Nothing is going and whose you are. Stay rooted in your faith and your to come to you. A lot of times we wait on opportunities foundation. And just be you. People in general, today, to come, and truth be told you have to go after those lack authenticity. I don’t know if they are afraid of being opportunities. If you don’t go after it, it will never come to themselves. But I would just say stay true to you, because you. I had to learn that the hard way. It’s very simple but it the world doesn’t need another whoever. Ultimately took me a couple years to really learn that. Be consistent. Be driven. Dreams aren’t coming true if you’re just sitting there is not another you. there. Get out there and meet people and figure how ATS: In staying true to you, how would you describe you will make your dream a reality. I would like to leave yourself in three words? everybody with that. Go get it because it is not coming to Em Jai: That’s so cool that you picked that up! I’m a Christian. So, I do believe in reading the word of God and applying it to my life. Whenever I have revelations while I’m reading a scripture that really applies to a situation I’m going through, I believe in being transparent. I find a way to incorporate that into my music without it sounding religious.
am the girl “ Inext door, I am a hopeless romantic. I’m the dope girl next door.
Get your copy of “I Need A Dollar”
Sometime about the middle of last summer, my best friend and I stumbled upon a very feminist conversation. We talked about the many methods women use to remain feminine; from hair removal to clothing, we noticed the upkeep is a hassle. Natalie, the independent she is, resolved to take a hiatus from shaving. I had already been down that road and found my way back to the razor. Since shaving had found its way back to my good side, I wondered what I could do to highlight my stand for womanhood. The result was me walking around Washington D.C. braless for seven days.
went through my high school graduation, my trunk party and my first week of college without a bra. At the time, it was my secret rebellion against the world.
When I tried that for a mere week four years later, my freedom was a lot less liberating. In fact, I felt trapped! I conquered by the constant question of whether my breasts were noticeable. Imagine that. A woman worrying that her breasts may be acknowledged. All of the sudden I could not function without a bra. Shirts did not fit, my boobs moved too much, and I received attention I neither wanted nor warranted. After realizing how much time I spent trying I let my melons loose and what I to diminish my God given rack, I became found shocked me. It reiterated my growing infuriated. understanding of what it is to be a woman I have never been a woman of and what it means to be mature. many inhibitions. Even as a kid, I did as I so At the commencement of my chose without a care in the world. In the undergraduate studies I go tattoos on my past I had gone braless to work, school, even sides. Consequently I paraded around for parties without a care on my chest. But now, nearly a month without a bra on my back. as a 22-year old woman, I walked with arms I strutted around oblivious to the stares, folded just praying that I could get through nonchalant to the headlights that preceded the day without a nip slip. Could it be that my every move. I faced some of the most maturity had made me self-conscious? I kept significant moments of my life this way. I wondering, what good is growing better if it
means you have more inhibitions. All these questions sent me back into discussion with Natalie months later. Ironically, she had been experiencing the same thing. So, here we were, two successful, smart and spiritual women somehow becoming more and more self-conscious about our bodies and our interactions with others. But, just when I thought that we were old biddies left without a choice, a great epiphany entered the room. Being a woman is not about letting it all hang out. High school and college may be a free for all, but adult life will teach you that freedom is all about responsibility. The more responsible I become, the more I realize that some freedoms shouldn’t be exercised. My new found inhibitions keep me from making the mistakes I made in the past. Some freedoms add nothing to my life. I have the freedom to brandish a gun; but just as I don’t see myself going another day without a bra, I doubt I will exercise that freedom either. -Mk
making the cover
Join the team thatâ€™s behind Chicagoâ€™s urban platform.
The Em Jai shoot was a blast. The atmosphere was great. The songstress made us smile and laugh, it was as if she was a friend.
It was so cool that we got to meet her mom and see the dynamics of how much her family supports her music. Samantha Ryan, her makeup artist, was more like a member of the family. There was just so much love going around as he shoot progressed.
Become a contributor, graphic designer, photographer or streamer . We had so much fun playing with the venue. The black-light created some awesome pictures for the shoot and for instagram.
. extra extra!
The pictures we loved that you didn’t see. We took over 200 shots at the Em Jai shoot. There’s no way they could all fit, but here are some we just couldn’t let you miss.