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Syllabus Magazine

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Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina's source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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What do you do when you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something many have worked their entire lives to do?  You receive an opportunity to rip the high-fashion runways of Milan with one of the most recognized luxury brands in the world.  This open door may lead to a host of other potential opportunities that could catapult your career and your brand; however, there’s this one problem.  You realize this big break clashes with some of your personal beliefs and values.  What would you do? Would you remain silent in an effort to avoid destroying your potentially epic big break?  Would you speak out?  Would you take a stand?

This is what happened when Atlanta rapper Raury staged an unplanned protest during the Dolce & Gabbana runway show in Milan.  The millennial-themed fashion show showcased, young, popular bloggers, YouTubers,  influencers, and artists from around the world.

Dolce & Gabbana recently came under fire after dressing the 1st Lady.  Melania Trump was decked out in D&G throughout here trip, including a $51,000 3d Coat. Many people across the world decided to protest the brand for standing by Trump and his administration.  In an extremely petty response to the protests and criticisms, D&B decided to launch a campaign called, “Boycott Dolce & Gabbana”.  The response included t-shirts, commercials, and an entire launch which basically mocked protesters who voiced their disdain for the brand supporting the Trumps.

“When I saw a commercial featuring the boycott T-shirt, and it looked playful and lighthearted—it was a joke. It was a troll. Me, as a young man from Stone Mountain, Georgia, the birthplace of the Klu Klux Klan, I really felt this mockery of boycotting. Who knows, if boycotts didn’t happen, if Rosa Parks and M.L.K. didn’t step up…who knows if I would even exist. Boycotting matters. Boycotting is real. “

Raury, after already agreeing to participate in the fashion show learned of this protest after he had already flew to Milan, practiced, received free clothing from D&B, and made lots of new friends while practicing for the fashion show.  Before hitting the runway (24 hours before showtime), Raury was torn and did not know how to respond or what to do. In an interview with GQ, he explained how he experienced so much “confusion and fear”. In some ways, the 21 year-old believed that he and the other influencers were being used.

“There was a moment backstage when they started passing out the shirts, when [the models] didn’t have any context for what they meant. They were coming out of the shower and the robes, after getting makeup put on, to someone saying, “Hey, now put this on and let’s start Snapchatting.”

They were making us represent something that only I knew what it was about. These kids are about to co-sign this, and they don’t even know what it means. They’re using the shit out of us. We’re not scapegoats. You are not about to wash your hands with us. They were really pushing for me to wear it, too, specifically.”

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Then, it happened. Raury walked the runway and honored the terms of what he had agreed to.  Then during the finale, he removed his Dolce and Gabbana hoodie to show the phrases, “PROTEST”, “GIVE ME FREEDOM”, and “I AM NOT YOUR SCAPEGOAT” written across his chest.  Then, the young millennial rapper immediately disappeared, never joining the other models for any additional photo ops.  Raury was offended that D&G was catering to millennials, but mocking protesting and thought their response to the protesters was very “un-millennial”.

As a young artist in the entertainment industry, Raury did what many people wouldn’t have dared to do.  He went against the grain, stood for what he believed was right instead of following the status quo, and chose principles over popularity.

What would you have done?

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina’s source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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“I walked around the music industry for a bunch of years, right? I saw a lot of rich people. I didn’t see wealthy.  I got into the tech industry, I see wealthy every day. The Snapchat CEO is 24 years old and a billionaire. How many billionaires do I have to walk around the music industry to find? I’m in Silicon Valley, I’m in L.A., I’m in Santa Monica, and I’m seeing billionaires all over the place. And they’re young. That’s not in the music industry.”

-Chamillionaire Interview with Vice, 2015

 

During the NCAA playoff, there were some folks who decided to take digs at rapper Chamillionaire.  The rapper was seen sitting court-side, and that’s when the internet went IN.  Many were wondering how the rapper was able to afford those seats because he, “hasn’t had a hit in years”. 

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There are a few details about the world-wide web that we must remember: people are quick to judge, people are quick to throw shots, and people do not take the time to research.  What many don’t realize is not only did Chamillionaire have a successful run in the rap game, the young Houston native was smart enough to take what he learned in the music business and expand into other, very lucrative opportunities.

Chamillionaire did something that many of us have to train ourselves to do more often; that is, pay attention to what is going on around you.  Is your industry growing, changing, or evolving?  How about your city – what type of companies are moving and leaving your area?  Can you live the way you want by continuing to do what you do?  These questions and more are vital when making career and business moves, and these are the types of observations that Chamillionaire made when he decided to take the jump from the music industry into the tech industry.

In an interview with Vice, shortly after his hit, “Riding Dirty”, Chamillionaire began to dabble in the tech world. He began going to to tech conferences, mingling with venture capitalists, and making investments into other tech companies.  Chamillionaire then moved into advising for startups and investors.  In 2014 at the age of 35, he invested in an online video network, Maker Studios.  Maker was acquired by Disney for $500 million, with a promise to make another $450 million. Though Chamillionaire would not go into detail how much he made from that investment, he says that he, “expects to make way more doing this than what he did as a rapper.”

Chamillionaire has dreams of becoming a founder and spends his time, researching, learning, and soaking in the lessons of the venture capital world.  The rapper spent time among these billionaires, took up a residency within a venture capital firm so that he could learn more, sits in on meetings, takes notes, and uses what he learns to educate his rap counterparts and others.

Big Boi from Outkast was recently on The Breakfast Club Morning Show, proudly proclaiming how he, Kelly Rowland, Trey Songs, E40, Ceelo and many others have teamed up with Chamillionaire in an investment syndicate, where they buy parts of tech companies, wait for them to turn a profit or get bought, and make lots of money.

Chamillionaire has not only been smart about his business moves, but he has been quiet, strategic, and not afraid to share his wealth of knowledge with this friends in the industry.  So internet! Laugh all you want; in the meantime Chamillionaire is laughing all the way to the bank.

“When I was in Iraq, I was like, ‘OK, rap got me here.’ I’ll always keep that in my mind and realize that rap is what got me into this venture capital firm. Rap got me out of the hood. Rap got me out of Houston and helped me to see the world. But now that I’ve seen the world and I see so much, I’m just on this mission to let everybody else know—especially my peers in the music industry—about what’s happening over here.”

Source: Vice.com

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina’s source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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The monolith that is the Kardashian brand is simply undisputed.  Kris Jenner, who’s a talent manager, owner of a production company, and the brains behind their popular reality show, is a marketing mogul and genius. Simply having the name Kardashian or Jenner automatically opens doors for members of that family, when most of us may have to work years, or decades to have these same opportunities – which is why #BlackTwitter is pissed!

In less than a week, two black fashion brands have been battling with the monster Kardashian brand regarding these bold jack moves they’ve been pulling.

PluggedNYC and its founder, Tizita Balemlay are the latest victims in this fight for authenticity.  Balemlay recently did an interview with the Tom Joyner Morning Show about how she started her brand.  As a child of a strict, African family, she was disowned for some time because her parents wanted her to become a doctor or lawyer, like many hardworking, older parents from overseas want for their children.  Tizita had a different plan and was left to go for her dreams and goals, alone.  While sitting on the floor of her apartment, she took scissors and a glue gun to some camouflage clothing she purchased from a local thrift store for $100, posted a picture online, and went viral.  Balemlay then built a website and turned her $100 into $1000, and from there, on the floor of her lonely apartment, PluggedNYC was born.

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Tizita Balemlay’s street chic designs are so popular, Rihanna,  Keke Palmer, Kehlani and more have all rocked her fashions.  You know who else drooled over her designs – Kylie Jenner! In her radio interview Balemlay was honored to have Kylie wearing her designs, however while she was on a video shoot with Wale, she began to receive hundreds of notifications.

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On June 8, Kylie Jenner launched her collection of clothing.  Kylie’s designs were also camouflage, and even much of the styling, poses, even the shoes used in the photography of Kylie’s brand were almost exactly like the branding for PluggedNYC.  #BlackTwitter was on the case and began to call out Jenner through social media.

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Tizita also made a post on her Instagram saying, “When you really Pablo…I am the Influence *drops mic.  Copy Paste down to the shoes I used on my models.  The Kardashians will take your nigga & brand… #WeAreTheCulture

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Unfortunately, Tizita Balemlay is not the only victim.  #BlackTwitter also went in this week on Kylie’s sister, Khloe Kardashian for the jack moves she pulled on another black designer, Destinybleu.  Yet another designer who’s been featured in Sports Illustrated, and sported by Beyonce on numerous occasions, also had to call out a Kardashian for theft.  Destinybleu even provided receipts of the communication she’s had with Khloe, who ordered one of each of her designs, and then copied and branded them as her own.

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They say that, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, but this isn’t imitation; this is downright theft. Ordering one of everything from a designer’s site, never wearing it, never publicly mentioning it, then months later “crafting” designs that look almost exact?  Oh the trickery of that Kardashian clan!

Though many people on social media, including blogs and magazine, have come to the defense of these talented, hard-working designers, any attempt to beat a Kardashian in court would take man and money power some may not have.

There is only one real way to defeat people who blatantly use their money to take advantage of others and steal ideas to pass off as their own.  The only solution is to support (BUY) these talented designer’s products.

Culture vultures take bits and pieces of black culture, flip it, use their resources, and make a return on our culture.  Remember Miley Cyrus circa 2013; Miley was collaborating with Juicy J and French Montana, while topping the Billboard charts.  Fast forward to Miley Cyrus in 2017 who, in a recent interview, stated that she is now trying to distance herself from hip-hop because of the lyrics – (when we saw from her Billboard performance that she is working on changing her brand identity).  Someone tell Miley ‘don’t come for hip-hop cause we didn’t send for you girl’.  She, along with many others are culture vultures who have no issues using the culture to get the buzz they want.

 

rapmilyeVultures are people that do not deserve your business, views, likes, or attention.  Vultures change their features, hair and clothing, even their dialect to mimic black culture, but are silent when it comes to the important, life-changing issues of black people.

So we challenge everyone to support real talent, not popularity; because, in 2017 – ‘I don’t want no frauds’ – and neither should you.

Follow @theplugsdaughter & @pluggedNYCstore  and @dbleudazzled & @destinybleu on Instagram

 

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina’s source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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The movie that we have been waiting years to see is finally here! The Tupac biopic has finally been released! The anticipation that many fans have held will finally get some relief this week with the premiere opening of the official “All Eyes On Me – Legends Never Die” biopic.

Will this be as good as the NWA biopic?  Will the characters look like they were born to play each role?  Will we see the various facets of such a complex and larger than life Tupac? Will Demetrius Shipp Jr. meet extremely high expectations of nailing the role of Shakur? This week, all of our questions will be answered.

This week, the Black Collective along with 99.3 The Box, and Monster Music are holding an advanced screen of “All Eyes On Me”.  If you are a true fan of hip-hop, black culture, and music you can see this movie before anyone else by attending the official screening going down Thursday, June 15th at the Terrace Theater-Click here for tickets.

The true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.), from his early days in New York to his status as one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mindset establish him as a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his death.

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina’s source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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The Gentlemen’s Club has officially gone viral!  This is not your normal gentlemen’s club; this club consists of a group of fourth and fifth graders from Thomas E. Kerns Elementary school in Greenville, S.C.  Not only are these young men focused on getting good grades, they are also getting schooled on what to wear, how to wear it, and how to use proper etiquette when dining.

CBS National News traveled all the way to Greenville, SC to feature this group of amazing young men and their Gentlemen’s Club.

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The way the program works is the boys all get together every other Friday.  These meetings consist of them learning important aspects of everyday life that will affect them, their families, and their communities.  These gentlemen learn a wide array of great things that range from keeping their neighborhoods clean and watering plants to etiquette and planning for their future endeavors.

These 48 elementary school students are learning the art of being a gentlemen.  The Principal at Thomas E. Kerns, Mark Adams, explained the importance of the program that he started last year, “I think the Gentlemen’s Club impacts these young boys with a sense of belonging.  We look at it as preparation for academics.  Preparation for behavior, preparation for citizenship, because it’s our responsibility to prepare them for the next level”, said Adams.

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Most of the member of the Gentleman’s Club live in low-income neighborhoods of Greenville, SC and qualify for the city’s Free Lunch or reduce priced programs.  Twice every year these gentlemen get treated to one of their most favorite activities.  They get together to enjoy gourmet, three-course meals for the group.  One student said, “I think I’ve started to get in love with it,” and another boy was quoted saying,  “This is so god.  I think I’ve seen Jesus.”

In interviews with CBS news the boys discussed how the program has given them the confidence to go after their dreams, such has one young man’s goal in becoming a lawyer. Another young man told the news reporter that he, “used to be a bad kid,” but after joining the Gentlemen’s Club, he feels better about himself and has been getting better grades.

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At their annual gourmet dinner celebration, Principal Adams congratulated the young gentlemen for their hard work and achievements, “Academic achievement in my opinion is mostly about hard work and commitment and I am proud of your accomplishments,” said Adams.

Your principal is proud of you, and the community is rooting for all of these young, distinguished, gentlemen.

 

Source: CBS News

Syllabus Magazine, the Carolina’s source for Music, Culture and Fashion

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What do you do when you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something many have worked their entire lives to do?...