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Issue 18 | April 2013

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“I can invite people into my act and make them do just about anything. It’s a powerful thing to be able to do that. That’s my enjoyment, just watching people enjoy themselves.”


Contents Issue 18 | April 2013

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SOJOURN: SUN, SAND AND BEACH

10 MONEY

MATTERS: SIX ITEMS TO REVIEW ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT

13 BELGIUM’S 14 NATURAL 20

RESIDENT DJ, BABYBANG

BORN CLUB KILLER, KEVIN CROWN

10 AMAZING BEAUTY BUYS UNDER $10

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PROJECT RUNWAY’S SAMANTHA BLACK

26

THE POWERHOUSE THAT IS RDSTUDIOS

29

drennaLuna: SPRING STYLE

35

SEVEN POP-CULTURE WOMEN YOU DIDN’T KNOW HAD CARIBBEAN ROOTS

37 WHERE’S

SOCA

38 CARIBBEAN

DIGITAL DIVAS

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UPTOWN Magazine Partners with Caribbean EMagazine, Triple the Focus Luxury lifestyle publication, UPTOWN Magazine has entered into an exciting new partnership with Caribbean e-magazine Triple the Focus to integrate more Caribbean content into their print and online publications. This combined effort will bring together a wealth of discerning and sophisticated American and Caribbean readers and tastemakers. Triple the Focus launched its publication on October 5, 2011 with features in the field of Music, Entertainment and Lifestyle. With the initial goal of providing a platform for industry insiders that would assist in connecting them with their fans on a more personal level, the Magazine has since grown exponentially to include travel, fashion and finance. With a reach that extends across the globe and include countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and by large the Caribbean, this partnership will expand the reach for both UPTOWN’s print and online mediums. To date, Triple the Focus has over 1,000,000 million page views not including other high traffic websites that hosts the link of the magazine on a monthly basis. For more than nine years, UPTOWN Magazine has celebrated the luxury lifestyle of professional and influential urban consumers across the country with city-specific editions in New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Their editorial content, promotion, and brand extensions communicate the appeal of a luxury lifestyle with an authoritative voice and sophisticated design. Editorial content highlights the best in home décor, automotive, technology, fashion and jewelry, fitness, health and beauty, travel and leisure, food and wine, sports and entertainment, and arts and culture. It also includes provocative profiles of the tastemakers who represent this audience. Currently, UPTOWN’s print publication has more than 1,000,000 readers per issue, while Uptownmagazine.com has over 200,000 unique visitors per month and 2.2 million page views and over 60,000 iPhone App downloads. Of the partnership, Stacey Bethel, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Triple the Focus remarks, “This is a great marriage between the publications each bringing to the table their own strengths that will make for a truly remarkable relationship. In seeking to partner with UPTOWN, the idea was to create a broader platform to feature Caribbean lifestyle at its best - this includes music, art, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, etc. UPTOWN was a great choice for us as it is a brand that is growing and we wanted to be a part of that growth.” Henry Watkins, publisher of UPTOWN Magazine, adds “This strategic partnership with Triple the Focus will strengthen UPTOWN’s presence as a brand within the Caribbean market and enable us to better serve the Tourist Board’s and Hoteliers who represent the core of our business in the region.”


Issue 18 | April 2013

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JO WHEELER


SOJOURN: SUN, SAND AND BEACH BAHAMAS: GRAND LUCAYAN It's easy to take a little trip to Grand Lucayan. Just 75 miles from Florida on Grand Bahama Island, we're the closest Caribbean resort to the US East Coast. Just hop on one of our direct flights and you'll be here in no time! Think of your stay as instant therapy. Because the moment you arrive, a feeling of serenity will wash over you like a gentle wave, stripping away the world's woes, and leaving you ready to get your Lucayan on. Exactly what that means is totally up to you. For some people, it's all about relaxing, doing nothing more ambitious than lying in sun. For others, activities rule, and they never rest until all the options are exhausted, which incidentally is impossible. And still others come for a marriage of the two, happily mixing equal parts of full-throttle fun and blissful relaxation. W: www.grandlucayan.com T: 855-582-2926

JAMAICA: THE TRYALL CLUB The Tryall Club, Jamaica’s premiere private club, offers members and discerning guests the luxury and hospitality of a true villa lifestyle. Set amid 2,200 lush acres, The Tryall Club provides all the ingredients necessary for an exquisite experience: worldrenowned golf, private beachfront, exceptional cuisine, and the best views in Jamaica. W: www.tryallclub.com T: 876-956-5660 or 800-238-52930

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ST. CROIX:THE BUCCANEER HOTEL Sean fell in love on The Bachelor at The Buccaneer. The episode featured a romantic “one on one dinner date” inside the resort’s sugar mill with the newest Bachelor, Sean Lowe, as well as another “one on one’ dinner date at magnificent Whistle Beach, one of three at The Buccaneer. Gracious. Elegant. Legendary. Founded in the 17th century and family-run for generations, St. Croix's Buccaneer is the Caribbean's and Virgin Islands' longest running resort. Both historic and modern, the resort blends old world charm with warm hospitality and the amenities expected by today's traveler. More than a hotel, The Buccaneer is a premier destination resort for golf, tennis, water sports, weddings, honeymoons and family vacations. W: www.thebuccaneer.com T: 340-712-2100

ST. BARTHS: SALINES GARDEN Close to St-Barths' finest beach, nested in a blooming tropical garden, five cottages surround a tranquil pool.

 A thoughtfully refined atmosphere for a relaxed and restorative vacation. A unique place, simply to discover. Travel & Leisure: Best affordable beach resorts 2009 Trip Advisor: Certificate of excellence 2011 & 2012 Travelers Choice 2013 winner The New York Times: "A delightful exception in St. Barts" W:www.st-barths.com/salinas-garden/en/home.html T: (59) 0690-419-429

ST. LUCIA (SUGAR BEACH): VICEROY RESORT Each of our St Lucia resort's Luxury Sugar Mill Rooms, Luxury Villas, Villa Suites and Luxury Beachfront Bungalows affords spectacular views of the Pitons or the Caribbean Sea. The indulgent world-class Rainforest Spa, full PADI dive facility, sumptuous waterfront dining, and chic bars and lounges ensure the quintessential St Lucia resort vacation experience, all close to the isle’s top tourist attractions. Offering space enough for families and honeymooners alike, Sugar Beach, St Lucia is the premier choice among Soufriere hotels for discerning travelers seeking seclusion and tranquility amid unsurpassed natural beauty. W: www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com T: 758-456-8000


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MONEY MATTERS: SIX ITEMS TO REVIEW ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT Dana Dratch | Bankrate.com You've pulled one of your credit reports. Now what? As you've probably heard by now, you're entitled to free copies of your credit reports. Federal law gives you the right to request your three credit reports, one from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, every year through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can get them all at once or throughout the year. Personal finance gurus often recommend pulling one report every four months so you're regularly tracking your records. Either way, checking your credit reports is a smart move when you consider that information from your credit report determines your credit score. But once you get that report, what do you do with it? How about giving it the six-minute treatment? While you definitely want to read the full report in detail, a quick check on a handful of indicators can give you an instant appraisal of how good -or bad -- your credit is right now. Here are six markers that can provide an X-ray of your credit health.

LATE PAYMENTS

But the more time that has passed since you made a late payment, Delinquencies are "huge influ- the less it will affect your credit, he ences" on the credit score, says says. Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of HIGH DEBT-TO-CREDIT LIMIT America. In fact, they make up 35 RATIOS percent of your FICO score. Credit scores typically look at your If you see notations that bills have debt-to-credit limit ratio or been paid 30, 60, 90 or 120 days "utilization" in two ways: They comlate, "that's very damaging" to your pare the balance on one revolving credit, he says. account to your available credit from that lender. For instance, if The other factor that's important you have a credit card with a here: the timeline. How late was $1,000 balance and a $5,000 credit the payment, and how long ago limit, this ratio would be 20 percent. did you make this mistake? Scoring formulas also look at your The later the payment, the more it debt-to-credit limit ratio a second hurts your credit, says Evan Hen- way: calculating the total of all dricks, author of "Credit Scores & your debts on revolving accounts Credit Reports: How the System Re- against your total credit lines on ally Works, What You Can Do." those same accounts.

So if you have four credit cards each with a $5,000 credit line ($20,000 in credit), and you have a $1,000 balance on two of them and nothing on the other two ($2,000 in debt), this ratio would be 10 percent. "In an ideal world, you would want to have (those ratios) under 10 percent," says Hendricks. "But certainly you want to keep them under 40 percent. There's no magic number." But if you're running up a balance of $2,000 to $3,000 with a card that has a $5,000 limit, "that's really going to hurt your score," says Brobeck. "And what's worse is running up balances on several cards."


COLLECTION ACTIVITY

If you find an item that isn't yours, you can dispute it and have it removed from your report.

Most of the time, if you have an account that has gone to collections or been written off as a bad debt, you know If the item is yours, you have some decisions to make, Bailey about it, says Rhonda Bailey, credit counselor and credit says. Can you afford to pay it? report review manager for the nonprofit Credit Counseling It's a good idea to check your state's statute of limitations, of Arkansas. But not always. which is the period of time creditors have to sue you over a "There are those few instances, like an old utility bill after debt. Your state attorney general's office can give you that you've moved, (where) the collection agency didn't find time limit, she says. them and (the consumer) forgot about it," she says. "I see Separate from that time limit, the item can stay on your that occasionally." credit report for seven years. The longer it's been on your

JUDGMENTS, LIENS, BANKRUPTCIES Most of the time, if you have an account that has gone to collections or been written off as a bad debt, you know about it, says Rhonda Bailey, credit counselor and credit report review manager for the nonprofit Credit Counseling of Arkansas. But not always. "There are those few instances, like an old utility bill after you've moved, (where) the collection agency didn't find them and (the consumer) forgot about it," she says. "I see that occasionally." If you find an item that isn't yours, you can dispute it and have it removed from your report. If the item is yours, you have some decisions to make, Bailey says. Can you afford to pay it? It's a good idea to check your state's statute of limitations, which is the period of time creditors have to sue you over a debt. Your state attorney general's office can give you that time limit, she says.

HARD INQUIRIES Your credit report will tell you who else has been viewing your credit report. Called "inquiries" in credit-speak, they come in two kinds. Hard inquiries are when you have actually requested new credit -- filled out an application, signed paperwork, etc. -and asked a lender to check your history. When you get a hard inquiry, your credit can take a small dip. Hard inquires could affect your score for one year, but you'll see them on your report for two years. Soft inquiries are what credit bureaus put on your report when someone reviews your credit file but you haven't asked for new credit. If you pull your own credit report, that's a soft inquiry. You'll also see one if a prospective lender pulls your credit for marketing purposes. Soft inquiries don't affect your score. Hard inquiries are "such a small part of your credit score," says Kelly Rogers, chief development officer for the nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County, Calif., and adjunct faculty at Chapman University. "But it's such a great way to see if anyone's been using your information."

Separate from that time limit, the item can stay on your credit report for seven years. The longer it's been on your report, the less it affects your score.

ACTIVE ACCOUNTS YOU CLOSED –OR NEVER OPENED You closed a store card after you moved. Or you finally got around to asking your daughter to close the card account you co-signed for when she was in college. The next time you pull your credit report, if enough time has elapsed, it should show that those accounts are closed, says Dosher. Glancing at your credit report "is a way to verify that you have closed them and the dates are correct," she says. If what should be a closed account your credit report lists as open, that's a good time to contact the issuer and find out why. Another thing to look for is accounts you don't remember opening in the first place. Absent a mix-up, that could be an "indication of identity theft," says Dosher.

Source: www.bankrate.com

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BELGIUM’S RESIDENT DJ

BABYBANG had a massive club hit in Europe called "F*cking Your Girl," and toured and opened for artists such as Foxy Brown, KC & JoJo, Mc Lyte, Missy, Busta Rhymes and others. Back then Babybang was more a writer and artist producer than a DJ. He later created a partnership with DJ Sake who was and still is running some of the hottest clubs in Europe. DJ Sake offered Babybang some dates as a host and so he started doing weekly gigs at Club Mondial alongside DJ Uneak as his official MC. Seeing DJ Uneak play the records, Babybang was reminded of his first love, spinning records. That realization prompted him to begin mixing the last 30 minutes of their set each night to hone his craft. For the next two years he bought records to get his collection together. This was pre Serrato and the internet. He started the Duttyroom concept at the Mondial in 2002 and played mostly reggae and dancehall. Considered as one of Europe’s hottest dancehall DJs, he has the complete package. Besides dancehall, he is also highly requested at Urban nights where he plays mostly Hip Hop and R&B. Busier than ever, he recently completed touring as a DJ and manages 'Doctor Beats By Shantell “Shanz” Hill International,' a production house that released their first record in early 2013. The single and video release Born Dave Gordon Masumbuko, the son of an African entitled, 'Bubble' has a remarkably unassuming lyrical refugee and European mother, BABYBANG, a nickname structure however the beat is quite catchy and unforhe earned because he was the youngest one in the gettable. He is set to release a remix of ’Bubble’ later click with the biggest mouth, is a vicious DJ. this year with Jamaican artist, Leftside, as a featured guest. His love affair with music began when his older brother brought home a stack of vinyls and when he went out To keep up with Babybang, follow him on twitter to work Babybang would accompany him so he could (@babybang) or visit his website, mess around with his turntables. Back then it was hiphop, funk soul, dancehall and reggae that tugged at his heart strings. One day his brother entered him in a rap competition, and while he had never rapped or written a song before, he pushed passed his uncertainty to give it a shot. The end result, he place third in the competition. From that day forward, Babybang has been writing and performing at numerous hip-hop parties and clubs. As luck would have it in a chance encounter, he connected with a producer by the name of Lunaman who was the hottest beat maker and started recording songs and creating beats. They ended up getting signed by MOTOR MUSIC a sub label of UNIVERSAL MUSIC. They Issue 18 | April 2013

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NATURAL BORN CLUB KILLER,

DJ KEVIN CROW By Stacey Bethel Photos by Craigvisions & Styled by Nickole Woodz

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n the simplest terms, a DJ is a person who selects and plays recorded music for an audience. And while its definition is straight to the point the task in and of itself is far from being to the point. The skill required to keep an audience entertained for upwards of three hours is no easy feat. Add to the equation the ever evolving party central that is New York City and you have entered a world in which you must be a cut above the rest to stay in the game and roll with the big boys.


,

WN

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E

nters New York DJ, Kevin Crown. A radio and club DJ, Kevin’s natural ability, coupled with his respect for his craft, his determination, discipline and passion, makes him a fierce contender. His reputation makes him one of New York’s most sought after DJs. That reputation has landed him gigs at some of the most herald nightclubs in Miami, LA, Atlanta and the Caribbean to name a few. To experience a Kevin Crown set, is to be musically transported to a place of euphoric proportions and that’s because he is not just a DJ, he is a performer in every sense of the word. His one man act – which typically involves audience participation - is what makes him great at what he does. But how did this greatness come to fruition and when was it realized? The how - playing with his father’s turntable and when – at age 12. “Growing up in Brownsville my Mom did not allow me to play in the neighborhood park for obvious reasons. So to occupy my time, I would spend many days and nights in my mother’s basement just me and the turntables. I would mix all night – I just couldn’t get enough of playing and listening to music. I was so hooked that I no longer cared about playing outside.” And though at 12 years old he loved music, Kevin had no inclination that it would later become his passion – a passion that would dub him New York’s Natural Born Club Killer.

so vast. I have a great appreciation for the music. How did you get started in music? My story is probably typical for a lot of boys who grew up in my neighborhood. My parents were a little strict, so they didn’t allow me to go outside and hang out. I had to find something to do with my time, which was playing on my father’s old turntables. As I grew, my passion for the music grew, before you know it I fell in love with music, playing music, watching people enjoy music while I play. Who is currently your favorite reggae artist – lyrically and performance wise? Good question and it’s hard to narrow it down to one. One artist that does get me excited lyrically is Junior Gong. Performance wise I will go with Capleton and Bounty Killer for dancehall especially in the particular error I grew up. Also Konshens because I saw him emerge from a local reggae artist to a reggae superstar. At the end of the day, I’ve met and encountered every relevant reggae artist, and all of them play a part and I appreciate all of them. You have interviewed a slew of artists. Who was your favorite and why? You are setting me up, (smile). I really don’t have a favorite, they are all memorable. You currently play on LinkUp radio, how has this relationship help mold your career? Being on LinkUp has really given me a platform to showcase my talent. A lot of people who have never heard me play before had the opportunity to hear me play on l LinkUp.

Has being on the radio opened a lot of doors for you? I would say it definitely has. I have gotten to meet a lot of reggae artist and had the opportunity to interview them as well. Growing up I never really realized that a radio DJ or broadcaster was something I would be doing in my life. Being on the radio really gave me a true appreciation for what I do. I had a caller tell me she wasn’t able to get out of her car until I stopped playing, and that’s what I love. I love to make people get lost in a moment, forget about what was on their What island are you originally from? mind and escape to another place. The place in My parents are from Grenada, but I was actually born which I take them and I can take them anywhere here. I am from the island of Brooklyn J they want to go with music. Why reggae? This is the misconception that a lot of people have, I am Caribbean and I am a DJ, but I wouldn’t classify myself as a reggae DJ. I am very diverse in music. A better question will be why I like reggae, and that is because reggae has a lot of different genre within itself. A lot of music I feel is borrowed from reggae. You have reggae that sound like pop, country, R&B, calypso etc. It is hard not to like reggae because it’s

Do you think DJs who have a radio gig have a better chance at bookings, visibility and clout than DJs who don’t have a radio gig? Of course they have a better chance because you are on the radio. At any given time on the radio you have millions of listeners, so of course promoters want to book radio DJs first because of the listenership and the followers that a radio DJ has.


“I am a DJ, but I wouldn’t classify myself as a reggae DJ. I am very diverse in music.”

What’s the difference between the club Kevin Crown Have you ever played at a party and felt disappoined and Radio Kevin Crown? with your performance? Yes absolutely I am my worst critic. If you are passionJust like you have radio friendly songs not so radio ate about what you do then you will always be disapfriendly songs. The radio is full of energy, but it’s the pointed. I feel I can always do better. radio so it’s so far you can go when playing on the radio. You can’t say certain things as well on the ra- What are the ups and downs of this business? dio. In the club you can say what you mean and what It is very saturated and there is a lot of competition. It you want. I can invite people into my act and make is a cut throat business, very cliquey so you have to them do just about anything. It’s a powerful thing to create your own clique to survive hence the birth of be able to do that. That’s my enjoyment, just watch- NBCK, my clique. It is not something that happens ing people enjoy themselves. overnight. It definitely gets better with time. Give examples of some of the “things” that you make people do in the club? I have videos on World Star Hip Hop. Lol I have the best fans ever! There is this 80 year old man who loves to come to my parties and dance with these young girls and keep up. You have to see it. He really hangs on and out dances all the women that come on stage. Also I have seen girls strip down to their underwear in the club. I’ve gotten like 6 girls to fit in a cage that only holds 2. All I do is just set the platform for people to do whatever they want. Go for it, do your thing. I’m just here to play the right thing. Lol, I have actually been a witness to the cage shenanigans! Lololol, yea you should. You have seen me play a few times.

They say you are also a DJ trendsetter, how would you class your style? I would definitely say my style comes off my own inspiration, I consider the way I dress, wear my hair, play music as all part of my style. I don’t study anyone else and what they are doing. I take it has flattery when I see a DJ doing something similar to what I have done. I never really set out to influence anyone I just put on what I feel I look good in. My stylist Nikole actually branded the look as “Urban Rockstar.” I think that sums it up pretty well. They recently nickname you “the show”, how did you get that name? I am not a DJ that like to DJ short periods of time, when I play it’s compared more to a concert not a party. I don’t consider myself just a DJ, I consider myIssue 18 | April 2013

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self a performer that holds the mic, but unlike other per- could pay for it on my own. There has always been a formers my instrument is the turntable. Triple the threat, deep interest in martial arts ever since I could rememTriple the Focus!! ber. I love it. What are some of the things that you are currently working on to brand “Kevin Crown?” My website www.kevincrownmusic.com is getting a much needed make over. I am also in the middle of expanding my NBCK T-shirt line which the new site will have the first online store. One of the biggest things I did this year was secure a manager who is helping me to take my brand to the next level. I have a mixtape is in the works as we speak and the only way to get it first is on my site. I am also being honored at the Young Black & Gifted Entrepreneurial Awards for DJ of the Year in June.

Do you apply the same discipline from Martial Arts to your music career? Yes, I do. Anybody can put on a Karate uniform, but it’s their performance that really makes them stand out. DJing is the same way. Anyone can play music and call themselves a DJ. After five minutes you can tell the caliber of DJ they are. I am dedicated so I practice martial arts 5 days a week. Same thing with my music, I stay trying to perfect it. I am such a perfectionist when it comes to playing right, getting it right, making the crowd hype, that I do take the time to perfect it. I get that from martial arts.

BUT! the major major news that she gave me the ok to talk about is that Kevin Crown, YES ME is partnering with one of the biggest band on the parkway for labor day SESAME FLYERS!!! It is going to be big! I have my own section and in the process of designing costumes right now… The look is outrageous!! We are entering the parkway in a major way. From start to finish NBCK will be bringing the heat! Sort of like how Beyonce lights out at the Superbowl.. lol.

What do you do on your “me” time? I am a movie buff. Anybody who really knows Kevin Crown knows I love to laugh. My “me” time is just that, I work out and I actually enjoy it. I spend a lot of time with my daughter. I really enjoy hanging with my NBCK crew when I get the opportunity also.

That’s pretty major! Congratulations Thanks. It is and I am really excited.

Is Kevin Crown single, married or in a relationship? Here you go setting me up again (smile). Let’s say this Kevin Crown love the ladies….

How do you balance work and your private life? I don’t. LOL…It’s an ongoing struggle and sometimes it doesn’t get balanced very well. Still a work in progress.

You currently hold a black belt in Martial Arts. How did that all began? Where do you see yourself in five years? I was always interested in taking martial arts. But I didn’t I rule the world J! Seriously, I definitely see myself doing start until HS because my parents just couldn’t afford to everything I am doing now just on a larger scale. pay for me, so I furthered it when I started working and


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10 AMAZING BEAUTY BUYS UNDER $10 By Christene Carr Yes to Grapefruit Facial Cleansing Wipes Formulated with the Vitamin C found in Grapefruit, Yes To Grapefruit Brightening Towelettes naturally exfoliates your skin, cleansing it and ridding it of impurities. They are perfect for cleansing on-the-go and if you keep a pack by your bedside, you never have to sleep in your makeup again. The wipes leave face fresh and clean without drying out the skin's natural moisture. Yes to Grapefruit Facial Cleansing Wipes are made with compostable, natural cloth, FSC fabric. http:// www.yestocarrots.com $5.99

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Jergens Natural Glow + Firming Daily Moisturizer

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L’Oreal True Match SuperBlendable Crayon Concealer Stick True Match Super-Blendable Crayon Concealer stick is convenient and offers full coverage of small spots to large areas of imperfections. The concealer is formulated with high levels of liquid and soft waxes making it creamy, light weight and blend-able, while silicone elastomers and lightdiffusing pigments keep the product from looking cakey on skin. Available in 6 natural shades. http://www.lorealparisusa.com $8.95

NYX Butter Gloss At under $5 a pop this ultramoisturizing lip gloss makes lips butter soft with just a hint of sweetness. Get sheer to medium coverage on your lips without the stickiness. Available in 12 lip biting shades. http:// www.nyxcosmetics.com $5.00


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By Stacey Bethel Photo Credit Barbara Nitke

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amed designer to watch by both Essence and Ebony magazines, twenty eight year old fashion designer Samantha Black is making the entire Caribbean populous proud as she wows viewers on the 11th season of Project Runway. Hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum, the hit series provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eyes of mentor Tim Gunn and judges Nina Garcia and Zac Posen. Samantha, the oldest of three children and the first of her family to graduate from College, is inspired by her West Indian culture along with her favorite designers Alexander McQueen and Balmain. That inspiration is evident in her use of bold colors and prints and the use of unconventional components to make her garments. Busier than ever, Samantha took some time to chat with us about her experience on Project Runway, her life on the go and projects in the pipelines.


What sparked your passion/love for design?

I don’t ever try to mirror or draw inspiration from designers because you can lose your vision. For inI’ve always been interested in fashion but as far as stance, Alexander McQueen did what he wanted just having personal style and buying clothes. A guy how he wanted and made them love him for that. who gave me personal art lessons suggested I look into fashion design. As it would be the perfect mash Where you born and raised in Jamaica? And if so, where? up of all the things I love. What are some of the challenges that you have No actually I was not born in Jamaica. I was born in faced along the way? the States but I am of Jamaica parentage. Most my challenges have been financial problems, How has the Jamaican culture influenced your debecause I don’t have any backers or investors. It’s signs? been extremely hard to do normal business functions. Tremendously! Growing up I was exposed to the Jamaican culture and taking risk with clothing was the Describe your design aesthetic? norm. Bright colors and patterns that stood out were applauded so naturally when I started designing, I My aesthetic is feminine with an eclectic edge. wanted to make clothing that stood out on the rack and when worn. Clothing so fresh even if it’s not your Which famous designer(s) does your designs mirror personal taste, you respect it for being great. or draw inspiration from?

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Where do you draw inspiration to design a piece or a full line? I draw inspiration from art, culture, NYC streets, color and details every season. I think of the silhouette I want to work with and how it applies to 'my' girl as well as what I want to stand for that season. Which celebrities have worn your designs? I have been fortunate to have a good amount of celebs wear my clothing. Keri Hilson, Wynter Gordon, Ashanti, Kelis, Eva Marcielle, Teyanna Taylor, Angela Simmons, Dawn Richard, Trina, La La Anthony, and a few others! List 5 celebrities you would like to see in your designs? Rihanna, Nicole Richie, Olson Twins, Michelle Obama and Beyonce What garment is the most difficult for you to construct and why? Clothing that needs serious inside boning to give construction. Because it takes a long time and I feel you need a natural skill to have patience to do it really nicely. What are your favorite fabrics to work with? Neoprene, silk organza, and leather

What has it been like to have Heidi, Nina and celebrities judge your designs?

How did becoming a contestant on Project Runway come about? Very hard - sometimes you don’t agree but you don’t want to be rude and you want to express I’ve been interested in the show since its start. I yourself and your opinion. On the other hand it’s tried out many times and was a finalist twice. I was- great to get feedback from people who have exn’t going to try out again but my brother and room- perienced the best of the best clothing and designmate convinced me to and boom I made it to the ers. final cast!! What is the best compliment you have ever been What has the experience been like? given about your designs? Crazy rollercoaster - one of the hardest things I’ve That my clothing fits the female body amazingly done as a designer. A learning experience and and that items I’ve designed are very original and one that I’m happy I did. appealing. What do you hope the exposure will do for your ca- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? reer? I see myself running my brand of clothing that has I am hoping when it’s all said and done, I have a worldwide visibility and placement. An overall rewhole new market of interested consumers who spected Brand. care about my line and are clients.


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WHERE DRIVE, VISION AND CREATIVITY MEET!

THE POWERHOUSE THAT IS

RD STUDIOS By Jody Ann Williams

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” ― Osho.

accolade without also crediting his team who are equally dedicated. In setting the bar so high, how will Ruption and his team at RDStudios continue to make their current projects better than the last? Let Ruption “the boss” tell you.

Rogen Walker, better known as “Ruption” has taken over the dancehall/reggae scene in Kingston, Jamaica with a vision that is uniquely his. Co-owner of RDStudios, Ruption has become the go-to for music videos, graphics, commercials, EPKs – everything to make an artist and/or company’s brand appealing and groundbreaking. Virtually an overnight sensation, creating and designing are the second involuntary acts for this powerhouse, breathing being the first of course.

Who is Ruption?

Having worked with artists such as Konshens, Delus, Tifa, Denyque, Cecile, Beenie Man and provided creative services to corporate business, events and international entertainers, his creativity and dedication has allowed him to establish a brand that is known for executing top quality work. Thinking outside the box is a signature that lends to the creative methods that are often than not very unorthodox. It’s the elixr – that magic potion - that keeps him in high demand.

Part Owner of RDStudios where I'm also a Video Director, Editor and Graphic Artist

A big kid with big dreams and a creative mind Where are you from? City of Kingston, Jamaica What is it that you do?

How did you acquire such skills? Practice, Practice, Practice and remained focus on getting better after each project Who/what inspires you?

Added to his immense talent is his humility, a trait that My RDStudios Team never escapes him. Far be it from him to accept an


What inspired you to start RDStudios?

What’s next for RDStudios?

After doing a long stint at a prominent Advertising Agency in Jamaica, I began doing some Production on the side and gathered some resources. The side jobs slowly started to take off and I loved the feeling of creatively being in charge of my own productions. I developed a good friendship with Jermaine Wellington who also worked at the agency and we both had dreams of officially opening our own production company so we just decided to become business partners.

New equipment, new and better productions. Who knows...possibly a movie? Sky is limit Any recommendations for persons interested in pursuing a career in these two fields? If you love it, have a natural skill set for it and think you can positively contribute to Jamaica's growing creative industry then do it!

Video production/graphic designing requires a lot of creativity, what’s different about your team’s work? Each member has a certain style that complements the other members and we try to not be too influenced by what's happening with the competition. What do you consider to be the most rewarding task that you have had to work on so far? Most rewarding task so far was more of a rewarding experience and that was traveling to Uganda, Africa to shoot a Konshens' concert with 30,000 Ugandans in attendance. What do you consider to be the most challenging task that you have had to work on so far? This is too hard to choose, Lol. But it’s definitely something corporate, a commercial. What other aspects of video production is RDStudios involved in? We do 3D Animation, TV Shows, TV Commercials, and EPKs. Basically anything that involves a camera and creating art. Who have you worked with, in terms of major clients or events? Flow Jamaica, Burger King, J Wray and Nephew, Gillette, ATL Honda, Coca Cola, Big Cups, ATI Weekend In terms of music video directing, whose projects have you worked on? Beenie Man, Konshens, I Octane, Chris Martin, Tifa and Cecile, to name a few Both aspects of your work seem to be very time consuming, how do you balance it with your social life? The industry I'm in is like a social entity within itself so I'm really not missing out lol. However I do try my best to balance all aspects of my life, mainly my son

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Spring into the season with Bright, Vibrant pieces!

Photographer: Marc Evans, marcevansimages.com Make-up: Angelie Martin-Spencer Stylist: Arlene L. Martin Clothing: drennaLUNA, drennaLUNA.com

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It’s officially Spring! Although temperatures are lower than expected at this time of year in some places, and we may not all be feeling the warmer temperatures that come with the season, we still wanted to excite you with the bright colors the season may bring. And to bring extra life we decided to head to the Zoo – Kingston’s Hope Zoo. The zoo welcomed us for this shoot with access to the property and special access to feed the birds as well. We enjoyed the experience and hope it will inspire you to do fun things this Spring while looking stylish of course!

Previous Page: Scoop-back mini. This dress with its deep scoop back was shot with our model looking at the flamingoes – we couldn’t resist matching up the colors. And when the resident peacock paid a visit, we had to include it as well. A cool dress for daytime outings this Spring or Summer. This dress is from the limited West Indies Sea Island Cotton mini-collection. This Page: Top and Shorts. For those days of just lounging, as the model did by the Zoo’s bar, this cool rayon knit top and stretch denim shorts are just what you need. PreSummer looks sneak peak.


On-Wings chiffon dress: With the opportunity to shoot among the birds, we simply had to go with our On-Wings collection. The bright yellow of the soft chiffon was perfect for this shoot.

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Print trousers and green On-Wings chiffon top. One-of-a-kind prints for Spring a the wardrobe. We paired these trousers with a green chiffon top from the 2013 tion – On-Wings which was inspired by Jamaica’s indigenous birds.


are great for 3SS Collec-

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SEVEN POP-CULTURE WOMEN YOU DIDN’T KNOW HAD CARIBBEAN ROOTS By Raine Martin| Photo Credit: IMDb Caribbean girls rock! Those small set of islands, reefs, and cays just off the southeastern coast of North America have given birth to two of the world’s biggest contemporary pop stars – Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of Caribbean and Caribbean-American women that have made a dent in pop-culture. In fact, here are just seven contemporary pop-culture female phenomena that you had no idea had Caribbean roots: Gwyneth Paltrow: Academy-award winning actress and singer Gwyneth Paltrow can trace her maternal roots to Barbados. While digging into her family ancestry, Paltrow learned that her mother, Emmy and Tony award winning actress Blythe Danner, had a great grandmother that was born in the land of flying fish. Paltrow is one of the most celebrated stars of Hollywood who has starred in more than 30 films, including Shakespeare in

La La Anthony: Television personality, radio disc jock, and actress Alani ‘La La’ Vasquez Anthony was born in Brooklyn to Nuyorican New York/Puerto Rican – parents. She first gained notoriety as the host of Total Request Live on MTV. Her acting credits include Two Can Play That Game, You Got Served, and most recently, Think Like a Man. She now is the star of her own VH1 reality show, La La’s Full Court

Zoe Saldana: New Jersey-born actress Zoe Saldana has paternal roots in the Dominican Republic and maternal ones in Puerto Rico. Known for her roles in the 2009 Star Trek film, Avatar and Columbiana, Saldana was recently tapped to portray legendary singer Nina Simone in an upcoming silver screen biopic.

Cameron Diaz: The daughter of Cuban-American oil worker, Diaz has made her mark on Hollywood with starring roles in There’s Something About Mary and the film version of Charlie’s Angels. In 2010, Forbes Magazine ranked Diaz as the richest Hispanic Female Celebrity.

Kerry Washington: Best known for her role as Olivia Pope on the political thriller television series Scandal, and her roles in Academynominated film Django Unchained, The Last King of Scotland, and Ray, Kerry Washington hails from the Bronx by her Jamaican mother and African-American father. In a 2010 interview with USA Today, Professor Valerie, Washington maintained that Jamaican fruitcake was her baking specialty.

Mel B: Melanie Brown, best known as Scary Spice from the groundbreaking British teen pop group the Spice Girls, is of Nevisian decent. In the 90s, the Spice Girls sold more than 80 million albums worldwide, making them the best-selling female group of all time, and the most successful British band since the Beatles. Since then, Mel B. has had a successful career as a solo singer and television personality.

Rosario Dawson: Puerto Rican/AfroCuban actress Rosario Dawson was discovered as a teenager sitting on her porch in New York City by the makers of the controversial 1995 film Kids. Since then she’s starred in dozens of films including Men in Black II, Sin City, Rent, and Seven Pounds.

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Where Is The Soca? By Jo Wheeler

And let me be clear, I am not saying that I am against these genres of music or any others for that matter. No, Once carnival wraps in Trinidad & Tobago, it’s almost like not at all. Quite the contrary. Soca music never existed – at least until they begin gearing up for the next year’s celebration. But for those first In this day and age technology has opened up an ensix months or so, radio stations and parties are saturated tirely different world of music. Now very few people listen with Reggae, HipHop, and Pop music. And as someone to only one sound. Everybody under the age of fifty is a who followed the sweet sounds of Soca to its roots in T&T, product of HipHop is some way anyway. And a danceI have never quite adjusted to hall with the wickedest selector that. does wonders for the soul. We are all entitled to like what we like. Do Come Ash Wednesday, the shift is ‘you’ as they say. so drastic that it almost incomprehensible. We go from Soca playBut it just doesn’t make sense that ing on almost every radio station, the mother of Carnival, the creablasting from sound systems on tor of Calypso Music, the home of every corner, and fete after fete Soca, still subscribes to a doctrine after fete of pure whining frenzy, that its home grown music is an to having to search the dial for a offense to the cleansing period, single tune. For a true Soca junkie yet allow the powers that be to it’s a major shock to the system flood the airwaves with music from and I must say just downright deabroad whose content is just as pressing. much, if not more taboo during this ‘time of repentance.’ You Now don’t misunderstand, I’m can’t reprimand one without repriaware of the cultural history and manding the other. Plus, if based the concept that the Lenten seaon lyrical content alone, the decison has begun so things of such sion would definitely weight in madness are now taboo. But in Soca’s favor. this new millennium, that theory no longer applies. Mostly because Soca is centered around the very the country ceases to play Soca, principle of festival: Freeing up but Gansta HipHop artists like Lil’ yourself enough to have a good Wayne, Rick Ross, and the now time. Ok, somebody will drink too popular Trinidad James (ironic much and a few people will probain’t it?), and Dancehall artists ably dance in a sexually suggessuch as Vybz Kartel, Mr. Vegas tive manner. But there’s far worse and Konshens dominate the airsaid within the music that replaces waves. If it’s time to order our it until next year. Plus it’s your musteps and stop the whining, then sic! There should be no stopping it, how can we be allowed to bubno matter what time of year. Soble? If we can no longer hear ca is the heart beat, baby. Let it songs about drinking rum and pump. chippin’ til sun up, why must I be bombarded with songs about whose ‘pum pum tun up?’ Now THAT is madness. Trinidad & Tobago, please realize you’re standing in the Think about it. way of your own progress, because if you don’t know that Soca is broad enough to pump all year long, then Most Soca songs have the same few topics: Liming, drink- who will? As for me, I guess all I can do is follow the beat ing, jumping, waving, and wining. That’s it - all ingredi- of the drum. And it’s on to the other Carnivals around ents for a good time. Nobody is talking about bussin’ a the world to get my Soca fix. Or maybe just live in Brookshot, disrespecting women by calling them “Bitches” and lyn. Either way, like Spike Lee once said “She’s Gotta “Hoes”, just flat out describing sexual encounters or wast- Have It”. In fact, leh weh do both. Jamaica Bacchanal, ing hard earned money on frivolous things – well ok, I here I come! guess rum could be considered frivolous, but the price of a bottle of rum cannot make it rain in the club. Ya dig? Issue 18 | April 2013 37


CARIBBEAN DIGITAL DIVAS On March 20, 2013, Caribbean Digital Divas was launched by Mikelah Rose, creator of Style & Vibes, in honor of Women’s History Month. The “no holds barred” forum attended by Caribbean media specialists in New York City was co-sponsored by Triple The Focus E-Magazine and the National Minority Business Council (NMBC Inc.). With special guest Pat McKay, Music Director of Sirius XM Satellite Radio, the event’s discussions focused on online digital advancements primarily the way we communicate with each other, how we consume and distribute content. Additionally careful attention was paid to the cultivation of digital downloads, interactive websites, e-magazines, live streams, blogs and social media and the substantial shift in entertainment consumption. Those in attendance spoke about how

the Digital era has helped and/or hindered their field of expertise. About why this forum was so essential, Mikelah Rose remarks, “With so many great Caribbean media outlets owned and/or operated by female Caribbean taste-makers, I thought it would be a great idea to get a few of us together to discuss how digital has changed Caribbean culture and how we can use new advancements to positively affect the culture throughout the Caribbean and the diaspora. My goal is to foster a great network of Caribbean Women in an industry where men dominate; digital has contributed to pushing us to the forefront of being ambassadors of the culture. Rather than wait for our male counterparts to recognize our contributions it's time we recognize ourselves!”


QUOTES “Digital has given us a greater responsibility to watch what we put out there for people to see. Good or bad, once it’s out there it’s out and it can affect how people view you and your business.” Pat McKay "As Caribbean people we need to set higher standards for ourselves and the way we present ourselves to others." Rosalind McLymont, Editor in Chief of Network Journal Business Magazine "I chose what I put out there about my people. I don't share negative stories about my people." Blondie, Editor in Chief of Billionaire Entertainment Magazine "Sometimes we need to pick up a phone and have a conversation, not just text and e-mail.” Tanya McDuffy “As a designer, internet advancements have helped me tremendously - I had someone contact me about my pieces from Curacao and Africa. I’ve worked with a lot of people whom I have never met face to face, but we have great working relationships.” Keishel Williams of Jlieshek and Highbrid Magazine

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Creative Director’s Note SUMMER’S ALARM ‘SPRING’ Since the first day of Spring – March 20th – temperature, though still unseasonable cold, has been tolerable. The average 40 degree temperatures is just enough to let us know that Spring is on the horizon and we in North America are anxiously awaiting the return of warmer temps. Though we are not quite experiencing the full spring climate, we are forging ahead in heating up the pages of the magazine. Spring is at its height in Triple the Focus land and boy are we glad. The current climate of the magazine is quite steamy as we embark on an exciting partnership with luxury lifestyle publication, Uptown Magazine. This is a great opportunity for us to further the vision of Triple The Focus as it affords us an extensive platform to present Caribbean content. From one announcement to another - for the first time we have a DJ on the cover of the magazine. Keeping in mind the overall goal of the magazine, we are extremely happy to present to our readers, New York’ own, DJ KEVIN CROWN. Kevin is the ideal choice for this month’s cover because like Triple the Focus, he has a tremendous amount of passion for what he does. Our features continue with glam-fashions from drennaLUNA, understanding the importance of financial freedom with our MONEY MATTERS feature and SOJOURN: SUN, SAND AND SEA, which reveals the wonderful destinations the Caribbean has to offer. Our features, described by some of our readers as “Innovative, stylish and trend setting,” continue to be a source of inspiration. We are proud that this month’s DJ’s, ARTIST and project runway designer SAMANTHA BLACK is a continuum of our goal. In diversifying our features, we offer the unique prospective of articles presented by our writers Raine Martin and Jo Wheeler through thought provoking articles that are both relatable and educational. We hope you enjoy this issue and that it continues to give you a glimpse into Caribbean lifestyle. Please continue to share your thoughts with me through email at creativedirector@triplethefocus.com. I look forward to your continued support. Until next month “T-Focus and think Creative”

Vic Rae Your Creative Director

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Triple the Focus April 2013 Issue