Culture Connection: A Drop in Arts Attendance

Listen in as Brother Malcolm discusses a recent New York Times article that discusses a major drop in arts attendance. As such, Malcolm and the entire BI family is encouraging you to engage in the arts whenever you can! Take in a live performance, visit a museum, watch a stage play or musical – get out there an soak up your local culture!

For comments or questions, call the hotline at (323) 455-4219!

Facebook: Black Is Magazine    Twitter: @BLACKISONLINE      Brother Malcolm: @caliyalie

Culture Connection: 7 Ways to Become a Culture Vulture

Listen in as Malcolm shares 7 ways to step your culture game up! There are many FREE opportunities happening in your city right now, so take advantage! You can follow Malcolm on Twitter @caliyalie.

For more information on this and other episodes, feel free to call the hotline at (323) 455-4219!

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.



The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl

I was pleasantly surprised when Chris  introduced me to a webisode series entitled The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl. This series had us in stitches as we followed the protagonist, J, a black girl who secretly writes hardcore rhymes to help cope with the awkward situations she’s confronted with and her overall awkwardness. The series exposes a simple truth: we are all awkward and often employ comical devises to deal with our discomfort. By the time I finished the seventh episode, I was clamoring for more but found myself at a dead end, as the series comes to a halt before the storyline is completed.

This void led me to do some research.  I discovered that the creator, Issa Rae, had recently launched a successful campaign to raise more funding to continue the series. I was all too happy to receive that information, albeit a little late, but realized I had to tell everyone I knew about this show. How often had I gotten into tired conversations about the lack of good Black programming on television these days? Thank goodness for the Internet!

I wanted to know more about this series and decided to reach out to Issa Rae, and learn more about the woman behind the show. Listen in to a conversation we had about how and why she started the show, what’s next for her viewers, and other projects she has in store in the near future.

After listening, get hooked on the show itself like I did! Check out episode #1 below and the rest of the series here. Trust me – you will tell a friend. Enjoy!

LA EVENTS: Cinesounds Presents Ladies’ Nite

On Wednesday, July 28th Cinesounds presents Ladies Night. Cinesounds is a curated evening of cinema and music combining the vibe of a lounge environment with the energy of an art show. Each event’s chosen films are grouped around a theme and then attended by tunes from DJs that reflect both prepared musical selections and improvised track choices that react to the imagery being projected as well as the energy of the room. Event details are as follows:

Cinesounds: Ladies’ Nite

Wednesday, July 28th at 8pm

Mandrake Bar

2771 W Pico Blvd, Culver City, CA

Music. Flicks. Ladies. What could be better than that?

Aaron McGruder Vs. Tyler Perry

If you missed it, this past Sunday’s episode of Boondocks took a major stab at media mogul Tyler Perry. The episode reminded me of a Facebook conversation I had with a friend a few months back when I asserted that Perry was a gay man. Her surprised reaction led me to add, “Of course, I don’t know this personally, but that’s what I’ve heard”. In that moment, I had validated a rumor about the man, though I don’t know him at all – but I’m not the first.

In spite of his massive success as a playwright, producer, filmmaker, etc (the list is extensive), Tyler Perry has been a controversial character in the community. He undoubtedly has a built-in audience for his artistic creations, based on the success of his religious-tinted Madea stage plays, a medium several Black men have found to be an avenue of success. (Y’all remember Shelly Garrett and Beauty Shop Parts I -VI?) But rumours of his alleged homosexuality, his formulaic and often predictable story lines, and his sometimes questionable characterization of Black people leaves many viewers on the fence about the man and his work. Even Spike Lee had to speak on it.

But I wonder – is this “crab in the barrel” syndrome that causes many of us to critique Tyler instead of just embracing his work, no matter what it is? Tyler seems to think so. After all, the man is the Black American dream – tall, handsome, articulate and successful. His business savvy has provided him with the sort of autonomy most folks in Hollywood can only dream of, and has allowed him to rub elbows with the elite of the industry (i.e chartering a jet to go check on his homegirl Oprah after she’s complained of having a hard day).

Let’s consider some of the points McGruder brings up in the episode: Perry’s use of cross-dressing in spite of his story lines having a Christian undertone; his grand presence in theatre, film, and television; and his alleged homosexuality. Dave Chappelle discussed the issue of cross-dressing and the black male comedian, and how too often black male comedians are asked to wear dresses in their performances, and how he flat out refused to do it because he saw the pattern. Perhaps, like many, Perry did not notice the pattern – and if he did, saw it as a successful method for storytelling since it has been repeated. Can’t fault him for that without criticizing Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, Robin Harris, and Eddie Murphy, amongst many others. It would seem that the bulk of his fan base is primarily comprised of members of Black churches; the irony here is that the Black church historically has been homophobic, but somehow Perry’s cross-dressing slips under the radar.

His dominance in the industry – well, who wouldn’t want that kind of power in that business? If anything, Perry is creating a template to be admired and followed, not frowned upon. And homosexuality? Unless you have slept with the man personally, there’s not much to be said about what happens behind closed doors. Maybe McGruder knows something the rest of us don’t.

If there is any issue this writer has with Perry, it would be the formulaic, simple storytelling, and his often silly, immature characterization of Black men. We are too complex a people for the stories to be so easily predictable, and furthermore, the immature Black man is a stereotype that we need not feed into. If anything, Perry should consider hiring new writers with a different perspective from his own to diversify his filmography. On that note, TP, you know where to find me.