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> HIV AND AIDS 

IN BLACK AMERICA an uphill battle

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PLANNED PARENTHOOD Speaks Out ON GOP  :MM:<D

“Pistols and Prayers” MAR/APR 2011

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Spring Issue 2011

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WHAT WE’RE USING

FRESH START

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Planning a clean new life in the year ahead Get Your Swagga on how to look and smell your best in 2011


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Photographed by Ron Fulcher

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STEP INTO THE NIGHT PHOTOGRAPH BY RON FULCHER

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Classic Look in Armani Formal Wear Gucci Bow Tie Laydown Collar Tuxedo Shirt Model: Filip Kharon Photographed by Ron Fulcher

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;HIV and AIDS in Black America: The Uphill Battle â&#x20AC;? What exactly is fueling the flames of the crisis in our community? By Kellee Terrell

The face of this epidemic in the U.S. is now one that resembles mine. AIDS is the number one killer of black women ages 24-35. Black men who have sex with men (MSM) have the highest HIV rate among all racial groups of MSM. Overall, while African Americans make up a mere 14 percent of the overall U.S. population, they account for more than half of all new HIV infections that are diagnosed each year. And to make matters worse, African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV and AIDS at the same time than any other racial group, meaning they're less likely to get tested until they're very ill. Black AIDS Institute's chief executive and president, Phill Wilson, wasn't exaggerating when he said that "AIDS is the fire that is ravaging the black community."So what exactly is fueling the flames? There is no one answer. It's a combination of many factors: Poverty and economic instability. Institutionalized racism. Lack of quality health care, poor access to health care in general and mistrust in the medical system. Gender inequality and domestic violence.Homophobia. Intravenous drug use and the lack of needle-exchange programs. Poor health literacy. High rates of incarceration. Untreated sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes and gonorrhea, which make people more vulnerable to contracting HIV. And people having unprotected sex while unaware that they are positive, and who thus go untreated while they're highly infectious. The slow response by the federal government has played a role as well, as has a lack of funding. Thirty years into the epidemic, and it was only just last year that the U.S. government finally released a national HIV/AIDS strategy. But most importantly, the black community's own slow response to the epidemic has had a profound impact. Minus a few exceptions, most black media publications, churches and community leaders set the tone early by turning a blind eye to HIV, believing that this epidemic was not their problem and that HIV was a moral issue as opposed to a public health crisis. In the end, we have all paid a price for their unwillingness to address the disease early on. Don't get me wrong: Over the years, we have seen some progress in having public conversations about HIV, and the importance of getting tested and practicing safer sex. But we still have a long way to go. Unfortunately, too many current conversations about HIV -- especially in the black media -- are either met with resistance, treaded lightly or saturated with inaccuracies (think: everything about the down low). Even within the past year, I have heard stories from people living with HIV who have recently been forced to eat off paper plates because those around them are still unaware of how HIV is contracted. Or how they are turned away from their church or rejected by loved ones and friends. I still come across people who don't really know what HIV is, who believe wholeheartedly that AIDS is a government conspiracy to kill black folks, or who believe that they are not at risk for HIV because their sexual partner is not a gay man. The culture of ignorance, stigma, silence and fear is very real, and it is killing us.

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DM VOLUME II, NO. 6 SPRING | SUMMER 2011

Where you can buy products. . .

WWW.SWAGGADIGITALMAGAZINE.COM FOUNDER - EDITOR-IN-CHIEF | RON FULCHER

search the web for these great brands

BRANDING & STRATEGY

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MARKETING MANAGER | EDIE OKAMOTO GRAPHIC DESIGN ~ CREATIVE SERVICES | KEEPINGITREAL MEDIA PHOTO EDITOR ~ ART DIRECTOR | RON FULCHER HAIR-MAKE-UP CONSULTANT | STEFANI NICOLE COMMUNICATIONS & PR | ARCHIE BRUMFIELD

DIGITAL DEVELOPER | JONATHAN P WEB DESIGNER | RON FULCHER HD VIDEO | SONNY CHEEBA

CREATIVE CONTRIBUTORS PHOTOGRAPHER | MARIYA NOVITSKI EQUIPMENT RENTALS | CALUMET PHOTOGRAPHY CONSULTING | CHARLESTON PIERCE MODELS | LOOK MODEL AGENCY | CITY MODEL MANAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | RAYVIN PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOGRAPHER | HENRY ALFONSO NAVARRO PHOTOGRAPHER | RON FULCHER PHOTOGRAPHIC ASSISTANT | CYNTHIA MINOR PHOTOGRAPHER | VINCENT GOTINGCO PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE | ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY

SPECIAL THANKS WARDROBE STYLIST | MARIO B PIGMENT COSMETICS SINGALAS MODEL MANAGEMENT Published Bi-Monthly Printed in the USA In Print | Online | On Your Mobile | On Your Ipad All Rights Reserved ©2011 Keepingitreal Media COVER PAGE Cameron Clark DeShaune Elder ©2011 RON FULCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

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SDM | MARCH ~ APRIL 2011


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March - April 2011 volume 2 issue 06 CONTENTS FEATURES 26 | ROCK YOUR STYLE 16 | HIV AND AIDS IN BLACK AMERICA 24 | ON OUR RADAR 50 | THE INSIDER

FEATURES 52 | DRUG SHORTAGES IN HOSPITALS 53 | UP AND COMING BLACK DIRECTORS 66 | REVERSE PASSING 67 | COLLEGE DEGREE WON’T SHIELD BLACKS :=O>KMBL>F>GM

PUBLISHERS NOTE

This issue is dedicated to my mom whose courage, strength, tenacity and love has been a rock for me in the production of this issue. There were so many people who were instrumental in the production of this issue, and I could not possibly name them all in this writing, but I just want to thank all of you and you know who you are for assisting me with this issue. Many thanks to all of the wonderful and talented models, MUA’s, and Hair Stylists. Reproduction of any material within this publication, in whole or in part is, prohibited without expressed consent of publisher. The publisher assumes no responsibility to any party of the information, claims or ads herein to include errors, inaccuracies or omissions. By advertising the advertisers agree to indemnify the Publisher against all claims relating to or resulting from said advertisements.

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O N O U R RA DA R I must admit when I first met this brother I messed his name up almost everytime I saw him until I got it right. I began to follow Ise Lyfe at various events, and came to the realization he was a phenomenal human being very wise and articulate beyong his years. Since my association with him, at times up close and personal and mostly from afar. He has produced various events, a play, video releases, book sigining, clothing give-aways for needy school kids and now this book. All the while displaying his craft of spoken word, spitting, poetry, just staying true to his craft. and I once called him “truly a thespian”. Now from his latest venture “Pistols and Prayers” which in his words is a “collection of rhymes and anectdotes, journal entries.” The book is definitely a good read. Also the foreward was done by an amazing pioneer in the African-American world of radio, and the hip-hop movement “Mr. Davey D”. In the Bay Area we remember him from KDIA. He is nationally known for his in my opinion Hip-Hop journalist views on Hip-Hop as a culture, which it is now but before it was viewed as a culture Mr. Davey D was spreading word. Mr. Ise Lyfe is most definitely a force to be reckoned with, and is definitely on a journey to becoming a poetric, charismatic, intellecutally astute, articulate, talented, visionary, activist, educator and laureate. I can’t think of anyone in this day who I can compare to him except maybe Mos Def. Words By Ron Fulcher

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Photographed by Ron Fulcher

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M A K I N G   T H E

C O V E R CAMERON CLARK & DE SHAUNE ELDER

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On the Cover Cameron Clark Photographed by Ron Fulcher

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LIFESTYLE It’s About Living Life

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THE INSIDER

Planned Parenthood Speaks Out on GOP Attack On the defensive after a House vote to defund it, the group explained to SDM just what a world without Planned Parenthood would look like for black women. Words Lynette Holloway Just hours after the Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed a measure to strip Planned Parenthood of funding last month, the embattled organization hit back, setting the stage for a showdown in what is widely seen as a symbolic effort to repeal the health care law. Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, sponsored by Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, prohibits federal dollars from going to any organization that provides abortion services. It is an amendment to the omnibus spending bill now before Congress. "In attacking Planned Parenthood, the House Republican leadership has launched an outrageous assault on the millions of Americans who rely on Planned Parenthood for primary and preventative health care, including life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, family planning visits, birth control, HIV testing, and more," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a prepared statement. "To be clear, the amendment to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding does nothing to reduce the deficit and it does nothing to improve the economy," she continued. "In fact, health professionals will actually lose their jobs as a result, and, most egregiously, it takes health care away from American women who cannot afford to pay for it on their own." Planned Parenthood says it serves three million patients a year, and about 48 percent receive Medicaid and/or Title X funding. Many of those patients rely on Planned Parenthood for services other than abortions, the group stresses. In a bruising battle, the House voted 240-185 to defund the organization, with only seven Republicans voting against the measure, while 10 Democrats voted in favor of it. The House, however, must still vote to approve the spending bill before the measure goes to the Senate. It would cut about $330 million through the end of September for preventativehealth services, including federal funding for contraception and cancer screening at the nation's 800 Planned Parenthood clinics across the nation, according to parenthood-federalfunding ABC News. The vote comes as no surprise. Abortion foes and conservatives across the country have led a robust grassroots campaign in recent months, with a special appeal to the black community. Activists emblazoned billboards with the alarming message that the womb is the most dangerous place for black children because of the high abortion rate among black women. Many of the attacks were centered on Planned Parenthood, which its critics accused of overpopulating black neighborhoods with abortion clinics.And for the most part, the 95-year-old organization has stood silent during this period, saying its history speaks for itself. That is, until now. Willie J. Parker, M.D., a medical director at Planned Parenthood Metropolitan in Washington, D.C., spoke to SDM in a wideranging interview the day before the Title X vote was cast. Single, with no children, he lives in D.C. and works for Planned Parenthood as an abortion provider and wellness provider.

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He has been with the organization for about two years. Despite its symbolic nature, the Title X measure could be harmful, Parker told SDM. The rest of the interview is below: SDM: What do you have to say in your defense about the upcoming House vote? Willie Parker: We've known for a while there have been conservative political forces who don't like the work of Planned Parenthood. We know that we have been under attack politically for a while. While it's done in the guise of reducing the deficit and controlling spending, it's a politically driven assault on Planned Parenthood and additionally an assault on women's health. SDM: What do you mean by assault on women's health? WP: Given that Planned Parenthood sees three million patients in 800 centers across the nation, 97 percent of the services consists of well-woman health visits, breast and cervical cancer screening, contraception and planning and health education. To try to drive Planned Parenthood out of business will displace millions of medically dependant women away from their primary health care. The question is, where would those women get their care? We have been around for well over 90 years. We will always be committed to the health and well-being of women. We won't go away. The challenge of serving the vulnerable population will be all that much greater. SDM: Specifically, how will the vote affect black women? WP: African-American women tend to have more chronic illness and disease. So in terms of having just basic health maintenance and well-woman care, when women get a general health assessment and exam, many things get discovered like undiagnosed hypertension and diabetes and all of those basic primary health care needs. Usually, Planned Parenthood helps get that patient to someone who manages chronic illness. So, 15 percent of our patients are African-American women. Many are often uninsured, and programs like Medicaid and Title X allow those women to have access to basic health screenings. If they didn't have Planned Parenthood, where they could come to be seen on a sliding scale, or where we might be the only agency in their region that takes Medicaid, or where many AfricanAmerican women have their medical home, you are destabilizing the safety net that many people of color rely on. A hit on Planned Parenthood really becomes a hit for African-American women.


A D V E R T I S E M E N T Big Mommas: Black Actors in Drag Dave Chappelle railed against it. John Singleton scoffed at it. But the trend of black comedic actors dressing as loud, stereotypical black women for laughs persists. What gives? Martin Lawrence One of the worst perpetrators of the black-actor-in-a-dress phenomenon is Lawrence, who has graced the big screen disguised as the corpulent Big Momma not once, not twice, but three times. The latest installment -- Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son -- is in theaters now. Lest you think that the cheerful grandma is his only female role, allow us to remind you of Sheneneh, the Martin character based on every negative black female stereotype you can think of. Captions by Lauren Williams Brandon T. Jackson Apparently not content to go it alone in the dress department in his third Big Momma film, Lawrence is joined by Brandon T. Jackson. Tyler Perry Madea, the tough-talking, rifle-toting matriarch famously (over)played by Perry, has served as the cornerstone of Perry's film and stage empire -- for better or for worse. Wesley Snipes In To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything (1995), Snipes was actually playing a drag queen (to critical acclaim), which, for a number of reasons, makes this role a bit different -- and more palatable -- than some of the others listed here. (Also donning drag were John Leguizamo and the late Patrick Swayze.) Eddie Murphy Like Lawrence, Murphy has a thing for putting on a gown, packing on the prosthetic pounds and losing any sense of nuance or subtlety once the cameras start rolling. The worst female character in his arsenal is Norbit's Rasputia, whom Murphy portrayed as a fat, slovenly bully in 2007. Arsenio Hall Years before Murphy was getting panned for Norbit and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, his buddy Hall put on a dress and some lipstick to play Murphy's date in Coming to America in 1988. Flip Wilson The legendary comedian's Geraldine character popularized the phrase "What you see is what you get" and was a popular and enduring part of The Flip Wilson Show in the 1970s. Jamie Foxx If you thought Martin's Sheneneh was bad, take a look at some of Oscarwinner Foxx's "Wanda" sketches from his In Living Color days back in the '90s. Miguel Nuñez In the completely improbable Juwanna Mann (2002), Nuñez plays a fallen basketball star who pretends to be a woman to join a fictional version of the WNBA. Hilarity is alleged to ensue ... it doesn't. Wayans Brothers Marlon and Shawn Wayans took their drag look a step further by dressing up as white women in White Chicks in 2004. Somehow, the movie manages to offend men and women of all races at the same time. This is probably what they were going for -- but isn't the joke on them?

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Seven Up-and-Coming Black Directors You Should Know Never mind the dearth of black talent represented at this year's Oscars. In the coming years, these talented auteurs may be bringing home some of those little gold statues. 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Reverse Passing? Kidding ... Right? A report that biracial people are denying their white parents seems absurd to me -- but I'm paying attention anyway. By: JenĂŠe Desmond-Harris

Ever heard of Barack Obama? You know, the first black president? The one who won an election and near-deity status in the African-American community while openly discussing his white mother in books, interviews and stump speeches? Yeah, me, too. This is just one of the reasons I'm scratching my head at the findings of a new study that people with one white and one black parent "downplay their white ancestry," in part to gain the acceptance of other black people. The authors dub this phenomenon "reverse passing" and call it "a striking phenomenon." I'm beyond stumped. In a summary of the results, the sociologists behind "Passing as Black: Racial Identity Work Among Biracial Americans" report that this occurs especially in "certain social situations" -- ostensibly, around other black people -- where having a white parent "can carry its own negative biases. Let's be clear: Although the study does conclude that people are "exercising considerable control over how they identify" racially these days, we're not talking about having the freedom to elect to call oneself black. Rather, according to the lead author, University of Vermont sociologist Nikki Khanna, those who self-identify as biracial or multiracial "adopt an identity that contradicts their self-perception of race." In other words, they're being purposely disingenuous. They're exchanging honesty for social benefits, in a mirror-image version of the well-known phenomenon of passing as white. Viewed through the lens of my personal experiences with racial identity, these findings are nothing short of bizarre. But if this new twist on passing is an accurate reflection of people's experiences, we should nevertheless take the results seriously and try to determine how they fit into the puzzle that is today's complicated racial landscape. The very premise of the study -- that a biracial person would need to "pass" to be considered black -- is perplexing to me because I understand being biracial to be one of many ways there are to be black. On one level, I can understand the protests of the self-proclaimed color-blind and the "don't put me in a box" crew, and I get that, for them, my embracing "biracial" as "black" doesn't exactly add up. (How can half of something equal that very thing? And the equation doesn't balance. Mixed people have historically "passed" as white, so why can't they do the opposite?) But since race itself is just a social construct, my view doesn't really have to make sense mathematically as long as it makes sense socially -for me. And it does. Influenced as this understanding may be by the old one-drop rule and its racist history, to me, being biracial is to being black as being from San Francisco is to being from California. One is more specific, but both are true. This isn't just my unique outlook. Has anyone really seen members of the black community excluding people who admit a white parent or call themselves biracial? Have I missed the cold shoulder given to Halle Berry and Shemar Moore and Boris Kodjoe? The withdrawal of AfricanAmerican support for Alicia Keys for anything other than allegations of home wrecking? Did someone come and confiscate their black cards and I missed it? Has the Young Money family disowned half-Jewish Drake? I don't think so. We may have our share of issues, but ferreting out and shunning those with "white blood" doesn't seem to be among them.

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I can imagine the study's assertion that biracial Americans downplay white ancestry because of its negative stigma to be true in a few very narrow contexts -- a Nation of Islam or New Black Panther Party meeting, perhaps. And maybe in middle school. Of the mixed friends I talked to about the study, not one had tried to "pass" as black as an adult. If anything, this was a prepuberty phenomenon that took place during the awkward years when few things are as important as being normal. The goal: to fit in with a group of black friends at a time when kids are cruel and anything seen as different (a dad who hums a lot, a mom who rides a bike with a basket, foreign food in the lunch box) is a social liability worthy of concealing with secrecy and lies. The study's authors conclude that reverse passing is a sign of a changing culture around race relations and politics in which blackness is "less stigmatized." I suppose we're to take that as a positive, but I'm still troubled by the statement the study seems to make about some of the things I treasure most about the black community. High on the list is acceptance of diversity in its ranks. I am saddened by -- and struggle to believe -- the suggestion that this is no longer a place where everyone's unique way of being is accepted. While I don't relate to the results of this study, I won't dismiss them. My first reaction -- after sheer confusion -- was to feel superior to the study subjects. (Maybe they should have gone to an HBCU, where I got the message loud and clear that you can be black in any way that makes sense to you. Maybe they should be in social circles like mine. When polled on Facebook, many black acquaintances said that they always figured I had a white or mixed parent, and -surprise! -- they didn't de-friend me.) But I know it's unproductive to disregard or diminish other people's experiences with race. The idea that the definition of blackness is becoming more exclusive is fascinating. The evidence that some biracial people feel pressured to engage in the same type of secrecy that used to accompany passing for white is troubling. For these reasons alone, the findings published today should at least provide the seed of a conversation. They can inform a status check of race in America, regardless of how absurd they may seem to those of us whose reality they don't reflect.


A D V E R T I S E M E N T College Degrees Won't Shield Blacks From Unemployment The jobless rate among black college graduates is nearly double that of whites. Why? By: Jean McGianni Celestin

For years, Americans have been told that going to college was the best protection against unemployment. That hasn't been the case for African Americans during the Great Recession, with a jobless rate nearly double that of their white counterparts. And experts say the gap could widen in the slow recovery. Black Americans have long suffered the highest unemployment rate of any ethnic group in the country, and this recession has only exacerbated a long-standing divergence. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for black Americans in January was 15.7 percent, compared with 8 percent for whites. Although a recent report shows that the unemployment rate fell to a two-year low of 8.9 percent in February, the Economic Policy Institute -- a nonpartisan economic think tank -- projects that national unemployment for blacks will reach a 25-year high this year, with the rates in five states exceeding 20 percent. Black college graduates have not been spared. At the end of 2010, black Americans, 25 years old and older, with a college education had an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent, while the rate for white college graduates was 4.2 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Other minority groups, such as Asian college graduates and Hispanics, hover a shade over 5.5 percent, while the rate for blacks was expected to continue climbing. Cary Fraser, a professor of labor and industrial relations at Penn State University, believes that several factors contribute to high unemployment in the black community. First, as corporations continue to relocate thousands of jobs to lower-cost markets in more rural areas, many of the opportunities that were once available to black workers in metropolitan centers are now nonexistent. "African-American professionals have been largely located in the older cities," Fraser says. "Except for maybe places like Atlanta, you will find that there is a higher concentration of the black professional population in the bigger cities." He believes that black unemployment may end up causing a long-term shift in the country's demographics as many migrate to where the jobs are. "In education, for example, there are many schools in the South that are in desperate need of good teachers," Fraser says. "What we have to ask ourselves is, will we start to see young black college grads leaving the Northeast to teach in the South?" He cites the migration of the auto industry from American-based manufacturers in Detroit to European and Japanese automakers in Kentucky, Mississippi and South Carolina as an example of a significant shift in opportunity. The second factor in high joblessness among blacks is what Fraser describes as "class-origin distinction." He says that a large number of black professionals are first-generation college graduates who don't have the same kinds of networks as an earlier generation of African Americans. "They're just not as savvy and as prepared for the work force when they leave college as the older generation was." Fraser believes that colleges and universities share the blame for not adequately preparing students for the job market. "Many of the institutions are failing these kids and are just taking them in as a way of financing themselves." Fraser also believes that internal politics play a considerable role in higher black unemployment rates, saying that some companies become less inclined to hire minorities once their respective diversity-hiring goals have been met.

But he offers some advice to those who are soon to be out of college. He recommends that black college students analyze where the market is going and tailor their undergraduate studies and internships toward preparing them to compete in those areas instead of going the traditional routes. "College graduates should start looking at opportunities that are related to where the economic growth is or will be in the future, rather than where the jobs are right now." If we look back at the last decade, the numbers for blacks remain disturbing. Since 2000, black Americans with college degrees have had the highest rate of unemployment among all ethnic groups at their level, even when the market was fairly stable. Yet as the economy worsened in early 2008, the gap widened and the percentage jumped from an average of 4 percent to 7.3 percent between 2008 and 2009. That's a 3.3 percent increase in one calendar year, while unemployment for white college graduates remained relatively flat during this span at a steady average of 2.5 percent. Lurie Daniel-Favors, a New York-based civil rights and consumer-debt attorney, says that this damaging cycle has been going on for a while, even before the current labor crisis. Black Americans have always been in a recession when it comes to jobs, and she points to a structural and systematic institutionalized racism as the primary driver. "Blacks have always been the last hired and the first fired," she says. "Countless studies have shown that when all other things are equal, if two résumés have equal qualifications and the only difference is the ethnicity of the names of the candidates, potential employers will go with the name that sounds the most European -- or the least ethnic."

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the dime

artist on the verge

rom the ashes, the Phoenix has arisen. With a new name and a new calling, The Dime has arrived. Chioke and Nightshift are the millenniums’ answer to the age old question, “What happened to the real music”? Their intellectual, new school throwback sound blesses our ears with nothing but the real straight music from their SOUL. Coming out of Richmond, California a city of hope and pain, promise and despair, The Dime lives the struggle for the ones who struggle to live. Richmond, Ca., can be the most beautiful, most tumultuous Eden on the planet. Which in all helps create the foundation for The Dimes music and vision. To sum it up their sound is, “BeautifullyGrimey”. Raised on old soul classics and true Hip Hop, Chioke and Night Shift engrained music into their projects, and soul in their lyrics. Also, besides being lyrically gifted “The Dime” sing and harmonize their own melodies and hooks. Night Shifts adds to the flair with vocal rawness as he belts out “Blue Room” notes to the ladies all in the same set. The Dimes‘ live shows have become known for it’s theatrical performances to hit the stage in a long time. They have had actual chess matches unfold onstage as they rhyme and serenade the audience to their perfect melodies. The Dime is an experience to behold. From rough lyrics about home and the world to melodic tones which intice, The Dime stands alone as they continue to rise. The Dime……….The Desire Is Multiplied Everyday. Most stories of young black men doing Hip Hop usually begin in the ghetto. As with the Dime's story. The difference is, the music The Dime creates transcends local boundaries, mental mindstates, and the overwhelming expectations of failure. Both emcees harmonize, create their own arrangements, write all of their music, and both strive to create music that the world can appreciate. They understand that before emcees, they are artist first. Meaning, as an artist your creation comes from the soul and not the motivation for money and fame. Their album, entitled “Brickyard Cove” was engineered by DJ Icewater, offical tour DJ for The Pharcyde and one of the founding members of one of the Bay Area most well known DJ crews.

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Photographed by Ron Fulcher

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2011 Spring Issue Swagga Digital Magazine  

Our Business: Swagga Digital Magazine is a quarterly publication illuminating people of color, from different backgrounds in four (4) areas,...