Friday Night Cru, Lindsay Lewis, Rebecca Williams, Rraine Hanson, Ebrima Manjang
ISSUE 003 S/S 2019
Boma Iluma with Lauren Kim, Jerrod White, Kafilah Ali, limchoy lee
BLACK HISTORY MONTH ISSUE
Contributors Jerrod White
@jerrodinho | Jerrodinho.bigcartel.com
@blavkjewelry | etsy.com/shop/ blavklimchoylee.com
@thebecx | Rvvwilliams.com
Friday Night Cru 3
Kalifah Ali @kfeelzzz
Boma Iluma @bomailuma
Lauren Kim @l.aure.nalex
Ebrima Manjang @ebrima_m
Contents GANGST Issue 003 Contributors 3 Editorâ€™s Letter 5 Welcome 6 Isolation 9
BLAVK Jewlery 13 limchoy lee
The Plug 17 Music, Film, and Culture recommendations from the local plug
Friday Night Cru 19 In Review 14 Antoine Timbers
Rebecca Williams 23 President Kamala Harris? Lindsay Lewis
Kafilah Ali 35 Feature: NEGUS 43 Boma Iluma Lauren Kim
Nadia Wolff 63 Hit Us Up 71 CONTAINS ART, CULTURE, RAW BLACKNESS
This issue was made at gunpoint.
Taylor Roberts, Editor-In-Chief
Greetings Loved Ones
Self-isolating has always been my coping mechanism of choice. Direct human contact is a risk.
BLAVK JEWLERY 13
handmade and shot by limchoy lee
Blavk Jewelry was started in 2015 as a visual exercise, aimed at combining the rituals of our (black) ancestors and building on the tradition of black adornment. Originally released to the world as a series of one-of-a-kind delicately wire wrapped necklaces and rings Blavk has now expanded into the world of metalsmithing. While black adornment informs the pieces made, limchoy lee has placed individual healing as a prominent function. Clients can consult with her about the areas and spaces in their lives that need healing and from that conversation, an individual one-of-akind piece is created for the wearer.
The Blavk jewelry site is currently under construction but you can find her designs on IG @blavkjewelry and contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If youâ€™re located in Miami, FL her studio is available by appointment.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Ishmael Beah
The Plug 17
In this issue Daniel Butler, ImDBro on Twitter, is putting us on to what to pay attention to and why. He’s a music encyclopedia and gemini that will make you love geminis.
This novel is a retelling of author Ishmael Beah’s life in the mid 90s as a child soldier during the Sierra Leone Civil War. I’m going to say this as succinctly as possible, this jawn is WILD. A harrowing, heartfelt journey that exemplifies the endurance of the human spirit.
3 Headed Snake Gunna ft Young Thug I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m prone to hyperbole. With that being said, I’m not sure TWO TIME Grammy award winning artist Young Thug didn’t invent flow. Gunna Wade gives the perfect assist to let LeThugger James slam the best verse of the year (so far)
ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke Nothing says black history month like a black icon failed by the justice system. In this Netflix doc, Black music legends like Quincy Jones, Dionne Warwick, and Smokey Robinson detail the life of the incomparable Sam Cooke and the dubious events surrounding his untimely death. A tin foil hat is recommended but not required
Cheers Anderson .Paak ft. Q-Tip
Okay listen, this movie doesn’t come out for another 2 months, but consider this a preemptive put on. My lunar king Ashton Sanders starring in a movie adaptation of one of the most famous and polarizing novels in the history of black literature. I insist, no I guarantee that it will be worth tuning in on April 6th.
Dr Dre’s Oxnard wunderkind linked up with the legendary leader of the Tribe to give us a contemplative ode to the dead homies. Despite the somber subject matter there is no shortage of Paak’s trademark funk or Tip’s unmistakable flow. The Tribe would be proud RIP MAC, PHIFE FOREVER
Movin’ On Up (Coco’s Song, Love Beats Rhymes) Azealia Banks While the airwaves are filled with 2015 Young Thug impersonators, everybody’s favorite problematic Gemini came through with an energetic hip pop heater that reminds me why she still has a rabid fanbase waiting for her to break out. SHE GAVE US TOBOGGANING!
Your Queen is a Reptile Sons of Kemet Four Brits with some instruments get together to drop a 9 track Jazz masterclass dedicated to the incomparable black woman. It’s a dense and rhythmic journey filled with traditional African and Caribbean grooves that are sure to bring you back to the Motherland.
Countin Up (Documentary) Rico Nasty Fader came through with a 20 minute profile of Rap phenom/ Supermom/ 18th President of Sauce Rico Nasty. Rico and her crew open up about loss, persistence, and the beauty of new life between glimpses of her tour. I’m just saying, after watching this I can tell you Rico won’t stop grinding until she gets the recognition she deserves.
True Detective Season 3 *Plays Public Service Announcement* MAHERSHALA ALI IS THE BEST ACTOR ALIVE and he gets in his crime bag for the third season of this HBO anthology series. You don’t need to watch the first two seasons, just throw on episode one and watch tha gawd at work
FRIDAY NIGHT CRU
Meet Friday Night Cru, a Jamaican rap duo consisting of Kindah (right) and Dash (left). The group has been growing steadily as of 2018 with their breakthrough single Monáe. If you’re looking for a blend of hip-hop with a Caribbean influence, check out their music on all streaming platforms or keep up with them on all social media @Fridaynightcru.
“VAPID RAP” In defense of MUMBLE RAP
Mumble rap is chaotic yet beautiful. The sub-genre is viewed as both appalling and crowd pleasing. To me mumble rap is just another way young artist can express themselves. However I do find it frustrating and confusing when people call Mumble rap, Mumble rap. To me, and many other people, we can understand everything that these artists, under this sub-genre, are saying. I don’t know if it’s because I’m from the South and I’m used to country and southern accents, but to me the term Mumble rap is just an excuse to undermine the value a specific artist and their artistic outlet. I love ‘Mumble rap’ and I will always appreciate it.
by ANTOINE TIMBERS
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Ever since I was young enough to hold a note, I have been expressing myself through art. Whether it was music, painting or dance, I have always loved creating and showing. Nowadays, my preferred poisons are poetry, photography and film making. I picked up a camera at eleven and I havenâ€™t been able to put it down since. At first, all I cared about was if the image was pretty or if I had followed the rule of thirds. Now, I find myself leaning toward more narrative based photography. I think about how this image will impact a space and how it could spark conversation. When I think about my favourite photographers and their images,
I notice that the work is conscious and relevant.
I see the work of Renell Medrano and Myles Loftin as a celebration of
blackness and I feel proud. To me, being a black creative is being a vessel of creative energy whilst being black. As a fellow black creative, I feel a
responsibility to show black people as we are; multi-dimensional. I also feel
free to create art that speaks to my community and invites others to listen.
P r e s i d e n t Kamala Harris ?
By now, you have probably heard of Kamala Harris, the junior U.S. Senator from California who is running for president. But how much do you know about her background? In an effort to be help yâ€™all be informed voters here are some things that you should know about Senator Harris.
by LINDSAY LEWIS
Harris was born in Oakland, California to two immigrant parents. Her mother was a breast cancer scientist from India and her father was an economics professor from Jamaica. She grew up in the Bay Area until she was 12 when she moved to Montreal after her parents split up. She was raised in a multi-faith household, attending both Black Baptist churches and Hindu temples. For her undergraduate, Kamala attended the HBCU Howard University in Washington, DC, where she majored in political science and economics. She was also a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. After she graduated Howard, she attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she received her JD. She spent 8 years of her career as the deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California, which encompasses much of the Eastern Bay Area. Kamala was then elected as District Attorney of San Francisco in 2004 and held that position until 2010. Under her tenure, felony conviction rates rose 15%. She also created a special
Hate Crime Unit which focused on hate
Black and brown Californians.” It will be
crimes against LGBT children and teens.
interesting to see her campaign and how
Harris was then elected to the position of
she deals with the criticism of her past
California Attorney General
her version of being “tough on 2011 and being both the crime” often comes off as “tough only African American and on Black and brown Californians.” in 2010, taking office in
woman to ever do so. Upon announcing her candidacy, Harris’ record
record as California Attorney General and
as Attorney General is under new scrutiny.
San Francisco DA and whether or not she decides to shrug it off or own up to her,
When the US Supreme Court declared that
and her office’s, missteps.
California prisons were so overcrowded that it constituted cruel and unusual
Kamala Harris is a relatively new addition
punishment, Harris fought federal court
to the U.S. Senate, being elected in 2016.
supervision. When California was told
She has been a vocal opponent of Trump
to reduce crowding and implement new
since the beginning. She is one of three
parole programs, Kamala Harris’ office
Black senators that currently hold office,
argued that if they were forced to release
alongside Cory Booker of New Jersey and
inmates early, prisons would lose an
Tim Scott of South Carolina. She is the
important source of labor. This made
second Black woman senator in history,
Harris seem as though she was in favor
the first being Carol Moseley Braun who
of forced prison labor, despite saying the
served almost 20 years prior. She follows
practice did not “reflect her priorities.”
in the footsteps of very influential Black
During her reign as both the San Francisco
women by announcing her campaign for
Attorney General and the California
the presidency within the Democratic
Attorney General, she was forceful in
party. Only three other Black women,
her belief of prosecuting parents with
Shirley Chisholm (‘72), Barbara Jordan
truant schoolchildren, i.e. a child who had
(‘76), and Carol Moseley Braun (‘04) have
missed class or arrived over 30 minutes
run for President under the Democratic
late without an excuse. This was seen by
party. Her campaign package includes
critics as unnecessarily harsh on parents
raising the minimum wage, making higher
without getting to the root of the problem.
education tuition-free, protecting the
Harris seems to have her heart in the right
legal rights of refugees and immigrants,
place, but her version of being “tough
on crime” often comes off as “tough on
accountable, and Medicare for All.
While it is still early, the ways in which she is being critiqued as a woman of color is already telling. If she secures the nomination, she will be going head to head with Donald Trump — if he’s not in prison by then — make sure to take note of how they are compared. Her run will be something to behold and I expect will be very different from that of Obama’s and Clinton’s seeing as she has to walk the extremely fine line between her race and her gender. With the general election less than two years away, we are gearing up for an interesting race with the prospect of removing Trump from office.
Illustration by Taylor Roberts
A PAUSE TO 31
WEâ€™RE REALLY OUT HERE
BLACK. [THANK GOD]
Creative & Art Direction by BOMA ILUMA Shot by LAUREN KIM
GANGST What do you make and why? BOMA I’m a visual artist who uses all facets of the photography and cinematic mediums to tell stories. Color, sound, writing, & performance- all are important assets to my artform and mode of expression that I use in the art I create.
B Feeling extremely grateful — Proud of what Lauren and I created and happy you all are sharing the project in your magazine. Thank you so much for this feature. LAUREN
GANGST Where can we follow you and see your work? Is there anything you’re working on now? BOMA and LAUREN Boma Iluma @bomailuma, Lauren Kim @l.aure. nalex. We are finishing up the second half of this project Mandé while working towards our debut art show
G When did you first come to the US and when did you come back without your family? Have you been back to Nigeria since? B I was born in Atlanta and lived there for ten years. I then moved to Nigeria, oscillated between Bayelsa and Abuja for four years, then moved in with family friends in Atlanta for high school and spent my senior year at a boarding school in northern Georgia. All throughout high school, I spent my summer and winter holidays back home in Nigeria with my family.
G What were the conversations like between you two before going into creating this series?
B Our conversations focused on our experiences with racism while growing up and the shame our respective cultures have endured while trying to assimilate into the American fabric. We sought to find a way to convey the beauty and pain that is associated with being in a minority in this country in a nuanced way that was aesthetically beautiful. The story is very important to both of us, and our goal was to ensure that all of our choices in terms of color, angles, looks, and casting served the story first. That way the themes of intimacy, masculinity, and identity would be as poignant as our aesthetic choices. 47
L When Boma approached me about doing this collaboration with him, I immediately jumped on board. Bomaâ€™s vision is incredibly unique and well curated, and I wanted to help bring it to life. When we began this series, we agreed that we had to be on the same page with every elementfrom the coloration to narrative, to the final product. This project has been a collaboration through and through, and I consider it a massive honor to be a part of this!
G How long did you know you wanted to capture your experience artistically? When you first began conceptualizing Negus, did it look like this in your head? B I had been meditating on my own identity and masculinity all throughout last year and was searching for a way to express my feelings in a nuanced way. The imagery of Negus such as the cotton, the feathers, the gold paint-all came to mind when I was thinking about the complexity of my experienceâ€”having lived as an American born Nigerian in Nigeria and a black man in American having been raised by Nigerian immigrants. It was important for me to figure out how to connect those two worlds while telling this story. Then, I met Lauren and it took the concept to another level. She had just wrapped a photo series of her own and the colors and tenderness of the shots were insane. She expressed a high level of sensitivity and care in her photos that usually is never paired with black men. It evolved as we continued to flesh out the idea, more ideas arose on the day of the shoot, and other layers were added in the editing process that I couldnâ€™t have predicted when I initially set out to create Negus.
G How long did you know you wanted to capture your experience artistically? When you first began conceptualizing Negus, did it look like this in your head?
B I had been meditating on my own identity and masculinity all throughout last year and was searching for a way to express my feelings in a nuanced way. The imagery of Negus such as the cotton, the feathers, the gold paint-all came to mind when I was thinking about the complexity of my experience-having lived as an American born-Nigerian in Nigeria and a black man in American having been raised by Nigerian immigrants. It was important for me to figure out how to connect those two worlds while telling this story. Then, I met Lauren and it took the concept to another level. She had just wrapped a photo series of her own and the colors and tenderness of the shots were insane. She expressed a high level of sensitivity and care in her photos that usually is never paired with black men. It evolved as we continued to flesh out the idea, more ideas arose on the day of the shoot, and other layers were added in the editing process that I couldnâ€™t have predicted when I initially set out to create Negus.
G There’s moments of loving and moments of fighting. How important was it to show both instances? B Black masculinity in America is incredibly complex and at times at odds with itself. Traditionally “masculine” and “feminine” energies “fight” with each other— seeking validation from a culture that often views black men hypermasculine, insensitive beings. It was important to show this fight and how difficult it can be, while also highlighting the beauty when both energies are allowed to coexist. 57
G NEGUS is both universal â€”with the image of black men and cotton â€”and personal. Is there anything specific you want Negus to say about Black masculinity exclusively? B Masculinity is a construct that causes confusion within all men. Negus is about embracing the full spectrum of identity and allowing the imperfections to coexist peacefully with the more refined parts. I think it is important for black men to not feel like they have to be to some unrealistic, unemotional, hypermasculine form of themselves. Selfacceptance and love is an integral component to masculinity and that only comes from embracing all parts of oneâ€™s history and feelings.
G Last question, and itâ€™s a big one. What is your prescription for Black men? What do you think they need and what are they not getting? B Black men are not monoliths. We are complete human beings, capable of feeling and expressing the full spectrum of emotions that come with the complexity of life. Black men are sometimes seen in unrealistic ways â€” angry, stoic, uncontrollable-which is limiting because there are various shades and colors to who we are. I hope people can focus on seeing us in our entirety and empathize with our experiences. We desire the same love and understanding that all people need in life.
Nadia Wolff is a Haitian-american artist, designer, writer, and educator from Miami. They are currently pursuing a BFA in Textiles and a BA in Literary Arts in the Brown University/ Rhode Island School of Design dual degree program. They are a big fan of citrus and worm facts.
Shout out to Black Women
Photos: Ebrima Manjang
@GANGSTMAG ZINE A
AL W A YS OP E N LIKE A 24
U R CVS
Gangst is a seasonal magazine based in New York that accepts submissions from young people of color in writing, photography, fine art, and any kind of visual art. If you can send it we can take it. Send questions and submissions to email@example.com
(Website coming soon) (Prod
*A big thank you to each of our talented contributors
Special Black History Month Issue