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VIOLET SUMMER ZINE ISS. 2


© 2015 Violet Summer Zine, All Rights Reserved.


STYLE

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The story you didn’t read this week. #AsToldByMelissa

MUSIC


COLLABOR A TORS

Melissa Henderson Melissa is a writer and content strategist who loves telling stories, shopping and travelling around the world to meet new people, discover new cultures and develop new ideas about life and love. More at www.melwrites.com

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Nicole Cimmarusti Nicole is a Art Director, a far too pale Italian, and a sucker for carbs. Her motto is “Creativity is intelligence having fun” and it has helped her put togeher a lot of her work. Nicole is currently in L.A. More at www.nicolecimm.com

Devin Brewster Devin is a photographer living in New York City. He heads several visual art projects, from working with luxury menswear brands our Manhattan to photographing top musicians of all genres. More at www.devinbrewster.co/


COLLABOR A TORS

Adolf N. Alzuphar Adolf is a music critic. You can find his work in The Brooklyn Rail, MIC, Blavity and many other publications. His literary aspiration is to write a book similar to Walter Benjamin’s Illumination about beauty and social work.

Malea Thomas Malea is Melissa’s cousin and a junior at American University. She is currently majoring in English Literature with a focus in Creative Writing. Ever since Malea was a little girl,working at Vogue Magazine has always been her dream job.

Deanna First Deanna is an artist who’s work centers on her fascination with the female form and human emotion. She explores these themes through a combination of pencil, marker, watercolor and digital editing. More at www.deannafirst.com

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www.melwrites.com

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etiquette of blocking

written by: melissa henderson

socially not available right now With daily technology updates, it is easy to forget newly released special features that are changing the way we deal with human

relationships ( or lack thereof). The block feature on Apple’s iphone is the greatest gift to mankind. Any iphone user can easily block unwanted calls, texts and facetimes almost instantly with just two commands. Go to the users profile in “Contacts,” Scrolll

to the bottom of the profile and hit, Block. It’s done. Personally, since 2013, the block feature has been utilized in many different scenarios. In a world where everything is accessible, this feature is highly neccessary. It’s gratifying to know that it exists to ease

you’re low key cut- off Yes, blocking someone can be perceived as erratic behavior. People almost always never expect it. It’s like, “oh, you wasn’t talking reckless on my phone...?” The etiquette of blocking someone is to tell

any anxiety of not wanting to deal. Don’t feel like talking to someone, block them for a few hours! However, before you exercise your blocking right, make sure you are aware you may be hurting the feelings of whomever you no longer want to communicate with. “You BLOCKED me?!” an email with no subject line read in my Gmail. As if my actions came out of nowhere!

that person they will be block in X amount of time. Denote them to email if anything. If you end up blocking a significant other, they will know because the phone will ring once, say the number is “not available” and go straight to voicemail. But the person who did the blocking will never recieved the voicemail.

A text -- to a phone you’ve been blocked on, will never be delivered. The downside of this is that blocking someone on an iphone does not stop communication from coming thru on a laptop’s imessage. So beware! If your feud is over, then it’s polite to unblock them -- even on social media, babes!

www.melwrites.com

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@BaileySondag Devin Brewster

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88 & sunny

P. 10

The greatest topic in music: Sorry

P. 11

The Violet Summer Madlibs

P.12

Kilo Kish: Reflections

P.14

From The 15th Ward

P. 16

#Dabsolutely

P. 18

On Getting Dressed

P. 20

Fashion Comic by Deanna First

P. 23

Ev Bessar

P. 25

How to Go Glamping

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Country Girl: Kelsea Ballerini

P. 28

Jazz Girl: Kandace Springs

P. 30

Sanity Addiction

P. 34

Interlude to June: Blackbirds

P. 49

Credits

P. 50

FEA TURES

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SUNNY words by: malea thomas

Escape to something beautiful Daydreaming, I close my eyelids Forgetting and zoning out completely Slouching under a massive green palm tree in the cool shade, my feet melt in the sand Calm breezes caress my face until slowly my eyes shut again Rustling sounds of the waves hitting the beach as I glide into the water , feeling as smooth as wet leather Submerging in the translucent water, I see all types of beautiful life down there From a school of gorgeous fish swaying casually To small plain pebbles lying peacefully at the bottom of the ocean floor Unique life hiding inside Diffusions of pinks, oranges, yellows, and reds mixes and blends fading Fading, fading, fading into the background Of silence of blue waters... 10


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SORRY These days, music content has been filled with a lot of apologetic energy. Musicians of all different genres are empowered than ever before to make honest music that is reflective of their own personal struggles. The internet and social media have influenced this newfound music identity. In the era of Facebook, Instagram, and Baller Alert, musicians are super shallow and easy to read. No tweet goes unnoticed without a twitter debate and screenshot to prove it. Subsequently, these factors are what make a good ass record. At the end of the day, people want to know the truth. They want to witness their favorite artist grow and be inspired by their bravery. The word “sorry” has been the name to many top billboard hits this year and years past. Beyonce, Justin Bieber and Bryson Tiller have all released chart -topping singles named sorry and in turn have everyone feeling some type of way. Each of their records are personal testimonies about their own relationship drama that has in someway played out on the internet. When Beyonce released Lemonade, not only did it serve as a unique visual album, but it was an answer to questions everyone wanted to know: did Queen Bey really get cheated on? Sorry, I ain’t sorry/I ain’t sorry/ nigga, nah, she sings on her latest album. Her rendition of Sorry makes every female in America want to twerk to a song that essentially 12

is a rebellious ode to her feminist rebirth after experiencing infidelity in her marriage. Justin Bieber ’s song Sorry is an apology letter in the form of a pop track about his scandalous escapades throughout the years, and perhaps a very public apology to his ex lover, Selena Gomez. Yeah, is it too late now to say sorry?/ Cause I’m missing more than just your body, Justin proclaims. Furthermore, R&B newcomer Bryson Tiller’s hit single Sorry Not Sorry is a tribute to every girl or person who has dissed him when he was broke and working dead end jobs in his hometown of Louisville Kentucky. But you don’t mean nothing to me/ Girl I’m sorry you not the one for me, he gushes. It’s interesting to witness the increasing amount of artists who feel propelled to make songs that are unapologetic and emotional responses to real life situations. According to Genius.com, there are 34, 859 results for Sorry in their music database with the aforementioned artists as the top three songs people search for on their site. That’s a lot of sentiment. Music has and always will be a healing agent to depression and loneliness. However it says a lot about the type of culture we are transforming into when everyone is quick to say that they are sorry, when deep down inside, they are not. I digress, is this sentiment the key to unleashing the DGAF attitude, a bold statement to living one’s best life?


Violet Summer Madlibs Grab a pen, a friend and ask them only what’s in parentheses in the paragraph below. at the end, read out the full story with their responses.

Now that I’m done with being a _____________( Would you rather be a sea turtle or land tortoise?), I finally can let down my hair and go be a _________________ (warrior rain forest goddess or mermaid?) this summer. My favorite place to swim is _____________ ( a dirty toilet full of sea water or a pissy pool water?). The sea is where I love to be right next to the________ (favorite cafe?) and of course sea lions all summer long. On Monday, the muggles, ahem I mean humans, come to my island to visit the _______________ ( lava lizards or Mashpi frogs?) with ___________ (your favorite boyband?). So I need to ______________ (nastiest thing you’ve seen someone do in public?). I love tourist; but I want to make their visit memorable. This is the_______(number of times you hailed an uber?) time visitors have come to my island and said it was boring and they were sick of seeing blue footed boobie birds. Can you blame them!? Someone left a _______________( a wetsuit, a rash guard or naked snorkeling? ) in Darwin’s Lake. Obviously, their genitals were instantly shrivelled to the bit with that salt water! Silly humans! Anyway, this summer, tourist watching will be amazing! I don’t leave my crystal cove in Bermuda without _____________(your most-used beauty product) and a pair of binoculars, a gift from Captain Morgan! Love, the Little (rainforest warrior or mermaid?)_________. 13


Kilo Kish Kilo Kish is a modern day thought leader. Her latest album Reflections In Real Time is an artistic declaration to how comfortable she has become as a successful IT girl, but how weird the journey has been to get there. When asked who she would have dinner with dead or alive , she names: John Baldessari, Jack Kerouak, Brancusi, Ellsworth Kelly and Mike Epps. Can we be a fly on the wall at this dinner party? We also learn that she’s into trippy psychology theories and that she’s an ENTJ personality type, which is based on a Myers Briggs personality test. To say the least, she’s a pretty chill artist who expresses herself in all different art mediums. That’s why we were excited to give her a disposable camera from Duane Reade because she actually loves shooting film and she collects film cameras from eBay and The Goodwill! Currently, Kilo is on tour, with recent performances somewhere in Russia. “I really like to do Humans + Ants In Proportion, but people are always a bit confused like why is this girl singing about ants?! But it’s a fun song to do live,” Kilo tells us. Meanwhile, while she’s singing about ants on stage, we’re wondering when that base is going to drop on Distractions II, another song on her latest album that was most likely written and recorded in her apartment in LA. Needless to say, Kilo is supremely a #violetsummer muse for her authentic style and intuitive song lyrics. 14

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35 MM CAMERA We sent Kilo Kish a disposable camera, log on to bit.ly/violetsummerexclusivecontent to view the mystery photos.

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New Orleans creative collective Made Groceries is on a mission to promote self-knowledge in their music. The rap group featuring @OeauxNeal, @landlordsiwel and @_ mauleysincyr grew up and met each other in high school during the nineties in the15th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. I first met this creative collective during SXSW 2016 in the lobby of the Aloft Austin Hotel. Like a real southern gentleman, they greeted me with hugs and tour merchandise. Right there in the lobby, I was transformed into a Made Groceries fan, as I changed into their branded 1593 logo shirt and dad hat for a picture with several other members of the creative collective. “We’re from New Orleans, but really we’re from Baton Rouge, and we’re just happy to be here,” I remember one of the fellas saying to me. During our short chat, I learned that Made Groceries is dedicated to uplifting the culture through their music. The group’s music is about influencing the youth to empower themselves. After one of their group members (Beezle, who represents their brand 1593) passed away in January 2014 due to gun violence, the 22-year-olds realized that their music has to resonate a message that is much larger than rapping about what’s on the surface. That’s why their headquarters, a six-room office space in downtown Baton Rouge, is dedicated to producing various multi-media passion art projects. One of the rooms is for producing music, and another room is for tattooing, and so on. It’s basically a working living space, with house vibes because the creative collective is there 24/7. This past April marked the end of the #madegroceies parade tour, which was a play off of a video they shot during a Mardi Gras festival. In the video, the guys are rapping and parading down the French Quarter with their friends and family. For summer 2016, they are working on releasing a new music project called, Wahntown, which is a traditional greeting that people in New Orleans have used since the late eighties. When I asked the guys about what New Orleans is like in the summer, they tell me about the low rider scene by lake and eating crawfish with family is always the move of the summer. Essentially, Made Groceries is a reminder that if nothing else is going right, as long as you have groceries in your fridge, you’re good.

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th

WARD

New orleans creative collective made groceries on self-knowledge

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DABSOLUTE 100% made in america On a sunny day at the beach, Earl Ross, Co Founder and Manager of Dabsolute, called me to talk about the state of the cannabis industry in the United States and how much it has grown from a socially-frowned upon drug, to a legally- regulated billion dollar business. Earl moved from Houston, Texas to Denver, Colorado in May 2015 with no real plan or idea of what he wanted to do. However, he made his way to Denver after forecasting that it was going to be the next big boomtown on the green revolution. “I was introduced to Robert Hull [ his current business partner] through pure happenstance, who was intelligent and had a wealth of amazing ideas but needed someone with a lot of energy and a bit of capital to get them off the ground. I had both of these things and, to be honest, I just got done working as a field engineer for a globally known oilfield service company, so I figured I would try working for myself instead. Next thing I know I’m embarking on my own market research by touring around from one state to the next figuring out how to sell this thing.” A year later and the Dabsolute Pen and company are trending. To start, The Dabsolute Concentrate Pen is made of 100% surgical grade stainless steel that allows for its sleek and sexy design, while 18

being the most durable product on the market. It’s lightweight, easy to hold in a small purse or tote bag, and most importantly it’s easy to blend in public. Vape however you want with a digitally controlled temperature that gives the user full control. Set the dial at 10 watts for “low-temp high-terp” hits, or dial it up to 17 watts for all out, full lung “dragon rips.” The Dabsolute Pen is a best in class American made product that outperforms the competition. It is literally impossible to clog and extremely easy to clean. The patented atomizer screws apart into two pieces, so you can soak it in 91% isopropyl alcohol in order to remove any residual concentrate. Pro tip: Beware of freshly done manicures to avoid nail polish chipping when cleaning your pen! People who appreciate quality, design and skillfully made products will love the Dabsolute pen. It’s a chic accessory that hits like a bong, the Maserati of vape pens that retails for 225USD. Any cannabis connoisseur will be delighted to know that finally they can replace all of their accessories, with this single hand held portable unit. Visit: www.thedabsolutepen.com for more information.


Use Promo Code: ROSS for 20% off your next purchase. www.TheDabsolutePen.Com

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DRESSING UP AND NORMCORE My argument is about style, getting dressed up and the push to solidify the “art of dressing normcore.” It was the job interview I had been dreaming about since I was a little girl. I hit up my PR girl for the perfect outfit. I did my hair the night before, I ironed my dress days ahead, I made sure I spent an extra fifteen minutes doing my makeup on interview day, and that my stockings didn’t have any holes in them. To say the least, I was excited about this interview and put hours of thought on my final outfit and interview prep for such a monumental occasion. I printed out several resumes, brought a copy of my zine and made sure I was on time. Besides, it was with one of the top publishers, and I was “dressing for the job I wanted.” But when I arrived and greeted my interviewer, she was in jeans, a washed out top, and sneakers! I was confused. Was I interviewing for her job? During the interview, I felt a little uncomfortable with my makeup - was my foundation too much? And the questions I was asked were just nosy inquiries to the processes of the companies I had previously worked. Even the people who were walking around the office were dressed way less glitz and glamourous than I expected for a prestigious glossy. It was shockingly giving me serious normcore vibes. And this situation kept resurfacing: the Diane Von Furstenberg show reviews, the very timely TIME magazine article, the New Whitney Museum party, all related to the politics of style, work, and accountability. Which lead me to ponder: have we entirely dismissed the art of getting dressed up for the occasion? My argument is about style, getting dressed up and the culture’s continuing push to solidify the “art of dressing normcore.” It’s the downfall of getting dressed and the perception that if one is dressed well, then you will be well received; you can get whatever you want. To be fair, I know how much strength it takes to get dressed while working

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long hours, commuting to whatever event and still have to look great for a photo, your significant other, or presentable for a school event at the end of a 9-5 work day. It takes strategy to plan out a comfortable and casual yet professional outfit that still has a personal style. Lingerie can be slightly uncomfortable, too! Lacy underwire bras-don’t even get me started! I wrote an article about busy chic lifestyles in my Huffington Post column (which was shared over 800 times), and it lead me to believe that this is a real concern. But I can’t help the fact that in many situations I’m always the one to “stand out” amongst a crowd who should be on my same style level. Even when I worked at eBay Enterprise and other fancy advertising agencies, getting dressed for work was my number one priority, because I was “dressing for the job I wanted.” I didn’t want to work in marketing, I wanted to work in fashion, I wanted to be fabulous, but I knew that I still had to make money. So I came to work looking my best in heels, in blazers, in cute tee shirts, in skater dresses, because in New York City there’s always opportunity if you look like you belong. Yet, my co-workers didn’t share the same style sentiment. I was, again, viewed as the girl who was “over dressing.” I chatted about this with a male colleague, and he knew exactly how I was feeling. Josh use to worked the front desk reception at an advertising firm. He wore ties everyday, and his fellow team members looked at him like he was trying to “show off and make them look bad.” But, a few months later, Josh got promoted to an associate analytics role. Josh still wears ties to work, even at his part-time gig at the beer shop. Josh says he generally likes wearing ties because that’s his style. Be like Josh. To add insult to injury, TIME’s new mag “The Motto” published a piece entitled “Can Your Personal Style Keep You From Getting a Job Offer?” According to the article in The Motto, a hiring manager “encourages candidates to wear an outfit that makes them feel comfortable and great” and she also notes that she’s dismissed well-qualified applicants who show up in an outfit that doesn’t seem to fit with her office environment. This is understandable. However, normcore is infiltrating into our system of style politics in the workplace and in social spaces where looking good in heels, a tie, a blazer, a sequined top, etc., isn’t really necessary anymore. It’s viewed as a turn off and/ or it’s not relatable. Was it my personal style that deterred me from scoring that job at a top glossy? Or was my style that disqualified me from winning a spot at a famous tech company, whose CEO was super interested in my product management skills, but didn’t know what lifestyle writing entailed? A friend who saw me that day said I looked goodeven intimidatingly good, but in my mind, I was just prepared for “my interview of a lifetime” that I didn’t have to fill out a job application to get. I wore my interview dress. It’s a dress designed by Rebecca Taylor, and I wear it to any important event. It’s tweed, it sort of looks like a Chanel dress and overall appropriate. My argument is not so much personal style than a nonchalance on getting dressed that irks me. 21


You can legitimately believe in your style , yet still not care or don’t care to express any interest in caring about getting dressed up, and that’s precisely the problem I have when it comes to looking presentable in public. Some people may argue that it’s just American culture, filing it under whatever, turning up their noses, but I beg to differ and hope to change public opinion. We need to redefine what it means to get dressed up because it’s something the public has been struggling with as a universal norm, a code of conduct, a prisoner’s dilemma of what to wear and why on a daily basis. We’ve seen the emergence of “Dad Hats,” Skirt Shirts,” and embroidered denim jeans make a hard comeback. It’s like we’ve all grasp the concept of wearing black to a funeral, so why can’t those same rules be applied to things like a classy museum event or dinner at a five star restaurant, or a job interview? The majority of people have succumbed to normcore style nowadays- wearing collared shirts with gym shoes. The act of getting dressed is too hard for people who hit the snooze button, and we’ve become okay with wearing tights to the Theater. We like substituting tee shirts with a logo for dinner because it’s cool. Confession: I hate using an iron and will seriously consider other outfit options if it means skipping out on ironing because I don’t feel like it. Even if we spend a bunch of money on a stellar pair of Dior boots, I don’t necessarily think that gives us a pass on style. Moreover, American designer Diane Von Furstenberg felt this normcore wrath with the presentation of her Fall / Winter 2016 collection embodying “Real Clothes on Real Girls” theme. WWD reviewed the show and essentially called it elitist because it was too big of a “spectacle” with all the snapchat and Instagramming moments that trumped what fashion week is about and the “real VIP-only area, removed from the feisty working-girl types” scenarios weren’t real. But again, I beg to differ. Even the NYT show review was a little shady stating that “it’s debatable how “real” someone like Karlie Kloss seems to the woman on the street.” Are Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss not American girls? They grew up in California and Karlie’s features are somewhat parallel to what American girls expect when it comes to a higher media image. Are we a culture so overworked, we can’t find time to look nice, take a second to iron, take a second to ask ourselves: do I look good? Are we a culture of people finding it hard to wear a dress or suit to an event? Are we dress code challenged? OR Have we really entered the age of Normcore? I read about this whole trend and I’ve sort of been delusional about this whole thing about yoga pants taking over Fashion. Net-a-Porter is even baffled about the sales of their athleisure products that are matching the sales of their evening and daywear stuff. But, I digress. Have we truly forgotten how to get dressed? Should I throw away the style rules that have been ingrained in me since birth- the kind that meant one should get dressed for the doctor’s office and dinner (no matter if it’s just the dinner) and just go for whatever’s clean?

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Sexy instagrammable stores are thriving because women are embracing their curves by wearing more form-fitting outfits that aren’t necessarily sold at traditional mainstream stores, like Target and Macy’s. The state of the female body is becoming a socio-political message in 2016. From going nude on Instagram and participating in Slut Walks, to just responding to catcalls, a sense of empowerment is coming from embracing sexuality in public and not giving a fuck about what other people think. Fashion Nova and their sexy and confident outfits that are posted on Instagram like every 30 minutes is currently leading the retail evolution of body positivity clothing. My mind flutters at the possibilities of wearing outfits so powerful, they could influence the outcomes of so many situations. I’m talking about how embracing your curves can be a major motivation to changing your career, your life, the way people see you and the image you want to project to the world. Who says wearing unflattering boyfriend jeans, collettes and overalls have to be trendy and cool in order to feel good about yourself and your comfort level? Who said that wearing clothing that doesn’t make a statement is good for women in the long run because it’s “not about the clothes, it’s what’s in her mind that matters?” For far too long, we’ve ascribed to retail’s notion of what women want when getting dressed up. We’ve relied on universal size charts to define who we are. We let a size 6 become standard without really analyzing the true size of the female body in America or better yet the world. The media has called Kim Kadarshain a terrorist in the Middle East for promoting body positive sexuality amongst its youth, and that’s bogus! We forgot about the power of being bootylicious. And now, there’s a style revolution taking place right now, right here, in this zine, and all over the internet. Women are going crazy over bodycon dresses, skirts, and obsessing over how to get away with wearing sheer in the workplace. The mirror selfie is becoming a new subtle way of saying, “yeah, I’m about that life.” Posting a selfie these days garners major hate in the comment box. People will try to bring you down because of their own insecurities with their “damn she’s a thot, she’s seeking attention,” arguments. However, what happened to being proud about what you look like without becoming a universal meme? Don’t answer that. Answer this: Are you about this life? If your answer is yes, then you’re about the life of showing off what your body looks like, how confident you are, and how that confidence impacts your daily life decisions. It’s about reverting back to corset bosy types that mirror the true essence of the female form. It’s a celebration of how far we’ve come in style and status. Just about anyone can make their own panties and sell them on Instagram and guess what people are always going to buy what is sexy because sex sells.

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SUSTAINABLE state of mind When you first meet Russian born sustainable fashion designer, Ev Bessar, her personality, dark red hair and alluring eyes captivate the entire conversation space. She’ll start rattling off her projects one after another, and at the end of every discussion, she’ll summarize what she said because her artistic tangents get lost in her Eastern European accent. As a graduate of Parson School of Design, Ev Bessar’s style is the perfect mix New York goth culture, international influences and what it means to be sustainable in the 21st century. This past May, Ev hosted a fashion and art showcase with painter Jessica De Vreeze that presented her designs through via an artistic flash mob. Dancers and and models were dressed in cut-out leather vests, knitted face masks, goat fur, and androgynous pants and dresses. It was sort of a dark performance, set right in the heart of Gotham City. Ev’s S/S 16 collection is for warriors. A variety of knitted leather tunics that could be worn as skirts, dramatic asymmetrical silhouettes are paired with leather BDSM-inspired chokers. Anyone

A lot of the materials used throughout her collections are recycled leather, fur and other “scraps” from factory houses she visits in upstate New York. Ev’s commitment to re-using and repurposing yarn, leather and other silk like material is what gives her collection a fresh take on what it means to be gothic in the age of Tumblr. Each piece is moveable, easy to wear and easy to transition from a night to day outfit. Her inspiration comes from her Russian heritage mixed with her ability to create badass looks for unequivocally strong people with a city state of mind. Anyone who dares to wear Ev Bessar will feel powerful. Her work centers around this feeling, as red paint make a debut in her spring collection like violent brush strokes splashed on a one-shoulder cotton dress and unisex light tunic. Not to mention, all of her clothes are unisex. Her passion for and technique of knitting garments into modern designs is what draws in the dangerous shopper. On a hanger, a Ev Bessar piece may not look like anything at all. But once on a body, it transforms into something that can’t be duplicated.

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HOW TO GO GLAMPING IN SAG HARBOR Search #myglampingstory on social to view photos from around the world. photos by: devin c. brewster

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Get on google and type in www.glampinghub.com to book a stay at Forever Bungalows. From Manhattan, board the Hampton Jitney on 86th and Second Avenue to travel three hours to the tip of Long Island, arriving at a town called Sag Harbor. The bus ride will be smooth and relaxing as an exotic girl with an accent will come around a few times to offer snacks, bottled water, and The Wall Street Journal for your pleasure. The weather will be around 70 degrees and sunny with clear skies when the bus finally pulls up to the center of town, just a few yards from the Marina. Hail a weird cab ride ten minutes to Forever Bungalows, your official camping site for the night. Stop by the front desk to get all your glamping essentials: a key to your bungalow and beach towels. Fill up your water bottle at the front desk, because it’s camping and you don’t have a kitchen. Inquire about food and other necessities, because it’s camping and the nearest gas station is a few miles away, plus if you don’t have a car, you’ll probably have to walk or take an expensive cab ride. Drop your luggage off in your room, which will be comfortable without the mini bar. Change into your bathing suit and sneakers because the next thing on your agenda will be the secret beach. Pack your beach bag with sunscreen, a bottle of wine, plastic cups, snacks, sunscreen, a float and speakers to play music. Oh and don’t forget a towel! Ask the front desk to draw you a map to the beach and help access the bikes from the shed. This two mile bike ride consists of dirt, uphill paths, bumpy roads and messy hiking trails. Watch out for golf balls when you ride through the Sag Harbor Golf Club and other animals crossing. Arrive at secret beach about ten minutes later. The scenery will change from a forest to an opening view of the bay. You just know you’re at this Secret Beach when you see an opening to get on the beach. Pick a spot. It will mostly likely be you and your lover. For fearless beach goers, swim up to the sand dunes, located about 200 yards from the beach. Hang out until the sunset, but leave before night falls because there are no lights back to your bungalow. Change for dinner , light a fire and grill food or walk/drive two miles to the nearest restaurant. Watch TV or surf the net until you fall asleep in a comfortable bed. Wake up and head to the front desk with your Forever Bungalow mug for coffee or tea, and start the day at the beach, again.

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SUSTAINABLE Kelsea Ballerini STATE OF MIND designer ev bessar’s firebird

When you first meet Russian born sustainable fashion designer, Ev Bessar, her personality, dark red hair and alluring eyes captivate the entire conversation space. She’ll start rattling off her projects one after another, and at the end of every discussion, she’ll summarize what she said because some of her thoughts get lost in her Eastern European accent. That’s sort of how it went down when we met at Parlor Social Club in Soho, and connected online through Facebook. After many invitations to her events that center around raising money for children with cancer in Africa, I was drawn to her authenticity and cultural take on fashion. As a graduate of Parsons School of Design, Ev Bessar’s designs are the perfect mix of Eastern European goth culture nd what it means to be sustainable in the 21st century. Ev hosted a fashion and art showcase with painter Jessica De Vreeze that included vogueing

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VS: How was your winter? Are you excited for summer? KB:Winter was long but great! I’m super excited to tour amphitheaters this summer and flash mob. Dancers and models were spendinacut-out lot of time outside. dressed leather vests,Especialknitted ly doing it with Rascal Flatts! What face masks, goat fur, and androgynous brought you toItthe country pants and dresses. was sort ofmusic a dark genre? I’ve been singing performance, set right in thesince heartI was of a little girl but didn’t really know to Gotham City. Her guests, were surprised it until I started butpursue expected something outwriting of the when ordiI was 12 years old. I grew upevent in Knoxnary. Just like her clothing, the feaville, TN and was always surrounded tured many layers of artistic expression, by a southern lifestyle. It became a including, the paintings being auctioned genre &efforts, sound Ithe wasdancers, drawn off natural for fundraising Tell me about the process writthe to! photobooth, the dramatic hairofand ing “Peter Pan”? Did you learn anymakeup and of course Ev’s Fall/ Winter thing? I think this songtitled, relays a uniCollection, appropriately versal message nowadays. Heartbreak “Firebird.” doesn’t have to be one dramatic fall but ainclude lot of times two peoEv’sout, designs edgyit’s andjust versatile ple being in different places in their hats, scarves, pants, jackets and dresses, lifespeciality that don’tisline up at unique the same as her creating si-time. What advice would you give to somehlouettes out of knitting yards of yarn one going through a breakup? That from a knitting machine. A lot of the everything happens forher a reason material used throughout collec-and it just means that there’s something tions are recycled leather, fur and other betterfrom for you later.houses. I saw you covered “scraps” factory Hotline Bling for Perez Hilton Live, have you ever met Drake? No, but I would love to collaborate with him one day. I’m a huge fan! Since this is a summer zine, what’s in your beach bag? I always make sure I have a cute pair of sunnies, tinted moisturizer with SPF and a great magazine or book. Listen to Kelsea’s latest single Peter Pan on iTunes!

9

C


93

CASHVILLE this

22-year-old country pop music singer is the latest

member of taylor swift’s girl squad and we’re obsessed.

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kandace springs Sung From A Great Place words by:

Adolf Alzuphar

In 1957, Mal Waldron, a jazz musician who most often wore his mustache, beard, and uncut hair to the tune of an elegant suit and tie, first recorded a ballad that he’d written, “Soul Eyes.” The song would go on to be a Jazz classic. “Soul Eyes” is a warming narrative that takes its time at communicating a narrator’s sentiments. Like all great ballads, it romances one’s mood and nerves and affects one’s personality. Soul Eyes is also the name of 27-year-old singer Kandace Springs’s label debut. Springs is an artist on Blue Note Records, a label set on producing music that does not pander to any fashionable nihilism or hedonism. Like her label mates, she composes and interprets phenomenal compositions and not methods of moving a teenaged listener into delusional fury. Soul Eyes is an album of well researched and well-executed singing. Her voice is calm and confident in its delivery. A listener who can listen to the sounds that make up music, the parcels of a song, is Soul Eyes’s ideal listener. Her album mostly features the piano. Kandace’s singing is always adorned in refined instrumentation. It is that same piano that was the ragtime piano, the jazz piano, the stride piano, the blues piano, and the R&B piano that have socialized the American soul and it’s important to keep that in mind when listening to Soul Eyes. We also hear the organ that so much of soul was known for in pleasant doses. 30


Her songs are much less brutal on the soul than what we are used to in the US today and it’s immediately apparent. Her own “Soul Eyes” is sung with towering composure. “Place To Hide” is a slow atmospheric song where we hear a beautiful multitude of instrumentation but most of all the piano. She sings us “let me be your place to hide” without gimmick. “Thought It Would Be Easier” is also slow and is an undeniable gem. There is a wonderful organ featured in the song. She sings us that “I can’t / stand it” as if to speak up for legions of women. “Fall Guy” is an incredible listen that speaks to one’s maturity and to cultured temperament. “Rain Falling” is this album’s highlight. “Novocaine Heart” is an original composition. “People wear sunglasses, in the dark” and that she’s “not taking novocaine / for my heart” to a great piano playing, and the occasional organ make this a cerebral listen that is worth one’s time. Kandace’s was born in Nashville, TN. She is still based in Nashville. Nashville was founded in 1779, in honor of Francis Nash, a hero during the American Revolutionary War. Today it is famous for its country music industry. What most outsiders have no idea about is the American living that developed in Nashville, without a strong colonial past such as New Orleans, Louisiana, or Mobile, Alabama, and so open to improvisational living. Perhaps that’s the answer to what a Jazz musician is doing in a city known for country music. 31


It is there that her heart and mind were first cultured, or where she received a sentimental education. In speaking to her, I was let into the formative experiences that shaped her personality and music. I asked about how the city shaped her and sort of brushed it aside to get to the truth about her personal experience. The image that comes most to mind when thinking about the sentimental education of a female singer who is of African descent is a mother brushing her hair both elegantly and precisely as if to set the tone that her child will live by. She even told Allure magazine that “When I was younger, my mom had no idea how to work with my thick, coarse curls so she would try to brush them out every morning. It only made them dull and frizzy. One time, my hair was so knotted that the handle of the brush actually snapped off. That’s when I started figuring out what you should and shouldn’t do with curls—like brush them.” It as if to tell this child, as she brushes her hair, that it’s important to live this life as a certain woman or else you will pay the consequences. It is how girls of African descent learn to be alone with heritage and tradition and to be the color of their skin, the texture of their hair, the elegance in their movements, that they will soon sit, stand, parade, and graduate. It is where they learn to feel and to perform life. Her formative experiences had to do with her father. I did not ask about her mother. Her father, Scat Springs, is a musician. Growing up, he got his daughter lessons with the Wooten brothers, including Victor Wooten, the great bass player. The Wooten brothers lived in Nashville. One day, growing up, an old lady had fallen into hard times and her piano was going to get thrown out. Her father decided to buy the piano and to bring it home. Her first instinct was to play “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano. Her father’s was not. He played his daughter vernacular American music, the music of soul and spirit. She told me all of this in laughter youth and with heart. This is an album of classical, traditional, American music, a commercial genre that doesn’t exist but should. In other words, its songs are traditional ways of expressing one’s self in the US. Any tradition transmits something of symbolic value to future generations. In this case, we hear the all important piano but also the guiding vocals that have traversed American society and suggested. The very first recording of “Soul Eyes” also included balladeer and saxophone extraordinaire John Coltrane. He would have been glad to hear this album were he still alive and to know that faith in a ballad he loved has led to a wonderful album, Soul Eyes. Pre-order and Listen to Kandace Springs’ debut album, SOUL EYES, on itunes.

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2


26 #DarwinConfessions Charles

darwin toured the galapagos islands at age

26

and conceived the

theory of evolution. follow the hashtag on twitter to discover melissa’s own in-real

time experiences with the islands and an enchanted tropical rainforest in Ecuador.

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Sanity Addiction Pt. 1

words by: melissa henderson

The dead of winter on a Tuesday night in New York City will always give me better vibes than a weekend in the Caribbean. Gotham City is always alive and up to something. The buses are always in rotation. The lights are always on in the cabs. When it’s too late to take the subway, but you walk into a subway car anyway and see a kid with his or her parent looking as tired as you, then you’re like, “okay, this really is the city that never sleeps”. Up until that realization, I was dreading going out. I had my own drama and I really wish I could say that the past two years had been nothing but a dream, but it was all my reality. My mother had just left my hotel room. I smoked my third spliff of the day and everything seemed too cloudy. Plus, I was tired from shopping but I still got glam for the night out that I so needed. I was strong in that sense. Nothing could break me. 34


n

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I grabbed my keycard off the dresser and proceeded to the Standard Hotel’s elevator in my favorite Michael Kors black patent leather biker boots and T by Alexander Wang classic jersey mini dress. I was in Manhattan for a week and experienced the whole weather wheel. First it was raining, then it was sunny and warm and then gloomy again. Tonight, it was abnormally mild, so I decided to walk across 14th street to catch the C train on Eighth Avenue downtown to Soho. I was going to meet Rachel, my best friend from the fashion industry, for a drink at the Mondrian Hotel’s bar. As soon as I got to the subway platform and peered down the tunnel, I saw the train less than a stop away. “Yasssss” I said audibly. Right on time. I didn’t want to be super-late, but fashionably late was acceptable. Besides, I was in NYC with Jacob, my rapper boyfriend and PR client. We had a huge meeting at the label he’s signed to and I was planning on using the extra time to meet business associates over dinner at my favorite restaurants and bars. In general, I knew not to mix business with pleasure but Jacob’s my sweetie and getting money together is the ultimate relationship goals in this day of the social media celebrity. However, this sporadic girl’s night out was well needed with Rachel. Jacob and I were having major problems and I needed a night off. We got into a major fight that almost drove me to hurt myself. Jacob was supposed to be at the studio with a Grammy winning producer all night, so it was the perfect night to hang out with friends to take my mind off my life. I hadn’t been to New York in a while and the fact that it was such a beautiful night, I knew that we would get into some honest trouble. When I arrived to the Mondrian, Rachel was already at the bar sipping her first vodka martini. “Sorry, girl! I needed this drink” she says taking a sip of her martini as she proceeds to explain. “Work has been crazy! We go to print on our music issue in two days and I still don’t have anything about Sapphire- she’s like this new hit singer who has over three million plays on Soundcloud.” Rachel says all in one breath. Rachel just got promoted to a director position at a high fashion magazine. It was a good time for both of us in our careers. We met when we were both interning at Teen Vogue around ten years ago. Now, as career-driven women in our late twenties, we knew that people were finally starting to see the fruits and benefits of our domination. “No worries.” I said as I signaled the bartender over to our side of the bar to order a drink. Two martinis in and we were going on and on about work-related drama that centered on the fact that a lot of people in our industry have shitty business ethics. 36


“….Plus, I had to get out of there. You know Jessica and Sam are dating now.” Rachel says casually. “You’re kidding! She couldn’t find a man on Tinder? “ I said. “I wish I was. The fur closet hasn’t been the same since! And everyone in the office knows, you know!” Rachel spills this tea like it’s 2 day old news in a Gossip Magazine. I mean I guess we were in our own exclusive gossip vortex. “So you mean to tell me she’s fucking a gay man?” I needed confirmation. “Listen...It may be the best relationship to have in this fucking city and that’s what toys are for! So whatever! Don’t be jealous.” “Wow. Has everyone at that glossy lost their damn mind? A lot has changed since I stopped swiping my key card at 16 Times Sq.” I said as I took the last sip of my vodka. The scandalous conversations continued. Rachel wasn’t dating anyone serious and didn’t have her own relationship drama to spill so I had to tell Rachel about how dishonest Jacob had been on tour with groupies, the text messages, the DMs on Instagram (since I had access to his social media channels), and the late night phone calls that he didn’t want to pick up. I hated that I was feeling this way, but Rachel was semi non-judgmental. She knew how much time I devoted to the relationship and career and why it was so hard for me to leave. Of course, I held back from telling her the full story. It was embarrassing but not as embarrassing as dating a gay man when you’re supposed to be all about getting dicked down. I had to save face. I couldn’t be truly open to a friend; she would chew me to pieces while casually swiping left on an online dating app. I told her what was on the surface and let her know that I wasn’t abusing alcohol that night, that we were each other’s saviors, that we were looking to only dance with straight tall light -skinned guys with good hair tonight. Rachel nodded in agreement. We grabbed our cheap clutches, we headed to our favorite spot in Chinatown, for more cocktails and dirty dancing. I greeted the doorman with a big hug and headed straight to the bathroom to do a line off my keys. My wounds were still open that night and I knew that through time and dancing with strangers, that they would heal. It was well past 3am when I made my way back to The Standard. But when I arrived, Jacob was standing outside of my door. 37


“What are you doing here?!” I shouted. “Why can’t you understand I can’t deal with this shit anymore?” In that moment, drunk and enraged, I grabbed some of my things from the hotel room’s bathroom (my La Prairie Dry Oil, sweaty silk pajamas and toothbrush) and ran towards the elevator, pushing the button frantically, hoping the doors would open sooner before Jacob would appear behind me. I wanted out. I knew we were both faded, and flashbacks of the comments made by the internet bullies swept through my mind. My heart raced. “Why don’t you go back to Kim in Atlanta?” I screamed at him down the hall. “I’ve never seen her in my life, Melissa!” He screamed back. “Do I look that stupid to you?!” “Can you just hear me out!?” Jacob said as he reached to touch my face. “We talked about this!” I shouted. “I’m just trying to make things right.” He responded with glassy eyes. I knew he was trying to lure me into bed to possibly mend what he had broken. But I was done. He was on one. “Don’t touch me.” I said as I smacked his hand out of my space at the same time the elevator doors finally opened. I scurried onto the elevator barefoot with my biker boots in my hand, my black purse and tote bag of things swinging off my left arm, trying to swat loose hair from my face behind my ears with my right. Mascara started to sting the corners of my eyes. I knew I looked good even in my consistent state of dispair. Jacob watched me disappear as the elevator doors closed in his face. At that moment, the tears that were gathering in my eyes, ran down my cheeks. They didn’t stop and the more I thought about what I’ve had to deal with during the past few years, the revenge porn, the rape shit, the cheating and the lies, they came down like cold New York rain in the dead of winter. I knew it had to be over. I had to end the relationship, but I was scared for my career deep down in my heart. Who was I really without my Jacob? ******** Let me take a few steps back. Our relationship wasn’t always this chaotic. A few years ago, when we first got together during Summer 2013, we were inseparable. 38


I was on high vibes. Jacob and I first met at his (now) label’s release party at some gallery on the Lower East Side of New York for another musician Jacob was ghostwriting song lyrics for while struggling to pay his rent and jumpstart his music career. A career in music really only pays if you have a label’s budget and keep booking shows. I was standing alone in an open corner of a crowded gallery. I was wearing a tight little blue dress that I purchased on sale at Barney’s that I paired with a pair of black heels from ShopChicGirls.com. It was the beginning of the summer and my hair was falling to the side, the reddish color had turned it to blond streaks by July. I was meeting Rachel who was actually writing about the album release party. I was just there. There to possibly find another story to write about, there to meet a guy because when we took shots at the bar beforehand I was anxious because I knew I was going to meet the love of my life. As always, the night I met Jacob I was faded. My other colleague slash friend, Alexis, left me early (as per usual) because she was tired and had a deadline the next morning. So I stayed because I knew Rachel was pulling up with some of her editor friends, and I didn’t feel like going back home. And well, I needed to make connections to keep my career in constant rotation. So when Alexis left me to go tend to her deadline, I casually posted up in a spot next to a blue painting to wait for Rachel and her mean fashion girl squad. Little did I know that this would be the start of my year-long blue period. That night, it was open bar and a Sachi* had just walked past me with a smile and I wanted so badly to touch her big red hair. This was before she got together with other pop stars and was serving as big sister to a *Lee Smith on a track recently posted on SoundCloud. I was super excited for Sachi, even though we never really met. I secretly wanted to be her publicist, but I knew one of those other fashion publicists who didn’t know shit about R&B would represent her because of their fashion magazine connections. However, we knew each other’s faces because black women in this industry always peep other black women. For that reason of becoming a familiar face, I stayed for the album release party. And that’s when I first caught a glimpse of Jacob. He was leaning seductively against the wall with a cocktail straw in his mouth. His hair was pulled into a sloppy dreaded man bun, he was rocking the most casually rich hipster outfit ever: distressed Saint Laurent jeans with a wrinkled tee shirt and white vans. I stared in awe, and kept staring until Rachel had to wave her henna painted hand in my face. “Hello!” She said with a drink already in her hand from the open vodka bar. But I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. Finally, Jacob came up to me and introduced himself as Jacob Vargas. *Name has been changes for legal reasons.

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I don’t remember what I said to Jacob, but we exchanged numbers within minutes. He told me he was going to the bathroom and to stay close, but I disappeared. I left the party with a photographer because I was too drunk and broke to go home alone. That night, I texted Jacob. “Nice to meet you.” I couldn’t get him out of my head. He texted me back right away. I smiled because that was a good sign to me. Days later, the texting never seized to come through my phone like running water. “Good Morning Sexy” he’d text me every morning. “Good Morning Sunshine,” I’d respond. By the end of August 2013, we were officially a couple. But at the time we started dating my life was in shambles even though I was trying so hard to keep it together, I couldn’t find a steady job to save my life and was surviving off of freelance PR gigs I was getting from a lifestyle agency in Tempe, Arizona. I was barely making my rent with my writing money, so I had to play devil’s advocate. I hated being on unemployment while trying to live this fancy, alluring lifestyle, but I had to do what I had to do. Working as a part-time publicist was the right move because it didn’t make me feel so guilty about chasing a superficial dream. Going back home, back to Philly, wasn’t an option and I knew my worth. Asking people for money was out of the question. When I decided to move from writing editorials to accepting more Public Relations projects, I knew it would bring me more cash because all my friends were writers who were loyal to my word and my pitches. They were basically writing stuff for me because they knew I needed the money. And when I started dating Jacob, I started to feel better about myself and that’s when strange things started to happen to me. One afternoon, I decided to go running in Central Park before finally going on my first date with Jacob. On my way back to my apartment, I decided to check my mailbox as a weekly routine. It was full of letters, small parcels and postcards from my friends who were wanderlusting, like dating kiwis and surfing in New Zealand. “Bill, Bill, Promotion, Art Intuition promo…A gift - wait a minute,” I said audibly in my apartment building’s hallway. Was I reading this correctly? “A special gift just for Melissa.” I read aloud in my apartment hallway. The envelope was this creamy black matte with a little weight. My name and address was printed in gold foil. I could tell there was definitely some good things waiting to be read. So I sat down on the stairs leading to my apartment and ripped open the letter to reveal something that only happens once in a fashion girl’s lifetime. 40


Dear Melissa Henderson, You have been selected for a once in a violet moon opportunity. We can’t express how much we are honored to have you as our number one supporter of Shop Chic Girls Online dot com. We’d love to gift you with a credit for $14, 250.00 to shop all the new collections in our online store. We now carry the world’s most beloved designers, including GUCCI, PRADA, YSL and Hermes. We’re delighted to have you as one of our most-valued and fashionable customers since 2002. The brand has transformed over the years to reflect its customers, and your style has always been on our mood board. You are devastatingly chic as fuck, as proof from your amazing Instagram feed and style shots in the New York Society Columns! We invite you to use promo code: devastatingly chic to access the funds. Another invitation to our first store opening in China to follow in a few weeks. We hope you can join us for the influencer trip of a lifetime. Fashionably Yours, The tribe at www.ShopChicGirls.com

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The most amazing dream in online shopping history had finally come true and it wasn’t a prank. I mean, I’ve heard of people getting an item for free or reduced priced, but credit in the mail? The universe was definitely in my favor for real! I immediately logged onto the Shop Chic Girls app, navigated to the payment settings, then typed in the promo code devastatingly chic, and like a drawer full of quality silk scarves fourteen thousand dollars appeared in my ShopChicGirls account! I don’t remember what I was planning to do after my run, but that was the best night of my life. To say the least, I was in online shopping heaven, with free shipping at that! I requested drone shipping so that everything got here somewhere between binge watching ten episodes of Real Housewives of Atlanta and when it was time to meet Jacob for our first date. Never mind, if my rent wasn’t paid in full yet, my whole apartment was dancing the designer tune. At parties that season, I was light years away in the fashion game. Fast forward two years later, my clothes were still shitting on the fashion crowd at networking events. Anyway back to me and Jacob, after weeks of texting, we were finally going to meet each other and I was still high as fuck off of my online shopping spree. I wanted him even though I only saw him one time for a few minutes at the album release party. Of course we exchanged pictures and a few offers to dates ensued over three weeks, but they were missed connections. We were both busy. For our first day, Jacob casually invited me to some 2Chains event at a secret Warehouse space in Brooklyn. I set myself up to believe I wasn’t going because I was in a money making mindset, but winning designer clothes in the mail put me in a good mood. I was officially in high vibes. So, I hailed an Uber to meet him. Thirty minutes later, my Uber driver pulled up to a dark street somewhere in the throes of Brooklyn. “You sure this is the place?” I asked. “Yes. 2345 Willoughby Avenue.” He responded. I got out and walked up to a steel door. I thought it would be a list and a doorman but it was none of what I was expecting. It was Brooklyn; everything’s sketchy. I texted Jacob to let him know that I arrived. “Is this the 2Chains event?” I asked some hipster kid smoking outside the entrance. “Yea, but you’re late, shorty. Scrappy is about to go on next.” He said to me between drags of his cigarette. 42


“Thanks,” I said walking through the door of the sketchy warehouse. I should have asked a friend to go, I thought. But it was too late. I had to commit. By the way, I took a few shots of whiskey in the Uber to get me through all my nervous excitement. I was going to meet my prince charming finally!! I was wearing black strappy heels, light washed cut-off jeans, and cropped ruffled cotton-satin top from a designer I couldn’t pronounce. I opened another door in the dark short hallway that guided me to the music and people. All I could see in front of me was red lights. The room reeked of cigarette smoke and weed. I instantly sensed Jacob and his shadow coming closer towards me. I could barely see him, but I could feel his energy. We embraced, timidly. After all, it was only our second physical meeting. Technically, this was a date in my eyes. A very non-traditional date, but a date nonetheless. He handed me a drink, and whispered “you smell good” in my ear. There in a dirty warehouse I melted and started to cream in my silk panties. Then he kissed me on the cheek and my body language instantly shifted. My chest fell slightly into his, my nose grazed his cheek, our breaths intertwined, and he smelled pretty good himself, as his head shifted, planting another gentle kiss on my lips. I caught it, breathing everything in. I perched my lips for more, but it was over as soon as I blinked open my eyes. “That’s just a taste” he appeared to be saying as the music glared in the red-lighted warehouse. My heart beat faster, I started to sweat as I took his hand to follow him back into the only lighted area. That night, we couldn’t wait. I wanted him and he knew it. On the way home in an Uber, we made out. I invited him in for one more drink, even though we didn’t need another. It was my ploy to get his body weight right where I could feel it the most. I opened the door, grabbed him by his belt loops and led him to my bed. A few weeks later, on a Tuesday afternoon, he ask me to come to the Hamptons for a weekend on Shelter Island. I happily said yes. ********* Before I knew it, the summer that I met Jacob in was over, and winter was settling into its dark cold mood. It seemed like I’d been with Jacob for a lifetime. However, it was only a few months. Yet, I realized I was chasing Jacob too much at that point. He was gaining so much success for his beats and verses for upcoming trap artists in Atlanta and with a credit on some of Atlanta’s hottest trap rapper albums. He was buzzing as an up-and-coming producer in blogs and magazines like XXL Magazine and Rap Radar. We’d talk about our dreams and goals late at night as I fell asleep on his chest. I helped him form a group of managers and producers and other important 43


people in the industry that I happened to know from my days in college, when I was hanging out with my Morehouse babes who I knew from my hometown in Philly. I helped him with his marketing material since I knew writers at huge music publications that were always looking for content they didn’t have to get off their ass to find. He would write songs about me and then invite me to the studio to listen. “Babe, come to the studio.” Jacob would text me. I’d come within the hour and the turnup would begin. I’d roll up a blunt or load up some dab oil in my favorite vape, and smoke until my vision became too hazy. Then Jacob would just serenade me. One song note at a time. In a moment I probably will never forget, he took my hands and led me into the recording booth. “Do you trust, me?” Jacob asked me. “With all my heart.” I responded. He pulled me closer. “Do you trust me,” he repeated as he held me with aggressive passion. “Yes.” I said holding my breath. “Would you love me to the moon?” “I’d love you to Pluto” I responded. He grabbed me closer and kissed me, squeezing my ass, lifting me up by my hips as I wrapped my legs around him. I lifted my dress to reveal my bare ass. I felt his manhood throbbing on my thighs as I unzipped his jeans and released it. Still holding me, I felt his hot skin touch mine as he penetrated me, leaning over to the studio wall to reach deeper inside me. I grinded closer even though there was no more room left. The booth became steamy, as the sound of our breaths was in sync. We ended up on the floor, as he licked my wet sex clean. “Your little cunt is so beautiful” he said, looking up to me as he patted my sex like a baby’s butt. I stared seductively into his eyes, rubbing my hard nipples, feeling the softness, appreciating the moment, as my stomach got tighter, I flexed my toes, until I finally found my release. We fell asleep on the studio floor that night, awakening to the sound producer’s loud fart. The sound was on record the whole time. ********* 44


Winters in New York are brutal. Jacob knew how depressed I always became in these months, so studio visits were the only thing that could make me truly happy. We loved spending time with each other when we weren’t always traveling to music events like SXSW for exposure. It was through this process that we became deep lovers. It took two years for the both of us to get our shit together. Quitting writing to work in public relations was painful but it was crucial to our plan as a couple wanting to move to Los Angeles full time. When we finally did move a year after dating, it was Jacob’s record deal with Atlantic Records that was the driving force. Up until I left the airport, I had been struggling so much, but I didn’t show it to any of my associates. My pride was too strong. On the plane ride to Los Angeles, I cried when the plane landed. I knew my life was going to be better. No more killing roaches in the kitchen, listening to dogs bark endlessly in the alleyway, no more walking home at night because I couldn’t afford a cab. I would finally be able to buy the Yves Saint Laurent logo bag I had always dreamt about since I was in high school. We first set up our house in Echo Park, a developing area in Los Angeles. We didn’t have to ball to know that we finally made it. But then again. Life’s never that easy. When Jacob and I moved to Los Angeles, that was the downfall of our relationship. The palm tree lifestyle and sunny weather made room for lots of shady dealings. I tried to keep my sanity by eating healthy and embracing going on hikes with a friend from college, and by going to the beach more, but that didn’t stop me from indulging in the LA club life. 1Oak was my gateway drug. Jacob and I were both guilty of partying with other people and stopped communicating about each other’s daily whereabouts because we lived together. I would host meetings at the Label and treat him like a regular on staff employee on nights he wouldn’t come home because he was “at the studio.” We shared some great times at the studio, but that was also becoming a place for his slopping ass friends to trip up on groupie ordeals. We tried to follow date night every Saturday but there was always something else going on. We were struggling with that work-life balance even though we were essentially in charge of each other’s daily schedules. My responsibilities with the label as Director of Public Relations for the hip hop division had increased tremendously. I was finally making a six figure salary. It was all a dream. It happened all so fast. At one point we were living in Echo Park, then we got a place in the Marina Del Rey, and I just remember waking up every morning to the sight of boats and the sound of seals. Meanwhile, Jacob was traveling to Atlanta a lot to record with some of the best producers in preparation for his upcoming EP. This is when I began to feel the distance brewing by the week. I rarely met the people he was working with; he always had to schedule me in to facetime. 45


“Hey baby!” as a took a drag of my vape. “Hey sexy. You look tasty.” Jacob would say. “Screenshot this.” I adjusted my pose and exhaled from my vape. That was on a good facetime call. More than often, I’d called his phone, he wouldn’t answer. This is where separation happened and I didn’t like it one bit! After all, we started out as stargazed lovers but Jacob quickly transformed into a savage. Being on tour with an artist is thrilling. I was in charge of scheduling interviews at every local radio station in the city we played. I remember that we were touring in Europe. It was Jacob’s first tour abroad with the intention of building a fanbase. We stopped in O Porto, Portugal to play a gig at Plano B, one the best clubs in Portugal and in the world for that matter. The club was so full that night. People were waiting outside to get in. “Plano B, I’m coming for you tonight.Pull Up.” Jacob’s tweet read. By the next hour, that tweet had garnered over 3,000 retweets and hundreds of comments from excited portuguese fans. His social media fame was building up and the engagement was a key indicator.. At that point, Jacob had more than a 200,000 followers on Instagram and his Twitter was always the center of conversation for his fans, so it was amazing to see people show up for his gigs. After that show, we danced all night. I put my hands on a wall. “Take me” I whispered to Jacob as he grinded slowly up against my ass to some reggae song, slipping his hand under my skirt, caressing my inner thighs, as he moved my panties over to touch my bare skin. We got closer. I lifted my leg a little, and my head dropped to his chest, as two fingers slipped right into my wet sex, it didn’t take 2 minutes before I climaxed right on the dance floor. My sex dripped down my legs to my ankles as I turned around to devour him with a thousand little kisses and lick his finger clean. We went there. It didn’t matter where or who was watching. Before shows, we needed it. After shows, I wanted him even more, as he always glanced to the side of the stage to look me in the eyes as he sang lyrics he wrote for me in bed or in the studio. My pussy throbbed when I knew he was going to pull up to our house in Los Angeles after days of not seeing him. *********** The first strike was on Instagram. I threatened to break up with him. Actually, I did break up with him over email because he went off on his ex. 46


From: Melissa Gmail To: Jacob Vargas Gmail Subject: Moving Forward Body: I can’t with this anymore. I’ll make arrangements to get your shit out of my space. I haven’t met any of your producers in Atlanta, we rarely go out, and you’ve been savagely drinking and doing you lately. Those things combined don’t look good for our future. So I’m removing myself from this story. Effective immediately. Love you but I need to love myself. xxM End of email. Our relationship was getting weirder by the day. Email served as our main source of communicating when we were in a fight. We thought about it as serious business because our relationship was business. But when Jacob went crazy on his ex, who was super basic compared to me, things weren’t the same since. Actually, correction: he went slightly insane. Apparently, the his ex was slandering his name to all his colleagues at the Label even though I never heard anything suspicious. This bitch wasn’t even industry and she managed to infiltrate and pretty much ruin any hope of us.. When he went crazy, he had like five hundred thousand followers on his social channels at the when he posted a video of her twerking in a thong in a hotel room. The video was hard to watch, because clearly it had been something private that she may have shared with him a few years of my existence in his life. After he posted the video of her seductively twerking, he tagged her work place and her organizations to get back at her. When I saw that, I was confused and called Jason as soon as I could. People were already reposting it, but it instantly put a bad taste in my mouth. At the very least it was a serious red flag and a PR crisis. “Ughhh, why aren’t you picking up!” I screamed to myself. Of course he wasn’t going to pick up, he was in the middle of some really fuckboy behavior. “Are you okay?” I texted Jacob when I saw a video. I didn’t want to totally freak out via text because I needed to get to the bottom of it. “Nah, man.” Jacob texted. “I’m pissed off! That bitched slandered my name. I need some time to myself, Melissa.” “Excuse me?!” I texted.

47


“You have some salacious video on your instagram account, broadcasting your shit to the entire world and you want me to be okay with that as your girlfriend- the woman that you love, and your publicist? I’m ordering you to TAKE THAT FUCKING VIDEO DOWN NOW!“ After that text, Jacob stopped responding to me. Then the label called and here I was in deep doo doo because my client, my boyfriend, was acting out again, on the internet. “Is she coming for me?” I asked in a text a few hours later when I was in sitting down, at our apartment. Jacob, was nowhere to be found as per usual. “Nah, I want to leave you out of it sexy.” He responded. But I didn’t want to be left out of it. How could I be left out of something so crazy it baffled me? Why did Jacob think that posting a video of his ex on social media okay? Eventually, after hours of communicating to the blogs and TMZ, we managed to get the video taken offline. It wasn’t right. The poor girl was a victim. At the end of the day, it was intrusive and an invasion of privacy. Meanwhile, Jacob took an erratic flight to Miami to file a “restraining order” on his ex (because she lived there), and I wasn’t able to reach him for hours, again. I called Rachel to bitch at her instead but she made me feel even worse with her intelligent sex talk. “Melissa, that’s Revenge Porn and that’s illegal.” She said to me over the phone. “What?! Revenge porn? What is that? Who’s monitoring the report button on Instagram anyways!?” “It’s when you post sexually-oriented content on the internet about someone else to get revenge on them. I don’t really know any of the staff at Facebook. “Um okay! So What am I going to tell the label now? This is horrible. “ I responded. “Are you going to stay with him? That’s the most important question.” Rachel kept asking all the questions that I had no answers to at that point. Not only was my boyfriend cheating but he was also a misogynistic idiot and I’m suppose to be a feminist! I didn’t know what to think. I felt sorry for his ex in that instant. I wondered if she was dealing with this shit at her workplace as a black woman whose ex put her ass on the internet. She wasn’t necessarily a thot, so it must have been shocking and embarrassing in some way. •Read Part 2 on www.violetsummerzine.com • 48


Black Birds In the calm sunny afternoon between days of gloomy weather and rain, a group of black birds, black hawks maybe, paid me a visit with a message. They perched on dangling tree branches outside of my bedroom window for a few moments, then in unison, flew away into the Harlem skies. “”whoooawwwkk “ I heard several of them make the sound that black hawks make that made me gather my attention from my Mac Book Air and go look outside my window. They were huge black birds perched less than a few yards from me. I quietly observed them for a few seconds. Birds this beautiful don’t usually come visit me. That week, I was feeling tired and overused, thirty for new ideas. The site of them was the only thing that was intriguing to me, but they didn’t last long. Just like everything else. Their beady black eyes stared me down, as their bodies opened up their longs wings, and flew away. Black birds hanging out by my bedroom window for a few moments were as eerily symbolical to the pair of black wings hanging from my bedroom wall as decoration, leftovers from last Halloween. There’s been points in my life where birds have appeared out of nowhere and without any explanation as to how exactly they could have gotten there. Like the bird, I found hiding in my childhood bedroom in Philadelphia one sunny afternoon. “Whooo” I heard it say. “Omg,” I said to myself. “Is there a bird in my ceiling?” Low and behold, there was a bird stuck in the space between the dilapidated bedroom tiles of my ceiling and room structure. My grandmother, Violet Holmes, in which this zine is named after, died around the time, and so I attributed that mystical occurrence to her physical life’s end. Now, as I contemplate the group of black hawks outside my window on the eve of May, I knew they must be connected to something. Blackhawks teach us to be more observant, more aware of the self and aware of one’s talents or gifts. Since these hawks were talking amongst themselves, they were most likely trying to get my attention. How many of us have a habit of being so into ourselves we forget to look at the bigger picture? Stay woke and be kind to yourself. 49


Violet summer zine, Issue 2 is presented by earl ross & DABSOLUTE The Creative Team lead writer: Melissa Henderson @melspainn Art Director: Nicole Cimmarusti @nickcimm Illustrator: Deanna First @deannafirst_ Photographer: Devin Brewster @devinbrewster Social Media: Malea Thomas Copy Editor: Hiba @hibitta music critic: @alzuphar Special Thanks to: Nanny & Poppy (Violet’s children) morgan sweetie & genail honey Fashion Nova @fashionnova Hard Candy Makeup @hardcandy ASOS US @asos_us Adriana Coleman @adriana.celine Becky Akinyode, Violet Summer Stylist @myenglishdiary on weheartit.com Kelsea ballerini, Black River Entertainment www.GlampingHub.com @glampinghub Blue Note Records @bluenoterecords Duncan & Justin (Kilo’s Management Team)

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*Writer’s note: this has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears. don’t ask questions; later.

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