St. Pablo Tour stops in Grand Rapids

Considering I haven’t been to a concert since, B2K was a thing. Going to the St. Pablo
Tour was another great experience for 2016. I was able to see why people pay the big bucks for the closer seats, although my seats were just as great. The concert took place in the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI., where the streets flooded with people from all over West Michigan to experience Mr. West and his hovering stage.

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Kanye hit the platform at 9:21p.m., and the crowd went crazy. I’ll be honest, I enjoy Kanye as an artist and producer, but I really wasn’t a die hard fan–until now. The energy in that arena was amazing, I enjoyed every bit of it.

He performed several hits like, Jesus Walks, FourFive Seconds, Can’t Tell Me Nothing and several songs from Life of Pablo, obviously. Opening  with Father Stretch My Hands.

As I said before, I hadn’t been to a concert since watching Omarion glide across the stage at Joe Louis Arena, or maybe it was Lloyd…I’m not sure, but it has been a while. Of course, me being “Jill the camera lady” I wanted to capture so many great moments, for this post specifically. I had my phone out the entire time, recording and taking pictures.

I joked about how the set up and lighting made me feel like I was standing in the middle of Zion in the Matrix movie, because that’s exactly how it felt. The yellow lights gave it a real ambient touch. Listening to the crowd sing all the lyrics as if they were on stage performing. Needless-to-say, I had a ball and I need to learn more Yeezy songs new and old.

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 Follow me on Instagram @j.levaeepr and Twitter @jlevaee

Women of Color Wednesday: Brittany Wright

When I hear the name Brittany Wright, three words instantly come to mind: driven, goal-oriented, motivated, confident, fearless, and bold.ae8923_1505148ae0aa4a0c9d8db23ac62a27c9

Okay, that was way more than three words, but three words just aren’t enough to describe all the Black Girl Magic this girl possesses.

Wright, a native of “the dirty mitten” was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. Upon graduating from the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy in 2011, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Columbia College Chicago in the Spring of 2015. She is currently one semester away from completing her Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication with a prospected graduation date of December 16, 2016. She won’t stop there. A Ph.D. in African American Studies is on deck!

Not only is Wright an educated Black woman, but she is also multitalented. “I am so many things, and the majority of which I am not paid for monetarily,” she said. Professionally, Wright is a Media Associate at an international public relations agency where she currently services the clients Walmart and Tylenol. Additionally, Wright is a storyteller, aspiring freelance writer, aspiring blogger, and public speaker.

What’s even more impressive is Wright’s ability to be there for others. “I am a shoulder to cry on, someone who gives strategic advice, a voice for the voiceless and above all, my sister’s keeper.”

When asked what her life mission is, Wright said that it is simply to help others “whether that be to help people actualize their full potential, help people take their brands to the next level, or at work where I help our clients strategically reach their target. Another extension of this could be, by publicly living my truth in hopes that another brown girl, from my hometown perhaps, can see that there is more for her, that she, too, can achieve and reach her level of greatness. Or with my latest project, Bbad Bits: The Podcast Series, where I help elevate Black voices and conjure up possible solutions for Black issues. See the essence of it is still the same, it’s all about helping people. I’ve just found many ways to extend/work on that mission.”

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Yes, yes, YES! Selfless, noble, self-effacing. What every human being should be. I’m here for it.

Wright encourages other women of color to not be selfish with their talents. “There is another brown girl somewhere looking at you as the charter of territory in which they only dreamed of uncovering. Find a way to share your story and your talents, your battles and what eventually allowed for you to prevail.”

Exactly. All of us should be able to see ourselves. Visual identity and representation matters. People need to see themselves in all walks of life, not just their stereotypes. Wright is getting into a space that we hardly see: Black women succeeding in corporate America. It’s women like Brittany Wright that people need to be looking up to. Because of them, we can. I see you, Brittany. Because of you, I can!

She continued, “So often in the Black community there are those who find comfort and eliteness in being exclusive or having some knowledge that is exclusive. Now forgive me for being pro-Black, but they walk through life as if their ancestors passed down a book on how to utilize white privilege to its greatest potential. How to run businesses, how to get the most out of college and so on and so forth. There are a few of us who are passing down this information for free to those who are willing to listen, but there needs to be more of us doing that. We can’t reach a level of success and close the door behind us, but instead look back and reach out.”

Truth! That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Ava DuVernay: “If your dreams don’t include others, they’re not big enough. Include others in your dreams.” Why dream alone when you can dream with your community, with people who have similar aspirations, even with the world? Including others not only makes your dreams stronger, but it also makes them limitless.

11064273_10152709038286851_5864064407383275242_nWright also encourages other women of color to “just do!” She is a strong advocate of a small world that has so much power and meaning. “A lot of Black women and people in general count themselves out before even allowing the ‘approver’ to count them out. So what if you fail, so what if people aren’t rocking with it, so what! You will have to hit so many nos until you get to the yeses that will really turn the game around for you. Be proactive, make a plan and be meticulous by not wavering from that plan. Don’t let someone or something stop you from meeting your end goal. There are a many of people who don’t want to see you make it, but instead of taking that energy and turning it into how to prove them wrong, work on proving yourself right, because in that instance you’re all that matters!”

Preach it, sista. Count on your fingers how many times you’ve been told no, denied, try again next time, you almost had it, you’re not good enough… What number did you come up with? Now look where you are and how those nos has shaped you today. Being told no makes you better, makes you stronger. If everything came easy, you wouldn’t appreciate the process. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, the paths you’ve walked and the steps you’ve taken to reach your objective. Personally, I’d rather be strengthened by a struggle than unchanged by an easy breeze.

When asked what her greatest accomplishment is, she explained – like myself and many other people I know – that she struggled with this question quite a bit. “I even had to reach out to some of my girlfriends like, I’m stuck right now. Part of that is because I’m never content with what I have/am doing now, so I’m constantly looking towards what’s next, leaving no time to focus on the ‘successes’ and ‘accomplishments.’”

Raise your hand up high if you’re the type of person that’s never satisfied, always hungry for more, and always aiming to achieve greater! I know I’m never satisfied; I’m always aiming to do more and be more instead of appreciating what I have accomplished and been successful at. That mindset just comes from the fact that when you know that you were cut from a different cloth, you feel like you have to live up to those expectations of being unique and being the best.

She continued, “After some thought (help) though, I would have to say moving to Chicago, for multiple reasons. Before actually moving, everyone was petrified, but me, because only I could see the vision I had for myself. Prior to moving I had a laundry list of things that I wanted to accomplish here in Chicago and to my surprise, three years later I’ve blown past that list and have done things that my 19-year-old self would not have believed.FullSizeRender Also, prior to coming to Chicago is when I gave birth to bbadpr, which has served as a platform for me to inspire and create change. Bbadpr has opened me up to give workshops, speaking engagements, blogs, podcasts, freelance writing, career consulting, and more. I think for me, the biggest accomplishment was being unafraid and fearlessly conquering what I knew was meant for me.”

I can relate to this in so many ways. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you even if no one else agrees. You have to take control of your life, execute your plan, and seek to make the visions you have for yourself a reality even if no one else can see or believe them.

Through the good days, and the bad, Wright encourages herself to, “Dream into the unknown. Pray. Spend a lot of time alone, and in your thoughts. Understand who you are, what your purpose is and where you want to go. Help people, let people help you, and always remember to help yourself.”

If you’re feeling inspired and want to continue following her journey, check out Brittany Wright’s website, blog, and podcast!

Thank you, Brittany, for all that you do and all that you are. You embody everything that a Black woman should be. I’ve been looking up to you for years now. Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration for Black women like me that want to make a change and motivate others to chase their dreams. Your brilliance, wisdom, and vision for yourself is going to take you so far. I can’t wait to see all of the astounding goals that you will continue to accomplish, and never stop being the voice and the representation that women of color need.

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Game Changer: The Chalk Cap

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By Sydney B.

If you want to get ahead in the fashion game buy yourself a good hat where you can write on it, erase it , and write on it again!

The Chalk Cap is one of the dopest hat brands within the fashion industry today. These one of a kind hats allow you to express yourself daily by giving you the chance to write whatever you’d like on it. This dandy cap features a mini chalkboard surface with a small stick of chalk and a complimentary wet wipe, which grants you the chance to erase your design and start all over.

“The Chalk Cap hopes to change the apparel industry forever. Instead of, you know, people having to wear a hat that says one thing they can have one hat that says everything and express what you want! As an individual you will have true freedom of speech by writing anything that you want on your hat without anyone being at fault for it. Exercise your rights,” says Crystal Ermon, Founder of The Chalk Cap!

Crystal2Creator and Lead Designer Crystal Ermon, Chicago native, has been working in the fashion industry for seven years now. The Chalk Cap happens to be her second fashion brand. She is most known for her original clothing line Purple Vain, which is a women’s online boutique. This fashion goddess ensures that both of her brands represent fun fashion! While people are wearing her designs she not only wants them to look fabulous, but also have fun while sporting their look. Crystal plans to expand further throughout her career with the hopes of inspiring other designers to create fashions that push the envelope while changing the industry!

“When it comes to the Chalk Cap my intentions were for self-expression and to create something that would bring about change. I know that you will have some fun, entertainment, seriousness, motivation, love and laughter everyday that you wear your Chalk Cap,” says Crystal.

These self-expressive, innovative caps can be purchased at $25.00 per cap through the company’s website. Click here for more details.

Remember, The Chalk Cap is YOU! It’s an everyday representation of you!

CelebriTEA: What a time to be alive

Photo via Instagram
[Credit: Instagram]
By: Grace Latimore

Sources close to Chance the Rapper say that Chance is planning some power moves.

After he released Surf with his band, The Social Experiment, he made it clear he wasn’t afraid to do something bold. More recently he’s released dates for his “Family Matters” tour which some suspect was inspired by the baby he has on the way with longtime girlfriend. Today, Chance made history dropping six tracks on Soundcloud in a collaborative effort with Lil B.

But a close source to Chance the Rapper says he’s been in talks with major artists like Kanye West, mulling over the idea of a Chicago artist based mixtape.

Let that rest in your spirit for a moment.

I’m hoping it’s true. The surprise releases today from Lil B and Chance have me hopeful.

And his song with up and coming artist Kehlani called, The Way, is a great hit; her sultry verses against his playful lyrics guarantee you’ll have it on repeat.

It’s been a great few months for music, folks.

#Futurehive is Buzzing!

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On Friday  Future dropped his anticipated album DS2 or Dirty Sprite 2. According to everyone on social media it is fire! I’ve listened to a few tracks and I must agree. Future is so hot right now and almost everyone is a fan. Can you blame them though? Future has been dropping hit after hit. DS2 includes the track Where Ya At feat. Drake produced by Metro Boomin that was released Thursday and the deluxe version includes the popular tracks Trap N*ggas, Real Sisters, and F*ck Up Some Commas.

If the release of DS2 did not already have Futurehive going crazy enough Future announced a mini free “Salute the Fans” tour that kicks off today in ATL. Tomorrow Future will be in Chicago, the next day New York, and the tour will conclude in L.A. on Thursday.

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Have a listen to DS2 on Spotify! #Futurehive

T.I.P. Fest 2015!

[Credit: Fake Shore Drive]
[Credit: Fake Shore Drive]
By Asmaa W.

A few weeks ago Chance The Rapper announced that he was in the process of curating the first annual Teens in the Park festival in Chicago. Chance The Rapper is an artist that tries very hard to give back to his community any way that he can. In 2014 Chance was awarded Chicago’s “Outstanding Youth of the Year Award”. The plaque he was presented with by Mayor Rahm Emanuel read, “for your outstanding contributions to the youth of the state of Illinois. You have given yourself to the upward mobility of young people throughout the state of Illinois.” Chance The Do-gooder is still at it with the T.I.P. Festival for the youth!

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The festival put on by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Park District  took place yesterday afternoon in Northerly Island. The T.I.P. Fest was free for youths ages 13-24. The show was hosted by Phenom of Poetree and Malcom London. Performances from a few local artists included DLow, Logan, and DJ Chante’. The festival also hosted a few extra activities put on by the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, and Donda’s House. The real surprise was Chance bring out Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick performed “m.A.A.d city” and “i” with Chance. Those fan’s got a great free show. Chance definitely knows how to keep his fans happy! Watch Chance and Kendrick on stage below courtesy of J. Krown.

Rapper Chief Keef Dropped From Interscope Records

[Credit: Hot New HipHop]
[Credit: Hot New HipHop]
Success isn’t owned, it’s leased and rent is due everyday. Unfortunately for Chief Keef, since he couldn’t hold up on his end of the deal he no longer has to worry about paying his rent to Interscope Records.

Recently, Rapper Chief Keef was quietly dropped from his record deal with Interscope Records. Sources confirm the split happened about a week ago. Since signing with Interscope Records back in 2012, the 19-year-old rapper has given them his debut album, “Finally Rich,” and well not much else.

AllHipHop says, from an anonymous source, prior to his release Interscope allegedly began disassociating itself from the Chicago rapper after he had a series of legal cases, ranging from lawsuits to drug offenses, sprout up in 2013 and 2014.

“Keef and his people tried to keep the label accountable (once Keef moved to Los Angeles) but Interscope didn’t seem interested in dropping a new album. Keef’s team tried to have formal meetings but nothing moved,” a source says.

Tension intensified once Keef moved to LA to be closer to his label. Even after he had made efforts for a lifestyle change to escape the negativity that surrounded him in Chicago that still wasn’t enough for Interscope.

The good news is Chief Keef is keeping a positive attitude about the situation as he confirms to fans, on twitter, that he has been dropped from the label.