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NAPIZUM

ISSUE 002


ISSUE 002


TABLE OF CONTENTS 03 MINDSTATE: Kyna 07 Fionna Flores Spread

44 Exposure by

13 Illustration by

47 Benny x Jie Spread

Nokwanda Themba

19 Blink by Linda Zhang 20 Suceeding in Art for Dummies by Benny Harps

21 MINDSTATE: Malik (EAT)

25 Shorty’s Newsletter

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29 MINDSTATE: Tobore (Thrift Lorde$)

33 NYFW: The Show on

the Streets by Matthew Leung

35 Influence: What Are You Leaving Behind by April Pesa

36 Cover Artist:

Margaret Harps

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We Major!” by Young Tulloch

11 The N Word

by Safeia El-Jack

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41 “Come On Homie,

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Alyssa Hard

51 The Train Station by Eric Marshall

53 Queen of the Earth by Rakeb Teklehiwot

57 MINDSTATE: Premo Rice

61 Wanjie Li Spread 65 Poetry by the People


TEAM Benny Harps Editor

Rakeb Teklehiwot Photographer/Writer

David Sharp Jr. Editor/Photographer

Eric Marshall Writer

Jie Zheng Editor/Graphic Designer

Kundai Zemura Journalist

Ana Martinez Social Media Manager

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Young Tulloch Journalist

Looking for artists of all medium for the next issue and to join the team. Send submission to: napizum@gmail.com View the digital print, interview videos, music, and more at NAPIZUM.com

59 ABOUT THE COVER “This is a painting by my grandmother Margaret Harps. The subject is my oldest brother, Kwame Harps Jr., when he was a teenager. While he was watching TV, she drew a photo of him. She interpreted from that sketch this painting. This issue is paying homage to the young and old generation. With our youngest artist being 13 years old, and the oldest at 92 years old. We believe these artists works will transcend generations.” —Benny Harps Learn more about the cover artist on page 33.

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Sharp: So why photography?

S: Tell me a little bit more about your trip to Nigeria.

Kyna: You know how they say “The game chose you” hahah sike naw. But yeah photography really chose me, I feel. I got my first point and shoot when I was sixteen on Amazon and at the time I was shooting my best friend. But I don’t really credit that to my photography life at all. I would say that when I was studying journalism in school, I got to try a bunch of different options and photography really stood out to me because I got to create the images. One thing I said was that I want to change how especially black people are seen in the media. So photography was kinda the role of that.

K: I went with my family and see my friends. Most of my family is in Nigeria. I’m Nigerian if you didn’t know. I haven’t been since maybe ninth grade. It was really enlightening. Just being able to see people who have the same last name as me, that look at me, it’s allreally enlightening because I don’t get to see that here. I have been there more when I was younger, but this is my first time there as an adult. Something that I take back from trips like that is the minimalism of it, just being able to live basic. Not really having material things and things you think you need to survive. All you really need is like water, fire, and like a house. That’s all you really need because life is simpler out there. The trip allowed me to kind of release myself from any distractions. America was full of many distractions, especially that whole political campaign with Trump. That trip allowed me to get away, it allowed me to clear my head as an artist and see things clear, and know which direction I wanted to go. I need to make more of those trips.

S: Do you lean towards film or digital?

S: How does the concepts come to you? Do you see something ahead of time? K: That’s why I really like photography because I can take a picture and revisit it and see something completely new in that photo. And that photo can spark an entire photo series, a story, or whatever. Like the photo I took in Nigeria of two sisters that sparked my series for my Nigerian portraits. I was shooting Nigerian siblings. It’s like I take every little thing and I kinda try and make sense of it. When you’re

Umuihi women

K: I started off on digital work so I’m always comfortable with digital work. But film to me is more timeless and I was interested in learning the process of it, which was more rewarding to me than digital. If you can master both, you’ll be a stronger photographer because film has its pros and cons and so does digital. I’m learning to love film more and I really want to start shooting medium format, but haven’t gotten to that yet. I’ve only been shooting film for like a year. I shot my first roll of film in Nigeria and I feel like that kinda kept me going. I was just like wow. Actually a friend let me borrow some inspired film cuz I was telling him I wanted to get into film. Honestly that little push propelled me through out the year because, all year I’ve been shooting.

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shooting you’re not really thinking of it. You’re just attracted to it and you don’t know why. You’re revealing your own identity through your own work. My stories come from my experiences.

So I reached out to one of the girls and asked her if she knew people and she did the shoot. Like literally the next day I emailed DAZED the photos and they picked them up. So that got a lot of attraction and, that propelled my work also just to create with more substance and define my work as an artist so I kinda just been going off that because I want more of those.

S: I saw DAZED picked up your photo about the Muslim girl. K: Honestly that was really crazy because, that happened right after I came back from Nigeria. So my mind was completely cleared, free from distraction. I kinda understood the tension going on in Nigeria at the time between the Muslim groups and the Christian groups. Being in that space with them both you could still feel the tension. So when I came here and Trump made his ban on Muslims and all that wild shit, I was naturally inclined to shoot something about it. I had a small following of young girls that just liked my work. 05

S: How do people receive your work? And does that mean anything to you? K: Honestly, it’s really for me. That’s something that I truly truly appreciate. I’m strictly working through passion. All my projects so far have been personal projects. So it’s really about me, it’s like my personal revelation. When the world receives in a way that they love and they can identify with, then I’m all for it. Also, that whole situation where I got the

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From left to right: LaDasia Lewis,, Akua Amponsah, Alishba Kamal, Azarri

national attraction I got from my photos, it honestly made me think more about how people receive my work. So since then I kinda been thinking a lot more about how the people receive it. Like, it’s not just for me anymore even though I am creating for myself its something that I’m sharing with the world. I’m open to see how people receive my work.

S: What are you most proud of? Or your favorite?

S: Can you talk about any projects that you got coming up?

S: At the end of the year, what’s something you see for yourself? Something big? Somewhere you want to be?

K: I have a documentary I’m working on with a cheerleading team and basically telling their story on how they’re coming back. They didn’t win a lot last year. So ya’ll gonna see how hard these young black girls work. I’m glad they are happy to share their story. My mind works a thousand miles per minute, so I’m always working. I know I have to focus on execution. So I have a few projects I’m working on for the rest of this year. You’ll see it.

K: Honestly, I’m really critical on myself. I don’t think I have made the best project yet. But I have that the Muslim project is my favorite only because of how it was perceived and how Refinery picked it up and how much it brought people together. I want to create more work like that.

K: I want to work with bigger brands and bigger companies, bigger artist, more collaboration and eventually have my own creative agency.

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Sydney Martin Carolyn Mae

Fionna Flores is a 13 year old photographer, model, blogger, and filmmaker. She started photography just 2 years ago and from sharing her work on social media, she has had the oppportunity to work with inspiring individuals. With passion and innovation, she hopes that her work will take her to new places.


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“Niggers was the ones on the rope, hanging off the thing; niggas is the ones with the gold ropes, hanging out at clubs.”

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upac Amaru Shakur, consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all time, establishes the difference between ‘nigger’ and ‘nigga’ for a journalist in a 1995 interview, claiming that ‘nigger’ refers to the act of lynching that occurred between 1880 and 1930 and that ‘nigga’ symbolises a lifestyle of wealth and materialism. Arguably, one of the most controversial words in the English Language, the perpetual debate on whether the n-word empowers or imprisons us is one that has been in session since the concept of reclamation. With calls for the censorship and criminalisation of rap music, I find myself asking why a certain amount of pressure and burden has been put on rap artists to police their own language. Hundreds of criminal cases are being introduced with rap lyrics as evidence to present motivation to commit a crime, failing to realise the complexity, hyperbole and rhetoric that is intrinsic to the art form. Even in cases where no crime has been committed, rappers can be and are charged with attempting to communicate a terrorist threat. In a weak attempt to eradicate the slur, the New York city council officially banned usage of the slur in 2007, speaking volumes considering the genesis of hip-hop music was in the South Bronx, New York in the 1970’s, coming off the heels of the Civil Rights Movement. The streets of crime and gangs soon became surrogate parents for the youth but we outlined our existence by demonstrating our visionary spirit and rhythm—creating something innovative and pioneering. But the question still and always will linger—is there any legitimacy behind trying to re-claim what some would say is the bloodiest word in the English Language? Or does the consciousness of political correctness burn more brightly? Well one controversial theory supports this—the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, created by linguist Edward Sapir and his student Benjamin Whorf, states that the way people think is strongly affected by their speech, essentially claiming that language controls thought. In its pure form, human thought is only possible through language and that we can only think things which we have the language to articulate. This is known as the ‘strong version’ and critics have said it is too rigid because it seems to negate the possibility of language change overall as it would be impossible to invent the many new words and language forms that we see emerging in English. The ‘weak version’ however, has been viewed as

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more usable because it goes over the force of ‘determinism’. This suggests that language can only influence thought but doesn’t exercise complete control over it. Another person who expresses a similar opinion on this is British rapper and academic, Akala, who says trying to re-claim the word and use it as a term of endearment is “complete and utter rubbish”. Acknowledging and accepting the fact that he used the word in his earlier mixtapes, Akala uses the analogy that if he started used the terms ‘cracker’ and ‘honkey’ as much as he used the n-word, no one in his family would find it amusing, bearing in mind that his mother’s side of the family is white and his father’s side of the family is black. However, one person who does not believe in political correctness, or “pluralistic ignorance”, is psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker. He puts forth the theory of the ‘euphemism treadmill’ which shows how concepts, not words, are in charge. He claims that even if there was a ban on certain words which are deemed offensive, the negative connotations behind them would be ever-present thus defeating the overall purpose of political correctness. People will find new words in replacement of the slurs but will carry forth their beliefs about a particular issue or group of people. To restrict one from saying certain words would be clearly in breaching freedom of speech—a value that when is restricted from the people, has led to devastating consequences such as the Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany. As liberated human beings, we should be able to challenge authority and challenge people’s opinions if we believe them to be wrong. But does political correctness need to be evident in other aspects of art and media culture? 2016 saw the start of an American true crime television series which erupted Twitter following one of the most controversial and powerful scenes. In the sixth episode, the series which presents the murder trial of O.J Simpson features a dramatic scene by where Nathan Lane’s F. Lee Bailey uses the n-word six times when cross-examining Steven Pasquale’s Mark Fuhrman. While some praised and some criticised, Academy Award-winning actor and star of the show, Cuba Gooding Jr. defended the use of the n-word in the show and expressed his opinion. He says “Absolutely I think it’s important. Our job as artists is to reflect the ills of society sometimes and to find a truth in that and I think you can’t start the healing process until you recognize the truth and

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all of its ugly warts and all.” And just to clarify, no black people walk around calling each other ‘niggers’. With separate Wikipedia pages, we have to accept that ‘nigger’ and ‘nigga’ both carry a significant difference in their meanings, whether we like it or not. Although ‘nigga’ originated from ‘nigger’, it’s important to acknowledge that the term ‘nigga’ has taken on a whole new meaning to some of its users. I don’t think legislators or anyone else for that matter can exert any legitimate influence over how black people should speak nor do they have any validity trying to regulate our language. The only time it would be acceptable for white people to use the term ‘nigger’ would be in the presence of effectively acknowledging its bitter history which is the only place it deserves to be spoken in. Nonetheless, when it comes to the way black people talk and interact with each other, it should be a conversation, we as black people, can have internally, rather than an exterior force, be it government bodies or other members of authority, attempting to control the way we speak. I know if I see one of my friends in the street and call him/her ‘my nigga’, it’s because they are ‘my nigga’ and reader, this shouldn’t alarm you. They are ‘my nigga’ because we live in a world where institutional racism exists, where police are seven more times likely to stop and search black people in the UK than any other group, where my young and unarmed African-American brothers are being gunned down in the streets of Missouri, New York etc. We live in a world where police brutality against blacks is rampant and little to no justice prevails. We share a common condition

known as ‘nigga’. White people don’t. I find it interesting how white legislators were trying to make the term ‘nigga’ illegal for American society claiming that the word has become “racially divisive”. I couldn’t help but laugh in their face and remind them that it was slavery that was divisive and it was white supremacy that was divisive. If anything, the term ‘nigga’ does the opposite and unites us as a people—a euphoric feeling difficult to explain. I’m not saying we should be encouraging the use of the word nor am I saying we should ban the word all together. I’m saying white people shouldn’t want to use the word considering the 400 years of exploitation, degradation and humiliation. As rapper Trinidad James says, ‘You do not feel fear, its love.’ Simply put, if one chooses to use the phrase ‘my nigga’, the person on the receiving end shall feel at ease because it is coming from none other than a loving place. In the same 1995 interview, when challenged by the journalist about people who may not be clear about the differentiation between ‘nigger’ and ‘nigga’, Tupac goes on to say “You don’t have to be, if you not a nigga, you don’t use that word, you don’t have to understand, it’s just not one of those things.” And ultimately by saying this, he was professing and manifesting the idea that political correctness with regards to the n-word, should be applied to people who are not of that group – an identifiable statement concurred by the generations preceding him.

The N Word by Safeia El-Jack

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Nokwanda Themba is a 22 year old, South African, Women of Color illustrator and visual artist. She is completing her degree in BS Human Physiology, hoping to use her existence to make a contribution in health andmedicine. She regards her art work as her own contribution to society and feminism, in a soft way.

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BLINK By Linda Zhang

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lowing hues of red trail over wispy, muted oranges and yellows, before finally fusing with vibrant greens; a fiery landscape extending towards unscorched earth. A hazy dark spot marks the center, sitting adjacent to a golden orb radiating branching rivers of maroon. An abstract painting? Not quite. You, like most people, are the muse for the machine that renders this image. It’s contents are the beautifully depicted macula, optic disc, and central retinal vein and artery. Its artist is Optos, a bulky piece of medical imaging equipment. Its model is the retina, the back layer of the eye responsible for receiving light stimuli and triggering neural impulses. Because eyes contain nerves and blood vessels like the rest of the body, traces of many systemic conditions can first be identified in the eye. Retinal imaging enables ophthalmologists to recognize early signs of concerns such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which appear as tiny hemorrhages in the outermost regions of the retina. The comprehensive view that modern-day imaging technology provides allows for diagnosing of otherwise easily overlooked symptoms. They function as a substitute for dilation, therefore forgoing the discomfort of temporary farsightedness and harsh exposure to focused beams of light. As a result, retinal imaging can play a role in improving the quality of sight and life with greater ease and comfort. Images of both eyes can be viewed alongside one another, instead of having to separately examine and alternate between each eye. In extreme cases, differences in optic nerve swelling can be immediately seen with side-by-side images of both eyes. Discrepancies in pathology between eyes often indicates

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the presence of an intense physiological issue. Distinctions in optic nerve swelling are rare, and can be caused by the presence of a mass that places more pressure on one nerve than on the other. If the source of the problem is not in the eye, it’s found in the only place where nerves from both eyes coexist - the brain. In this way, brain tumors can be caught early on, even before they can begin manifesting into more detrimental symptoms. A momentary glance at adjacent photographs may save the life of someone who, months later, could otherwise come out of an hour-long brain MRI with a grave prognosis. It’s bright and dreamy colors make it art to the unknowing eye. But with training, the swirling flecks of pigment can tell stories of trauma and microaneurysms, detachments and tumors, relevant to not only the eye but also the whole body. Retinal imaging provides answers to issues impacting one’s often underappreciated sense of sight, and points towards underlying problems found elsewhere. Like any photo, a retinal image preserves a particular moment in time, and functions to objectively monitor changes in the eye over time. It allows for noninvasive glimpses at explanations to physiological problems. It produces maps that can be made and analyzed in seconds. Retinal images fail to display the years of research and technological advancement behind their production. Understanding them requires the science and skill of translating blotches on a picture into diagnoses. These high-resolution renderings embody a culmination of art, science, and technology that collectively work towards preserving the well-being of others. Yet at the same time, its beauty somehow manages to retain the intimacy of looking directly into someone’s eyes.


Succeeding in Art FOR

S E I M M U D

By Benny Harps

Y’all wanna support Jay-Z album, Beyoncé album, and Kendrick Lamar album, but y’all can’t even support the niggas in your own town, the niggas that’s coming up.... Because it’s trash, it’s not coming up.” Quoted from a video by social media comedian, Jay Versace. I too have been a victim of this. As an artist, I know how it feels when you don’t get support from your own town. Especially when you’re an artist who works their ass off and the people in your city see your every move on to social media (if you are active on social media.) Yet it doesn’t mean they are going to support you. Being an artist in the same situation, I’ve come to the conclusion that no one from your city will support you unless you’re already on or if your shit is just really dope. Here are 3 steps to follow when wanting attention from your city: Step 1, stop asking for attention! I’ve seen a bunch of artists crying on Snapchat about how they aren’t getting the proper respect they deserve in their craft. Don’t worry about getting the respect from the people in your city. Maybe people respect you, but silently. Step 2, Don’t post your art on social media to confirm that it’s art. I’m not knocking posting work on social media, I do it myself. But I’ve stopped for a bit because I believe that art of all mediums, loses its value on social media.

Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but we as people have short attention spans now because of the 10, 15, and 60-second videos that are posted every day. VALUE YOUR DAMN WORK! An extra “like” or view isn’t a determinate of your success. Steps 3, DO NOT CREATE FOR ANYONE BUT YOU! We all get that good day where we post our work and get a good reception. But don’t let that get your head big. You should keep creating and trying out new ideas. The best feeling in life is creating something that makes you happy. So the fuck what if some people don’t like it. As long as you created what you felt in your heart. No one should stop your vision. Now, with those three steps, you and I should prosper in this art world. I say “you and I” because writing this I realized I don’t listen to my own advice.

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Benny: So talk about EAT and what it means.

B: Where do you see EAT going in a couple years?

Malik: So EAT means, “elevate all the time”. It started of as my watermark for my photography and then It went into a whole clothing line.

M: I got my non-profit in the works right now. Some days I wake up and feel like, “Man I’m just looking for an out.” Like I wan get outta this cold shit. I just wanna do the philanthropy, community work, shit like dat. Then some days I’m like, “Man this is kinda fun, and you know this shit pay the bills.” I can’t get away from the clothes. As far as my immediate goals, I want a charter school. Other than that I’m just gonna keep elevating all the time. I dream about where I see myself but I don’t think about it everyday. I really just live by my brand, elevate all the time and you’ll be ight.

B: When did you start to become more serious about the name or brand? M: I was serious about it from day one. I guess that’s why people received it well. I never wanted to make shirts and stuff, my friends wanted me to make shirts. I guess because I was taking it serious they was like, “you know we wanna represent you, you should put your logo on some t-shirts.” That’s what all started it, them just wanting to support me. I made them some shirts and everybody just wanted some shirts. B: So when did it start poppin’ off? M: As soon as I made the first batch of shirts. I started off with thirty shirts, them joints was gone in like two days. To me that was big. So it was popping off from the get-go. I could come outside and sell five shirts. That was popping to me. B: This year alone EAT has been on celebrities, all over Instagram, etc. how did that happen? M: That was just marketing of course, you wanna get anything out there, you just put it on someone that everybody watching. So when somebody was in town or if I could get close to somebody, I aint press em out because I kinda know how that is so. I’ll just be like, “Elevate all the time, whole city wearing it, here you go. You don’t have to post or nuffin. I don’t care what you do with it, just take it.” I just don’t want anybody leaving not knowing what the city is about so it’s kinda like. I want it like a pass. If you come to D.C. you gotta listen to some Go-Go and you gotta get some EAT shit. Straight up.

Jie: Do you wanna tell us your inspirations? Malik: My mom, my brother, my team, kids that smile at me and tell me they wanna be like me, waking up everyday, I’m inspired by everything. I know that sound cliché but I appreciate everything. A year ago I ain’t have nothing, four years ago I ain’t have shit. When you come from that, it’s not hard to appreciate little things or be inspired by little things. I went from having everything to, being evicted, wearing the same pair of shoes, same clothes, all that. So I’ve been through it all. People be like, “How you so hungry?” cuz money don’t mean shit to me. It did at one point when I lost everything. I was heartbroken and all that but after that I was like, “That’s some sucka shit, don’t ever cry over money.” So money don’t mean shit to me. I’m just enjoying the ride. All this end tomorrow I’d be happy. Like I got to do this much.

B: Talk about your household, what was growing up like? M: I grew up in 101, in the 601 building. My mother was a educator so I was always disciplined with education. I always got good grades, I was reading, I was doing book reports before I went outside, my report card looked nice for me to get new shoes and clothes things like dat. I started playing football when I was six years old. The only reason I started playing football was because I wanted to be like my bruvah. I was playing basketball before that, but I totally gave up basketball. I told myself I just want to be good at football. Football started to teach me different values that I still carry with me till this day. I was the quarterback so whatever I do I’m a leader, but I also know how to listen too. To be a leader you gotta listen to the people that you leading. NAPIZUM

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Jie: So you said it took you 4 years to get here? M: I started the brand a year ago; I graduated school 4 years ago. I got locked up and shit my senior year. My house got raided. I was living off campus in this nice loft. It happened when I was on my way to D.C. I was on the highway about to celebrate being twenty-one n shit. All the neighbors got to calling me. First it was my next-door neighbor, the girl downstairs and the girl upstairs called me. They was like, “Yeah all these police in your house. They takin’ everything!” They ended up finding five pounds of weed, some codeine n shit. They locked my roommate up, and remind you I’m on the road so I’m on the run right now. They calling me, and all this going on and I got a half a pound in my trunk. So I’m like fuck. I still go home to my family, I ain’t tell them shit. Acting regular. Go to the club and all that. Then Sunday come and I’m like yeah I gotta turn myself in tomorrow. I ain’t even tell nobody I was turning myself in. I went back to my apartment, wasn’t shit in that joint. They took everything we had that came from selling weed I guess. I don’t consider myself a drug dealer man. Anybody that ever been to college, selling weed is the easiest thing in the world. The only reason I started selling weed was because I was use to having money and having things. Benny: Did anybody know that you was a weed man? Did anyone ever test you? M: I mean I knew what I was doing. I knew it was gonna end up two ways, someone was gonna snitch or someone was gonna try and rob me. It was only a matter of time before it happened. But when it happened I was never like “FUCK!,” I was just like “Ight”. I was a man about all my shit when it came time to interrogate me n all that. My interrogation took maybe seven minutes. I was like, “look man, what’s mine is mine.” Sucka free people raised me. My movah ain’t raise no sucka she always told me own up to my shit. So I was like, “Whatever you found in the room to the right, THAT’S ME!” and they was like, bet we charge you with everything then. I was apart of the first offenders program. So I was only on probation. I had like year and a half probation. Had to pay big fees, had to go to all these classes, had to pay big money for classes. That shit was over with after that.

B: Do you have anything to say to the younger generation that goes through the same situation? M: People ask me how I do it and all this other stuff. Everybody goes through the same things, but what separates us is how we deal with it. I just want people to stay conscious of that; it’s how you deal with the situation. A lot of times people take it personal, when it’s just necessary for your growth. I tell people all the time, when you in a tough situation where you gotta struggle in front of you, just gotta embrace it. That means something good is about to happen. You know what I’m sayin’. With no struggle it’s no success. Everything that’s bad that happened to me changed my life. I only started pushing my brand so hard because, the girl that introduced me to the camera. We was dating in college and she had one more year and I was back home and everything was going good. One weekend she came home and we spent that weekend together. After that I ain’t hear nothing else from her, she just started ignoring me. Then like two-three weeks later I just see her on the gram with another dude. This is around the time people asking me for shirts. Then I was like, “She not gonna ignore me if all her friends got my shirt on.” So now she can’t go nowhere without seeing my shirts. That used to be my inspiration that don’t inspire me no more. I got bigger things that inspire me now. Everything bad that happened to me, I made something good out of it. I just wanna tell the youngins man, embrace it, and get through it, and think about what you want your character to be. Think about how you wanna be defined. It’s hard, but it’s fair. That’s why it’s more have-nots than haves. It’s just gonna be that way. That’s life.

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SHORTY’S NEWSLETTER What super power would you want and why?

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“Flying girl. She can fly really high and play with birds” -Ilisa , 6

“Electronics man. He can shock anything” -Ngoni, 7

“Teleportation because I can’t be bothered to walk” -7

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“Soccer man can kick soccer balls really high” -Andrew , 6 “Super strength because I can pick things up like buildings cars and ships and throw them” -Nathan, 8

“Glitter girl because I can make everyone shiny and sparkly” -Katelyn, 8

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“Teleportation so when I’m in a battle I can teleport” -Raziyah, 9 “I want to be fast like the Flash because he’s super fast and I want to run track” -River, 4

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Benny: Please introduce yourself and Thrift Lorde$. Tobore: My name is Tobore and welcome to Thrift Lorde$ Boutique. Me and my homeboy Brown started this in like late 2015. One day, we realized that we had so much shit so let’s make a brand. We would post pictures on EBay. With all the EBay fees realized we need to find the right way to start selling. So we we’re like, “Yo lets start a page on Instagram.” We wanted to mix it up, so it could have a Tumblr feel. Benny: What made you keep going? T: So when we got further along, we thought that we had something that people wanted. We felt like this could be all types of people. We started to have the hype brands like Supreme. We got stuff most people won’t have unless you’re in a thrift. So we were like people are liking our post so let’s keep on doing it, trying to grow. B: Is there a type of look you want from Thrift Lorde$? T: Recently, we’ve been more strict on the type of clothes we want to get. We got clothes for the low. We don’t want to be known for selling cheap ass clothes. We have a lot of diverse stuff. So no we don’t have a specific style but we get stuff that people want to cop.

B: Before you guys started this, what were your goals in life from high school to now? T: Well I played basketball in high school then I went tocollege for basketball (Prince George Community College). Things didn’t work out with my schedule and classes so I came back home. And went to NOVA but long story short, my classes didn’t transfer so I couldn’t play. So I just went to school to just go to school. Brown and me used to thrift and sell our stuff on EBay. One of our boys came by to our house and was like ‘thrift gods’. He bought like $100 worth of stuff and said that we should be “Thrift Lords”. So when we started it, we felt the same way we did then. And we said that its going to take a while but people liked the vibe then we started doing it. I found shit that I liked to do and I can make a living off of. As we started to get comfortable with it, then we started to make clothes. Brown draws and does art. We created the logo for Thrift Lorde$. We talk about what we need to do for the store. B: Is there a way that you guys are going to be global with this? T: That’s the goal! We want to be as big as possible. We want to be known for just being creators of some sort. We want to do the clothing brand and Brown wants to do the draw-

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ings. We don’t see one big goal, from point A to point B. It’s multiple things. One of the biggest goals we want to get to is called “Dap Fest”. Brown and me thought of this way, way back. So basically, it’s like a musical festival like “Coachella”. We were thinking all that is lit, but for the main part it never goes back to the community or culture that it’s getting all this bread from. So we wanna hold a concert and try and have big names. And you can just walk up to someone and dap them up. Its a networking event to meet new people.

Jie: What do you think about working with people around this area? (creatively)

B: Talk about your household. How was it growing up? What’s your ethnicity?

T: Umm, I don’t wanna say they are more to themselves but everyone has that “Kanye vibe” to them. Like they feel like they are up there. And it’s like I’m a pretty down to earth person. Like you can be into fashion but you don’t have to be a dickhead. Just be you and vibe out with everybody.

T: It was chill. Me and sister used to get into little fights. I had a normal childhood. I am Nigerian but I was born in London and we moved out here 1999. And I’ve been living here since. So it’s me, my mom, my brother and my sister. B: So basketball, Is it a job? T: I played semi-pro earlier in the year. I had an opportunity to go overseas a year and half ago but I didn’t have my passport. I went to a showcase in PG for the Canadian league and I did my thing. They got into contact with me and was like yo we want you to go to a pre-draft thing in six weeks. I went through the whole process of getting my passport and since I was born in London, I had to wait longer. By the time I got my passport, it was already done. I still do want to play overseas. B: Do you want to go deeper into the fashion world? T: I dabble in it. I am actively trying to seek out people to collaborate with. I’m trying to learn what the proper things are in order to be successful in that world. Artwork by Brown

T: I don’t really be going out of my way to reach out to people as much as I should. Recently I’ve been trying to get in contact with certain people that are having events or that’s tryna do their own thing. Jie: How to think society is today? And what can you do to change it?

B: Talk to me about the color purple. T: Me and my homeboy Brown used to work at a day care and she had purple bricks. She was going to throw it away and then Brown asked if he can have them then she agreed. Couple months later when we thought of the page, we were like ‘Yo let’s use those purple bricks as the backdrop’. Couple weeks later, I got some purple bricks for my house. B: I follow a bunch of thrift pages, but you guys are the only ones that stood out to me. What makes you guys different? T: Our whole mindset is, if we are making a brand we have to make something that people see is different in their mind.


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THE SHOW ON THE STREETS

By Matthew Leung Layout by Ana Martinez


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INFLUENCE : WHAT ARE YOU LEAVING BEHIND? By April Pesa

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verything changes everything.

Have you ever felt like you don’t matter? You don’t see the point in even trying. The world will keep spinning and you’re still ordinary, nothing so especial just like the next person. We’ve all been there, when we find ourselves awake at 2 am. Every ticking noise from the clock is a sigh from our lungs. How many more sighs? Wasted seconds turn into hours, hours turning into days and days turning into years. I’m pretty sure you know where this is going and I bet I’m making you sigh even more. Our generation is the most powerful generation that has stepped on this planet: we are clever, creative and passionate but we seem to be less connected with the people around us. We don’t care as much as we did yesterday. Substance and meaning are harder to be found. Everyday we feed our ego with the likes and comments we get on so-cial media. We hunger for approval. This is a viscous cycle of just acquiring but never giving. Life, I believe is best lived when we extend our proximity. We don’t just see ourselves as someone to sat-isfy but as a tool or a weapon perhaps. We see beyond ourselves. Influence to me is like a ripple effect, you don’t know how far your actions can go. Fireworks are one of the best things in this world. When I see one, I can’t help but feel wonder and awe. The colours, brightness and how it can light up a town. The thing about them though, is that they put on a show , no matter how 35

beautiful it is will only last a second. I don’t want to burn out bright. I want to burn and share this fire with the people around me and not just for a show. I want to be like the stars I see in the darkest nights. A small number of them are dead a long time ago but their light outlasts their life time. My grandmother raised me and taught me values that I still hold on to dearly to this very day. She’s already gone but she lives in me. Growing up, she taught me that a good life means having three meals a day and a roof over my head. I learned how to look at what I have in my hands and multiply them, see them as seeds and plant them. An-ything in my hands is an investment. The entirety of who you are is an investment worth taking. Grow whatever you have in your life, be it your skills, talents, passion or your story. If you can play the piano, play with all your heart and teach a friend. If you are a kind person, share it to the ones who doesn’t receive kindness. Grow wherever you are. You matter and that is the truth. Hurry up and matter. You have no idea how powerful you are. If your life can change even just one life, do it. Everything changes everything.

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MARGARET HARPS NAPIZUM

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argaret Harps was born as Margaret Strong in Baltimore, MD. She grew up with nine brothers and sisters in the great depression era. As a kid she worked along side her mother doing domestic work. She graduated from Dunbar High School. After she graduated she learned how to do keypunch. Around that time she visited New York where she would meet her life long partner, Benson Harps. They met in the local Harlem YMCA, where she proposed to him to travel back to Baltimore with her. She did humanitarian work at Morgan State University and helped build the “Catwalk�. She would be recognized by MSU and awarded for her efforts. As Harps got older, she was very instrumental in other fields. She took on wine making, practicing new reli-

gion, and continued her activism. Among other things, she began painting as a hobby. Harps was fascinated by the details of paintings and how she could take reality and interpret it in her own way onto canvas. Her main medium was oil paints. She looked to newspapers to find subjects for her paintings. Also, her family members were immortalized in her artwork. Although at ninety-two Harps has stopped painting, her artwork lives on with her children and turns the walls of their homes into galleries.

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“Its the fascination, that makes it what it is.” -Margaret Harps

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KEY!

ICYTWAT (DIVINE COUNCIL) TREEZ LOWKEY

JORJA SMITH

TR

D SAVAGE 3900 LEVI CARTER H.E.R

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UNOTHEACTIVIST

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ICYTWAT A producer from Chicago who brought a unique sound to underground rap with 90’s styled beats and retro sounding mixes. He started out under the name “KassperDahmer” before linking with the Richmond, Virginia based group Divine Council, which consist of rappers Lord Linco, Cyrax!, and $ilkmoney. Originally from Chicago, ICYTWAT’s music spreads and resonates with other areas outside of his city, which makes his work so unique.

SMINO Straight from St. Louis, Missouri, Smino is another artist who has been perMILK “Don Juan” sistent with they’re approach to music. “Decemba” Actively making music since 2011, Smino started out his career in a group TREEZ LOWKEY with a good friend Bari where they An artist with tons of momentum going would go on to have local success or him currently is Virginia artist, Treez but not necessarily get they’re music Lowkey. Product of the current wave heard outside of Missouri. Smino later of SoundCloud rap, Treez stems from on moved to Chicago where he meets his ability to make bouncy beats and the rest of his musical collective “Zero creative hooks that make his music so Fatigue” consisting of main producer catchy and unforgettable. As of late Monte Booker, and artist Ravyn Lenae Treez has been creating more and more and Jay2. Smino’s sound stems from his buzz constantly releasing music and roots and where he’s from, you hear it working with the likes of electronic muin his voice and the production that his sic band “Take A Daytrip”. He has recently Zero Fatigue collective bring together. signed to the creative art collective AWGE and is looking to pushing his blk swn “Anita” brand and creative endeavors. “Netflix & Dusse” WIR2 “New World Command” Stay Home Tonight “That Price” JORJA SMITH Jorja Smith is an artist that has been LEVI CARTER widely recognized as someone who is here to stay in music for a long time. Her Levi Carter is a perfect example of being consistent and ahead of the curve in talent was always present at a young underground rap. His understanding of age writing out songs and performing his own sound and versatility is someearning music scholarships and starting thing not too many artist can visualize career in music. She went onto secondat the young age of 23. The Bronx-bred ary school where she was trained as a Virginia-raised talent is a student of vocalist and was part of a music collecthe game, which I’m sure is what Roc tive, OGHORSE. Since then on, Jorja has Nation had saw when they signed Levi took total control spreading positive as a independent artist to their label messages in her content and swaying in 2016. Since then, Levi has dropped a people with her alluring voice. Most handful of content on his SoundCloud known as of late for her major guest appearance on Drake’s “More Life”, Jorja’s and has curated a buzz around his name and his music. He looks to drop more glory is only looking to become bigger projects and states that he wants to the and better. next “Michael Vick or Allen Iverson of Project 11 “Where Did I Go” Hip-Hop.” “On My Mind” Antisocial “Feels Like Death” Presence of a Lord “Paid In Full”

RIPPIE REDD

O MCKINNIS

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“"COME ON HOMIE, WE MAJOR!"“

SMINO

KEY! Artist from Atlanta, Georgia started out a member in Two-9 in 2009. In 2014 he left the group and pursued his solo career. Awful Records artist Father featured Key! On a song later in the year called, “Wrist” also featuring ILOVEMAKONNEN. Before I Scream “Romantic” Keyonce EP “New Money”

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“Bust Down’ UNOTHEACTIVIST Atlanta based rapper UnoTheActivist is another one of the SoundCloud veterans who has been around for quite some time. From Zone 3 of Atlanta, Uno seems to have similar qualities to earlier artist Key!, where Atlanta represents in Rap. Uno started music in High School rapping in a group called FTZ featuring his cousin which most know is Playboi Carti. He later would pursue the Art Institute but eventually drop out and pursue music full time with Carti and his fellow partner Thouxanbanfauni. Since then he has dropped tons of projects and tracks that have lived with people who are and aren’t familiar with his buzz. Sorry For The Wait Live.Shyne.Die

“Free Smoke” “Parkin’ Lot Pimpin”

BY YOUNG TULLOCH

“"COME ON HOMIE, WE MAJOR!"

TRIPPIE REDD Trippie Redd is the youngest artist in this group and may have the fastest rise to stardom as well. The Canton, Ohio native illustrates his interest in all types of music well into his work. He incorporates a screamy vocal range and grungy punk rock style while also giving strains of 2000’s R&B and pop. He started music at a young age following his older brothers footsteps that was a rapper as well before shortly passing away in a car accident. Trippie would then go on develop his own sound before relocating to Atlanta to record a lot of what his SoundCloud holds today. After dropping his debut mixtape “A Love Letter To You” in May, Trippie has gone viral and has made a phenomenal push towards being a future rockstar.

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D SAVAGE 3900 D Savage 3900 is bringing a refreshing light to Gangster Rap in California. The young rapper is another sensation that stemmed from the power of social media and the Internet. D Savage always was a big fan of music but never the intention to make anything. Affiliations with the likes of Tyler, The Creator, Ian Connor and John Ross made D Savage a popular commodity once he decided to give music a try; he then found out he really had a gift and gave it a push. Since then he has gone to make numerous amount of songs that paints pictures of enjoyment be also harsh reality in his life and the state of gang culture in LA. “I Know II” “Jack” H.E.R Today, mysterious female R&B singers can have just as much impact as the well-known male rappers; H.E.R. brings that fact to fruition in today’s climate. Her mysterious identity is something that brings great acclaim to her music and singing ability, being known for her deep, and very-vulnerable subject matter while also carrying a very soulful and powerful voice. H.E.R. is an acronym for “Having Everything Revealed”, which is pretty ironic when you listen to her projects. She reveals everything in her music but conceals everything else outside of it. H.E.R., Vol. 1 H.E.R., Vol. 2

“Focus” “Avenue”

MARCO MCKINNIS Marco McKinnis – “Virginia Soul” is what I like to label this particular artist, Marco McKinnis. The Hampton, VA native is a younger talent coming out of the area that keeps his R&B roots tin tune with his generation, while only releasing a small glimpse of material. His music resonates with many due to his nostalgic sound and background; giving you the feeling you felt when your parents would play D’angelo’s “Brown Sugar” or Timbaland’s great work with Missy and others. With plenty if cosign, Marco is looking to establish a solid platform in music carrying that rich VA tradition and expanding on it. “My Own” “How I Feel”

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EXPOSURE By Alyssa Hard

“Ok now turn and look at me, but keep your body the way it is,” a man said from behind a camera set up in his parents’ living room. Bria looked over her shoulder towards the lens. She looked down at the man’s new Yeezys, then up slowly at his stylish black sweatpants and long red shirt. A trimmed, black beard hid most of his face, but his hair, a short fade, made him appear somewhat attractive. He almost looked like DJ Khaled, if DJ Khaled was hot. Bria contemplated the man’s attractiveness as she sat on the wooden stool in front of a dull, white backdrop and decided he wasn’t her type. He was a bit old, late 20’s maybe? It was difficult to tell. She looked up into the camera lens, and her brown shoulder glossy with coconut oil caught the light as the camera flashed. Beep. Click. Bria balanced on the wooden stool as she sat up straight, holding the edge with her hand. Across from her was the man with the camera resting atop a tripod next to a diffuser. Across the room, a laptop rested on a glass coffee table along with an unlit hookah and a bag of starbursts. They were in the living room of a three-story brick house, a nice, suburban house typical for the area. The kitchen was spacious, the hardwood floors were clean, and large clay vases held tall, brown, fan-like plants. Unlike most places she shot, it was not a bachelor pad or a rented-out studio. It was a home, and it made Bria feel comfortable and safe. Bria stared longingly at the Starbursts on the table and felt a pang of hunger. “Good. Nice. Now how ‘bout you move your strap down a little bit? Like it’s falling off your shoulder.” The man shifted in his Yeezys, waiting for Bria to follow his direction. She gazed at the enlarged family portrait behind his head. A gaudy, painted-gold frame hugged an outdated photo of a mother, father, son, and daughter.

She assumed the little boy in the photo was the man sitting behind the camera, and she wondered where the family was or if they minded that their grown son still lived with them. Bria blinked. “Like this?” she asked as she slid a thin black strap down her shoulder. She refocused her brown eyes on the lens and blinked again, peeking out from behind a curtain of straightened, black hair. She pursed her lips and sucked in her stomach. “Damn!” The man shouted, startling Bria. He shook his head, yanking the camera off the tripod and examining the display screen. “I have to go download some stuff. My cards full” He said without looking up. “Can you wait a second?” He asked while looking into the display screen as if it would suddenly start working again. Bria nodded. “That’s fine I’m not in a rush.” Bria’s stomach grumbled. She was hungry, but that could wait. The photographer looked up as if he didn’t expect an answer. “Ok. Just a sec.” He took his camera and leapt down the hall into his bedroom. “You can come if you want,” He shouted from down the hall. Bria stayed put. It was 8pm and she was exhausted. She’d worked a full shift at the mall before driving the 45 minutes it took to get here. In fact, she almost backed out of the shoot before remembering the promise she made to herself: I will not give up on my dream. At 20 years old, 5’7”, and a size 2, she wanted to be a model- a real, paid model. And she knew that for her, this dream would not come easy. In Bria’s mind the late nights were worth it because they brought her one step closer to her goal. As Bria sat alone in the living room her mind began to wander. She imagined herself on a beach in Ibiza partying with DJs and rich young socialites. In her mind being a model meant living a life everyone envied. She wanted fans

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and sponsors and free travel and“IF YOUNG METRO DON’T TRUST YOU I’M GON SHOOT YOU,” Gucci Mane’s voice started blaring down the hall. “Ayyyyy turn-up!” Bria heard the man talking to himself as he selected a playlist. The broken silence snapped Bria out of her daydream. As she continued waiting she thought about the photographer and wondered if he had a dream similar to hers. She barely knew the man taking her photos, but according Instagram (where he was known as @KiNg_CaNoN87) he was a “published photographer, creative director, videographer, and plug” (whatever that meant). It was their first time meeting in person since they connected on Instagram and she didn’t know his real name, but she wasn’t worried. Bria scheduled all of her shoots this way. If you have to pay for a shoot you shouldn’t be a model, Brit remembered her friend Sarah saying while they were looking at a classmate’s page. The comment stuck with her; and instead of paying for professional work, Bria insisted on finding local photographers who would shoot her for free. “Okay we are back in business!” The man said walking from his bedroom into the kitchen where granite countertops sat covered in makeup and untouched accessories. “Wanna shot? To help loosen up?” The man asked. He grabbed a bottle of Grey Goose out of the freezer drawer. “Uh.” Bria was hesitant. She drank underage all the time, but she wasn’t really here to hangout. She wanted to hurry up and get back to shooting. Bria got up and walked into the kitchen feeling like she was back in high school. “Let’s use this in the shoot! What do you think?” The man asked, inspired. Bria scrunched her face. “Um.” “Let’s just try it. If we don’t like it we can stop.” Bria refrained from rolling her eyes. Ok. She thought to herself. Her stomach grumbled again. Before Bria could reply, the man moved the stool and pointed to the floor. Bria walked onto the sheet of white paper; as she looked down she noticed scuffmarks and what looked like glitter from a previous shoot. She adjusted herself, and as she did her black tank rose up exposing her back. She pulled it down and tucked the bottom into the waist of her jeans. The photographer placed the bottle next to her and set up his camera. Bria sat there feeling exposed. “Should I change?” “Nah- or maybe do you have any lingerie?” Brit froze. Her face grew hotter. Her mind started racing. Had she just fallen for some sort of trap? He didn’t seem like the type, but then again he was offering a 20-yearold girl alcohol while asking her to get undressed in the living room of his parents home while they were out of town. 45

Without thinking Bria took a long swig of the bottle sitting next to her. “Nice! Let me get that shot!” the man said, adjusting his lens. Bria did not want to pick up the bottle up again. She did not want to pose on the ground with a bottle of liquor. She thought this was going to be a trendy shoot, that’s why she had packed an entire suitcase full of clothing and accessories before coming. She was frustrated, but she did not want to upset the man in fear he might never send her the images. That was the deal: time for pictures. She posed, he shot, and they both got to update their portfolios. Although at this point, Bria wasn’t sure if these were photos she would want anyone to see. “What’s wrong?” The photographer asked, confused. “Nothing, I’m just tired,” Bria lied. “So are you going to pick up the bottle?” The photographer sounded annoyed. “I thought this was going to be fashion, not sexy.” Bria’s voice shook as she tried to stand up for herself. “You said no nudity. This is not nudity, this is coolmore editorial.” Bria had never seen an editorial like this. She thought back to his profile and wondered what he meant by “published.” “I just-“ “Listen.” His voice was stern and demanding. “If you don’t want to put in the effort I’m not going to be into this.” Bria was shocked. She wondered if she was being unprofessional and tried to make up for it. She picked up the bottle and nodded her head. “Good. Now what if you take off your jeans. It will tell the story better.” The photographer pulled up his sweatpants and leaned into the camera. Bria was confused, but she kept moving; it was if she had no control over her body. She rose slowly and unbuttoned her jeans, sliding them off and throwing them to the side. She was freezing. She looked into the lens, her eyes dead with shame and discomfort. “Give me a sexy look this time,” the man suggested. Bria sat on the gritty white paper and pulled her knees up to her chest. She grabbed the bottle and held it like a teddy bear. She wanted to go home. She wished she had canceled this shoot, and she felt stupid for thinking it would make or break her career. This was not a real photographer; this was a man with a camera trying to get her naked, but it was too late, and here she sat hungry, nervous, and in her underwear. “Would you feel comfortable taking off your shirt?” Bria’s heart started racing. Without thinking she lifted her shirt over her head and tossed it to the side, she

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leaned back taking another swig of the bottle. Beep. Click. “Try sucking in a bit more, clench your abs.” The bright lights and the alcohol made Bria feel dizzy. She looked up at the family photo again and stared into the mother’s eyes until her eyes went blurry. Beep. Click. The camera was still going even though Bria’s mind was elsewhere. “Maybe get on all fours and push your butt up in the air a little” The photographer got up and grabbed the jar of coconut oil. “Put this on your chest,” he said handing Bria the jar. She held the jar without opening it. “Oh and you can crash here tonight if you can’t drive home.” The man suggested while looking through his camera. Beep. Click. Suddenly Bria felt violated. She looked around the “studio” and clenched her teeth wanting to scream or cry. She had fallen for it. She should have known. She thought back to the sexy images on @KiNg_CaNoN87’s instagram page and wondered if those girls felt the way she did right now. His images were not like Victoria’s Secret (which is what she told herself before coming), they were creepy and he was creepy and she had to get out of there. She shook her head, “I actually have go soon.” Bria made up an excuse. “I have work early I forgot.” Bria jumped up and grabbed her shirt. Her hands were shaking. “I’m so sorry,” she said, walking quickly into the kitchen to pack her suitcase. “Wow. Ok.” The man sucked his teeth and grabbed a Starburst without offering Bria one. “I feel like we were just getting started.” “That’s ok.” Bria said without looking up. She piled heaps of clothing into the suitcase without folding them and forced it closed. “You wanna come to my room and look through the pictures first?” It was the first time the man had seemed friendly all night. Bria was repulsed. “No. Listen, it’s ok if you don’t like them and don’t want to post any,” Bria said sweetly as if she were being considerate. “Ight” the man said. Every ounce of warmth had left the room. The man had given up and no longer had any use for her. Bria wanted to know for sure if he planned to post the photos, but decided to message him later. She grabbed her suitcase and walked toward the front door. “It was nice meeting you. I’m so sorry I just lost track of time!” Bria tried to make eye contact with the man.

The man scrolled through his camera letting out an, “Mm.” He looked up at Bria and raised his eyebrows. “Ok.” he said before looking back down. Bria let herself out the front door and shut it behind her. She stood on the doorstep and took a deep breath of the frigid, night air before heading toward the cul-de-sac where she parked. With her shoulders tense and her fist clenched, she walked through he cold in her thin tank top. Her old Nissan sat in the dark, empty neighborhood waiting for her. She got in, turned on the car, and held the steering wheel as tightly as she could. She was too drunk to drive, and too ashamed to have anyone pick her up. She did not call an Uber for fear she would have to return to this place in the morning. Instead, Bria turned off her car, climbed into the backseat, and curled into a ball. She didn’t take out her phone, she was too afraid one of @KiNg_CaNoN87’s photos would pop up. Sick to her stomach at the thought, Bria grabbed a sweater from under her front seat; the chill of night made her car feel like an icebox and it was the closest thing she had to a blanket. She rested her head on the back seat and felt a sharp pang of anxiety. What if he posts them? What if someone sees them? Bria’s heart was racing again, but there was nothing she could do in that moment. She sat staring at the seat in from of her until her eyelids were heavy enough to close.

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Photographer—Benny Harps Model—Jie Zheng

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THE TRAIN STATION By Eric Marshall

In the late summer of 2015, Fatimah and I broke up. I don’t think either of us really wanted to, but we did anyways; we saw the need for it and followed through. We had dated for two years and it was a nice time for most of it. I think it came down to how we saw the future. She could see every step of her path and I could barely see what I was doing the next day. She spoke of us living together and I was only 18. She was 19. I admitted to her that all the talk of the future scared me and she was hurt by that, but at least I was honest. She was honest with me too, saying I had a mind of a child, distractible and unfocused. I was hurt and she was heartbroken, glad that we were going to different schools, but they were still both in the city: me on the Southside and her to the North. While we dated, I heard plenty of awful jokes from acquaintances who thought they were my friends like, “Does she taste like curry?” or, “When is she getting the dot on her forehead?” and that was tiring. I made sure she never heard those jokes and tried my hardest to protect her. I held her when she would have episodes. She couldn’t control her emotions and she would punch my chest when she really wanted to punch herself. She kicked the ground and contorted her body like a snake, she would manipulate herself into such forms that I barely recognized her at times. The purity of daylight fell to the dark, where she came out of her cage and would wreak havoc upon me. I would stay up all night, worrying about her wellbeing, whether she would take her own life like how she admitted to me she almost did early in her childhood. Her manic incidents put strain on us, an elephant not in the room but following us always. Yet, I loved her. She was worth the trouble and the pain. She yearned so bad to be someone special and I strained my hardest to make sure that were true. I gave myself to her. And 51

when I would do these things, she would look at me and say, “Kendall, you are my fresh breath.” I never understood her when she said that. I would smile and took it like she was trying to be a romantic teen novel. In hindsight, she was just trying to construct her life to something she wanted instead of letting life construct her. Then the trouble and pain didn’t seem so worth it. It was affecting my grades and my performance at work. I had to let her go. It had been three years since we broke up and we hadn’t seen each other. I received a text from her asking if she wanted to meet at the train station. I was at work, placing books in order like a trained scout pack, me their scout master instructing every task. This came as a surprise so I said yes, curious of what she had to say. I also honestly missed her. I had slept around a lot since the break up and wondered if there was another chance for us. Casual sex isn’t very fulfilling, ending your night by awkwardly saying bye, half asleep and nearly still drunk, stammering your way out of a stranger’s apartment unsure of your location and somehow ending up in your own bed. She was my first love, so if I could rekindle those feelings in her maybe we could try again. Maybe we could last this time, and I started to daydream of us holding each other in bed, holding hands in public, sharing a piece of pie at a restaurant, making love into the early morning like we used to; except this time, we had no parents to report to or get in trouble by. We’re adults now, maybe more mature. I was blinded by this invitation and forgot about all of the times she hurt me, ignoring the sleepless nights and accidental bruises. I lemminged my way back to her. The place was quivering with people, the slippery tiles met the soles of thousands. We met in the center, like in a movie, while trains squealed and screamed for filling. We hadn’t spoken in NAPIZUM

so long, but it felt like there was no break between then and now. Her dark skin caught just right by the windowed light, her eyes, bronze and focused, met mine. We hugged, this embrace the first of many today. We spent the day together, getting coffee, bittersweet, and walking around the city, catching up on any relationships we had, jobs we’ve moved from: she quit her old job at a Goodwill on the Northside and has been at this Vietnamese restaurant for the past two years while I’ve been at the same bookstore for two and a half years. I’ve moved up the chain in management at the bookstore. I started there thinking this was going to be some shit job I can get out of at any time, maybe work there for three or four months and then “focus on my career.” Over two years later, I found out I was sorely mistaken. Triston, the store owner, is ten years older than me and a compelling boss. I unfortunately formed a relationship with him and my fellow workers and now can’t find the balls to quit. I worded this all to Fatimah and she made a face, kind of like a disapproving yet understanding look. She made that face quite a lot before and it was nice to see that she hadn’t lost some of her old self. The sun bowed to the stars, but we had no desire of leaving. She invited me to her studio apartment. I accepted. A great idea in the moment, now I can say with great confidence was a faux pas. We made love. I woke the next morning at six, only getting five hours of sleep. She was already out of the bed, brewing coffee and making my cup how she remembered I liked it. I took in the smell and began to rise from the bed just as she reentered the room, a coffee cup in each hand. Her brown skin glimmered in the waking light, shining and glistening for me. This felt like it had before; it excited me to think we could try again. She placed both onto the nightstand adja-


Hanna Swanberg

cent to the bed and threw herself atop me. I attempted to speak but she placed her index finger on my lips and then replaced that with her lips. I hesitated. I was distant. I thought of each time she hurt me in the two years we were together. My mind raced through memories of sleepless nights, weeping because of her unfortunate way of dealing with her own feelings, unknowingly hurting me. She could sense that and stood from the sheets, placing her delicate feet onto the laminate floor. “What’s wrong? Kendall? Won’t you say something?” “I can’t do this again,” I heard myself say, “You’re gonna do the same things.” It’s funny how we disguise our true feelings with allusions instead of saying what we need to. She stared at me, her stunning brown eyes penetrating me. She glided toward the door without moving her eyes off me. “How could I think we could work again? Who are you to love me?” I felt those words in my chest. I felt them in my head, burning my forehead, burning underneath every single strand of hair, tumbling itself around my skull, influencing every action that came after that. I regretted what I said, and I could have taken back the first comment I made as easily as I followed through with what I really did. I yelled at her for past unforgiven attacks. She yelled back, telling me to be quiet because of her neighbors, but this made me more upset. She told me to leave, and so I did, regretting every step I took out of the apartment, ever item of clothing I pulled back on, regretting every stair I took down and out of that building. I ran. I ran harder and faster than I ever had before. Images of Fatimah filled my head. I cried when I remembered the birthday party she threw me, when I saw her laying in the field of flowers the day of many I took pictures of her, when I saw her for the first time in the hallway at school, when we kissed for the first time, when we lost our virginities to each other. I ran. I ran so far that I didn’t know where I was because my eyes were clouded from the

tears. I felt my feet pounding from being overexerted, my chest thrashing from my lungs and heart battling for who can work harder, my brain tripping on itself from the images flooding my psyche. Even after all this, I ran. My running was soon stopped. Not by my feet or heart or head. I couldn’t see and so I didn’t halt when the light was red. A roaring, metal beast took me and lifted me. I felt nothing. Time stood still for that intersection. Everyone slammed hard on their breaks because I couldn’t on mine. While in flight, I felt it all. I felt my body lying in a roaring bed of air, the blankets and sheets and pillows whirring around me. The eyes of every driver, passenger, backNAPIZUM

seat driver, carpooler, child, hung on my body; not knowing me, yet caring for me. The clouds above me, me being closer to them now, their wetness scratching at me. The millions of years that are gone before me and the millions more ahead, they don’t matter; and they will keep happening. This Time doesn’t wait for anyone. I was hugged by asphalt. A sweet embrace that I suppose I deserved. I laid there, stiller than a morning beach, until I was lifted, hoisted by four men onto a bed with wheels. This gurney, this bed with wheels being the first of two I’d spend my time on. The second bed is six feet underground.

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Photographer—Rakeb Teklehiwot Direction—Benny Harps Models— Melan Cecilia Shannon Shelby Alice Wong Moring 55

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Sharp: So, talk to me a little bit about your style... Premo Rice: Shit, it’s off some pretty much hearing what you heard growing up, know what I’m sayin’? In the house, my mother ain’t really allowed none of that shit with cussing in it so it really got to a point where I couldn’t listen to nothing, like I knew about everything don’t get me wrong but all you hear in that joant’ was just soul music and shit and I just caught likening to it know what I’m sayin’? Probably round like 7th/8th grade I really started listening to it and really started digging in the jam’s and shit you know and it came back to rap. You suppose to rap about what you know, I always tell niggas, “rap bout what they know” and so... That’s what I know. S: Who’s your favorite old school artist? P: Probably Curtis Mayfield... there’s a few I can’t even name them all man there’s so many bands. Gap Band, S.O.S Band, Confunction niggas don’t really know about that shit. It’s too many to name but I take in all that shit though... Definitely. S: Did you ever used to sample when you were making beats?

And then I was producing and I made this compilation tape which was a bunch of random, I’m not gonna say random but a bunch of niggas I knew that rapped and I did that joant’ but I really didnt like... like the way niggas was doing my beats so it just came to a point in time I sat down and just started listening to my shit and came up with the flow, straight like that. Literally that’s how it went, so yea that’s how I started rapping. S: How many producers you mess with? P: Hmm... niggas like Pharrell, Three 6 Mafia, you know? All them niggas really make beats... Juicy J, DJ Paul. Them niggas is HAM. Shit ‘Premo’ tight, DJ Premier he tight. I don’t really got necessarily anyone I look up to literally just started doing beats cause I can do beats, like I did music all my life so, and that was just something I knew I can pick it up... somehow. But nah I fuck with them, know what I’m sayin’? I more so look up to producer wise literally like an Isaac Hayes and like niggas that really made wild compositions, and like if I can do that shit... I’m trynna get into that shit and like shit like that would be OC...

P: Yeah yeah, I literally that’s how I learned to make beats, would just take a sample real quick put some drums on it and then you just start getting in your groove and certain type shit, know what I’m sayin’? Samples all day baby, samples make the world go round... World shit.

S: You mess with any Parliament? Anything like that?

S: And you kind of slowed down on the production right?

S: Ok let’s switch over to content for a second. Pimping? I know it came from your time in Hawaii, right? Paint that picture for me a little bit and how Hawaii was when you was out there?

P: Yeah yeah! For right now I’m chillin’, I’m back on it though for my new shit I’m back but I was chillin’ for a second from making beats. S: What made you stop? What made you transition the whole time? P: Yeah it was just the rap man, rapping to me is like a lot. I know niggas that just go in the booth and just lay shit down but I really like to make my shit good so... I’ont even like, I’m not a nigga that be in the studio every day for real and like when it comes to me? It comes to me. It’s just it conflicts with rapping and so I was just doing more rapping at the time but I’m back on it. And you know at first when I started I mean it wasn’t like I made 10, I made 200 beats and got the rapping so it was off some, “let me just rap a lil bit for a second” but I’m back on it for sure. S: So the next tape we can expect more of your production? P: Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah more production! No bullshit no bullshit! You gon’ get at least half. S: Where you get your production game from? Like who do you look up to in the production game? Or where did that even come from, that you started? P: I can’t say, I literally only started producing cause at the time when everything started I was in the mind state of, “all these niggas rap, so let me produce” you know what I’m sayin’?

P: Yeah yeah yeah! Parliament tight too, know what I’m sayin’? All them niggas man yeah.. I’m into that type shit too... That shit would be incredible, I’m working though..

P: It was just different bruh like look at it as if a nigga was from here, going out there and you literally like don’t know nobody, don’t even know what to expect for real cause you literally just going to Hawaii... But so, i’ont even wanna say it like this cause I’m gonna sound like a real cocky nigga but like everybody out there was like lame as shit, right? Cause like you see just different sides of the country and just be like, I’m not dissing nobody but it’s like yo’... DMV/PG niggas is like it’s different breed it’s like it’s nothing like it. So, I’m literally like a 18 year old nigga just out there, don’t really got nothing to do on weekends, know what I’m sayin’? So, like I’m literally just on the strip every weekend... in front of a club or something or a bar. So, you see the shit happening, you see these bitches. I was the type of nigga bruh that would be out there literally talking to these bitches and damn sure not trynna pay, know what I’m sayin? I’m Rapping these bitches up being like “Yo’, I’m trynna get that joant’ for free, fuck all that shit”. So, I ended up getting cool with like a couple of them literally just talking, know what I’m sayin? And pretty much like I literally probably learned the game from a bitch, like in all sense like them bitches really like schooled me... Got me hip to what’s really going on out there and how these niggas treatin’ me, you know? S: Is that legal out there? Or is it just they don’t give a fuck? P: They don’t give a fuck bruh I’m serious it’s so crazy bruh.

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I went about it. I’m literally not rapping about nothing that I don’t know about, you know what I’m saying? S: You five tapes deep right? P: Yeah just about. S: What you got next? P: I got that joant coming next year, I’m not really gonna get too much into it. No bullshit thought this probably my best work, I think. Especially the beats I’m making right now, them joants is OC. So, especially the samples I’m using and shit it’s like yea... I alright know I’m back with that shit. It’s like it’s back in that pocket where like the saga continues, and you know in “Gorilla Pimpin 2” I was more turnt up, you know what I’m sayin? More party. I’ma definitely be back in that pocket but it’s on some next level shit, no bullshit it’s gonna be dope. S: You working on a greatest hits right? I’m talkin’ about cops bruh, the let out be right there at the club bruh. The bitches is right here on the next street over, son you know these bitches is hookers, know what I’m sayin’? That shit be throwing me off like you know these bitches is out here selling pussy bruh and they walking right pass, niggas is just serving up. You gotta think bruh Hawaii is just a tourist spot so that shit pop, know what im sayin’? That’s like the livest shit out there bruh, I’m pretty sure them niggas was getting OC money bruh. I wasn’t pimping, don’t get me wrong like I was on some other shit out there but... I seen it! Like that shit was just whole another world out there like I can’t wait to go back, know what I’m sayin’? The same bitches is out there, know what I’m sayin’? And I’m on some other shit now... I know them bitches done heard about me bruh cause I was the nigga I would be in the club bruh, going HAM. Like I literally felt like I was that nigga out there bruh like the world was mines out that mothafucka bruh so I can’t wait to go back out there cause that shit is too turnt up. S: What was it that made you connect with that? Like that’s what your speaking on? P: It’s like it was literally... I had got into a jam out there and so you know like kind of got into a hult. You know how niggas get, you know what I’m sayin’? Get on hard times, I didn’t really have... I was working and then I got laid off when I got back from Hawaii. And then it was a point like when the beat start going and everything I knew I wanted to make money doing music so it was just like, what am I about to do? And that portrayed somebody else like literally think about what I went through, know what I’m sayin’? What I observed, what I learned, and it literally came to that... it was nothing more. Like I don’t be out here shooting niggas, you know what I’m saying’? I’m not out here serving P’s and shit. All that shit was literally, “what am I about to rap about, that I know about and it can sell?”. And it was literally straight like that, that’s how 59

P: Yeah yeah yeah, we trynna formulate that up. It’s gonna be a good 13-14 tracks, know what I’m sayin’? Give you some videos for it and serve it like a album. I ain’t gonna get too much into that either, know what I’m sayin’? I want the videos to surprise niggas like “ok, he came back with that...”. So, we workin’ out, we definitely workin’ on it. S: Let’s talk about the area, what you think about the music game in the area as far as what you seen coming up compared to now? P: Hmm... It’s changed a lot, it’s off some it’s a popular thing out here, know what I’m sayin’? Coming up it was ‘Go-Go’, if you wasn’t in a band you wasn’t the man. No bullshit but, I mean I like where it’s going in a sense... I hope it gets better. I’ont really uhh, intertwine too much with it, know what I’m sayin’? I ain’t gonna lie, I’ont really wanna sound like that, you know what I’m sayin’? But at a broader scale of things, we all wanna be the world’s best, you know what I’m sayin’? I like to put it more like I’m trynna... I want the world to know me. It’s not... everybody still thinks on some local shit out here and that’s what kills it, but you know? I just try and do me... I fuck with a couple niggas, I fuck with Lil Nei... know what I’m sayin’? That’s the main nigga I fuck with. Yeah yeah he a trap rapper but that’s who I’m rockin’ with if I had to rock with somebody from out here. That’s who I’m fucking with the most. He just got flavor, it’s like certain flavor he got to his shit, know what I’m sayin’? But, other than that man I just feel like niggas talk that good talk out here, they don’t really put in that... that ground work. It’s a few niggas but... know what I’m sayin? But, we need more and it don’t need to be the same shit... Everybody kind of sound the same out here. Everybody staying in one pocket or flow, you know? It’s ok to switch it up bruh, it’s ok to switch it up. S: Speaking about flow too, that’s probably one of the first things that stands out in your music... Is your flow. Do you

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think any of that comes from making beats and where you can just find them pockets? P: Yeah for sure, for sure. It’s definitely... That’s where it definitely came from. You just gotta... Like doing music you just know. Like no bullshit anybody that does music should know like if you hear something, you can always catch a pocket, know what I’m sayin’? It just comes natural, I can’t even explain it. It’s just on some, “this my type of shit”. S: Talk to me about the love you get in the south, talk to me about touring in general and what that’s like? P: It’s proper man, it’s too much love in the south man... I encourage everybody, all artist that wants to be in the game man to attack the south cause it’s too much money, it’s too much love. Niggas out here be frontin’ you so like... Yeah, you know? Get your city on but if you can’t? Hit the south... know what I’m sayin’? Hit the south just go out there and explore man. You literally could just make a network, if you making good shit and just take initiative, you’ll make it... Know what I’m sayin’? You literally just connect yourself, that’s all it takes literally... know what I’m sayin’? So, the south? Definitely the south... Tennessee man shout out to Tennessee. That’s my favorite right now, Houston too. Houston is cool but yeah, the south... And the Midwest. Like the Midwest like... Your quicker to get love in like Indianapolis, like Minnesota, wild states like that. Like I think Chicago like is not that bad, Detroit... All them states, know what I’m sayin’ man? If you can get there and market there, you’ll be alright. It’s just all about making good shit man I always have literally stressed that you just gotta make good shit. You gotta treat yourself like your fucking... You gotta treat yourself like you judge these random niggas. Like you know how you judge random niggas like you ‘ont even be wanting to hear that shit. You gotta treat yourself like you don’t wanna hear that shit, know what I’m sayin’? Literally, and that’s how you get it. A lot of niggas don’t really like... A lot of niggas don’t get that. A lot of niggas don’t get that, they be like,”I’ma do me”... Yeah but a lot of times doing you don’t work. Sometimes you really gotta sit there and be like, “Is this really tight? Is this really gonna make me wanna listen to this shit?”. Know what I’m sayin’? S: We’ll talk about your process then cause you said you didn’t record every day. Is that why your process is like that? P: Yeah yeah cause I mean I’ont force it man. I’m not... Rapping is not something I been doing all my life, you know what I’m sayin? So, it don’t really come.. Like a lot of niggas just got it and it come to them. It don’t really.. It don’t come to me as quick so I’ll get in the studio sometimes and literally come out with nothing. I just don’t feel like doing that, you know what I’m sayin’? All the shit I’ve done... Has came up in my head first so, I feel like i’ma just keep it that way. If it’s not in my head... Like I know it’s a song... Like my process is like I know when I got a song or when I got the beat going through my head like every day for like two straight weeks. And I’m just... You know? thinking of verses in my head, that’s when I know I really got something going. I’ont really sit there and force it being in the

studio. S: So, you write to a beat that you already got? P: Yeah basically beats from here. First of all, that’s really the process... Finding beats, doing beats. Cause even when I do beats I be having to find time. That’s a process in itself, that takes hours and hours. A nigga lying to you if... I go through five hours bruh and find two beats, you know what I’m sayin’? Literally find two beats bruh, and be mad as shit I just went through five hundred of them mothafucka’s bruh. That’s literally all the process right there, just soon as you get the beat and you get that pocket floating it’s really just in your head. I don’t really be forcing in the studio, I like to go in the studio and have it ready so it’s like... Or at least have the first verse ready so I can go in there and already be vibing, you know what I’m sayin’? I hate sitting in the studio and just listening to a beat for real... And don’t get nothing done. Like that shit not the move, I see niggas do that shit all the time too, just be in the studio wasting time like... That’s not what I’m there for, know what I’m sayin’? I can be in the house... I like to chill, or kick back. I’ont have time so, that’s how make my time. Just like... Not wasting time. S: Last thing is... Talk to me about within a year, what you want from the rap game? P: Just have my business running like strong strong! Like we running now, but I need it strong man. I need my niggas... Everybody pullin’ up icy, know what I’m sayin’? But that’s about it bruh, like I’m not in it to be like... And I’ont even mean to say it like this and like I literally do me I’m not gonna force nothing, you know what I’m sayin’? So, if it’s something that’s going against my integrity or something that I feel like I’m not about to do? Then I’m not about to do it. I’m just all in the business of having a strong business. If you got a strong business man you good, and that’s what it need to be. I’ont wanna be rapping at... I make music how I make it but it’s like I’ont wanna be rapping at 35 still trynna chase a check when your check was all in the old shit. Like I know these niggas is making dough off of classics cause it’s a classic. So the more jam’s you making


Wanjie Li is a fine art and fashion photographer based in Singapore. Hi photographs deal primarily with the loss of identity: by appealing to images of femininity and loneliness, and blurring dreamscapes with reality, his work explores the fragmentation of the self.


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POETRY BY THE PEOPLE

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The Painter RJ Sison

Retail Work Sadiyah Bashir

oh how my lovely color by numbers piece enumerated with primaries primed in pastels adorned in your monochrome rainbow not colorblind you see but bound to, old movies newspapers and bad coffee this malignant piece not necessarily so, but the satisfaction devoid of color does, in fact, make me feel blue i want to paint you disarrange the color by number setting so vividly drip you in color this, is something you’ll never get from another this, art display of a thousand hues remained nothingness o monochrome tune your song and piece are gorgeous i’ll count and discard the instructions dash my way through the boulevard as i’ve run out of paint what untainted beauty in such a blank canvas among the ranks of the most meaningless masterpieces and as you, my love are drenched in color all i ask of the goddess before me could you spare some color for my colorless life?

Today, A White girl strips me bare, Wears the clothes off my back. Calls it an Urban Outfit. Today, A White girl steals my skin, Calls it makeup, Calls it Beauty under her name but not mine. She is 21, Lives forever. And I Hand her the bag with my voice in it, softly saying, Thank you come again.

Illustrations by Phi-Yen Phan

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The red, the white, and the who? Pierre Harps I’m merely a bi-stander witnessing your independence......your freedom I’ll join in the celebratory festivities That’s just one example of my natural compassion for the living Because I’ve been filled with so much death I’ve adopted many off springs that weren’t mine just so that I wouldnt go blind in the mist of many fates My black skin has been groomed to be death’s resting place And faith blankets the Negro with a smile on death’s resting face Death should never look this peaceful if unjust We give so much power to our opressor As they cripple justice, and just us Our judiciary system is Judist Why should it feel liberating to me to be feasting at the same table with beings that are feeding their faces but drooling for tomorrows dehumanizing I see man portraying the beast that’s riddled in scriptural readings of task trying to destroy me There are many fables Blood sucking vampires are mythically running these streets Angels were given wings to be seen Or marvel characteristics that roam in heroic teams Who drew the faces of good and evil The devil may have a face but it Damn sure has never been red You have been mislead by his greatest trick You never recognized him for just being what/who he is I’m just standing here In a conscious daze as the bombs burst in the air on the 4th of July Truth is There are no angels in disguises And the devil doesn’t wear any either.

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Untitled Loe Calaverea Feeling good to know Im alone, me. He. Not knowing what it takes to keep it locked down From being asleep And sealing it with a kiss Looks in the mirror cus hes drained, broken, and angry This cant be over But it is its supposed to be clear, fate interferes, I know, you thought, You’re supposed to be here and perceptive Allegedly. Moving on, positioned in opposition Yeah, but see I’ve been gone Been slipped out of the spoon Said you been smoking and drinking and thinking. And now you miss the time, swear you doing fine, letting your heartache write the rhyme

Untitled Ama Never did I ever meet someone like you One year later i'm missing you, thinking what have I done wrong? Could it be my insecurities, overthinking, the truth or all 3 You say nothing has changed but nigga i'm observant I won't mention it unless it's on the surface Now it's plain to see you, u weren't feeling me the way I was feeling you That's why I rather stay away from you demons then give you a chance Y'all play us like it was never romance Eyes wide look you couldn't see me Whole time you was looking right past me Or even through me Maybe you even knew me Better than I know myself Atleast I thought you did.

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trails for a lost love Dominic Mallari

I Think I’ve Found It Elle Sanchez

search the corners the nooks and crannies the little notes i gave you the lines the letters the doodles commas, periods. the question marks the times i’ve yelled the moments i’ve whispered the flowers the kisses the old sticky notes crumpled receipts the tickets train stops from where we’ve been where you sat across from me or next where you gave me things told me stories, fed me when you looked at me when i looked at you when we looked at the same places things, people cats and dogs the moon and the stars when we laughed danced, cried, slept where we sat in silence where we screamed

I swear, I’ve found a way to completely stop breathing without dying. I swear I’ve written about you long before I’ve even met you. I could hide in your deepest sighs, I could swallow entire mountains for you, and exhale clouds. I wanted to help you find the sun, But it looks like you’ve tucked it into your teeth, and hid it in your smile. I want to cut you off like one does hair, I want to tell myself that I won’t love you in six months But I’ve already convinced myself that time is an illusion And you’ll never change your heart And that face will always be as bright as ever, Even as it spits on me, Even as it reaches while turning away.

i’ll be there i’ll always be there i wish to be there i hope you look for me i’ll be around the bend

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