Indie Incognito Spring 2024 issue

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The beloved and iconic artist talk to Indie Incognito

PAYING HOMAGE to female icons and pioneers Bessie Coleman and Apolinaria Lorenzana

Donna Angers

The inspirational life of an artist

RelaunchIssue'24 A FosterSmith-KaseQtr Publication
indieincognito com
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Crooner supreme An indie artiststestimony.


Crooner supreme, Eugene Cole aka Gene-O, talks about who he is, what he's doneand what's in store 34

Thelife and art of Donna Angers At 85 years young, she is a blessing and inspiration.

That'sYour Opinion by Paultte Jackson

Voices by Key Harper

Cultureof Sexism-Racism by Jordan Tate

Hip Hop Corner

The incomparable SUS sharesher story with Indie Incognito

One On One with Award winning singer-songwriter Brenda Russell

52 Sound Off by Jo-Lynne Herbert 48

indie fashion spotlights

Rememberingalegend BessieColeman

the cover features
MARCH 2024 departments
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40 42 44 12 48
Culture Fashion
of Independent St yle
The Heart

On The Cover Brenda Russell

pg 10

Editor's Message

It's been 18 months since I last published an issue of Indie Incognito magazine Sometimes a pause is needed to re-calibrate and make adjustments. As I am sure many of you have experienced, unexpected circumstances rear their ugly heads from time to time. Well, we are back and better than ever. Instead of quarterly, Indie Incognito will now be published bi-monthly. This issue features the legendary Brenda Russell as our cover feature. She talked one on one with me about her life and times It is a riveting conversation, full of candor, humor, pains and gains

We also feature Ms. Donna Angers, an 84 year old artist, who shares her awe inspiring testimonial of hurt, turmoil and overcoming it all to find peace and success.

We are committed to providing a platform that entertains, enlightens and educates our readers on topics, people and issues that matter

As we move into our next chapter, we are committed and excited to provide you with a professionally crafted and well read platform with a worldwide reach and broad demographic you want to reach

Consider joining the Indie Incognito family as we take it to the next level I thank you for you time and consideration

Cover Feature. SIDRABELL

Indie Incognito Magazine


Publisher-Editor InChief

RhondaFoster-Smith ManagingEditor

Donnell Spencer, Jr CreativeDirector












Jeremy Helligar

AdvertisingandSubscriptions: publisher@indieincognito,com


Bakewell Ct WakeForest,NC27587

818-723-5386| publisher@indieincognitocom

IndieIncognitoMagazineispublishedby KaseQtr



Her Comfort Zone

I met and spent a little time with Brenda Russell on Norman Brown's Summer Storm tour in 2013. It was as if I was chatting and laughing it up with an old high school classmate Approachable, embracing and unpretentious is how I would describe her Of course I let her know I have always been a fan of hers, and that brought a big beautiful smile to her face.

When I decided to feature her in Indie Incognito, she responded with an excited graciousness that even further endeared me to her. She is indeed an entertainment icon and we are so blessed to have her share her story with Indie Incognito Magazine.

The screen opened to a beautiful backdrop of Brenda's study. The wall was graced with God and Platinum records, awards and a lovely microphone. Brenda entered the screen with an adorable smile, looking absolutely fabulous. I knew this interview was going to be one for the ages.

Brenda Russell courtesy photo Brenda Russell courtesy photo


Hello Ms Russell, how are you?

Hi,Tony, I am doing just fant ast ic, t hank you

First of all, I am very excited and appreciative of you agreeing to be the cover feature for my first 2024 issue of Indie Incognito magazine

Oh w ow. Thank you so m uch. I am honored Tony. Thank you.

So, how your year been so far?

It 's been spect acular Tony. Tot ally spect acular.

That is great to hear Let me say that I am, or we are, very excited about your new song "What Will It Take".

(that evokes some fist pumps and YAYSfrom Brenda accompanied with a huge smile)

First question is, who was the young Brenda Russell?

The young Brenda Russell w as born in Brooklyn I had a very diverse background Brooklyn w as kind of a t ough t ow n, so I w as alw ays get t ing beat up and bullied as a kid Because I w as skinny, I had short hair and I w as dark skinned. All t hose t hings count ed against you at t hat t im e. Oh, and I w as sm art . They really hat ed m e for t hat (laught er) So I w as alw ays defending m yself you know But , Tony, I alw ays had dream s My m om and dad w ere bot h singers I underst ood songw rit ing because m y m ot her w as a song w rit er I t hought all m om s w rot e songs because she did So w hen I st art ed school I asked t he ot her kids " Doesn't your m om m y w rit e songs and t hey said Nooo. I said w ell Ya'll got ripped off (big laught er)

That leads me to my next question Was there an influence that stood above the others?

Oh yes, bot h m y m ot her and fat her w ere heavy influences in t he m usic because a s a child t hey int roduced m e t o great m usic including art ist s like Count Basie My dad w as a big band singer. He sang w it h t he Ink Spot s. He had t he m ost beaut iful voice and I t hought Why Am I Singing (laught er) . Why am I doing t his because I sure can't sing bet t er t han him . Even Nat King Cole said t o m y dad "If I had a voice like yours, I'd be rich" That w as before Nat w as fam ous because t hey sung at a lot of t he sam e venues So, I had a great int roduct ion t o m usic, on all levels

Wonderful. Thank you. So Ms. Russell, who was the first person who said "Girl you can sing"?

I can t ell you t he first person w ho said Girl you can't sing (laught er) When i w as a kid in Brooklyn, everybody sang You know , everybody sounded like Aret ha Franklin, except m e. I alw ays had m y ow n dist inct voice. We alw ays had girl groups as kids, and t hey w ould alw ays put m e in t he corner.

Like no no, Brenda you st and back t here (haha) ...w e don't need t o hear you as loudly as you are right now. So, t hey kind of scared m e and encouraged m e t o be bet t er, you know.. But , it 's funny now because non of t hem are in t he business now..

So Brenda, at what age did you know you wanted singing to be your career?

I alw ays t hought I w ould be a singer because m y m om and dad sang and I just t hought , t hat 's w hat you do But I had t o discover m y ow n voice w hich is int erest ing because I t aught m yself how t o play piano and I not iced t hat w hen I recorded m yself, I sang bet t er w hen I w as playing because I w asn't t hinking about it . I w as t hinking about t his, t he keys and t herefore t his, ( w it h a t heat ric flail of her hand) m y voice becam e free and I said " Oh, list en t o t hat " You know , I found m y voice accident ally I w as so focused on t he piano, I didn't t hink about t his m y voice I just sang This is w hat great singers t ell you, you shouldn't be t hinking so m uch about w hat 's com ing out of your voice. Just flow w it h it , w hich at t he t im e, I didn't underst and t hat concept .

Wow That's so profound So when you made the decision, what was the first step you took to make it happen?

I t hink God m ade t he first st ep for m e I rem eber m y first day out of high school I w ent t o see t his young t rio called t he Tiaras in Canada I w as born in Brooklyn but t hat 's w here I grew up I w ent t o see t hem in a club w it h m y friend

We had no m oney and w ere t rying t o get in t he back door for free (lol). All of a sudden t his m an com es out , w alks right up t o m e and said "Do you sing?". Now I am only black person, except for t he girls singing, and I said t o m yself, sure sure, w hat 's up w it h t his guy I t hought it w as just a line But act ually he w as asking m e t o join t he Tiaras because one of t he girls w as leaving

So I packed m y lit t le bag, cam e t o Toront o, t he big cit y, w alked int o rehearsal t hey t hought I w as com ing t o audit ion, but I t hought I w as already hired So t hey w ere a lit t le shocked

But aft er t hat rehearsal I w as hired. That w as m y first job. Al Rain put t hat t oget her He w as t he guy t hat w alked up and asked m e if I sang That w as t he devine m om ent for m e

Can you describe, throughout your career and life, the trials, tribulations and obstacles you had to fight through?

The first one w as m y healt h. I w as born a very sickly child. They didn't even t hink I w as going t o m ake it , m y m ot her t ells m e. Well I did m ake it but I w as alw ays sick Couldn't go out side and play w it h t he kids because I had ast hm a Just alw ays in t he hospit al Then w hen I w ent t o Canada,m y life freed up for som e reason I becam e m ore healt hy and t hat 's w hen I really began playing and singing and w rit ing lit t le songs. It 's just been an am azing journey t hat I've been on. Ups and dow ns included. You know t he dow ns helped m e st ronger. As t hey said, if it doesn't kill you it 'll m ake you st ronger

Throughout those journeys, going through all of it and getting past it, what did it tell you about you that you were not even aware of?

One t hing is m y m om alw ays t old m e, you can do any t hing She never let m e feel less t han because I am a black w om an She alw ays said, you'll have t o do t w ice as good That I have t o w ork harder and prove yourself m ore t han ot hers because you are a black person in t his count ry. So I just w ent w it h m y heart and passion. I had an ext rem e passion for m usic

I rem em ber m y dad playing m e Count Basie's April In Paris, t he live version. I w as nine years old and so t aken by t hat . I kept saying "Play it again dad" . Oh m y, I t hought t hat w as t he best t hing I ever heard in m y life

Throughout you career, who have you performed or collaborated with, that had you pinching yourself?

Maurice Whit e When I collaborat ed w it h Maurice and Phillip Baily, t hree t racks for Eart h Wind and Fire, t hat w as pret t y am azing Maurice w as like royalt y When he w alked int o t he room it w as grand. He w asn't grand but his spirit w as grand. He alw ays encouraged m e t o keep doing w hat I w as doing and t he m ade m e feel really great because he w as so am azing

Well my readers will be upset with me if I don't ask you about Piano In The Dark and Get Here. On this one, just tell us what you want to tell us about those masterpieces.

Aw w t hank you Tony I see songs as gift s I just open m yself up t o t he universe and becom e a vessel for t he m usic I hear it first and t hen it com es t hrough m e.

Brenda Russell courtesy photo

Oh don't let me forget, If Only For One Night also. Which happens to be my favorite.

Oh t hank you Tony. Lut her did a beaut iful job on t hat song I w s so excit ed because it w as m y Christ m as present w hen I heard t hat he w as going t o record it I had just got t en hom e from St ockholm Sw eden w here I had just w rit t en Get Here, w hich w as m om ent ous occaion as w ell. I cam e back hom e. I w as broke w it h no m oney and I got a phone call saying Lut her Vandros is recording If Only For One Night . That w as a drop t he m ic m om ent . Oh, I w as so happy. Things st art ed t o t urn around for m e w hen Lut her sang t hat song Oh, first it w as So Good So Right , w as m y first hit That w as shocking Then I had t hree Gram m y nom inat ions for Piano In The Dark, w hich w as also shocking It w as like som eone w as pushing m e, you know It w as like t he people found m e, t he radio people found m e and I w as so blessed

Well, you blessed us all with those amazing productions. Just timeless. The songs, the stories and being such an inspiration

I'll t ell you about Get Here People alw ays ask m e, w ho w as I w as w rit ing about I alw ays t ell t hem I w as w rit ing about som eone I hadn't m et yet Just get here, you know You can reach m e by railw ay, by t railw ay or you reach m e w it h m ind.

Because I know you have so much more to give us, what are you envisioning going into 2024 and beyond. and what are the two most important things to you in regards to leaving your legacy?

Well first of all, t he m ost ext raordinary w ork t hat I've ever done is on Color Purple, w hich I co w rot e t he Broadw ay m usical Oprah and Quincy and Scot t Sanders produced it That w as ext raordinary. We m ade so m any st ars out of t hat group w it h act ors and act resses w ho joined t hat show. Bam , Bam , Bam done, guys. I m ean, everybody. Aft er t hat , you know , som et hing w e feel good w hen w e put black people t o w ork YAY

Words of wisdom that you would impart to young artists, ones who are just beginning their journeys Just in your own words, what would you tell them?

I w ould t ell t hem t o st ay t rue t o your heart and your passion for m usic. Don't do it for m oney. The m oney w ill com e. You have t o do it for t he love of t he craft . I feel like you have t o love m usic t o creat e it . And t o be a conduit . Take it out t o ot her people, you know , because t hat 's a pure, w onderful place t o com e from of healing You know , t his m usic heals I really believe t hat It heals One m ore t hing t o young art ist s is not t o t ry t o copy w hat 's already been done. Because God is giving you som et hing individual. So if you t ry t o copy som et hing t hat 's already been done, it 's not you It 's got t a be from you That 's w hat really really w orks Trut h from your heart and soul and you dig deep and you push and push unt il it 's t he best layer you can possibly t hink of for t he song or t he best m elody I pushed Oh, you know , w hen I w rit e I push t hrough it m e

I really hope everyone list ens t o m y new song What Will It Take It 's a healing piece w it h kids in it Yeah t ake a list en

This int erview kicks off t he Indie Incognit o m agazine relaunch aft er a 18 m ont h hiat us. We could not be happier with featuring the amazing Brenda Russell We give special thanks to her personal assistant Irina Wlsona and her PRguru Thomas Etsey for making this happen.

Soulst ress and acclaim ed songw rit er Brenda Russell?s ?What Will It Take? is a new ?We Are The World,? a proclam at ion and plea for peace, a m essage t hat bears repeat ing and being repurposed for every generat ion Russell?s rich lead vocals com m and t he background singers and children?s choir, backed by hand percussion and t ribal flut e flourishes. The song, and arrangem ent especially, sounds dat ed, as if it could share a release dat e w it h t he 1985 Michael Jackson song for Africa How ever, t he sincerit y is w elcom e w hen it com es t o songs for unit y A fort hcom ing solo album w ill m ake for a great capst one.

Brenda Russell

https://www brendarussell com/ Public Relations

Tom Estey

www tomestey com

We?r e Her e: ?Th e Color Pu r p le? an d t h e Pow er of Black M u sic

How songs in the key of life have been integral to our survival.

From left: Taraji P Henson as Shug, Fantasia Barrino as Celie, and Danielle Brooks as Sofia in ?The Color Purple?(Photo: Warner Bros.)

If I?ve said it once, I?ve said it too many times to count: I?m not really into musicals. As with everything, there are exceptions (TheSound of Music, Chicago, Evita), but in general, when characters suddenly burst into song, it not only interrupts the story; it takes me right out of it.. Let?s say, though, that you loved Hamilton and have no problem with characters who sing, dance, and rap when, in real life, they?d probably simply be talking Can singing characters ruin a movie by devaluing the dramatic tension?Are some stories too sacred and somber to be mushed up with choreography.

I thought about this a lot after watching the new movie musical adaptation of the 1985 film TheColor Purpleand discussing it with a friend. She made an interesting point about the song-and-dance-filled take on Alice Walker?s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which stars third-season American Idol champion Fantasia Barrino as Celie, the central character, and spans 36 years, from 1909 to 1945

Celie endures decades of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband, Mister, a moniker that, as Taraji P Henson?s Shug Avery suggests, is loaded with dark subtext

?It was a strange movie experience; I just don? t think TheColor Purplelends itself to song and dance,?my friend said

When these characters burst into song, they aren? t just singing. They?re reflecting the reality of the Black American experience and how integral music has always been to it, not just to our lives, but to our very survival

At first, I agreed. Was the music supposed to make the dreary hopelessness of Celie?s existence more palatable to viewers?Were the filmmakers putting a smiley face on the proceedings to make the slapping and degradation less alienating to viewers than they were to detractors of the 1985 film, which some accused of perpetuating the stereotype that Black men are violent?The more I think about it, the more I realize that to dismiss the importance of music to the 2023 version of TheColor Purple, is to miss the point of the movie entirely.

When these characters burst into song, they aren? t just singing.

They?re reflecting the reality of the Black American experience and how integral music has always been to it, not just to our lives but to our very survival ?Last Night a DJ Saved My Life?isn? t just a 1982 hit by the post-disco band Indeep. It?s a testament to the power of our songs, which is right up there with the power of love

Music has historically offered salvation to Black people during the worst of times On the plantation, faith and so-called negro spirituals kept enslaved Blacks going.

?Nobody Knows the Trouble I?ve Seen?might be dire in its lyrical scope, but singing it provided a kind of joy in the shadow of unimaginable plain

read the full article

the columnist, Jeremy Helligar

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler Author of ?Is It True What They Say About Black Men??and ?Storms in Africa?https://rb gy/3mthoj

OpEd ? Par t n er sh

(Rev ised 12-24-2023)


There have been lessons learned along the way, what to and not to do and what to and not to share There is always a learning curve, especially dealing in business I am a creative so, it is important to me when thinking of collaborations, that the person I choose or who approaches me about a project, respects what I am about and the many contributions I have made. Respect is especially important when going into partnerships, on both sides. When you think about partnerships, what comes to mind first?Is it business related, personal or even spiritual?Partnerships come in all diverse ways, on various levels but for the purpose of this article, I speak to business partnerships. When you think about partnerships, what comes to mind first?Is it business related, personal or even spiritual?

Partnerships come in all diverse ways, on various levels but for the purpose of this article, I speak to business partnerships.

If I am approached about collaborations and or partnerships, whether long or short term, it is important, I believe, to have initial conversations to bounce ideas and thoughts off one another, to get a clear picture of what is expected. It is also important to embrace differences, opinions, visions, approach, etc.

Out of conversations, wonderful projects can be born from both sides of the table Are you open enough to change?To innovative ideas? At times, a light bulb can go off and reveal things we may not have even thought of, how about that?

Bottom line is that any type of partnership we enter can be important for growth and even long-term lessons

No, not every partnership or collaboration is made in heaven, certainly not But, for me personally, I have had some great collaborations, short and long term, because let?s face it, not everything and everyone is meant to stay. Some are meant to get you to the next level of your journey and some to stay around for a lifetime so that we can help each other grow and flourish. Some even turn into great friendships

Whatever partnership you choose to get into, ask yourselves important questions, benefits, quality, effectiveness, growth, personalities, ethics, etc.?How will it effect your overall business or personal journey? Partnerships are just that, partners, working together for a common good

In the coming New Year, I will take my company, SCORPLady Ventures? to another level, pushing myself in other areas of arts & entertainment and media. My journey will include public speaking and more consulting, centered on this particular industry I will continue to learn and grow in order to share what I have learned over the past few years with those who are looking to start new creative ventures or enhance what they have already built SCORPLady Ventures? is not only about me but, also to mentor, encourage and motivate others along the way and to continue to partner with other media forces such as Indie Incognito Magazine, in an effort to showcase creatives and entrepreneurs and their achievements to the industry Trust, integrity, knowledge, communication and being open-minded are some of the things I look for in a partnership. What do your partnerships look like?How do they feel now as opposed to when you first started?


TheReal Lifeof anArtisticQueen.


Donna Angers is fascinated by the people she encounters in everyday life. Her paintings are "Big", as if she is conducting a symphony of color with her arms. Her subjects are bold, strong representations who stare directly at the viewers, resulting in mysterious, moving portraits in bold colors. Her subjects tell her story within your mind. In her own words, her goal is to perfect my gift from God Her life is a true testimony of resiliency and inspiration. We are honored to tell her story in Indie Incognito. Our publisher, Tony Smith spent time with Donna at her THESEWOMEN MATTERart showing. It was at Matter Studio in Los Angeles. We want to acknowledge Camille Thurman, who set the interview up and Karla Funderberk, owner of Matter Studio Gallery for being such a gracious hostess.

TheLife& Times

This interview was conducted at the Matter Studio in Santa Monica, CA.

This interview was special to me because, Ms. angers, at 82 years old, had an amazing story to tell It's about struggles, pains, losses and gains She was as forthright with a condor and transparency that was extremely refreshing

Q & A

Who is Donna Angers?

Well, Donna Angers w as born in 1938 and m y st ory is, I w as illegit im at e and back t hen, t hat w as not a very nice t hing t o be I w as born in nort h Lit t le Rock, Arkansas At 18 m ont hs m y m ot her left m e w it h m y grandm ot her, w ho loved m e m ore t han anyt hing. Then m y m om cam e and surprised m e at six years old, broke m y heart . She w as a st ranger, t ook m e aw ay w it h m y new daddy t o Jam aica Then w e m oved t o New Jersey, close t o Rut gers Universit y It w as a different place for m e but a nice place, being such a sm all college t ow n

Donna this question is two part. Did the college town environment play a role in your real interest in art, and exactly when did that spark for the arts manifest itself?

Wow , people have been asking m e t hat and I rem em ber, it w as a m agazine and t hey w ant ed m e t o ent er t heir art cont est w hen I w as t w elve. Now I had loved t o draw , so I ent ered t he cont est and w on. Then t hey t ell m e it w ould only cost m e $200 t o be in it (lol).

Wow, serious bait and switch. So what was next in your artistic journey?

I w as t aking art , alw ays an A st udent but all t hrough school I only paint ed caucasian w om en So I asked m e t eacher if I could paint Lucy Blount . She w as very dark skinned and beaut iful. My t eacher said, of course you paint Lucy Blount and it w as t aken aw ay from paint ing blonde, blue eye w hit e w om en.

My Perspective

Growing up, during your formative years, were there any black artists that caught your eye or was it just whatever was put in front of you?

No no no We pract iced from t he m ast ers and I sort of paint t hat w ay now

At what point in your life did painting become the central part of you, in terms of your career. When did it take on a life of it's own?

I had planned t o go t o college So I left m y m om 's house and w ent back t o Lit t le Rock To t his day m y girlfriends t hink I had a baby and disappeared. (lol) Because m y m ot her w as act ive w it h t he educat ional t ype folks in Lit t le Rock, I w as able t o get a scholarship. But at t hat t im e I did not w ant t o be in t he sout h so I w ent back t o New York. Unfort unat ely I got sexually assault ed It act ually dest royed m e because I becam e cat at onic That dest royed m y im age of w ho I w as supposed t o be I w as supposed t o be som eone going t o Paris and becom e a paint er Inst ead I ended up in a m ent al hospit al and in m y m ind, I w as no longer alive. When I w as out and back t o paint ing, a person at t he African Art Museum asked m e if I could paint m y life's st ory. So I did.

During the process of painting your life story, did you find yourself thinking about things you had went through, that you'd actually forgotten about?

Asshelooked around at her art in thestudio and smiled at thepacked house admiringher work, Donna then gavethisresponse.

Well I didn't know it w as in m e Sit t ing here looking at m y art , I realized t hat IF I FINISH THE DANCE, I SEE THE DANCE

Wit h t hat resounding closing st at em ent ,Donna Angers left us w it h a m essage as profound as w e could have hoped for

For some time now I have been an entrepreneur, from my first lemonade stand to now running two internet radio stations, online store, promotions, voice over, writing, etc and during these times, especially working in the entertainment and media industry, I have had the pleasure of partnering and collaborating with some wonderful people all over the world

What has become increasingly important to me is who I choose to partner with, someone that understands my visions and passion for what I do and partnering to continue to execute that vision to new levels and I in turn hope to do the same for whomever I work with

24 July2020
Donna with our publisher, Tony Smith at the These Women Matter showing in Los Angeles

Donna Angers

press contact: Camille Wyatt

https://www facebook com/camille wyatt1


Wit h his am azing creat ive t alent , one of a kind signat ure sound and unbelievable 4 oct ave vocal range, "Gene-O" Cole has t he abilit y t o capt ure an audience and m ake event t he largest venue feel like an int im at e gat hering.

ht t ps:/ / /

Q &A

The young Eugene Cole, who was he?

Loving, playful, crazy, shy, at hlet ic Grow ing up in San Francisco, I couldn? t let people

know t hat I w as so shy and scared so I used m y w it from an early age t o m ake people laugh Goofiness, and t he subsequent laught er it induced, becam e m y defense m echanism And it st uck, even as I becam e know n as Gene-o in m iddle school and even t o t oday I loved school I loved sport s I loved people? st ill do But all of m y yout h w as really focused on basket ball. It w as m y out let . My one t rue love.

As far as early influences, who was the most profound?

I?m not sure of w hom I w ould use as an influence in m y earlier years in t he m usic arena, considering m usic w as not a considerat ion for m e in m y earlier years I w as set on playing pro basket ball; t hat I guess I w ould say Magic Johnson and

Larry Bird in t hat case, and t hen, as I got older, t he great ?Real G O A T? Michael Jordan.

When was the first time someone said ?Boy you sing??

The first t im e I rem em ber hearing t hose w ords w as at church around t he age of 9.

Which, t rut hfully, scared t he hell out of m e I didn? t know w hat a st anding ovat ion w as

and t hought I had done som et hing w rong It st opped m e from ever singing ?a solo?

again unt il I w as in m y t eens. My m ot her didn? t like t hat m uch but I just couldn? t bring

m yself t o get in front of a crow d, even in t he Lord?s house

What was the feeling like when you realized you really had some chops?

I t hink it w as excit ing if I rem em ber correct ly. I am not sure I?ve ever considered m yself

as ?having chops? I have a belief t hat I am able t o hold a not e and capt ure an audience,

but having chops t o m e is like w hat art ist s like Lut her Vandross, Phil Perry, Celine Deion, St eve Perry and t he brilliant , Barbara St reisand all possess. I?ve never considered m yself in t hat group. I just loved feeling w hat t hey could do t o m y heart list ening t o t hem and do w hat t hey w ere able t o do every t im e

What was the first song you sang in public?

I don? t rem em ber t he nam e of t he song, it w as a gospel song, t hat m uch I do rem em ber

What jobs did you hold while working on your singing career?

I w orked w it h Cast ing All Cars of Hollyw ood providing cars for m ovie set s Film s such as Devil in a Blue Dress, Casino, and Murder in t he First , t o m ent ion a few

There w as also Int ert ek Test ing Services, w hich w as m y first job in Sales. The Nash Group ? Corporat e Recruit er for 20 plus years, probably m y favorit e posit ion

out of t he few roles I have ever held Not t o m ent ion m y older brot her, Ron Nash, w as

t he founder and t aught m e all of t he ?ins and out s? of how t o be successful in t hat indust ry

Tell us about the first time you performed in front of a real crowd at your own real gig

In t he m id 90?s w hile signed t o Let hal Records out of San Jose, California, I opened for Anot her Bad Creat ion, Tara Kem p and Dino. Jeff Clanagan, founder of CodeBlack and now part of Kevin Hart ?s t eam at Hart Beat , signed m e t o t he label in t he early 90?s and,at t he t im e, w as also a m usic prom ot er.

Q A&

Prior t o t hat , I had been perform ing w it h m y old group, Sho-Fur singing alongside som e high school friends - Dooney Jones, Frit z

William s and Jay Creach We had t he pleasure of opening for The Jet s, Sheila E, Full Force and Mazarat i, an R&am p;B, rock and funk band form ed by t he lat e, legendary Prince

Who has been the most influential presence in your career?

I am not sure I had anyone t hat w as really a st rong influence on m y career in t he early years It ?s probably w hy I didn? t see it as a career early on I perform ed because I could and t hat w as m y driving force The scream ing girls, I?m sure, didn? t hurt .

When I really t hink about it , t hough, it w as once I fully realized I could t ruly m ake people happy w hen I sang, t hat I decided t o dig deeper and figure out opport unit ies t o get in front of people m ore oft en I t hink in t he early 2000?s, t he cat alyst for seeing m yself as a Singer- Perform er, m ight have been m y ?big brot her ? Daniel Hendrick, a w orld-renow ned Tenor He helped m e t ruly appreciat e t he gift I w as given and helped m e see how t o share it w it h a broader audience

How excited are you about your newest project and why?

Super excit ed! Classic Tw ist is t ruly som et hing new for m e The blend of Classic Rock, Count ry and Pop m akes m e w ake up t o a w hole new level of excit em ent and creat ivit y I have been perform ing in t he R&am p;B, Jazz and Gospel w orlds for t he bulk of m y career

Now st epping int o a new genre w it h a new follow ing is very t hrilling t o m e The new project Grey brings all of t hose m usical flavors t oget her on one album , layered w it h

w hat w ill alw ays be m y nat ural gospel, crooner st yling I can? t get aw ay from t hat no m at t er w hat st yle of m usic I sing I?ve t ried, but t hat unique, Gene-o sound, w ill alw ays shine t hrough

What can we look forward to in 2024 from you, in the studio and on stage?

Besides finishing up t he debut album , Grey (w orking t it le), w e are w orking t ow ards a t our overseas-UK, EU. My m usic as a solo art ist has been on t he chart s over t here for years and t o be able t o perform in front of t hat fan base w ould be am azing. Because t his new sound crosses genres, I feel it opens t he possibilit ies. A t our opening for som eone like Seal, Kat y Perry, Journey, Tot o, The Eagles, or m aybe even Gary LeVox, t he lead singer of Rascal Flat t s, m y favorit e count ry group, w ould be t he opport unit y t o get t his new sound in front of a t ot ally different crow d t han I am used t o We?re w orking now t o m ake som e m agic happen and are st aying open t o w hat t he Universe has in st ore.

What words of wisdom and inspiration do you have for aspiring artists?

Never give up on your dream s, t hey can really happen! Be t he best you. if you t ruly love w hat you have com m it t ed t oyou have a big enough w hy and you give it your all - t he biggest rew ard w ill be w hat it m eans t o you t o have given som et hing everyt hing you?ve got . Do you really love doing it ? If so, Never St op!!!!

Q &A


When renowned veteran R&B/jazz singer/songwriter Gene-o launched his genre-defying Classic Twist concept in 2023, the vision was twofold - to draw on his lifelong passions for pop and rock and later country to both write empowering anthem-like songs centered on and driven by our collective potential for change and put his own trademark, emotionally soul-searing ?Gene-o?vocal spin on classic pop and rock songs from the 70?s and 80?s.His latesttrack ? and the second lead single from Classic Twist?s highly anticipated upcoming debut album ? is a stunning re-imagining of Simply Red?s

?Holding Back the Years,?featuring explosive harmonies and a powerhouse solo by Marietta, GA based saxophonist J Henry, a former winner of Showtime at The Apollo, who in recent years toured with the comedic legend Sinbad

?Holding Back the Years?continues the momentum Gene-o has following the first two Classic Twistsingles ? the inspiring call to action song?Time for Change?and a special updated rendition of his earlier warmhearted solo holiday single ?Just Like Christmas Before ?

Penned by Simply Red lead singer Mick Hucknall and Neil Moss, the original version of

?Holding Back the Years??which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1986 ?has become so familiar via years of airplay on Adult Contemporary and urban/smooth jazz stations over the decades that its deeper meaning is easy to overlook It reflects the troubled upbringing Hucknall had in his youth and the difficulty he had finding support from a stern father and a motherwhowasn? t there often enough The up bringing he had failed to offer him confidence or a sense of value, so he?s afraid to move forward with his life

Editorial source:

Classic Twist - Time for Change (Official Music Video)



Sus, tell us about your upbringing in Medellin, Colombia Growing up in Medellin was hard because the music scene there is very small and there isn? t a lot of support for making music a career

Was there a musical inspiration for you in your family?

Not really

Can you remember the first song that touched you inside like no others had?

I rem em ber w at ching MTV one aft ernoon aft er school and hearing t he sound of a dist ort ed guit ar for t he first t im e, list ening t o t hat really w oke som et hing w it hin m e. It w as a Blink 182 song video t hat w as playing and from t hat m om ent on, I st art ed t o list en t o punk rock bands everyday

Was t he guit ar t he first inst rum ent you played or w as it t he first one you played w ell?

Act ually, I w ant ed t o play drum s but m y

parent s said t hat w as for m en and didn't w ant m e t o play t he drum s. Aft er m ont hs of asking, t hey agreed t o let m e play and I st art ed drum lessons but for som e reason t here w as alw ays a const ant desire t o pick up t he guit ars t hat w ere on display before m y drum lessons

Event ually one day a friend invit ed m e t o play in her band and w hen i got t here t he direct or said ?w ell, w e already have a drum m er but here?s guit ar for you? from t he m om ent he passed m e t he guit ar I never looked back, I left t he drum s and cont inued w it h t he guit ar

What was the first song you learned to play, note by note?

Hm m m ? probably The Hell Song by Sum 41 It w as t he first one I learned com plet ely.

What was the feeling like when you first nailed it?

I w asn? t t hinking m uch about it , I w as just enjoying t he m usic

When did you form , or play w it h your very first band?


My first guit ar t eacher had a very unconvent ional m et hod, he didn't t each m e any t heory or t echnique, he w ould get t here and t he w hole lesson w as him playing t he drum s or bass and m e jam m ing w it h him We w ould w ork up lit t le ideas and w rit e songs t oget her So I guess he and m y very first band

Do you remember everyone in that band, and do you still stay in touch?

I haven't really heard back from him, I saw him probably 4 years ago

At what point did you realize it was time to get out of Colombia and head to New York?

In Medellin I w as w orking full t im e playing w eddings and in local bars across t he cit y There w as a m om ent t hat I could keep doing t he sam e t hing for t he rest of m y life and be ok but I decided t hat I w ant ed t o grow and accom plish big t hings so t hat 's w hen I decided t o leave everyt hing behind and m ove t o t he craziness of NYC. Hardest decision of m y life but so far t he best .

What struggles did you experience once you made that move?

Oh pret t y m uch everyt hing, I didn't know anyone so I w as t rying t o figure out how life w orked in such a different place The w int er m ont hs w ere a huge hurdle for m e also, com ing from Medellin Colom bia (w here it is spring t im e all year), I now had t o deal w it h snow and seasons like never before

How did your career segue into getting the many awards you have achieved in your young career?

Hard w ork, pat ience and visualizat ion

What accomplishment stands out above the rest?

A couple of w eeks ago playing at SNL w as very excit ing. Also playing at MSG and Coachella

What is on the horizon in 2023 and beyond?

This year is full of t ouring for m e I?m playing w it h different art ist s and bands (Karol G, Blue Oct ober, Billy Port er and Benson Boone) across the USand Europe.

What advice would you give aspiring artists?

Enjoy the process, don? t compare too much with others and believe in what you want for yourself If being a professional musician is your dream, be patient and work hard everyday for it, eventually everything will come true if you visualize it

Tell everyone how we can find you on social media

https://susvasquez com

IG: @susvasquez

Woman of Influence Spotlight

She played an influential role in 19th century California, later to be betrayed by Americans.

In the shadows of Spanish California, a forgotten tale unfolds - a tale of resilience and betrayal, of a young orphan girl who defied the odds and carved her place in history

In today's story, prepare to to be captivated by the journey of a Latina who held authority, amassed wealth, and left an enduring legacy, only to have it taken away in the CRUELESTof fates.

In 1800, when California and Mexico were under Spanish rule, a 7-year-old girl by the name of Apolinaria Lorenzana was one of

21 orphans sent to California from Mexico, in order to help Spain populate the region. All of the orphans had the same last name ? Lorenzana ? after the cardinal archbishop, who founded their orphanage

Apolinaria Lorenzana in a scenein thePBSdocumentary series"Latino Americans."(Brett Buchanan / PBS)

Apolinaria learned to read at the orphanage and worked hard to master writing by herself By the time she was a teenager, she began to teach other girls at a mission in San Diego She sponsored approximately 200 Indigenous and Californio (a term used to identify those with Mexican and Spanish descent during that time) children throughout her life - teaching them to read, write, sew, cook, and other necessary skills for the time.

Apolinaria learned to read at the orphanage and worked hard to master writing by herself By the time she was a teenager, she began to teach other girls at a mission in San Diego. She sponsored approximately 200 Indigenous and Californio (a term used to identify those with Mexican and Spanish descent during that time) children throughout her life - teaching them to read, write, sew, cook, and other necessary skills for the time

Spain had built 21 missions in California, in the late 18th century, in order to convert Native Americans to Catholicism and expand its territory After Mexico won independence from Spain, the padres at Mission San Diego de Alcalá gifted Apolinaria two ranches for her years of service and devotion, and she bought a third one. It was then that she became a rancher - and supervised workers constructing dams and raising crops like barley and wheat

After the U.S. took over California in 1848, Apolinaria was tricked by an American into signing papers giving her lands away In her memoirs, she stated that she spent her last years blind and living in poverty However, she was a pioneer of her time as a mixed-race single woman having had such authority, respect, and wealth, for much of her life

Pulso is dedicated to helping you learn the Latino history you weren? t taught in schools, like this story of Apolinaria Lorenzana

Photo byBernard Gagnon

Em pow ering Black Wom en in 2024: Reaching Your Fit ness Goals and Making New Habit s St ick

This time of the year always brings a sense of renewal and the opportunity for self-improvement It's a chance to reflect on our lives, evaluate our progress, and set goals that can lead us closer to our aspirations. One common resolution many people make is to prioritize fitness and work towards shedding some weight While the array of options might initially seem overwhelming, we can view it as a chance for growth and success.

Women striving to achieve their fitness objectives can face challenges influenced by cultural expectations and stereotypes

The atmosphere at the gym may feel intimidating when there's a sense of judgment based on one's race or body size Additionally, staying motivated can be challenging if there's a belief that conforming to society's body shape standards is attainable even if you try hard enough

However, it's essential to recognize that these obstacles remind you of your strength and resilience! Deep within you lies the power and determination needed to reach your goals; it just requires time, concentration, and unwavering commitment

Remember that progress is essential, whether it's taking a stroll around your neighborhood or adding a few crunches to your workout routine

Each small effort moves you closer to reaching your fitness goals in 2024!

To stay motivated on your journey to health, try changing how you perceive exercise. I see it as a punishment for not having the " body," so think about how great it feels when those endorphins kick in after a good workout! Consistency and celebration are key. Take time each day to acknowledge the effort you're putting into caring for yourself both mentally. Whether it's dancing in front of the mirror or practicing yoga outdoors, savor every moment along the way.

Connecting with inspiring women

who have similar experiences can be a source of motivation throughout this process. Hearing about their health journeys can offer insights into what has worked for them as they pursue their goals.

In my blog post "40 and Fabulous; A Black Women Guide to Maintaining Health and Preventing Chronic Diseases," I discuss a health scare that impacted my life and self-esteem

Despite understanding the root cause of the changes in my body, I continue to consult with my doctor about treatment options to regain my sense of self

Connecting with inspiring women who have similar experiences can be a source of motivation throughout this process Hearing about their health journeys can offer insights into what has worked for them as they pursue their goals.

In my blog post "40 and Fabulous; A Black Women Guide to Maintaining Health and Preventing Chronic Diseases," I discuss a health scare that impacted my life and self-esteem.

Despite understanding the root cause of the changes in my body, I continue to consult with my doctor about treatment options to regain my sense of self

Lastly, remember that success means things to people, whether completing a marathon or shedding a few pounds, whatever your goal may be Make sure it holds personal significance for you!

Here at Obsidian People, we wholeheartedly celebrate any achievements you make in 2023 ? no matter how big or small ? even if it involves appreciating progress rather than just focusing on the numbers on the scale ;). Best of luck with your fitness aspirations? we have faith in you!

Keyanna Harper is the founder of Obsidian People and a regular Indie Incognito columnist.

Follow her @obsisdianpeople


As a female writer, I am no stranger to the daily instances of sexism that I encounter in both my personal and professional life What might shock some people is that I, a woman, am capable of writing about a variety of subjects ? be it thrillers, war films, or intense drama ?instead of the stereotypically expected romantic TVfilms. However, what is even more alarming is that some view my abilities and accomplishments solely through the lens of my gender, rather than objectively evaluating my work

The truth is, sexism is a form of racism, and it is embedded in our society in ways that often go unnoticed It may seem like a stretch to equate sexism, which is discrimination based on gender, to racism, which is discrimination based on race However, at its core, both forms of discrimination stem from the same underlying issue: the belief in the superiority of one group over another In the literary world, women writers are often pigeonholed into certain genres or subject matters, while male writers are given the freedom to explore various topics.

This double standard is a clear manifestation of sexism. Women writers are not only limited in their creativity, but also in their potential for success. The publishing industry, which is still largely male-dominated, perpetuates this idea by disproportionately promoting and supporting male authors, further hindering the growth and recognition of female writers Moreover, the language used to describe female writers and their work also reflects the deeply ingrained sexist beliefs in our society. Women writers are often described as ?emotional?or ?feminine,? while male writers are praised for being ?intellectually stimulating? or ?powerful.?

This subtle stereotyping is a clear example of how sexism can function as a subtle form of racism, as it reinforces the idea that women are inferior and incapable of producing works of substance

Women of color face an even greater level of discrimination and erasure in the literary world Their voices and perspectives are often overlooked and marginalized, with their experiences being dismissed as less relevant or marketable This is a blatant form of racism that perpetuates the idea that only certain groups have the authority to tell their stories, while others are reduced to mere tokens or side characters

The intersectionality of sexism and racism is also evident in the publishing process. Women writers are not only subjected to discrimination in terms of their writing and promotion, but also int erms of pay and recognition. They are often paid less than their male counterparts and are less likely to be nominated for prestigious awards, despite producing equally if not more compelling andgroundbreaking pieces of literature

It is time to recognize and acknowledge that sexism is a form of racism As a society, we must work towards dismantling these oppressive beliefs and systems that continue to limit and discriminate against women

About t he aut hor

Jordan Tate is an author and screenwriter focusing on thriller, fantasy horror and stories based on actual events. Her work has been strongly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, Brian DePalma, Guillermo DelToro and Dario Argento her favorite director. She loves to put audience on the wrong track with characters that are never what they seem to be.

She is the newest Indie Incognito magazine columnist

https://jordantatescreen weebly com/

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Lil Uzi Vert Recorded680 Songsin18

Months:IsThat aGoodor BadCreative Process?

Prodigiousoutput or thebeginningof massivecreativeburnout?

Staff Feb 23, 2023

Lil Uzi Vert has reportedly, recorded 680 new songs for his next full-length album over the past 18 months. Of course, not all 680 songs will make the final cut, nor is it likely they?re all fully completed works But that number raises a question ?Is bulk recording at that level a good or bad creative process?

In this article, we?ll explore the pros and cons of recording such a large volume of music in a relatively short period.

Writing and recording a large volume of music in a short period can have several advantages. For one, it allows an artist to experiment with new styles and sounds, which can lead to new creative breakthroughs

The longer an artist remains in a creative zone, the more chances they have to find their voice, push their artistic boundaries, and take risks.



The Case Against Bulk Recording

This approach can help to keep an artist engaged and inspired in their work, which is especially important in an industry as fast-paced as music in the streaming era. Additionally, recording a large volume of music can help an artist build a deeper connection with their fans ? especially when they expect a prolific output ? who appreciate the prospect of hearing new material from their favorite artist This assumes a sizable portion of this batch of songs eventually sees the light of day Conversely, quickly writing and recording a large volume of music can also have several disadvantages Notably, it can lead to quality control issues, where an artist struggles to maintain consistent quality across all their work. When an artist is focused on creating a high volume of work, they may not take the time to refine and perfect each song

Suppose a significant portion of the output is eventually released in a condensed campaign In that case, it can also lead to over saturation and fatigue among fans, who may struggle to keep up with the sheer volume of new material ? even with artists like Lil Uzi Vert, who has trained his base to expect a lot.

Creating a large volume of music in a short period can also significantly strain an artist's mental health and well-being Musicians often work long hours and face intense pressure to create new and innovative work When an artist attempts to create a high volume of music in a short period, this pressure can become overwhelming

It?s common for artists to suffer from burnout, anxiety, and depression when balancing their workload with their personal life In Lil Uzi Vert's case, it?s possible that his mental health and well-being suffered in recording 680 songs in 18 months.

Moreover, the creative process can also be isolating For an artist, creating music often means spending long hours in the studio, away from family and friends This isolation can be particularly challenging when an artist is trying to create a high volume of music in a short period It?s common for musicians to struggle with loneliness and feelings of disconnectedness when balancing their creative work with their personal life.


Recording a large volume of music in a short period can be a double-edged sword While it allows an artist to explore new sounds and ideas, it can also lead to quality control issues, over saturation, and mental strain The toll that recording a large volume of music can take on an artist?s mental health and well-being is particularly concerning, as it highlights the need for artists to balance their creative work with their personal life.

Nipsey's Hust l easTol dbyNipseyHussl e

Thisisthestory of Nipsey Hussle'shustlethroughhislyricsandinterviews.

?SoI?mgon?takeyouback then,32 shotsinmy MAC-10 / Withadreamminusthemeans,my early teenswasfuckin?tragic/ Anddeepinsidemy mindisburiedcrimesyoucan? t imagine/ That I wrestlewithat night,demonsI fight I can? t get past it?? Nipsey Hussle,?I Don? t GiveaFucc? (2010).

TheMusicIndust ry?s?360Deal ?

Takesa180Tur n

?Not surprisingly,therecordlabelsaren? t rollingover.?


This is a guest editorial by Reshaun Finkley, an attorney at Townsend & Lockett. Finkley has worked with numerous recording industry artists and musicians. He can be reached

For years, the music industry has lived largely on the 360 deal This exclusive contract between a label and an artist has allowed labels to take a share of an artist?s revenue from music, merchandise sales, TVappearances, concerts, publishing, and even ringtones.

Basically, the 360 deal means the label gets a piece of everything And for the longest time, artists didn? t seem to mind

JAYZ got a reported$152 million 360 deal with Live 2008, a 10-year deal that included his album sales, publishing and licensing deals, and other external acquisitions and investments. included his album sales, publishing and licensing deals, and other external acquisitions and investments.Drake subsequently got an even bigger payday ? a $400 million deal that Varietydubbed?a 360 deal on steroids?? with Universal, including recordings, publishing, merchandising, and visual media projects.

But this industry norm has been under attack recently, as more artists apply the new Taylor Swift standard when negotiating their contracts Swift?shighly publicized fallout with Big Machine Records and eventual owner Scooter Braun led her to re-record her first six studio albums ? allowing her to own the new masters.

TheForgotten Storyof the First African American FemalePilot: BessieColeman

When most people think of pioneering aviators, names like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart come to mind But long before they took to the skies, there was a trailblazing pilot who has been largely forgotten by history: Bessie Coleman Not only was she the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license, but she also overcame immense obstacles to pursue her dream of flying.

- Early Life and St ruggles

Bessie Coleman was born in 1892 in Texas, one of thirteen children Her parents were sharecroppers, and the family lived in a one-room cabin without electricity or running water. Despite the challenges of her upbringing, Bessie was determined to get an education. She attended a one-room schoolhouse and later enrolled in Langston University, an all-black college in Oklahoma

After college, Bessie worked as a manicurist in Chicago, where she heard stories of World War I pilots and their exploits. She became fascinated with flying and was determined to become a pilot herself. However, as an African American woman in the early 20th century, she faced enormous obstacles

- Breaking Barriers

Bessie's first obstacle was finding a flight school that would accept her. In the United States, no flight school would admit an African American, let alone a woman

Undaunted, Bessie learned French and moved to France, where she enrolled in flight school She earned her pilot's license in just seven months, becoming the first African American woman to do so.

After earning her license, Bessie returned to the United States and became a barnstormer, performing in air shows across the country She was a fearless pilot who performed dangerous stunts, including loops and dives, and became known as "Queen Bess "

- Legacy and Im pact

Bessie's legacy extends far beyond her pioneering achievements as a pilot. She inspired countless others, especially African Americans and women, to pursue their dreams despite the obstacles they faced She also used her fame to speak out against racial discrimination and to encourage black Americans to vote

Tragically, Bessie's life was cut short when she died in a plane crash in 1926 However, her memory lives on as a symbol of perseverance, courage, and determination

Thiscontent isaccurate and trueto thebest of the author?sknowledgeand isnot meant to substitute for formal and individualized advicefrom a qualified professional

© 2023 Leo Vance

The Muni | Stories From A Public Golf Course

Being an avid golfer myself, I am thrilled to share this story. It is a documentary that touches my heart, invigorates my spirit and lastly makes me so proud of the black pioneers it depicts. I'll simply say, enjoy.

A love letter to the game of golf, told by the African-American caddies-turned-players who despite Jim Crow laws and the lasting effects of racism built a rich and vibrant golf culture on a historic municipal course --------- For the guys at Muni, golf has been and will continue to be an essential part of their lives until they die. Narrated by popular rock and country singer (and golfer)

Darius Rucker, Muni is a documentary film of intimate and interwoven stories about the game of golf and life. Told by a collection of people who have played the Asheville, North Carolina municipal golf course for decades. The film gives voice to people who simply wanted to play the game, on a good course for a fair price.

Designed by legendary architect Donald Ross and built in the 1920?s Asheville?s Muni has always been a public course But here, blacks were prohibited from playing openly until the 1950?s Then, the caddies became the players, and a vibrant integrated golf culture grew at Muni, highlighted by the notable Skyview Golf Tournament. In it?s hey-day, beginning in 1960, the Skyview hosted the most prominent black golfers of the day working towards the PGA tour, and it continues today with a diverse and talented field.



The sky is massive even in the midnight hour.

Sunsets are whatever we could imagine

It illuminates our morning to wake up

To see the greatness as we see our dreams

W e cannot live above the sky

As it allowsentrance to the Universe

Can you imagine our option, limitless skies

To be part of that is the gift of a lifetime that never ends.

As our commitment becomesgreater

To see beyond isin the hands of the beholder

Take hold, look towards the beyond

Take your mirror.............................

Allow it to become deeper

So, you can tap into your awakening

I chose to look up, down, left, right and even behind but it worked because the sky alwaysfollowed

The sky is so vast and radiant.

I make a point of seeing what I see asthe sky fills my heart, soul and mind.As a girl who grew up in The Bronx of NY seeing tall buildingsand riding roaring trains during a busy city in darkness and light, I had the choice to look up or down.

W e and the sky are ever changing, worthwhile, engaging to the eye, mind, soul, and everything in between bringing usto a new dimension of living

So, imagine living your illuminating self W hen thoughts and vision match up with feelings, aspirations miracleshappen.

W hen I observe the skies, I sometimes wonder if it?s spending all its time in the thinking room of doubt, disbelief, deceit, hate or being obsessed with failures.I doubt it.

The ever-illuminating gifting is the gift of life.

The sky is so natural to the eye, imagine it in your heart, soul, and mind.

The sky is just as natural as our intuition Feel it within and act upon it

Happy New Year

Jo-Lynn Herbert isa published author, writer and LM SW She is a regular Indie Incognito regular columnist. jo-lynns-expressions com @jjlynn5101 jo

Backspin: Com m on Sense ?

Resurrect ion (1994)

A dream deferred? but undeterred (85/100)

Image from Relativity Records

In 1992, a heavy burden rested upon Common Sense?s slender shoulders. Among the first featured artists in theTheSourcemagazine?s Unsigned Hype column, the Chicago MCwas positioned by the ?90s hip-hop bible as not only the valedictorian of a potentially paradigm shifting ?Avante Garde School,?but a wunderkind MCtasked with hoisting America?s third largest metropolis on his back and carrying it onto the national stage

Despite showing flashes, his debut,Can I Borrowa Dollar?failed to deliver on all fronts. It?s not that Common Sense was scorned. Amid the long shadows cast by seminal debuts from fellow chosen ones on either coast (Snoop?sDoggystyleand Nas?sIllmatic) in the ensuing years, he simply got lost

By fall of ?94, hip-hop?s mid-90s Renaissance was in full swing, and Common Sense was simply one of many interesting, if ultimately unimpactful, footnotes from hip-hop?s free-for-all early ?90s transitionary period In a year marked by debuts from a new class of golden children (Nas, Biggie, Method Man, Outkast) and opuses from decorated veterans (Scarface, Gang Starr, Redman, MC Eiht) Chicago?s prodigal son flew under the radar. Amid the storm of now classic missives, Common Sense tiptoed back onto the scene with the quiet precision of the disarmingly delicate piano loop that invites us intoResurrectionvia its unhurried title track

Despite showing flashes, his debut,Can I Borrowa Dollar?failed to deliver on all fronts It?s not that Common Sense was scorned Amid the long shadows cast by seminal debuts from fellow chosen ones on either coast (Snoop?sDoggystyleand Nas?sIllmatic) in the ensuing years, he simply got lost By fall of ?94, hip-hop?s mid-90s Renaissance was in full swing, and Common Sense was simply one of many interesting, if ultimately unimpactful, footnotes from hip-hop?s free-for-all early ?90s transitionary period

In a year marked by debuts from a new class of golden children (Nas, Biggie, Method Man, Outkast) and opuses from decorated veterans (Scarface, Gang Starr, Redman, MCEiht) Chicago?s prodigal son flew under the radar. Amid the storm of now classic missives, Common Sense tiptoed back onto the scene with the quiet precision of the disarmingly delicate piano loop that invites us

In a moment marked by bombast and melodrama, there was something instantly alluring about the easy assuredness with which Common tap danced with No I D ?s tingling keys and deceptively robust drums. In stark contrast to Can I Borrowa Dollar??s spastically frantic flows, ?Resurrection?is decidedly leisurely, even as Common?s syllabic gymnastics retain their degree of difficulty I

stagger in thegatherin?

Possessed bya patterin?that bescatterin? Over theglobal Myvocalsbetravelin? , unravelin?myabdomen It?slinesthat?sbabblin?grammaticsthat are masculine.

Like a jazz soloist, Common?s performance feels born of a symbiotic relationship with the track?s other elements. As first pass, the entendre heavy rhymes feel like a free association exercise in wordplay Yet, there?s a palpable sense of direction With the music as his muse, it feels like Common is reconnecting with his essence as an MCand a person ? from his affection for BET?s Madelyne Woods to his ongoing struggles with alcohol As a table setter, ?Resurrection?offers a subtle but clear indicator that any rebirth that?s going talbum?s lead single plays like couples therapy tho occur over the course of the next 50 minutes will begin with a retrenchment; Common?s recommitment to the essence of himself and his art form.

If the title track marks a push of the reset button on Common?s hip-hop career, ?I Used To Love H ER?is his plea for a reset of hip-hop itself In turns nostalgic, mournful, and strident, the rough extended metaphor Positioning hip-hop as a first love gone astray, Common meticulously sorts out their shared history en route to reckoning with their current crossroads

Now, periodically, I would see

Ol?girl at theclubs, and at thehouse parties

Shedidn? t havea body, but she started gettin?thick quick

Did a coupleof videos, and became Afrocentric Out goestheweave, in goesthebraids, beads, medallions

Shewason that tip about stoppin?theviolence

About mypeopleshewasteachin?me, bynot preachin?to me

But speakin?to me, in a method that wasleisurely

So easilyI approached

Shedugmyrap, that?showwegot close

But then shebroketo theWest Coast, and that was cool

?Causearound thesametime, I went awayto school And I?m a man of expandin? , so whyshould I stand in her way?

She?d probablyget her moneyin L.A.

And shedid, stud, shegot bigpub, but what was foulr .

Released as G-Funk ? with its seduwas reaching its commercial apex, ?I Used To Love H ER?gave voice to the unsettling feelingctive pairing of unrepentant hedonism and lush synth arrangements ? starting to percolate among early generations of hip-hoppers Just as it was enjoying unprecedented embrace and long withheld monetary spoils, hip-hop seemed to be growing distant from the very people who shaped it

That 1994 is now often cited as hip-hop?s greatest year lends the track a touch of unintentional irony Today?s reverence for ?94 also speaks to how thoroughly the hallmarks of commodification were being woven into the culture, making Common?s now signature song all the more bittersweet

Lyrically, Common reaches a state of acceptance of himself and his current place, existential uncertainty and all. His delivery lags behind the beat, his off-kilter rhyme patterns Destiny?s ?The Power of Love? Explicitly connecting to the original?s theme, Common concludes his stream of consciousness trek by finding harmony in simplicity, proclaiming:

I lovemymusic, I lovemymama

I lovemyself, I loveyou, and you loveme

?This is me?feels so much like a resolution that the album struggles to retain its taut intentionality for the remainder of its runtime ?13th Chapter (Rich Man vs Poor Man)?a roisterous tag team with fellow South Sider

Y-Not, makes for a spirited coda. Beginning as a devil-may-care lampooning of the two MCs? struggles to crack the cheat code to late stage capitalism (peppered with a heavy dose of ingenious word play), it slyly builds into an allegorical call out of class hierarchy and a rallying cry for economic empowerment It presents a clear maturation from the generational apathy chronicled through so much of the album full art icle


source: kimberleynguyenwrites com

Kimberly Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American poet and the author of ghostsin the stalksand Here I Am Burn Me She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska but currently living in New York City She is a graduate of Vassar College where she holds a degree in both English and Russian Studies. Additionally, she studied abroad at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom She is a recipient of the Beatrice Daw Brown Prize and two Best of the Net nominations, and she was a finalist for Kundiman?s 2021 Mentorship Lab and the Asian American Writer?s Workshop 2022 Margins Fellowship. She was a 2021 Emerging Voices Fellow at PEN America and was formerly a 2022- 2023 Poetry Coalition Fellow

In addition to poetry, Kimberly was a journalist at The MiscellanyNews Her articles have garnered attention in the community as a form of activism and have been a catalyst for institutional change She aspires to be a full-time poet and eventually wants to hold an advanced degree in poetry.

© Beowulf Sheehan 2023
Body text

pregnant pauses

in theultrasoniclight womb

youreveal yourself tome in filmgrainoutlines restlessshadows clear likewater? agitated andi amdreadingthenews beforei know thepossibilities

i amreadingtheultrasound asif tealeavesinthebottomof anemptycup all guesswork andnotangibleevidence floatingnightmares

twocuppedhands,asking tobefilled sowhentheradiologist calls andsaystheultrasoundisclear, i shouldfeel relief at what isnot there but i amlearningthat youcanmourn life?semptyspaces,evenif they?venever been filled somytwohandsclose crushingtealeavesinsidethefoldsof myfingers outliningandhighlighting theshapeof avacancy liketheemptyteacup,black leavesstill floating i look closer andrealize they?renot leavesat all, but ashes theomensoobviousnow in hindsight theteacup? now anurn i keepontheancestral altar that i walk past eachtimei returnhome how mybody cannot remember whodiedthere but still feels emptiedbythat loss

Kimberly Nguyenistheauthor of ghost in the stalks(self-published, 2019) and Here I Am Burn Me(WriteBloodyPublishing, 2022). A recipient of fellowshipsfrom PEN America EmergingVoicesand thePoetryCoalition, Nguyen hasearned Best of theNet recognition and a BeatriceDaw Brown Prize for her work.

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TheShow Must Go On: Actor and father TayeDiggs on how hecombatsinsomnia

(Family Features) Esteemed actor and father Taye Diggs dominates the stage and screen, bringing energy and life to each of his roles. In his real life, however, Diggs struggled to show up as his best self due to a years-long struggle with falling or staying asleep (insomnia).

Diggs?troubled relationship with sleep started following the birth of his son Joining more than 25 million Americans who struggle with insomnia, according to research published in the ?Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care,?he found the lack of adequate sleep left him tired during the day and took a toll on him on-stage as an actor and off-stage as a parent

?Not gettingenough sleep madeit difficult to do thethingsI normallylovedoing? performing, spendingtimewith myson, eatinga good meal ?becauseI wasso tired,? Diggssaid. ?All I could thinkwas, ? I can? t wait to get homeand takea nap.??

Diggs?Journey t o Find His Solut ion

Diggs knew something needed to change after countless attempts at treating his insomnia with over-the-counter medications, prescription options and home remedies like caffeine pills, energy drinks and naps In 2022, he decided to revisit his trouble sleeping with his doctor


Based on his needs and preferences, his doctor recommended QUVIVIQ (daridorexant) CIV, a prescription medicine for adults who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep (insomnia), proven in clinical studies to help patients get more sleep when taken once nightly

?To breathe of something new bringing me to this anew

Tomorrow is my gift

Taking the medication helps Diggs get more sleep every night (individual results may vary). Getting more sleep at night helps him feel less tired during the day and he can focus on himself and his son instead of wondering how much sleep he?ll get that night.

Today ismy living?

Naturally hidden gifts rising daily to triple return strength.?

Excerpt from Jo-Lynn?sW ritten Expressions, Book 1

Diggs?doctor discussed QUVIVIQ?s safety profile with him and told him it may cause headaches or sleepiness during the day and to avoid driving or doing other activities until he feels fully awake. He also explained that clinical trials showed taking the medication every night did not lead to withdrawal symptoms upon stopping and mentioned it is a federally controlled substance because it can be abused or lead to dependence.

Looking up into the sky of 2024 and beyond

W e looked up and counted to be invited to our next chapter

Diggs learned a lot about managing his insomnia and wants to help others who may be struggling


W e celebrated all over the world with countless streamsof fire balls of lights, sounds, and dancing gathering to those close and afar

1. Talk about insom nia.Insomnia is a real medical condition and deserves to be treated as such This is why Diggs encourages people to talk with their doctors about possible treatment options

Celebrating light and energy of a new dawn in a new year

Enlightening the backdrop of all thing?s life

2. St ick t o t he t reat m ent plan.When Diggs is consistent with taking QUVIVIQ every night as directed, he gets more sleep He recommends others work closely with their doctors to build treatment plans they feel good about

Illuminating secretsseen in our vision in the night hours guiding the awakening of dawn

Giving way to limitless power of the universe within ourselves.

3. Seek support .Paying for treatments can be a concern for many. Those interested should visit to download or screen shot a Q Savings Card to receive discounts on the first month as well as refills for eligible commercially insured patients. Terms and conditions apply.

If you?re like Diggs and struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, start a conversation with your doctor and see if QUVIVIQ is right for you Individual results may vary Review the additional important safety information for QUVIVIQ

Source: Idorsia SOURCE: Idorsia

music 20 24

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