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Nas Collaborates With General Assembly To Launch Tech Scholarships For African-American and Latino Students

Posted On: August 27, 2015

Nasir Jones also known as Nas is joining forces with General Assembly to launch a scholarship program for African-American and Latino students, who are studying in the fields of technology.

This is not the first time Nas participated in education research, he sat on several panels with different themes from slavery, Hip Hop culture and its affect on society, the process of creating his songs and albums; and more. In 2013, Nas took the philanthropic route when Harvard University administered a scholarship program in his honor named after him called, the Nasir Jones Fellowship. The scholarship program was purposed to cultivate the power of education. Fast forward to 2015, Nas is spreading his philanthropist wing again to foster diversity in technology education and tech studies. 

General Assembly is a school for programmers and engineers in all fields of technology from: computer applications, industrial science, analyzing the mechanics and automation of cars, electronic robotics and more. Nas and General Assembly are working together to bring more African-American and Latino students into technology education. Nas' partnership involves Google, Hirepurpose and Microsoft who are all part of different scholarship programs, with various demographics and population.

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Jasmine Twitty Makes History As The Youngest Judge In South Carolina

Posted On: August 27, 2015

This was a week of milestones for Jasmine Twitty, who became the youngest judge to preside in South Carolina.

Twitty broke the internet when pictures of her being appointed and sworn in as judge hit the matrix. Jasmine is in her early twenties but she didn't let that get in the way of her becoming judge. Also Jasmine's accomplishments displayed how you can make a difference, we've read stories of nine year old starting their own companies and formulating products to benefit mankind. The picture above is an inspiring one because of the little girl in it, Jasmine Twitty is role modeling a change that needs to occur and exemplifying diversity in government, law and the judicial system; she is paving the way and opening the doors for the next generation.

Jasmine Tweety took her seat as judge for the first time and began her journey in bringing equality in South Carolina's judicial system admist racial tension and turmoil, following the church shooting that took place there. Representation matters because it produces fairness and diversifies govermental, law and judicial branches. Tweety is a member of the Upstate Network Young Professionals Board where she guides others like herself to discover their passion and succeed in their prospective careers as professionals. She is also the treasurer of the civil rights organization, the Urban League of Upstate.

Congratulations and Godspeed!

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Trey and Donovan Brown Create Diverse Emoji App Called "WeMojis"

Posted On: August 27, 2015

Technology has advanced and we are living in a digital world, with gadgets such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, social media, even books can now be downloaded and etc. Apple is one of the leading giants in the tech world and they introduced "emoji," which presented a distinguish way of expression, utilizing caricatures and cartooned pictures of animals, cars, things and etc. There are controversies with the emojis because of the lack of diversity and cultural of diversity.

Well, all of that is changing due to Trey and Donovan Brown who are brothers that created an app called "WeMojis." Trey and Donovan Brown developed the app for Apple and Androd smartphones and devices. 

WeMojis showcases the diverse culture of African-American and Latinos displaying a variety of flags from other countries, caricatures in color, sorority and fraternity hand signs, caricatures in doorags, Afro-centric turbans and more, BBQ grills, music expressions, cars like lowriders, hand daps and more. 

Trey and Donovan Brown are currently branding WeMojis to intergrate unto all platforms and acquisition worldwide into other countries and cutlures. They are also working on other projects to innovate technology and adding some more creative development to WeMojis.

The app, WeMojis is available for download and can also be acquired on Apple's app store.

 

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The New York Times Features Claudia Rankine's Article On Serena Williams Honoring Melanin Power (Black Excellence)

Posted On: August 27, 2015

Claudia Rankine is a professor, award winning poet and playwright who penned an article for The New York Times, tributing Serena Williams.

The Meaning of Serena Williams: On Tennis and Black Excellence” was published digitally via the matrix this week.

The article highlights Serena Williams' melanin beauty, power and grace; as a prominent sports figure in tennis. Claudia Rankine also expresses the historical notion Williams has made in tennis, racism in sports and overcoming it, the greatness of Black excellence; and more.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

I was moved by Serena’s positioning herself in relation to other African-Americans. A crucial component of white privilege is the idea that your accomplishments can be, have been, achieved on your own. The private clubs that housed the tennis courts remained closed to minorities well into the second half of the 20th century. Serena reminded me that in addition to being a phenomenon, she has come out of a long line of African-Americans who battled for the right to be excellent in a such a space that attached its value to its whiteness and worked overtime to keep it segregated.

Serena’s excellence comes with the ability to imagine herself achieving a new kind of history for all of us.

 

Imagine you have won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, with only four losses in your 25 appearances in the finals. Imagine that you’ve achieved two ‘‘Serena Slams’’ (four consecutive Slams in a row), the first more than 10 years ago and the second this year. A win at this year’s U.S. Open would be your fifth and your first calendar-year Grand Slam — a feat last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988, when you were just 6 years old. This win would also break your tie for the most U.S. Open titles in the Open era, surpassing the legendary Chris Evert, who herself has called you ‘‘a phenomenon that once every hundred years comes around.’’ Imagine that you’re the player John McEnroe recently described as ‘‘the greatest player, I think, that ever lived.’

 The U.S. Open is next week and Serena Williams has been practicing on making another landmark in history.

Godspeed!

 

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Artist Spotlight: Leonid Afremov

Posted On: August 26, 2015

It's all about details and Leonid Afremov knows how to magnify them on a canvas. He's very unique when it comes to color blending and contrast of colors.

Afremov paintings have some special effects to them, the way he highlights the subjects in his paintings. There's no rules when it comes to the stroke of his brush because there are no outlines, he just freely creates.

You can see the passion in Afremov paintings because of the emotions that come through, the facial expressions, the glare of the moonlight and etc.

Recently, Leonid Afremov released different set of paintings of musician greats, featuring legends like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and John Lee Hooker.

Also, Ray Charles and Michael Jackson

"Art is poetry, filled with colorful words."

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NBA Brings Books, Basketballs and The Freedom of Reading To Africa's Orphaned Children

Posted On: August 12, 2015

The National Basketball Association's heavy hitters took a trip to Africa and blessed their oprhaned children with some TLC.

To commemorate their 13th annual "Basketball Without Borders," several members of the NBA from legends, GOAT's in the making, VP's, rookies and etc., visited one of the SOS Children’s Villages in Ennerdale. The SOS Children Villages are a non-profit organization that provides and reconstructs the structure and stability of family for abandoned and orphaned children in Africa.

This is the NBA's third year of participation and effort in philanthropic work with SOS, which was also sponsored in the NBA Africa Game in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In attendance were: NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzles; including other players, coaches, VP's and etc.

“I think the most important thing is to give children an opportunity play, an opportunity to get an education, an opportunity for a better future. And I think this is a wonderful place for you kids to accomplish that," stated Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls during a speech he presented to the children.

 The members of the NBA donated books, donated their time by playing basketball with the children, they also helped them in schoolwork and other extra-curricular activities.

While there, members of the NBA also took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the renovation of a new library for the children and new basketball courts, which were donated by National Basketball Players Association (NPBA) and NBA Cares.

SOS Children's Villages have been on their philanthropy journey for thirty years in albeiting families, children and communities in South Africa. By rebuilding the structure of family, providing education and resources in medical care, family support when it comes to child care, education and the freedom to learn and more.

“We are incredibly thankful for the NBA family’s unwavering commitment to support Ennerdale’s most vulnerable children. They are playing a pivotal role in the development of children who desperately need their support.”

In a statement made by Siphiwe Maphanga, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages.

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The Cracking of An Egg: 'Pursuit of Happyness'

Posted On: August 12, 2015

There's more than one way to crack an egg.

"If the egg is cracked from the outside, it's destroyed. If the egg is cracked from the inside, it gives birth to life."

- Author Unknown

So, who's the egg? Check out the metaphor of the egg cracking, one leads to destruction, while the other basically creates and builds. I'm going elaborate on this quote in two, maybe three parts. The first example I am going to utilize is a scene from the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness," and the movie as a whole.

I'm sure most of us have seen the movie The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith, which was based on actual events, detailing the journey and uprising of Chris Gardner, in becoming one of Wall Street's most successful broker. The path for Gardner played by Will Smith, was not an easy one but he stayed on it and kept going.

Chris Gardner is the egg from the above quote.

In the movie, Will Smith's character Chris Gardner decides he wants to become a broker and work on Wall Street. He had no experiences nor any form of educational background but he was good with numbers and knew how to strategize, which was a tool and advantage for him. It was not a big dream but it was indeed something he had the vision for. He decided he was going to go for it, against all odds. As the movie plays, Gardner encounters challenges which caused some changes in his life, from his living arrangements like moving out a house to a hotel, selling his car and making the necessary sacrifices to manifest this vision he has of himself becoming a broker.

The challenges are actually pressures like Chris Gardner's wife who is played by Thandie Newton, does not believe in him, she doesn't see him becoming a broker working on Wall Street. She ends up leaving him and their son, Smith goes on as a single father trying to provide the best possible life for his child. All these pressures are being added to the character Chris Gardner, who is the egg being portrayed in this movie.

Instead of things getting better, more pressure is being applied when Smith's character Gardner gets kicked out of the hotel he was staying at with his son and they end up spending nights at different shelters and even at a bathroom stall in a train station.

All these pressures could of easily caused Chris Gardner to either break down or leave a dent in his goals and vision of becoming a broker. That would of meant the egg cracked from the outside, even if he broke down, it could of destroyed his vision, goals and everything he was working towards in becoming a broker. Although, there was a lot of pressure, Smith's character is the only one who could cause the egg to crack, either from the outside or within. It's all about how he applies the pressure and how he allows the pressure to apply towards him, in order to mold him.

The question is, when did the egg (Chris Gardner) cracked?

One of the pivotal scenes in the movie, is when Chris gets hired on Wall Street and at that moment is when the egg cracked.

Some people look at this scene and think it was about Chris Gardner finally getting the job, some interpret as the pursuit of happiness in the movie was about money but both of those analysis are wrong. Chris could easily got a job somewhere else or brought some more of those bone scanners to sell. He could of easily gave up this vision of getting into Wall Street because of the pressure and the sacrifices he had to make. But instead he allowed the pressure to mold and polish him, in order to shine.

In the scene above, when the egg cracked, it gave birth to Chris Gardner's purpose of launching his own firm as a broker and also, in becoming a new man. It gave birth to the life of a newfound dream from the vision Chris had of becoming a broker. All the pressures Chris Gardner (pictured below) endured caused him as the egg to crack from within and it gave birth to his dreams, purpose and destiny.

Based on the timeline of the movie, I'm sure there were other things the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness didn't portray like Chris Gardner being an African-American man and dealing with racism, those things were also factors in the pressures of life Chris endured, overcame and conquered.

This man did not give up (neither should you), no matter how tough it got, he applied the pressure to break forth his dreams (cracked the egg) and became all that God created him to be.

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Alicia Keys Recreates Iconic Historical Images

Posted On: August 12, 2015

Alicia Keys opens the door of the past and recreates iconic historical images of the 1972 Jamaica's famous promotional poster girl, Sintra Arunte-Bronte and the GOAT of boxing, Muhammad Ali.

The R&B songstress revealed how she always wanted to redo the classic 1972 picture.

Alicia Keys also honored the photograpghs by recreating them, in capturing Ali's inspirational essence.

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Album Review: Tyrese - 'Black Rose'

Posted On: August 03, 2015

A game changer and innovator of his time, Tyrese Gibson who most of us remember playing the controversial character 'Jody' in the movie "Baby Boy," has all grown up into a fine melanin gentleman and released his latest album "Black Rose." Tyrese took the R&B game to a whole new level with this art piece. Black Rose is a quadruple threat, it is an album, an audiobook, a documentary and movie; because of these four elements, Tyrese has innovated the game by bringing something different to the table.

When it comes to the lyrics of this album, Tyrese poured everything from his heart and soul to write Black Rose (writers take notes), which makes the album raw of pure and real emotions and feelings. Hmmm, where can I start? This album is soulful, it has components of old school R&B, it was well composed with it comes to different music scores and the variety of instrumentals utilized to make the album what it is.

On the track "Shame," Tyrese allows himself to be vulnerable of his emotions and feelings, an area some of us are afraid of. Not so much in apologizing when we are wrong but allowing ourselves to feel on a deeper level which exposes pain. Shame reflects that and as a writer, Tyrese wrote it how it felt and was not afraid of it either.

Black Rose is constituent to different genre of music, it has some Hip Hop in it with the track titled 'Dumb Sh*t' featuring Snoop Dogg and sampled the classic A Tribe Called Quest's 'Bonita Applebum' instrumentals to mix the song. On the intro for the track "Don't Wanna Look Back" featuring Chrisette Michele, the track sounds like new age music, it's something about the mix of instrumentals from the start to 0:26; the fundamentals of sounds are sexy, mysterious and hypnotic.

Tyrese gets into some wordplays on Black Rose, using the forum of metaphors on the track "Body Language" and strokes his words, painting a scene of passionate love making.

"Don't worry baby I know what I'm doing, cause I'm fluent in body language."

The track is a bedroom banger and one that could be applied in foreplay.

The album reminds me of something that is raw, pure and real, the kind of things that can not be limited but only magnified. Because it hits the soul and touches people. It was difficult to narrow this album to a top three because every song has a purpose, maybe it made you smile, feel the unexplainable or gave you flashbacks of something which made you shed a tear. Tyrese deflowered that on his impeccable but yet seductive album, "Black Rose."

On the track 'Without My Heart,' Black Rose gives us an R&B opera symphony of enchanting lyrics, permeated with organic emotions and an instrumentals of a piano score filled with suspense and tragedy. The song would make a dope and powerful soundtrack for a movie or dramatic play. This album is definitely one for the books.

Bless your ears and plug into Black Rose on iTunes, pick it up at your favorite music store or wherever music is sold nationwide. It can also be streamed below va Spotify.

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