Culture

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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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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 “Black Trend”

Has anyone noticed a new “trend” walking among us? It seems as if we are starting to see styles/trends that we are now having to defend; styles we have been rocking for years, and all of a sudden they went from being “ghetto “ to “urban-chic“.

Really????

For years, Europeans have mimicked black women( that’s also goes with the understanding that yes, we have done the same i.e. “weave”; but that’s another blog). But anyway, these days it seems that our physical features and hairstyles have become more than just a “fad”, but a new way of life for many European celebs.  

From Kylie Jenner’s lip challenge; in which young girls were putting their lips in shot glasses in order to make them plump.  This weird craze caused many of them to damage their face and lips during the experiment. Since then, in order to make the process safer, lip “plumpers” have been created. Remember, many of these people are after the same lips that they make fun of all of the time. Anybody remember the Jim Crow caricatures where black lips were drawn huge and pink? , Yeah this would be similar behavior, but in reverse .Crazy right?

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Hey but they want to be like us right? So I say we drop them off in the hood or we switch places for a couple of months and give them the same treatment they give us on a daily basis. A taste of their own medicine might change their minds and their lives.

All of this is nothing new because people have been mimicking African Americans for years; even post slavery. I mean where do you think they got all of their ideas from? Egyptians, Native Americans ( i.e. US) because without people of color, America would have never learned how to build, grow, create, or do pretty much anything without blacks and other people of color leading the way.

Now many have accused black women, who wear weaves or straighten their hair, of trying to “be white”. Though, black women have never suffered from any medical injuries from their beauty practices, other than bleaching our hair and skin, which has proven to be damaging. I encourage all Black women to love themselves enough to stop doing these things while trying to please society. When in fact, society wants to be like YOU! 

 that they would rather succeed at looking like else but have us damage our melanin and hair only to say they created all of our looks.

BYE! Because every black girl has been rocking bantu knots since she could talk, cornrows included so please save us the lies on that. We also have been wearing twists outs we were just putting knockers on them and barrets and bows on the end of them at first.  

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Oh and OUR hair locs naturally without adding products on it so to the white people claiming you “loc’d “ your hair no , what you did was put products on it and refrained from washing it again in your life so now its stuck together. So again save us the lies please.

It’s sad we live in a world where people want to be like us but at the same time turn us against each other , the problem is its working for the most part. One day we will turn it around , I still hope so.

-A.C.T.

Instagram : @insomni_act

Twitter:  @igothatACTrite

Blog: actspeaks.wordpress.com

Blog: actspicous.tumblr.com

Aqueilla C. Terry, commonly known to many of her followers as “A.C.T” ; is a talented artists of this generation. Born and raised in Richmond, VA is truly a gem of her time. She has been writing for over 10 years as a young child to know a young woman in a world were “words” are her weapon of choice to achieve success. Often considered to be Erykah Badu’s daughter for her way with words, style, presence, music selections and overall persona. A.C.T. is definitely going to take over the world with wide range of creativity. Her ambition is driven by her will to succeed in reaching her goals, but by doing so by remaining herself along the journey. A.C.T. redefines the young black woman by sticking to her beliefs and who she is inside.

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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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