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Address: 2424-112A North Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28205 Âˇ Phone (704) 377-8989 Website http://www.redat28th.com http://www.twitter.com/ RedAt28th Hours Mon: 6:00 pm -2:00 am Tues - Sat: 12:00 pm -2:00 am Sun: 6:00 pmâ€”2:00 am
Red@28th hosts a wine bar, spacious seating, an outdoor patio, live entertainment and new & used books. Specialized books include cultural studies, top sellers, alternative lifestyle, classics, activism, politics, New Age, Religious, African American history and African American children books. Red@28th offers a welcoming environment with vintage and traditional furniture. Free parking and free Wi Fi is also available for customers. Red@28th has a smaller space which hosts Hub Hookah Lounge and is available for small engagements including seminars, corporate meetings and book clubs. Red@28th hosts regular events, including booksignings, storytelling, relationship forums, the "Change Series," and much much more.
The Good Life…….. Good Eats Lulu’s Restaurant Review By Keysha J Hall
I have had a love affair with food (eating as well as preparing it) ever since I was a child. Spending years living in New York and traveling, I have developed quite a discriminating palate. When I go to a restaurant, I’m looking at more than mere items on the menu; I’m looking for a dining experience! I found that and so much more at Lulu’s; the first restaurant I’ve visited since moving to North Carolina. Inside there’s a full bar with indoor seating and a very inviting décor. I sat outdoors at a table with an umbrella to enjoy al fresco dining on a hot summer evening. The friendly waitress provided historical information about the establishment, and then proceeded to share the specials and make recommendations. I settled on a Mimosa Salad with chicken, which was scrumptious. The fried brie croutons were to die for because they provided an explosion of flavor in your mouth. The chicken was seasoned and tender, the salad greens were fresh and the champagne vinaigrette was truly addictive. The cool breeze gently caressed my face as I savored each bite, trying to make it last a little longer. I was in heaven not only from the delicious food, but the fantastic plate presentation and impeccable service. Just as I was about to ask for the check, the waitress asked if I saved room for dessert.
I offered a surprised look because the menu didn’t have desserts so I figured they didn’t have any, but they are made to order fresh daily and change according to the pastry chef’s fancy. Although I was stuffed, I literally melted when she said those magic words “chocolate mousse”. After one bite, I wanted to devour the savory treat, which was expertly plated with shaved white chocolate and a decadent raspberry sauce in swirls.
I had a phenomenal dining experience at an affordable price, which is hard to find these days. Lulu’s has a menu chocked full of variety enabling true carnivores and vegetarians to co-exist at this fine establishment. With an impeccable wine list, lunch and dinner menu and on-site parking, this truly is a place for singles, couples and families to create lasting memories.
To reserve a table (walk-ins are welcomed) call 704-376-2242 www.luludinewine.com 1911 Central Avenue Charlotte, NC 28205
The Good Life Exotique, Fabrics and Gifts of Durham
By Keysha J Hall
On my first visit to Durham I was taken to Exotique; a cultural and artistic delight filled with aromatic scents and wonderful gifts. The store was opened in 2006 by co-owners Lola and Yuma, who are world travelers. They bring back items from their travels to sell in the store, much to the delight of customers. Whether it’s clothing (from regular to plus sized for men, women and children), oils, soaps, shea butter, hats, handbags, accessories, gifts, jewelry, music, fabrics, etc., all are reasonably priced and exquisitely packaged. A staunch supporter of the arts, the store has a gallery featuring work from local artists, such as Derrick “Benetez” Bryant, Edie Cohn, Bill Pearson, and Jonas Fasco. Upon entering the establishment, you are hit with a feast for the senses. Whether it’s the calming aromatherapy, rhythmic music playing, or the art, crystal, clothes and accessories on display, you feel as if you’ve far removed from the stress of life. The friendly staff provides excellent customer service and is happy to help you. The store truly has something for everyone, and is conveniently located in downtown Durham. Whether you’re looking for a special gift for your beloved, or want to treat yourself, Exotique is sure to provide that one of a kind delight that you will not find anywhere else. Whatever your pleasure, you are in for a treat while shopping at Exotique!
www.theexotique.com 319 West Main Street Durham, NC 27701 919-688-5747
“I’m Just Sayin” point or another so let’s stop instilling the impossible into our babies and teach them to look for something real… something of substance… something of actual relevance and benefit to them in this life. Because love is fleeting and if you don’t have something greater to work for, a purpose for your effort that extends past temporal feelings, you’ll quit. Our divorce rate is direct evidence of this and no matter your personal opinion or hopeful optimism; you have to admit there’s substance to the argument. Or maybe I’m wrong… and enough people are still out there who want to get it right and are willing to do what it takes to find it. Maybe… although if I’m honest, I have to say I doubt it. Because staying together is about more than communication. Hell, you can talk each other to death. Love, while it would be nice to have, is a choice and you are most likely going to not “feel” like choosing their ass at one point or another.
By Dani the Poet Maybe the other countries, older cultures got it right and we are completely off the mark. Could it be that our dissatisfaction, continued disappointment is actually of our own doing? Have we set ourselves up for failure when it comes to the one thing that seems to be most important to us as human beings: relationships? I’m beginning to think that the practice of arranged marriages may have some validity. Now, I know to some that will sound odd, slightly funny, but I want you to take a moment and really think about it. Whether it was due to tradition, culture, or the time period of its practice, arranged marriages worked. I can hear some of you saying, “yeah, but they were miserable”. And I would ask, so what’s different in 60% of the existing marriages today where we choose our mates? Hell, we don’t seem to be any better at picking what’s going to make us happy and ensure longevity, so why not at least guarantee financial security and bloodline strength… I’m just asking. In this day and age where we’re trying to figure out the recipe… the secret sauce to happily ever after, maybe we should take a look at the unions of our forefathers and start there. They had a strategy. It may not have been full of fairytales and blissful stories, but there was a method to their madness. They had the success of their families in mind. Something that I would say we have lost sight of…and I wonder if this isn’t a viable option to attempt in an effort to restore some of what we had. Prince Charming does not exist and I’m sure the evil stepsisters thought Cinderella was a bitch at some
Which leads to the next point: monogamy Do you really believe that two people can exist together for an extended period of time surrounded by temptation if not daily, bi-monthly at the least, and not fall short? I mean, really??? At some time, one of you is going to slip. Maybe it will be an emotional, nonphysical adulterous relationship, but whatever it is, I promise it’s going to happen. (By the way, I think emotional adultery is far more destructive than physical.) But anyway… this brings me back around to that whole arranged marriage thing. Because if you didn’t marry them for love, when they break those vows, it doesn’t hurt as much and because of the foundation of the relationship, they are still taking care of home – so, you’re still getting some benefit…. Again, I’m just making a point. I know that I’m taking the romance out of it… ruining the fantasy we’ve been taught to believe in and spent most of our lives chasing, but I’m trying to make you think. Give this thing a little consideration and tell me your opinion. I’m not saying this would be what I want… but given the state of relationships today, maybe arranged marriages have some validity… I’m Just Sayin’ If you have a topic of discussion, or would like to hear more from Dani Visit her at: http://www.thisisdani.com http://www.gigsalad.com/Dani_charlotte http://wwww.danithepoet.blogspot.com http://www.twitter.com/danithepoet http://healedbuthurt.blogspot.com
For all your entertainment needs, you need to get “Krazy” DJ Krazy T!
Diamond of the Month Tawanda Blake An incredible sister with the gift or writing,, we had to feature her as our Diamond of the Month and also showcase her literary work!
thing when there is no life in your body left? If tomorrow never comes… You have a choice to change today. Will you help the one whose home is in foreclosure, can you hold the hand of the Trojan warrior who has already accepted death as his cancerous fate? Will it be that homeless person standing on the block? Whom will you selflessly assist? Can you free a lost soul from the painted picture of poverty, chaos, or even ignorance? Take pride in being the site for a child with no direction. Teach those less fortunate virtues and character; help others believe in themselves. Save the world by learning to preserve life, and stop killing each other over greed. Truthfully, a selfish mind does not intend to help anyone else. If tomorrow never comes and you are forced without warning to say goodbye, a logical question to ask yourself is; have you made an impact on someone else who has reached out to you silently in this life? If tomorrow never comes…
Did you clear your troubled conscious of what ails your soul or find peace in yourself and serenity? Make sure that you have done everything possible to make things right, because there will be no more chances when you have gone into eternity. Support, adore, and protect your family better than an ancient artifact. Be the difference If tomorrow never comes… to them in this life, while building a legacy that is concrete and even in the storms of tribulations it We as Americans should make an impression will never crack. Be the bondage that is today. Can the government come to a mutual unbreakable so that you will be the memory of agreement by lowering the debt from the ceiling and not accumulate additional bills that the politi- meek power, integrity, loyalty, and strength to endure all things. If tomorrow never comes, you cians force us to pay? Maybe we too need to be accountable and live in our justifiable means. We will have already changed today by inspiring our should breathe hope into all things; starting with younger generation that they can do and become anything. You have taught them that they now being adults, and not behave like carefree reckhave the option to be leaders, and are able to less teens, while splurging on things that we do not need. It is important that we love one another follow their dreams. with an authentic heart. Forming an alliance to Follow this author of : Through the Eyes of a child: fight for equality, and not condemn our fellow Book available online: Amazon, Barnes and man because of another’s race, ethnicities, or Nobles, Books a Million, Powells, Borders, & even a gender change, which has already torn our Outskirtspress world apart. If tomorrow does not come and we http://www.outskirtspress.com/ are only able to see the void of everlasting night, throughtheeyesofachild better known as death. How can you change any-
The New Breed The New Breed…. individuals that are making moves in music, literature, and more! Bringing us new flava, a new perspective. Check out the “New Breed!”
~ The Soul of Music
By Keysha J. Hall The beauty of music lies in its ability to heal a broken heart and bridge the gap between culture, language and socio-economic status. Douye, a Nigerian artist, is using her many talents to not only share her unique gift of song, but also to allow her listeners a glimpse inside her soul. Her sound has been compared to legendary singers Sade and Anita Baker, which is a testament to her vocal prowess, stage presence, and overall ability to put her heart into a song. She is as passionate about social causes as she is about music, realizing that achieving celebrity status isn’t just used to make money, but to pay it forward and help the community and society as well.
Urban Tymes caught up with the international beauty to discuss the art of music. UT: So Douye, how has your stay been in the US after traveling so far from Nigeria?
D: It is far from home but, so far, it has been a great experience because, it gives me opportunities to explore and broaden my horizon. UT: What do you think is the direction of Jazz and Pop music in the future?
D: Considering the depth and root of jazz, it’s a genre that will continue to evolve and transcend. Further, jazz reflects the times and presence of issues of mainstream culture. On The other hand, pop music is always going to be part of mainstream culture and, it is more of a fad than anything else. Pop
music is usually driven by the young generation of society and, it changes in sound and direction depending on the trend of the season/time. Overall, I think that jazz and pop will always relate to the happenings of our world; it all depends on how it is interpreted musically. UT: I hear that you are often compared to Sade and Anita Baker, have they influenced your style at all?
D: Very much so, I am a fan of these great artists and they continue to influence my style of music. UT: The phrase, a voice as smooth as chocolate, how did that phrase come about and why? D: The idea of chocolate been used to describe my sound has to do with my smooth rich sound and delivery; just like the texture of a melting chocolate. My team and I came up with the idea of incorporating chocolate as part
of my brand. One of the things we will be doing with the chocolate idea is to create a blog in a form of a chocolate forest ( our chocolate factory) that will be administered by choco –bites (Douye’s choco-crew) and, their main job is to create Choco-paddies in various flavors. The chocolate forest will be a forum for my fans to interact, participate in trivia’s, get involve in my world as well as win incentives; The chocolate forest will also be connected to social media such as FB, Twitter etc, to broaden my fan base. UT: In your opinion, is European culture more respectful of jazz, classical and Opera than here in the US?
D: In my opinion, I would say that given the European cultural background and, the high interest for arts, it can easily be perceived that Europeans appreciates fine music as jazz, classical music and
opera more so than America. In Europe, art is viewed as part of the culture and art/social movement of society which makes it part of their way of living. On the other hand, In general, America appreciates jazz, opera and classical music but, the American culture tend to be mostly driven by mainstream music and pop culture and latest trends……. More like into the new flavor of the day.
UT: What advice would you give to new artists? D: Stay true to your art. Be aware of the time and changes of the music business. Utilize effective social Medias wisely, Pick your team carefully. Be mentally and physically ready to do the work. Continue to horn your skills, evolve (don’t be stagnant). Always remember that, it takes money to make money. If you are not ready to give more than everyone else in your team, then you are not ready to play this game.
UT: How does an independent artist promote themselves in today’s social media platform? How are you using so- UT: How do you feel the internet helps/hurts artist’s sales? cial media to your advantage? Which social media do you use the most? Why? Do you use tweak-for-a-track for proD: The internet and new technology has made it easier for motion? up-coming artist to wet their feet in the business and be able to broaden their scope and put their name out there D: Social media is the new form of communication in our without having a major deal in place; this is especially good era and it is here to stay and, it will continue to evolve. And for independent artist that are still trying to gain the mainso, it is not something to run away from but, rather to emstream attention and or recognition. Utilizing the internet brace it and utilize to your advantage. Having said that, as and new technology also allows independent artist the privian artist, it’s a good thing to be aware of social Medias and lege to run their music business independently as well as utilize to promoting and branding your name globally. How- give artist the opportunity to experience hands on, what it ever, you have to utilize it tactfully and tastefully. It is also takes to make it in the business. On the other hand, like important to be aware of the trends that come with social everything else, it does have its disadvantages in the sense media; it’s not necessary to follow every social media that that the internet allows people to manipulate sales such as comes out but rather, pick/choose the ones that may be free downloads etc; this can cause a lot of damage to an best for you and your kind of crowd/fans. artist pocket because, it is difficult to determine how many people are downloading your music for free. And so, it beUT: When can we expect your next single, album? comes harder to determine your profit. Further, the internet and new age technology allows anyone and everyone to call D: I am currently working on my next project which I plan themselves “artist” which makes it harder to get a break on releasing early next year. The first single may be rebecause the business is overly populated with immature leased late this year. artist; it becomes a matter of survival of the fittest on all levels of artistry capabilities UT: What made you want to become a singer? UT: How important is it to learn the business side of the D: It has been something that I have always nurtured from entertainment business? childhood; I derive great joy in singing. I have a strong passion for singing that can’t be compromised. D: It’s as important as being an artist. As a matter of fact, as an artist you owe to yourself to not only be aware of the UT: Although you have been compared to Sade, how would business side of it all but, to also put it to practice as you you describe your sound? work with people in the business. Gone are those days where artist only deal with the artistic aspect of the game; D: My sound is Sophisticated, Smooth, Sultry, Soulful and you should be ready to wear several hats and be the master Sensual. of your own game. Knowing the business gives people reason to respect you and not disrespects. It’s true that as an UT: What sets you apart from other artists? artist first, your art comes from you being passionate about it, but you are also in it to make a living and so, you have to D: The fact that my African background gives me reason to run it like a business that is determined to be successful. stay true to myself and I remain grounded in my art and uncompromised loyalty to my fans. It’s a blessing to be able to live your dream. Douye is proving that perseverance pays off and encourages aspiring artUT: Other than the chocolates, what are you doing to brand ists to maintain artistic integrity and a strong work ethic to yourself? survive in the music industry. Her debut album Journey is a smooth ride on the musical highway of love. My favorites D: Apart from Chocolate, I am also looking into other ven- include “Fly Away”, “Journey” A Day in Paradise” and tures like tapping from my cultural background and coming “Waiting for My Man”. The album has something for everyup with ideas that are authentic and uncommon (it’s all in one and is a must have for any music aficionado. the making). To stay current on Douye’s appearances, connect with her on these social networks. UT: Are you involved in any community or school based projects? www.douyethartist.com www.amazon.com/douye D: I sometimes volunteer in helping to feed the homeless in www.itunes.com/douye my local community. I have the desire to establish a nonwww.facebook.com/douye profit organization for underprivileged children whereby www.twitter.com/douye they can mentally and socially benefit from. www.myspace.com/douye
Introducing: Grammar UT- What would you say is your signature piece? That one piece that really tells who they are and what they are, what would be that one for you? Grammar-I would have to say “Gimme the Crown.” Basically I was real personal on that one, I was more descriptive, telling everyone who I am and what I do, as opposed to being real lyrical. I had a story to tell, so I really came out on that one. UT- Any collaboration with any artists? Grammar- I always do collabs wit local artists, or artists that I think take their music seriously. You gotta take music seriously, I don’t want you telling me UT-Tell us what goes on with the whole when I call you to go to the studio, and music process? you can’t make it. If something happened to my car, I’m taking the taxi to Grammar-What makes me so unique the studio! But recently, just did some man is that I got something to talk work with Jus K, um.. Tameka Travon, a about. A lot of artist had no substance lot of artists here. I believe in unity, as about them. I’m trying to bring that sub- long as your music is up to par. stance back! UT- You just mentioned artists here in UT- How long have you been doing this? the QC, do you think we have enough in order to make it to the world stage, to Grammar-10 plus years man! really showcase what we have and say hey, its right here? UT-10 plus years, wow, tell us about your future projects? Grammar-The next project I’m working on another mix tape “Gimme the Crown Pt 2” All originals, the first one I did the instrumentals to get people familiar with what I do. And then I just re-released the “Indecisive” mix tape that was originally released in 2006 on I-Tunes, so I got that out now. We’re coming back to back, mix tape, then right back with more songs. I work every day.
Grammar- Yeah, we have enough, people gotta be themselves, and you gotta create your own sound. We’ve got enough Jezzys, we got enough Jay-Zs, enough Kanye Wests. You gotta be different and create your own style. Cause if you are following someone else, they gonna tell you straight up, I don’t want that, we already got that, I want something fresh. I’m descriptive, trying to bring that realness. Everyone wanna be drug dealers, and killers. I wanna talk about everyday emotion, everyday pain. I want to talk about what rapper don’t talk about, how they grew up, the family. Seems like everyone wants to talk about just three subject, money, car, and girls. There are other things to talk about, you can write a song and make it a hit, without talking about them things. I fell like people don’t know how to do that right know. UT- What words of advice would you give to an up and coming artist? Grammar-You gotta keep grindin, keep faith. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it. And don’t just talk about it, do it..make it happen. Follow Grammar at: http://Grammerotg.com http://facebook.com/GrammerGrammer
Grammar performs at Extre’me Fashion
Urban Music This is CB By Keysha J Hall
mold himself after “the hot sound of the moment”, Christopher Barker aka CB, maintains his artistic integrity, while delighting and surprising fans with his latest effort, Inertia. When I first heard CB’s album, I was blown away because it’s completely different from his first album, Mujician, which was a spoken word album. I’ve seen him perform poetry countless times, but was unaware of his musicianship. As a singer, songwriter, and musician (he plays guitar, bass and keys), his musical talent and diverse tastes are quite apparent on Inertia. Urban Tymes caught up with CB to discuss the new album and learn what lies behind the melody. UT: What was the inspiration for this album? It is vastly different from your previous work. CB: The answer to that is two-fold. The title Inertia itself came from the first portion of the literal definition: “An object in motion tends to stay in motion…” When I released Mujician, I tried to maintain the momentum and immediately recorded the first four tracks for Inertia, so it was all about keeping the ball rolling. From a musical standpoint, this album is more of a reflection of who I am as an artist. With Mujician I felt pressure to make an album that was passable as a “spoken-word record” because I was regularly performing in front of a poetry audience. This time around I just said f--- it, Ima do me! UT: What do you want people to come away with after hearing this project?
Music is often referred to as “the universal language” for its ability to cross socioeconomic, political, racial, ethnic and language barriers. When an artist’s music is loved, respected and appreciated in different markets it’s a true testament to the diversity and creativity within the industry. Instead of trying to
CB: One word, “different.” It’s an eclectic collection of tunes, but it’s not even the songs themselves so much as the way they work as a unit. It’s rare to hear songs arranged in such a way, given that the overall vibe varies so much from one track to the next. You typically only hear different genres being mixed together on soundtracks and compilations. I’m pushing this as a new way to look at presenting music to the masses. UT: What has been the reaction from fans to the album? CB: Those who have heard it have given a really positive response. It seems to crossover to just about any audience, which I sup-
pose I should have expected given the mixture of content, but it still came as a surprise. I just need to keep pushing and getting it out there. Of course, “Loving You Is Suicide” seems to be a fan favorite and that was really no surprise. The melody is catchy and I think it’s something most people can relate to. UT: Who inspires you? CB: My influences are all over the place, way too many to name. Anything from Vivaldi to Medeski, Martin & Wood to Gap Band or Kool & the Gang or Sly to Immortal Technique. Throw in some heavier progressive bands like Tool or Meshuggah, the soul of Cee-Lo, the smooth textures of a Peter Gabriel, Sade or Seal. Maybe the bottled chaos of a Mars Volta or the quirkiness of Beck. In short, Jimi Hendrix is the reason I play guitar, Slash is the reason I own a Les Paul and The Beastie Boys are the reason I started writing rhymes. (Yes, I’m that old…) More recently I’ve been inspired by my friends and fellow artists. There is so much positive energy in this community it is really a privilege to be able to watch everyone grow and thrive. It was also particularly inspiring to see Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor win an Oscar for best score (The Social Network). That’s something I’ve always had an interest in.
you’re doing it for the love and because it puts a smile on your face then stay true to yourself and don’t worry about anything else because that’s something no one can take away from you. If you’re in it for the success or the fame you’re going to need help branding yourself, marketing, identifying trends etc. Find some people who have been successful doing what it is you strive to accomplish and pick their brains.
The poet, producer and musician whose fiery poetic performances deliver more food for thought, than entertaining rhetoric refuses to be boxed into one category. He continues to push the envelope while being a multidimensional artist. If you want to go on a musical journey, ride an emotional rollercoaster, and want to feel as if someone has given your private pain a public forum, then purchase Inertia. Whether listening to “Loving You is Suicide featuring Carlos Robson”(my personal favorite), “The Price of Freedom” (featuring Blk Swan), “Mother, or “The Perfect Mediocre”, you will enjoy a plethora of verbal artistry fused with superb instrumentation. This is a must have for music lovers, regardless of what genre is your favorite. There’s something for everyone, from uptempo tracks with killer guitar riffs, to mello tracks, with beautiful vocal accompaniment. Purchasing this album will be UT: What other projects do you have in develop- money well spent, so support the arts and get your copy today (available on iTunes and ment? cdbaby.com). CB: I am hoping to resurrect some form of my To stay current on CB’s music, connect with him on the following sites: old progressive rock band, Interstellar Overdrive. Also, I hope to assist with the release of the movie that myself and the other members of Concrete Generation made last summer – Aswww.continuousbeatz.com phalt Revolution: The Vandals of Verse. It’s a mockumentary on slam poetry and it is downwww.facebook.com/csb669 www.twitter.com/cbthepoet right hysterical. www.reverbnation.com/cbthepoet UT: What are you doing to brand yourself? CB: Really just trying to be consistent and raise the bar as far as the quality of the product I put out. When people see “CB”, I want them to know they’re in for a ride… UT: What advice would you give to new artists? CB: First, ask yourself why you’re doing this. If
UT- So it’s a family affair? Bobbo- Yeah, it’s a family affair. We are trying pull each other. Rojay-We try to bring each other up, we are trying to be the best in every thing we do. UT- You wanna add to that sis? Nelly- Well I think, I know that my brothers has been doing this before me, and the ladies liked the music, but when I came in, the ladies really had something to listen to, from their point of view. I represent the ladies, I rep Independent Struggle. UT- Who motivates you? Who was that artist or person that made you say, this is what I’m gonna do, this is what I wanna do? Makes you say, I wanna make good music? Bobbo- Lil Boosie, I mean he was rappin and saying how he was holding his life down, how he was makin things happen. Even before I heard him , I was doing music, and to hear Boosie, I felt I think we can do this, I know we can do it. Bobbo-To see my family in it, it inspires me, to watch them grow up in it. My city hits hard, like if you tried to throw a big concert over here with someone in mainstream, they probably wouldn’t even show up. But they will show up for us, I knew we could make it!
Rojay- Young Money influenced me to make good money as a team. We are all different in a way, but in a way that’s good. UT- Future projects right now?
The night was a busy one indeed, but this group braved through highway and traffic jams to be at a special event held this night, featuring fashion and music.
Right now “Independent Struggle” is out now, our solo projects, at the same time the “Independent Struggle pt 2” the mix tapes, and we just dropped singles that we handed out.
Aptly named “Independent Struggle” their music represents a realness born of the streets of Harrisburg, PA the group Rojay- We got a lot of music. consists of Rojay, Bobbo Taylor, Jae Lylz, Nelly Whop and Cassie D. Three of the members, Bobbo, Rojay and Nelly UT- Ok, so who lays the beats? visited the QC and we talked about their music. Bobbo- We gotta a guy named All-Star that lays the beats, UT- Tell our readers what your group is about. nice guy from the city. My cousin Jared, real nice music. Then certain people that reach out to us that has beats, Bobbo- We are about music, we are trying to represent our that want to get us beats. We’ve got a lot of people that are city, representing Philly. We are the capital so we are rally working with us, for production and more. trying to put on for the city. We’ve got a lot of recognition, a good following. UT- Any thing else for our readers? UT- Coming to the Carolinas, what are trying to bring to us and the music world. I’ve got a homeboy that hooked up with Tangi, and she told us about things down here that we can accomplish. We’re buzzin online, a lot of people love our music, because everybody knows its real, but its getting it out there. Once we get it out there, it’s a wrap. What do each one of you bring to the group? Bobbo- I bring leadership, loyalty, good music. Like this is my little brother and sister here.
Bobbo-Yeah check us out. We’re on Twitter. Check us out on Facebook, Independent Struggle on Youtube. That right there will paint the picture of who we are, Independent Struggle.
Q– The Future of Pure, Positive R&B UT- Q are you originally from Charlotte? Q- Originally from a small town in South Carolina named Jefferson. UT-So what brought you here?
Q- About R&B today, it’s not what it was back then. It’s all about sex now, but not about loving a girl. Usher had this positive image; I want to have a positive image so that every one can listen to my music and not just one age group. UT-Do you think that’s one particular element that separates you from mainstream artists today? Q-Oh yeah, oh yeah most definitely. Because you can cut on my music and there’s not a lot of cussing or explicit lyrics in it. Just clean and nice.
Q-My music. South Carolina is such a UT-Wow, clean and nice, small area, I couldn’t almost an oxymoron in get out of that zone, this industry! So where do but by moving to Charyou see your self in five lotte, it a major city. years? Meeting new people, I could come up here and network with dif- Q-On a sold out stage in New York someferent people. where. UT-So what is forte? What type of music do you do? Q-I do R&B music UT- So what motivated you to be an R&B singer? What was an individual, a song? Q- Usher UT- Usher! Q- Yes! (he says laughing) Before he turned pop. UT-So what are your thoughts about R&B today?
UT-That’s some serious aspirations! Q-That’s my goal. UT– Thank you Q for allowing us the opportunity. Much Success!!
Money Monsters– Follow their “$wavor!” “I like his style” he says “Every song you hear from him, you gonna bob your head to it!” Future projects for the group include a block party slated this September, opening up for their favorite rapper Ace Hood in October, and filming their much anticipated video in either NC or VA.
I got a chance to sit and talk with an upcoming group dubbed the “Money Monsters” and I must say I was impressed by what I not only heard, but what these guys represented.
Overall, the journey to where they are now has been a learning experience, they state, seeing downfalls and challenges, but enjoying the grind along the way. With the rotations they are getting in VA and NC markets and hits on Facebook and Twitter followers, it seems it’s been worth the effort!
To others striving to make it in the business, Tay Demonte Simmons and Ja”ken Alston make up this dynamic duo coming out of Greensboro, NC their suggestion is, “keep working, and put all you by way of the VA area. For a year they have poured got into it.” “Step out there, and don’t be afraid to be yourself!” their hearts and souls into their music to create that which they dub “that head bobbin music!” Fans can follow money Monster’s “Swavor” on Twitter, Facebook and Reverb nation. Also fan are I asked them how did all of this come about, getting into the music scene. “It all came together encouraged to call their local radio stations and request "Swavor". Media inquiries can be obtained when we were playing around with some music,” Tay says. “We put it together, let management hear through firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-251--9829, and it, and immediately they wanted us to go to the stu- for all booking request please contact Ujaama Talent Agency dio!” (www.ujaamatalentagency.com) 212-629-4454. Their style of music is that club music that http://twitter.com/money_monsters doesn’t let you sit at all. The group even had to http://reverbnation.com/moneymonsters name it, “Swava” which is a culmination of http://facebook.com/wearemoneymonsters swagger and flava they said, since each term was http://artistecard.com/moneymonsters getting old and something new was needed. Something that would represent their laid back type of flow. The duo has even created a new dance to go with the song, which they developed as they were on the way to an event in Raleigh, NC. The dance, which is fluid and smooth, is bound to be a hit with the young people and a viral hit when seen by the masses. When asked who influenced their flow and creativity, there was no hesitation at all. “Our friends, family, and anyone that is positive around us,” states Ja’Ken. Tay acknowledges that statement and acknowledges how his favorite artist Ace Hood has really influenced him.
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ents, who are either clueless to the problem, or ill equipped to deal with it, students who exacerbate the problem with their antics, or Samira Davis and Edwina Davis the media for waiting for the next bully-related story to blow out of proportion with hype instead of facts and viable solutions. No More Knuckle Sandwiches Instead of playing the blame game, a young student and her aunt teamed up to not only By Keysha J Hall write an incredible story about the situation, but also provide education on the issue and As another school year begins, educators, offer ways to help. Samira Davis, a fifth grader from Bowie, Maryland and her aunt, Edwina parents, and students hope the issues of the prior school year will not be as prevalent this Davis from Charlotte, North Carolina fuse their time around . With bullying getting a national passion for learning, and their knowledge platform due to a number of teen suicides, it’s about bullying into a powerful children’s book entitled No More Knuckle Sandwiches. They a wonder if anything can be done to prevent
Samira Davis with book “No More Knuckle Sandwiches!
this from spreading like a cancer throughout schools and the community. While the great debate looms over who should bear the responsibility: teachers and administrators who know about the problem, but do nothing, par-
approach the issue from different perspectives to appeal to a wider audience and bridge the gap between children and adults. Funny anecdotes and lovable characters are used to take the edge off of this very serious issue. It’s
a feel good story that will resonate with readers of all ages. It’s also a great tool for parents and educators to use to facilitate a discussion on bullying. I love Samira’s resolve and Edwina’s candor as they discuss their new book and the impact bullying has had in the classroom and the community. UT: What made you decide to write a story about bullying? SD: I wrote a story about bullying because I wanted to help stop it and I didn’t like what I was seeing on the news about people committing suicide because they were being bullied. UT: Have you ever been bullied? SD: No, I’ve never been bullied. UT: Do you know anyone who has been bullied? SD: There have been a couple of people I know from school who have been bullied, but nothing major. UT: Why did you decide to have the play center around someone trying to abduct a child? SD: I chose to include that scene for two reasons:
SD: I am working on another book called Nikko & Sierra’s Adventures: The Haunted Mansion.
UT: What are your interests/hobbies?
UT: What do you want to be when you grow up?
UT: When will the next book in the series be available? SD: That is uncertain, but my auntie and I are hoping to get the book, Haunted Mansion out by Halloween or sometime in October of this year. UT: Do you plan to go to schools to speak about bullying? SD: I would love to. I think my auntie is working on that now. She already sent letters to my school. UT: Who are your favorite authors?
SD: I don’t really have a favorite author, but I like Jeff Kinney who wrote Diary of a Wimpy Kid and I like Brandi Dougherty who writes Candy Apple and Poison Apple books. UT: What do you want to say to the people who have supported and encouraged you? 1. I wanted to place the focus on a differ- SD: I would like to say thank you for everything. ent type of danger which still exists for UT: What advice would you give to somechildren one who wants to write a book? 2. We wrote the story in April which is SD: I would tell them to keep going until child abuse month so I wanted the focus to be on "abuse" of which "bullying" is just you finish, use your imagination, and I am sure you will write a great book. another form.
SD: I love science and cooking. I like to go fishing. I like to draw and be creative in different ways. UT: What do you want readers to come away with after reading this book?
SD: I would like to be a scientific culinary artistic animalistic engineer. J Of course, it’s something I made up, but it means I will be using science to cook and engineer things for humans and animals. That would combine all the things I love.
SD: I would like readers to come away with if you have been abused (bullied) or know For Edwina, someone who is being abused (bullied), you need to tell somebody. UT: How has writing this book been different from writing your other book, ConseUT: What are you working on now? quences? Can you tell me a little about that?
reading this book? ED: The major difference with Consequences is I get to tell my own story my own way. With No More Knuckle Sandwiches, Samira wrote the story her way and I pretty much acted as the editor and provided some embellishments here and there. UT: What are some key points authors need to know before publishing? ED: Well, the first thing they need to know is why they are writing. There is a major difference in writing just for the sheer pleasure of it and writing to be published. The second thing is, if they are self-publishing, they will need to know they are in control of literally everything including pricing the book, designing the book, interior and exterior staging of the book, etc. Although I had done a great deal of research before self-publishing the book, I wasn’t aware of all of those things. The third thing I would tell them is to have their game plan already outlined and ready to go either before completing the book or shortly thereafter. In other words, they should know their marketing plan like they know their own names and stick to it. Certainly they should do this before the book is published. The fourth and last thing I would tell them is to budget, budget and budget some more. UT: Are you an advocate of self-publishing or going with a publishing house? ED: I was definitely an advocate of selfpublishing before I did it however, now not so much. lol Really I would encourage a new writer to explore their true goals for writing the book and wanting to have it published. Is there something they want to share with the world they’re not willing to compromise on even a little? Or are they willing to compromise in order to just get a book out there. It’s really an individual thing. For me, it was more important for me to tell my story the way I wanted to tell it because I had a specific goal in mine which I wasn’t willing to compromise. When you turn your work over to a traditional publisher you’re running the risk of losing that control. Of course, for most, having the upfront money would be an issue, in which case going the traditional route would be a must.
ED: I hope everyone who reads this book understands that victims no longer have to suffer in silence and that when they are no longer silent, that will be the moment things begin to turn around for them. I believe if every “would be” victim made it clear to the perpetrators that they will tell until someone does something; the number of incidences of abuse of all kinds will decrease significantly. UT: As an educator, how has bullying become more of an issue recently? ED: I think the issue of bullying has become more of an issue recently for a number of reasons: Children have fewer coping skills these days Children have less support (family, community, society) Society has created an atmosphere where some forms of abuse is more tolerated (particularly bullying) because it’s perceived by too many as “just kids being kids” Bullies have more means of bullying without anyone even knowing they’re doing it (i.e. cyber bullying) Lastly, and I hope I don’t offend you with this one, but I feel it needs to be said, the media has a way of reporting what I consider the “social issue of the season”. Right now it’s “bullying” season. Bullying is certainly not a new phenomenon, but it’s just the buzz word for now. For example, if you base what’s happening in the world on the media’s reports, we would have to conclude there’s no more gang activity. I can’t even tell you when I’ve heard or read a story on gang violence. Have we done away with it? Are there no more gangs? Are they all dead or in jail or perhaps they have all become entrepreneurs. Where are they? We hear absolutely nothing about them. Several years ago, according to the media, everyone under 25 was either already in a gang or thinking about getting involved. Another example: Where are pregnant teens? No more pregnant teens? Or is it just not something the media chooses to shine the light on at this time? Hopefully, you see where I’m going with this point.
UT: What do you want readers to take away from UT: What can parents; educators and other chil-
dren do to stop bullying? ED: First we must create an atmosphere of ZERO tolerance; tell, tell and tell again until something is done to protect the victims; hold abusers (all types) fully accountable no exceptions. We must also empower victims as well as young children before they become victims. We can’t expect that abusers will simply stop the behaviors just because it’s the right thing to do. When a victim knows he/she has options, they feel more empowered to stand up for themselves. Also, when they know they have people behind them who will help them fight back, they will be more apt to stand up for themselves. That abusive behavior and mindset must be brought to a screeching halt. It can be done however, for some reason; we are just not willing to do it. This is the very reason why I wanted to write a children’s book about it so hopefully, we can begin changing things for the next generation. You know children have an astonishing way of simplifying things that adults tend to make more complicated than they have to be. I wanted to take the same approach as some of the brilliant marketing gurus take who market for McDonald’s and children’s toys for example. They know when you get a child’s mind made up about something they want; it is next to impossible for that child to be ignored. Once we instill in children, the idea that telling someone is the way to go, we won’t be able to stop them; and that’s a good thing.
ket crash. It’s hot. I’m having a lot of fun writing it. UT: What advice would you give to new authors? ED: Do your research and get a marketing degree really quickly. UT: Who are your favorite authors? ED: I don’t really have any favorites. I read a little bit of everything in every genre except Science Fiction and murder mysteries. One of all my all time favorite novels is The House of Sand and Fog. There are a lot of good stories out there and excellent writers. I pray that my audience will someday soon count me among them. UT: What would you like to say to your supporters? ED: Thank you immensely. It’s because of you I get to do what I love.
Please support this important book that will provide a platform to discuss bullying with students of all ages; inform adults that this behavior is a form of the issue so students who may currently be bullied will know they have resources and a voice! They will know they not only have the support of their family and friends, but their teachers and community as well. Let this book be a step in the right direction of ending bullying to prevent any more UT: What are your interests/hobbies? students from getting hurt or losing their most ED: I love music of all kinds so I enjoy going to precious gift of life. To purchase your copy of No More Knuckle concerts especially outdoor concerts during Sandwiches or to schedule a school visit, go to the summer. I love spending time with family and friends, traveling and, of course, reading and writing. I also have a special affinity for www.written4kids.com Sunday brunch with friends. UT: What other projects do you have in development? ED: I have a self-help book I’m putting the finishing touches on as part of my coaching program for maximizing your potential. I’ve also just begun a five series e-book the first of which is scheduled for mid August. It’s fiction also and focuses on what happened behind the scenes for many professionals in the real estate industry before, after and during the mar-
“Teach Me" They say in order 2 lead, you must 1st be willing to learn how 2 follow. & although I'm nervous I feel I'd be doin myself a disservice if I didn't purchase this pulsating passion your pushing. But luv listen, Imma need a few lessons. Teach me 2 trust w/out 2nd guessing b/c what I've learned is when you sleep you slip & wind up with accidental none the less consequential lessons. Teach me 2 believe w/out doubt b/c what I've learned is If you let a lie in that very lie will put you out.
class clown if you will. But thats just b/c this school girl crush makes me figid, cant sit still. I promise I'll pay attention, take notes the whole 9. Study your instructions play by play, wont have to cram when its exam time. Just please understand, b4 I walk I gotta crawl. Baby steps thru it all. Been on this ledge before so I'm almost scared to death of this fall. Have patience in my learning, for there is thirst for your knowledge. My mind is in constant yearning to understand the love your actions acknowledge.
Teach me 2 smile thru my tears
I want to learn,I really do.
b/c what I learned is
I'm not saying I can't, I'm just saying Imma need
it gets harder 2 live once you been hurt so bad its hard 2 4give. Teach me 2 accept being cared 4, b/c I've learned the 1's you tend 2 care 4 couldn't care less for you. Teach me that disagreements can be civil b/c I've learned that 2 sum lack of respect = hard 2 resist. I want 2 know how 2 get lost in a kiss. I mean I really want 2 learn its just that UNlearning what I've learned is a critical concern. Now, I may act out,
you to show me what to do. Teach me,you know? Teach me how to make you feel the way you make me feel about you. xoxo © 2011 Kee Lese’
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