Webwatch 2012

More than 40 million new websites hit the Internet this year and with so much information available, it’s difficult to decipher what to check out and what to pass by. Luckily, Mr. Lehman and I have done the hard work for you and have a few suggestions for sites to keep an eye on in this year to come.

Garth Trinidad Sound|Adventures of an Anomaly: Garth Trinidad is a Los Angeles legend for a myriad of reasons, but is best known by Angelenos for being at the helm of the best radio LA has to offer as the DJ for KCRW’s Chocolate City, Monday – Friday from 8 – 10 pm on FM 89.9. In his 16 years as a DJ, Garth has befriended some of music’s most notable artists (check his KCRW archives for in-studio guests) and as such, his website, Garth Trinidad Sound is packed with information most of us wish we had direct access to. From Monday to Thursday Garth posts his musings on music and culture, free music downloads, articles and events he’s been made privy to and shares the information with the good people of Los Angeles – and anywhere else you may be when you tap in. In lieu of a copy of his personal contacts this will do, as visiting Garth’s world will leave you steps ahead of the rest in terms of where the good music, good culture and good vibes in LA live and thrive. While in his world, pay a visit to the Moja Moja project he curates as well. Moja Moja takes what Garth does with Chocolate City to a multimedia level and provides a platform for listeners to discover urban and international alternative music and culture.

New Culture Society: Are you certain you know all that the West Coast has to offer? Do you feel like you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s next to come? If not, then you should visit (and subscribe) to New Culture Society. This group of young LA residents has pooled their interests and resources to put together a funky, happening website that highlights what’s current and next to come on the Best Coast regarding cinema, literature, fashion and music. Individually, the staff showcases an impressive resume so collectively, it’s a home run. Black Is friend, Merc80 is a part of the team and put us on to this new project and we look forward to seeing what’s coming up with NCS in 2012.

KimmayTube (YouTube): There are TONS of websites dedicated to natural hair – TONS. Everybody has some of the same information, some of it conflicting, and for anybody thinking about transitioning to natural hair or maintaining it, the entire process can be convoluted if you search the web for information. Enter KimmayTube, a YouTube channel that clarifies it all. Watching KimmayTube is like watching a good television station dedicated to natural hair. It’s awesome – and it helps that our host, Kim Love, knows what she’s talking about. Her own hair is a testament to the versatility of natural hair and debunks all myths that Black hair is difficult to manage and unable to grow to great lengths. Visit KimmayTube for tips on growing and maintaining natural hair, learn tips on how to determine what products work best for your hair, and watch tutorials for everything from washing and detangling to various styling techniques. While there, visit her site, Luv Naturals to purchase many of the products Kim uses in her videos.

Issa Rae: The woman behind The MisAdventures of Awkward Black Girl has more in store for those of you looking for programming online. Visit her personal website and get familiar with her other two shows, The F Word and my personal favorite, Dorm Diaries for more hilarious webisodes to mix up your weekly programming. The first season of MisAdventures wraps up on January 12th and we are anxiously awaiting what season two has to offer.

Moovmnt: Mr. Lehman, the editor-at-large here at Black Is has the most discriminating ear when it comes to music and shuns most American radio for streaming what he considers great music from global resources online. As such, he is constantly looking for sites that will introduce him to music he hasn’t before. Enter Moovmnt, a site that’s primary focus is to introduce its visitors to great music – period. Go here to learn about independent artists and producers that you won’t hear much about via mainstream media outlets.

Spotify: The trouble with the internet is that there is much opportunity for one site to outdo another. Though there is room for everybody to do their thing, sometime a site just stands apart and that’s where Spotify comes in. Sorry, Pandora, but Spotify changes the game in free music streaming by allowing consumers to truly customize their listening experience. On Spotify you can listen to an entire album of an artist before deciding to purchase, or listen to an artists’ complete catalog. You can also create playlists of your favorite songs for free. Spotify was founded in Sweden and headquartered in the UK so the amount of world music available is pretty vast.

BHCP: Yes, BHCP stands for Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. With the renovation of our mall almost complete and the surrounding area deep in the throes of gentrification, the mall website is a hub for what’s going on in our community. Check the BHCP Redevelopment site for community events, free concerts, business openings, and status updates on construction to know what’s happening in our neighborhood. All of this transition is happening for us, so let’s support it!

Sickly Cat: Our brother site remain relevant in 2012. Sickly Cat continues to be the premier site for unadulterated infotainment. Check this site daily for only the most interesting findings in world news and strong opinion pieces. What makes this site unique are the variety of contributors and therefore, opinions about everyday issues. It’s worth it to jump into the conversation and give feedback in the comment section – most likely, you’ll receive a reply from the author themselves. Expect this site to explode with news and commentary during the 2012 presidential campaign and election.

Mr. Moody’s Neighborhood: Based in Atlanta, GA Mr. Moody’s Neighborhood is a real, in-your-face, adult podcast discussing a variety of social issues. From relationships to parenting, the host Mr. Moody pulls no punches with his commentary and the show will inform you while keeping you in stitches. What we love most about this site is Mr. Moody is a husband and father and much of his commentary comes from his experience in those roles. He’s definitely about keep the Black family unit tight and we can’t help but love that. Again, this is for adults only as Moody isn’t editing his thoughts. Put the kids to bed, pour a glass of wine, sit back and listen to a new show on a Thursday night. Guaranteed you will be back for more. You can also subscribe via iTunes and check out past episodes you have missed.



Webwatch 2011

As the Internet grounds itself as the media outlet of choice, the hunt for websites of substance increases daily. In these current economic times, retail on the web is working feverishly to compete with local retailers and with a myriad of gossip and “news” blogs in existence, it is a challenge to know where to go for truth and information that sparks a variety of interests. Further, it’s easy to miss sites started by real people sharing a bit of their lives for pure entertainment purposes. That said, here are a few sites I plan to keep my eye on for 2011 – you should too.

The Art of Reuse: This group of young folks from Canada are revolutionizing the concept of thrift shopping for the modern-day fashion forward shopper. They open one-day “pop-up” boutiques called Interim and sell only the finest of local thrift shop offerings to buyers – still at the fraction of retail prices. What’s hip about this concept is they’ve done the hard work for you – no need to comb through racks of grimy clothes at the Goodwill, looking for a jewel. The group has a point process for picking only the best of what any thrift store has to offer and brings it to you in pristine condition.

ASOS: This UK based retailer is the purveyor of wonderful fashion, accessories, and beauty products at amazing prices. What I love about ASOS is their offerings come in a variety of sizes (check out ASOS Curve) and after at time, their clothing transitions into an “outlet” section where you find offerings discounted as much as 50%. Currently, they offer standard shipping to the U.S. for $7 – pretty comparable to most stateside retailers.

Diares of a Plus-Sized Vixen: If you are looking to be entertained, this woman’s blog might have the giggle you’re looking for. Authored by a young woman named Dwann, this blog tells her adventures and escapades of being a full-figured girl dating in these trying times. The blog is very revealing, personal, and just downright funny at times – one wonders how she escapes these situations unscathed. What I love about this blog is how open Dwann is, and also how very “new millennium” her dating experiences are. From texting, to social networking, she is mastering the art of post-2000 new dating rules. Check her out.

Folkstales: This blog is for adults only. If you’re into erotica, turn off Zane’s Sex Chronicles and let your imagination run wild here. Authored by a person known only as “The Storyteller”, the blog claims that each kinky tale is based off of a real-life experience shared with the author. Read one of these stories aloud to your boo one late night, and see if things don’t heat up.

Merc80: Merc is a Black Is friend, and his site has grown exponentially since we talked with him this past summer. His site remains to be the central location for interviews with underground musicians, designers, entrepreneurs, movers, shakers, and just all around cool people who are making things happen. What I love about this site most is Merc’s in depth, multi-media interviews. Often, he splits them into parts so that you really get to know about the person, and includes photos, video and audio footage. Keep and ear to the streets on this brother cause he’ll be moving up in 2011.

Plndr: Who can resist a deal when it comes to clothes? Plndr is almost too good to be true, as they offer you upscale urban fashions up to 80% off!  From designer tees, to sneakers, to accessories, this site offers a little bit of everything! The catch? Their sales only last for a short period of time, so shop before the clock runs out. The prices here are so low, you won’t even sweat making that impulse purchase.

SicklyCat: Unbookmark Huffington Post, and replace them with this. Sickly Cat happens to be the premier site for unadulterated infotainment. Check this site daily for only the most interesting findings in world news, strong opinion pieces, and an insanely funny podcast. What makes this site unique are the variety of contributors and therefore, opinions about everyday issues. It’s worth it to jump into the conversation and give feedback in the comment section – most likely, you’ll receive a reply from the author themselves.

Snique Away: This year I probably signed up with 20 different sites offering deals for this and that, including the dreaded bid sites that are too darn good to be true. This site, however, is a gem for those who love the travel. Snique Away offers luxury hotel accommodations at a fraction of the cost, but only for a limited time. Check them out weekly to see and where their offerings are and book within the timeframe listed to get up to %50 off your next vacation.

Tumblr: Peace out MySpace. Bye Bye Blogger. Tumblr is the place to be if you are looking to start blogging in 2011. What makes the set up of Tumblr so cool is that tons of writing isn’t required if that’s not your style. Feel free to upload pics, videos, and audio that speak to you. Get a piece of the Internet and customize it to fit you. To get a sample, check out our own Mr. CEO’s Tumblr. Guaranteed fun.

YFF: Young, Fat, and Fabulous. Yes she goes there, and she is Gabi, MTV’s newest Twitter jockey, but before that, she was the host of YFF, bringing good fashion to the full-figured. For the curvy girl looking to stay trendy, this site offers retail that will blow your mind. Check her out and prepare to shop!

Until I Get To You: This site is the antithesis to all “relationships suck” websites. Authored by Aireka Muse, this blog offers real stories of marriages/relationships between people that are successful, and also offers another perspective on being a single woman in today’s dating game. For anybody feeling low about their future prospects, check out this site as a pick me up.

Ustream: Where else will you find a DJ battle between HOJ manager Big Dho and Phonte of The Foreign Exchange? Bump prime time, and see which of your favorite artists have shows they stream directly into your computer. What’s cool about Ustream is you can participate in a chat session with other viewers and streamers themselves, making the experience truly interactive. Check it out in 2011 and see which of your favorites actually do have their own reality show.


If you caught the first two installments of Merc’s interview with Miss Jack Davey, catch the final one here. This time he gets Miss Davey to open up about everybody;s favorite subject: sex. Also, read his Letter to M. Night Shyamalan. Merc has some strong opinions about his latest film, The Last Airbender.

The crew of SicklyCat.com is back at us with another podcast, The Weekly Round Up, where they discuss and give their opinions on this past week’s newsworthy stories. Sounds like is going to be a regular podcast, so stay tuned for more!


I love a good blog. I’m more likely to peruse the pages of blogs for news since, as art is concerned, primetime news is rarely giving face to the issues and people I care most about. And when I discover a blog that showcases something I love and brings critical convo to the table, I’m all in – and I pass it on.

Meet Merc80.com. More about the brother behind the blog later; but for now consider this a resource for good underground artists interviews (especially for us LA kids), smart commentary on this music industry, and big love to good artistry in general.

Check out his most recent entries: interviews with Brook D’Leau and Miss Jack Davey of the bad-ass music duo J*Davey.