Kristy Getz

Alaskan native traveling from Vegas back to her Homeland shares its beauty from her art.

What would you say has been the best part about going to Alaska?

Kristy: Seeing friends and family and also being able to look at the beautiful scenery I grew up with every single day.

What would you tell someone who is contemplating going there?

Kristy: I would say do it! Life is too short! Alaska is one of THE MOST beautiful places in the world. The people are great and you can find great food here too!

What is a misconception about Alaska?

Kristy: Ooooh good one. There are many. One is that we are all so isolated that we don’t have up to date things like shopping, music, restaurants things like that. Some of the major misconceptions i used to get from people as a kid when I traveled was that we had polar bears in our backyard and we had igloos. Lol there are so many reality tv shows out now about Alaska and those are about people that live “Off the Grid”. Alaska is VERY BIG. Alaska is 665,385 square miles. Texas is 268,596. So that gives you an idea. Most of the population lives in Anchorage, about 293,000. so that tells you a little bit about this beautiful state.

What is an honest downside to living there?

Kristy: The winters can be long. September to about March or April depending on what the weather decides to do. It can get extremely cold. But from what I have heard the weather has gotten milder over the years.

What’s the best seasons to go?

Kristy: My favorite is spring and summer…May to August.

Would you travel from Vegas to Alaska again?

Kristy: Oh yea, Alaska will always be my home. I’m at this age where anything is possible! I’m not stuck anywhere. I used to feel kind of tied to one place or one job. But after the last year and a half of experiences I have realized life is all about making it your own and that’s it! Not living for anyone but yourself!

How do you think going back home has helped your creativity and artwork?

Kristy: Going back to Alaska has helped my creativity in the following ways….. for one I have seen so many beautiful things and I have been writing down tons of ideas, I have taken a lot of pictures, and I am dying to do some artwork! Being away from it for so long makes you Jones for it!!! Lol I have not had the space for it or the time. So Vegas and creative time here I come!!!!

Emdee Anderson

To say he was just a Dj would be an insult! A spirit that flows in more ways than one.

How long have you been a Dj?

Emdee: This summer makes 45 years, so far. Thanks to my mother buying a lot of records when I was a kid, I was able to do my first paid gig at age 9, at a house party. With my father owning clubs and my growing up in the club business, I came across a number of DJs. Seeing how they impacted the crowd with the music they played, the way they talked on the mic, and timing of the music, that was what made me want to be a DJ. Along with the style and creativity of Frankie Crocker.


Not a lot of people know that you have traveled to other countries playing music. What was that like?

Emdee: Most definitely a spiritual experience and it helped to expand my music collection and knowledge of world music. People overseas are on a different frequency. They don’t get caught up in asking for requests, like many here stateside. More people FEEL the music. They let the DJ do his/her thing.

Traveling to Africa was most impactful. I’ve visited several countries there and it blew me away. I first touched down in Abijan, Côte d’Ivoire, known to many as the “Ivory Coast”. I was already excited about going to where our ancestors come from, and to land on what I consider to be holy ground, a surge went through my body after stepping off the plane. I felt like I was home.

I went to get checked in at the hotel that was booked for me, and then got the chance to check out the scene. From the slums to the tourist spots. While some things were upsetting to see, there was still a lot of beauty in it all. Resilience in the people sparks a lot of creativity. They took the old adage; “one person’s trash is another one’s treasure”, to higher heights. There’s a slum close to the shore that I visited that has a dump yard near this community of shanties. People would go through the trash looking for things useful to them and repurpose it to fit their needs. I saw a good number of instruments made from discarded items. We’re talking percussion, to flutes, harmonicas, guitars, and so on. There were children playing these instruments like they were masters. A lot of gifted people.
The gig that I was booked for was at an old hall that had a lot of colors inside and out. I don’t recall the name of the spot, but it was a place where a good number of local bands and DJs get their wings, along with bands from other countries doing concerts there. How I got there was from me doing mixtapes. A guy was here visiting and he came to one of my gigs at a friend’s suggestion. He loved the way that I DJ’ed and asked me for a few mixes. He took them back home, and would call and write me to let me know how people there liked what I did. I would ship more tapes to him. Eventually, I got the call to travel there to do it live. Me, my turntables, and a couple of cases of records were on our way to the other side of the world. At the last minute, I decided to do an all Motown and old school set. It’s like the spirit told me to go in that direction. I tell you….the people erupted, shouted, and got excited about the music as if it was the newest, hottest records that came out. It was massive. I’ll never forget it.

I visited other countries there, like Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, and a few more. While each is different, there are still a lot of similarities in the cultures. We think that we have a hard enough time keeping up with music here, try keeping up with music from one of those countries. We get more of the popular artists from a small number of genres. From my bit of knowledge, there are hundreds of genres in one country alone. I’m still learning a lot of the older sounds, as well as being introduced to the newer stuff.

I’ve also traveled extensively through the Caribbean to gig, as well as to Pago, Pago, and New Zealand.

You created a podcast called….?

Emdee: The Record Realm podcast. Roughly, it’s a platform that I created to steadily introduce music to the masses. Time of release doesn’t matter, as well as genres. You’ll hear everything from folk, to Jazz, Soul, Electronica, World Beat, you name it.

How would you describe your artistic style?

Emdee: Abstract and eclectic. I don’t like to be bound by a box. If something catches my ear, I want to play it. I like to describe my sets as creating “soundscapes”. I want to tell a story through an extensive selection of music while making you dance or to relax.

Other musical influences include Jam Master Jay (RIP), DJ Maseo of De La Soul, and DJ Ready Red (RIP), for their skills as show DJs. They had and have great timing. Timing is a key element in being a DJ. My learning to perfect that for my live sets and show performances is what sets the tone to help create the various moods.

What type of music is off limits?

Emdee: Mostly, a lot of mainstream and mumble rap stuff. That stuff doesn’t appeal to me on a sonic level. Some think it has to do with me just not liking it or having an “open mind”. No, it changes my mood. Makes me irritated. Even if it was just the beats. Hella annoying.


With everything happening in the past few years with Police reform being put under the microscope how do you feel it will affect the future black males as they grow up seeing the evolution on that topic?

Emdee: Well, as with anything, there has to be more education. I like the route that the Black Panther Party took with educating its members, as well as the community, to bring awareness of what we’re up against. First, it’s knowledge of self. Then, there’s the power of unity and the community through interdependence. They extended it to teaching how to sustain self, family, and the community by means of basic survival and self-defense. Once you have the foundation laid, then learn how to engage with this matter on all levels. Instead of waiting on politicians to make moves and/or decide how things should go, the people need to push harder to make things happen. Not wait. The people have the power to take issues directly to them by phone, email, visits to the various government institutions, all the way down to civic club meetings, or meetings to get things tabled with local and national government.
Study the various histories of our leaders, key figures, and organizations, from a global point, who helped make greater changes to take our people out of unfavorable conditions. Throughout history, music and art has been a huge purveyor to spark revolutions and change. I agree with the greats who say that we, as artists, have a moral and social responsibility to create art to help wake up the masses and bring awareness.

We cannot leave out black women. This affects them as well. As I made mention of the Black Panther Party, the women were both the main driving force of the organization and the glue that held it all together. This is a fight for all of us as a people. Women birth the nation.


You’re more than music,What other ways do you get your creativity out for others to see?

Emdee: Many don’t know that I’m a multi-instrumentalist. I play French horn (was a first chair, by the way), trumpet, trombone, mellophone, flugelhorn, and percussion. I haven’t been as active as I used to, but I make rare appearances in some cases doing these. I have gone to art school. I can paint and draw. I’ve also attended dance school to study modern dance, as well as done street dancing as a B-Boy. I also do a bit of photography. I get that from my pop. He took a good amount of monochromatic (black and white) photos and knew how to develop film himself. The majority of the photos that I have taken are monochromatic and abstract.  I’ve done a bit of acting as well. I have one “made for TV” movie that I was in and a few plays. The last stage play that I acted in was in 2014 and is titled “Little Big Ramayan”, that was produced and directed by Bhaktimarga Swami, the “walking monk”. I was also the music supervisor and did the sound effects for the play.

How did you get started in Graphic Design?

Emdee: From frustration. (LOL) I asked someone to do a flyer for me for an event I planned, paid them, and didn’t hear from them after. So, I grabbed my PC and made a flyer on my own in Powerpoint. I was ok, but it didn’t quite do all that I wanted. Then I learned about Photoshop. I wanted to use my eye for art to put into my design, but had a hard time with the software. I asked a couple of people to help, but they didn’t. So I took it upon myself to learn the function of the basic tools. I’m pretty much self-taught, for the most part, but did earn a degree from, as I call it, “YouTube University”. Once learning the functionality of the software, things took off. I went from crap to creative.

Let’s talk about Production! How did that come about?

Emdee: For a long time, I was fascinated with the work of Leon Ware, Gordon Parks, Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton, and Stevie Wonder. I wanted to do what they were doing. So I studied them. Then, around 1986 or 1987, I met DJ Ready Red of, what they were then called the “Ghetto Boys”, later changed to “Geto Boys”. I was with one of my friends and we went to a recording session at one of the make-shift Rap-A-Lot studios in the Heights on N. Shepherd and 15th Street at a car lot that J. Prince owned. At the time they were writing and recording “You Ain’t Nothin’ ” and some other tunes. A little later Red was watching the movie “Scarface” on a VCR. He kept rewinding the part where Al Pachino says; “All I have in this world is my balls and my word.” It’s like he was soaked into it. I could see the gears turning in his head. He gets up, walks over to his Roland TR-909 and starts this beat. He’s tweaking it to make it hit harder and laid the foundation of his classic beat interlude “Balls and My Word”. Seeing the process that he did to make that happen is what sealed it for me to get into music production. So I started saving and hustling a few more gigs to get music production equipment. I first started out looping beats and riffs on multiple tape decks, but then saved up to get a Casio keyboard that had a sampler. I was in business with that piece. My next purchase was an Akai s900. Then I got an Ensoniq ASR-10. Those two pieces of equipment really elevated my game. I did a few tracks for some local groups that I didn’t get credit or payment for. One of my tracks got radio airplay. That was the thing that taught me to learn about the music business.

The 1990s brought about me learning more about sound engineering and stage production from doing shows as a performance DJ. I was also in a few scratch battles too. Learning the ins and outs about backline and other things started separating me from the other DJs and brought more opportunities. Mind you, I have previous experience in stage production from my high school drama classes. Long story short, I got booked for tours, and that helped me to learn more about how to properly produce shows, from watching, listening, asking a lot of questions, and internships. There’s a list of minor and major venues that I have produced shows at from the late 1990s to 2000s. Sis. Akua Holt is the biggest impact for me for stage production. I got into music video production in the late 1990s, mainly through local acts.

I have to pay respects to the late Mr. Eugene Foney. He helped me on the visual arts end. He was an art dealer and curator for many exhibits around the world for black visual artists. With him booking me for a good number of exhibits, I learned how to put together a proper exhibit.

A brief internship at KPRC Channel 2, here in Houston helped to push me into TV production. I have only a little bit of experience in that area. However, I did gain enough overall experience to land a Production Manager position at local black owned TV station Urban Houston Network, for a year and a half.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in following some of your accomplishments?

Emdee: Most importantly, learn the business side of things. That will help you to avoid a lot of potential heartbreak. Study your craft and take it seriously. The more well versed and experienced you are, through proof, the more opportunities will open up for you. Great work sells itself.


Who does the Dj listen to?

Emdee: So, so many good artists. It’s a given with artists like Stevie, Miles, Nina, Coltrane, and every other artist who everybody mentions. A lot of UK artists like 4Hero/2000 Black family, that houses artists Kaidi Tathum, Daz-I-Cue, Afronaught, and so on. Shy-X, Congo Natty (formerly Rebel MC), Khemistry, Benga, Scream, Roots Manuva, and a list of others. These are some of the pioneers and foundation of Jungle, Drum n Bass, Broken Beat, 2-Step, UK Garage, Dubstep, Grime, and other genres that spawned from their early contributions of the early Hardcore and Hip-Hop scene in London. Deborah Jordan, Heidi Vogel, SAULT, Omar Lyfook, London Afrobeat Collective, and a host of others from the UK. From Africa, Ali Farka Toure, Samite, African Head Charge, Fela Kuti, Salif Keita, Bhusi Mlongo, Farafina, Samthing Soweto, Bolt Cutter, Msaki, Sho Majozi, Blvckmoon, and my little brothers in Kenya, Saint Evo, Jacob Ngunyi, and Moseh Drummist. I adore singer/model Luedji Luna from Brazil.

I listen to Metal. OTEP is my favorite Metal band. I like the hard shit too. There are so many I can name who I listen to, depending on my mood. It ranges into House, Amapiano, Gqom, Juke/Footwork from Chicago, to Halftime, Soul, Reggae, and classic Rhythm and Blues. I’m not really into a lof of the “R&B” from the 1990s. I like soulful stuff. DJ Nappy G of Groove Collective. Dude is that deal. He inspired me to do a remix of a Louie Ramirez track. Steve Catanzaro of Modern Groove Assembly. He’s super dope as well. I wish I could play keys like him. Tiffany Paige, Brittany Bosco, Electric Wire Hustle, Fitzwa, Georgia Anne Muldrow (coined “woke”), J-Dilla, Kriswontwo, MonoNeon…my gawd! Dude is an alien or something, and is insane on bass. He plays upside down like Hendrix. Little Dragon, Tall Black Guy, Zo!, and Pittsburgh producer Shade Cobain. He’s got that “whew lawd” too.

On a local level, people should listen to artists like Kuumba Freeque, three of the best vocalists in Houston who I hail up and have high regard for, OC Song/Song Byrd, Krystal Hardwick, and Kam Franklin. Song and Kam have that old school soul, bring down the house, style vocals. Krystal…..lawd! Smoother than butter. I’m have tracks ready for Song and Krystal. K-Rino, can lyrically roll with the best of the best of them. There’s guitarist and producer Stephen Oran. His music puts my mind at ease. He’s a Rock star who addresses social issues, as well as other subjects in his music. He’s the type I view as playing his music while you have the top down, cruising up the Pacific Coast Highway. Multi-instrumentalist Chris Hines. A cat who I have regularly worked with since the 1990s. A great musician and one of the best producers in Houston. Has toured with Prince, Maze, The Isley Brothers, and so on. A session musician with Raphael Saadiq and Ice Cube. He has also been the Music Director for a few shows that I produced, as well as, with him and Spencer the Madd Drummer, I developed the early stages of Sunflower Jazz. The Niyat. Mutha-funkin’ David Sha! Dude tears the house down too. My other ace, DJ Blaknificent. Originally from New Orleans who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award for the work he’s done in music. He’s a wealth of musical knowledge. Run-CT…dude produces some bangers! Keith Watson/K-Dubb is a god. His production is beyond amazing.

Lastly, my brother Elliott Keith, formerly known as Elliott Ness of EK Skwad. He’s an emcee and producer who has a long track record. He smashes Japan and other cities overseas. I’m not saying this just because he’s a friend, but folks should peep his tune “Letter To Sandy (Mom)”, which is a dedication piece to his late mother. He wrote and produced it. In my opinion, it’s worthy of being included in Houston music archives. It’s a big tune.

Who would be your dream guest on your podcast?

Emdee: DJ Dawg, DJ Blaknificent, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Mell Starr, Taigo Onez, Anthony Nicholson, Ge-Ology, Andy Mack (DJ Mack Boogaloo), Greg Caz, DJ Nina Sol, Saint Evo, Louie Vega, DJ Whisperwish, DJ Fritz Charles, Ms Melodic, DJ Lady Love…who is one of the women pioneers in Hip-Hop, DJ Nappy G, Shade Cobain, Supa Neil, Fatta Carey and DJ Goldfinga, DJ Griffin (G-Woody), and a list of others. Although she’s not technically a DJ, but a young lady who goes by Afroditey would be great. She knows a lot of good music and has the makings to be a really good DJ.

You’re known for making people dance and leaving them with smiles ….WHat makes you happy?

Emdee: The sheer satisfaction that I’ve made them smile and have a good time. Especially when I play something and they light up, whether it be something they’re already familiar with or it’s something new to them.

How can people find out more about your ventures?

Emdee: Currently, I’m working on updating everything, but they can find out more on my website. therecordrealm.com or Facebook.


Where do you see Emdee in the future?

Emdee: Owning a production company and releasing a lot of music. I’ve been approached twice about starting a record label. Pretty soon, my radio show called “Afrotronik” will be airing on two radio stations, and I hope to expand to more markets overseas. I do have plans to open a “brick and mortar” business in the near future. Also planning to reintroduce and artist named Tishande’. As mentioned previously, I’ve taken a number of photos and would like to have my own exhibit one day. And to sell some of my work.

Open Mic!!!     (the stage is all yours!)

Emdee: Encouraging other artists to keep creating and don’t worry about what the next person may think, that’s not of help to you. You may be the next person that starts a new style that’s innovative, that leads to creating another movement and genre. Be unique. Be you.

I wish more people would get back to enjoying music in the true sense of it. To feel and connect with the music. Let the DJ be a tastemaker. There’s a lot of great music that people are overlooking because they’re too busy with the same 15 songs that they hear all the time, then they go some place with the expectation of hearing and requesting those same songs. Requests, in many cases, can be very annoying. 
I’m extremely thankful for my mother and her helping to nurture my talents. She busted her chops to provide the means for me to improve what I already have and to open me up to the world of art. She’s also responsible for this insatiable wanderlust. I’m also thankful for my four sisters and one of my best friends Tiffany, who are part of my support system. DJ Dawg, my longest best friend, then person responsible for turning me into the mix machine that I am, through the Casanova Crew, with DJ Lonnie Mack and Prince EZ-Cee (DJ Peter Parker), who were also part of the Def IV on Rap-A-Lot. Big ups to Mikey Faith and Fatta Carey for my soundsystem experience and taking my DJing to the next level. DJ Noyze….the first person who I did the 2 x 4 with, before it was cool. Being introduced to his “flip-flop” mixes. He was also a beast with cookouts for the crew. Elliott Keith, so many thanks to him. It’s how I met DJ Noyze. Bernard “Hawk” Lawes, for the many years of friendship, shows, travel, and extended family. Akua Holt for helping me to fine tune my stage production. Bruce (RIP) and Missy Coley of 3rd Eye Promo for all that they have done and opening up their hearts and home to me. DJ Blaknificent, worthy of the name, keeps me on my toes through brotherhood and music-wise. The Smiths, my extended family from Club Riddims, my other brothers Nasiir Muhammad and Capt. Khallid Green, Dominique Hermez (Skol Hookah Bar & Grill), Bill Milligan (RIP), Darrell Jacobs (RIP), Bobby Phats, Keith Watson (K-Dubb), DJ Whisperwish, Sean Peel (best sound engineer in Houston), and Mr. Eugene Foney (RIP). Big respect to Matthew Clark (DJ Unspoken Notion) of Simplicity 26 Records. Dude laces me up with a lot of world music and has been a great help in other areas.

Special shouts to my version of the “I-Threes”, Rock, Sonya, and Angie, and also to “Mo” (Myretta). Lots of great memories. My other sister Pam, aka Southern Girl. Fine ass Tiffany Dillard, who has always made me light up from day one.

To P.O.W., Shai, and the gifted poets who regularly graced G’s & Z’s Coffee Shop on Monday nights. Rest in peace to my little brother Niyi.

To the funkiest percussionists to help fatten my sets; Spencer the Madd Drummer, Robert Smalls, Baba Ifalade, and Illya. Chris Hines for his axe and bass for a lot of different projects. Bobby Fine for the support and bookings, to be able to rock shows with YZ and Special Ed, as their show DJ.
Extra special crispy shouts to my spiritual brother and sister Eddie and Cheryl. Many thanks to you Miss Dee for this interview.

ALL ABOUT THE FIREWORKS


Jenny entered a restaurant with a relaxing freshness all around. She walked with confidence while looking for the man that had caught her attention. Duke was a glimmer of light. She had to take a chance. She had to know more about him.

There were a good number of people scattered around the restaurant. Jenny felt safe surrounded by strangers.

Duke was stronger than the men Jenny used to date, but leaner than those she had seen before. His presence intimidated her, although she was taller than most women.

“You look even more beautiful than I remembered,” Duke said, approaching her from behind.

Jenny turned around. The curves of her body were perfectly adorned with a pair of faded black rag and bone jeans, leather jacket with a white blouse and sparkly snake print heels.

“Shall we find a place to sit,” Duke said, and held out his hand.

Jenny slightly leaning backwards. Then, she pressed her heels firmly and placed her hand over Duke’s.

They slowly walked through the restaurant, until Jenny let go of Duke’s hand. He stopped and turned, then chose the table next to her.

“Please, allow me,” Duke said, grabbing her chair to move it for her.

Jenny looked at him… imagining the reason for his actions. Then, she accepted his help and sat in the chair he had chosen for her.

“Love the outfit,” Duke said, walking to the opposite side of the small circular table. “You look ready for anything.”

“A girl has to be prepared.”

“You’re pulling it off.”

“You like it?” she asked, raising her left shoulder.

“I’m totally checking you out,” he said.

Jenny blushed.

“What is that?” Duke asked, reaching toward her neck with his hand.

Jenny paused, her eyes widened. Looking at Duke’s hand approaching.

“Nice necklace,” he said pointing with a finger. “Can I touch it?”

“Sure…” Jenny said, unconsciously leaning backwards.

“What is it made of?” he asked, touching the necklace on Jenny’s neck.

“It’s leather,” she said.

“Tell me,” Duke said, leaning back on his chair. “Do you like the beach?”

“I love it,” she replied.

“We should go,” he said, “I know a place that you’re going to love.”

“Oh yeah, where is it?”

“It’s not far from here…” he replied. “Would you like to try something tasty tonight?”

Jenny looked at him curiously.

“This place has delicious oysters.”

“You’re kidding,” Jenny said.

“Let’s have a platter of that and something to drink,” Duke said. “How about sparkling wine?”

Jenny smiled. “Okay. I like that!”

“You’re going to love this place.”

“I’m liking it so far,” Jenny said.

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Duke said, and stood up. “I’ll be back in an instant.”

Jenny looked quizzically at Duke walking away. He reached a man in a chef uniform and greeted him. Then, both of them turned to walk over to Jenny.

“So…you’re the famous Jenny,” Duke’s friend said. “I presume.”

“That’s me,” Jenny said from her seat.

“I’m Dirk and I’ll be preparing your food tonight.”

“It’s my pleasure, chef,” Jenny said, and gently bowed.

“The pleasure is all mine,” Dirk said, then turned towards Duke. “Take good care of my friend. There are few like him left in the world. Enjoy your evening.”

“You two seem to know each other very well.”

“He’s an old friend,” Duke said, returning to his chair. “Tell me something about you.”

“I’m glad that I agreed to go out with…”

An explosion interrupted Jenny and the rest of the people in the restaurant. Then, a bright light illuminated the interior of the restaurant. Immediately followed by another explosion.

Most people froze with the sound and blinding light. But, Duke grabbed Jenny by the hand. “Follow me.”

Jenny couldn’t understand what was going on. She ran after Duke, held firmly by his strong hand.

Another explosion shook the building and both of them lost their balance running up the stairs. Duke took Jenny’s hand to keep the two of them from falling. “Are you okay?”

Jenny looked at him. “I’m fine.”

The two continued up the stairs. Finally, they reached the rooftop door and Duke opened it.

Jenny couldn’t believe the light show that lit up the sky. The explosions continued and the sky was dressed in colors. “What is this?”

“From the first time I saw you…there is something about you that I can’t decipher. All I know is that being close to you makes me feel good. It’s as if your aura gives out happiness.”

Jenny watched him as fireworks lit up the sky behind.

“I’m so happy for this opportunity to be close to you.”

Jenny smiled. “Well…what are we going to do about it?”

Duke licked his lips, his gaze lost to Jenny’s beautiful smile. He reached her lower back and kissed her.

Sebastian Iturralde

SEBASTIAN ITURRALDE

Fiction blogger—citizen of this beautiful planet, eternal lover of artistic creation and literature. Certain that the creative energy comes from nature.

Pending Diagnosis

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Fearing a medical diagnosis during a pandemic. How the pandemic plays out during the process.

Eventually everyone has some type of health issues. From sprains to cuts and bruises to more serious issues, and normally it wouldn’t be a big deal. But in a pandemic, that kinda changes the situation some. Doctor visits are video chats emergency visits well…let’s say it’s like a movie scene. I say that because I’m personally am dealing with it and the waiting periods can be a nightmare. You having to wait for months to finally see a doctor then,

that doctor having you to go to a specialist which means you have to wait longer and you have to stay calm till you do. Being left with more questions than when you enter that doctors office can be draining. But you stay positive because you think if it was extremely serious you would be dead already just from the waiting to find out what killed you. So you know you don’t have to add that stress to your mindset but you know something is about to change and you have to wait. I love how my doctor gives me a mental list to digest what could be coming up in our little adventure because she knows I’m going to have a sarcastic reaction to whatever it is.

But one name keeps popping out of her mouth that I new I had to research because she’s saying it too much. I’m not going to say it because saying it makes it real and if I have to wait so do you! I can say that the mortality rate is high and the quality of life is shortened and the pills you take are large so you do lose yourself in away because your drowning in side effects. But the worst part is the pain. Knowing the looming levels of pain levels alone have made people end their lives. I know that because I’ve taken care of people who have tried to just to avoid the pain they suffer when their attempts failed. And yet I stay optimistic because I have to wait. Not weeks but months because a virus is still out there increasing it’s strength and peoples fears.

Increasing peoples fears that includes your family and friends. Do you keep them updated or wait? Do you accept the unknown or try to accept what could be your new journey in life? And when you decide what you plan to do How will the pandemic play its part? You can’t have one on one conversations with people so emails? Text? Or better yet those awkward phone calls listening to people cry knowing there’s nothing they can do but you know your stressing them out because there’s nothing they can do.

Great.

I see why people stay silence because of that pity expression you get just from hearing a tittle. You want to avoid that look for as long as you can and that’s where the pandemic can work in your favor! That separation gives you that time you need till your ready but when will you be ready? Well you got the time to figure it out because all you got is time because your impatience mind has to be patience. Enjoy.

I kinda warned you I’m sarcastic lol.

Art

Sean Johnson was born in Houston, Texas where she attended University of Houston. There she majored in Education and minored in Art. Though she has always been a writer, her interest in visual arts began in 2014.  Since that time she has been a featured live painter, exhibition artist, and vendor at Block Market, Black Girl Excellence, Survivor Seminar, Midtown Arts Center, and a host of other events.  Her paintings and photos have been published in The Hunger Magazine, Homology Lit, Unstamatic, Ponder Lit, and Boston Accent Lit.  Additionally, she has had three exhibitions to date and looks forward to many more!

skies and silhouettes series

Sean JohnsonArtist
SeanJohnsonArts.Net
All My Heroes Were Assassinated

Stereotyping in 2021

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With everything going on these past few years you would think this wouldn’t be as relevant but it is. Sadly it is just as relevant as the Covid virus. Assumptions are higher than normal. People are adding their fears to the mix which in my thoughts is a deadly combination. And with facts not being shared people are feeling that stereotyping is valid. From your day to day life to Police Officers to Postal workers.

No one is safe from this labeling . I’ve had to deal with some sort of stereotype my whole life. From Being too fat to walk with my head up or being that angry black woman for standing up for myself. I won’t lie and say its not annoying because it is, but I can also see the shift of how it has become more serious now than it was in my past. No one is safe. Asian Americans are being attacked just because their face looks like a rumor! that, that’s were the virus came from or that’s the excuse being used to spread hate for a different culture. A White woman can’t try to learn about different cultures to make herself wiser without being giving a title of sellout or culture thieves from both sides because everyone and I mean everyone is on a edge with any type of actions from anyone. I want to say people have been stuck in their homes and forgot that what they see on their screens is for entertainment and that those scenes are not real life.

Every Black Man that is well off didn’t make their fortune from drugs.

Every White woman doesn’t date a Black man for the size of his private parts.

Every Asian isn’t trying to cook your pets.

Every White person is not looking down on everyone else.

Every Latino Male is not in some type of gang.

Some of these types are pretty classic but unfortunately still relevant in our world today. I know it won’t stop and I’m sure there are plenty of other stereotypes I couldn’t think of and I’m glad that isn’t my mindset to try but I hope that the level will eventually die down and people will realize that as much as you try to put a stereotype on them, those same people can do the same to you. And where will that lead to?

HPS Spotlight Star

CONTRINA JENKINS
Making movies is something other’s may dream about BUT not Miss. Jenkins

What made you decide to start making movies?

Contrina: To be completely honest I never thought about being a filmmaker or a writer. I l always loved movies but it never cross my mind, now I couldn’t imagine not doing it. I started out on the open mic and one day I thought it would be cool to try and write a play. Gave the play to one my best friends Vincent Johnson “Black Bluez” and he suggested we do a stage play. And from there I fell in love with stage production. We did a play called Love Is, we hired a videographer to come out and film it for us. He liked the play and suggested that we turn it into a movie and we went for it.


What is your favorite part of the process of making a film?

 Contrina: I love being on set. To watch the characters come to life. Its my happy place

Being a Intelligent Strong Black Woman in the filming industry How has that helped you and yet what have your challenges been?

Contrina: Its definitely made me developed tougher skin. I get a chance to tell “our” story in my own way. Sometimes I feel as a black woman you have to work twice as hard. People don’t take you seriously. I do get labeled as the “angry black woman” which is so frustrating at times. I do feel some label you as a “Bitch” when you are driven and stand up for your beliefs.

How do you go through your casting? You pick some amazing people

Contrina: Houston is so full of talent. For our full length movies, we have open auditions. I usually advertise it on social medial and casting sites. For short films, I usually handpick people, its usually people I’ve previously worked with.

Name your creations and where they can be seen

Contrina: Love Is… can be found online through Amazon and different streaming services. Pipe Dreams is on Youtube. Definition of Manhood (short film) was strictly made for the film festivals. We have a new movie coming out next month on August 14th at Yorktown AMC, I will be submitting that film to Maverick Entertainment also. They are a distribution company for independent films.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start doing what you do?

Contrina: Go for it!!! Build a team. A strong production team is the key. You have to have faith and believe in something greater than you and for me that is God. God always provide, there’s no way I could do this without having faith and believing in God. Teamwork makes the dream work. And you have to invest in yourself. You can’t expect others to believe if you don’t.

As African American culture has been Evolving in the past few years, how do you translate that in your field?

Contrina: By bringing awareness to different issues that affect us as a people and being a voice. In my projects we discuss mental health, sexual abuse, sexuality, and etc. I’m also have a future project that will discuss racism and police brutality. I try really hard to display Multidimensional characters. We are a people of many layers. Characters that are outside the box. I have a range of different characters from artists, entrepreneurs, nurses, teachers, politicians, rap stars, musicians, dancers, poets to hustlers.  

What’s your dream cast?

Contrina: Dream cast: I would love to work with Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Phylicia Rashad and Angela Bassett on a drama. That would be dope. It’s so many. I also love Tarija P Henson, Omar Epps, Bette Midler, Kathy Bates, Renee Lawless, and Larenz Tate too. Too many to name. I would love to write on a Shonda Rhimes or Mara Brock Akil or Dick Wolf tv series.

What topic would you never touch?

 Contrina: I don’t know I think I’m pretty open to a certain extend. Maybe slavery is something that I might not show in my films just because I think that its been showed time and time again in our films and there so much more to show. 

How do you personally juggle personal life with your work life?

Contrina: It can be hard sometimes. I have a great support system and that really helps. Balancing being a Mom with working on my dream is a lot…but I’m a Mom first. Sometimes I will bring my daughter on set and to auditions and my son has help a couple of times behind the scenes. My kids think what I do is cool lol. My daughter wants to be an actress and my son is into music production.  I also work full time as a Corporate recruiter my goal in the next three years is to focus totally on filmmaking. Right now its definitely a juggling act.When it comes to relationships it can be difficult because my time is limited especially when we are in production. I try to take mental breaks rather it’s a trip to the spa, a vacation, hanging with friends and family or just some alone time at home. I struggle with balance. I overwhelm myself and stretch myself thin but I’m working on that lol

Who all is involved in your team?

Contrina: Vincent Johnson is our Casting Director and Acting Coach. When we do stage plays he is the Director. Courtney Elaine is our Creative Consultant and Associate Producer. She has also directed and been our Creative Director. A new addition to our team is Rhonda Adams she is our Creative Director, Stylist, and Set Designer. We also partner with IDO Media. That team consist of Brandon Kelly and Patrick Wickliffe They handle filming, sound, and editing.

 open mic!!! The stage is yours.

 Contrina: Its so important to walk in your purpose. Don’t let fear limited you. If you see something you want go for it!

Entertainment

Onney the CEO

talks to us as she grows from poet to Rising Star

 How did you get the name Onney?

Onney: 2 of my favorite mentors Dr. KG Bell (Dean of Graduate Studies) and Frank Jones (Willie Harris) gave me this name early on in my poetic journey back in 2001. It means to desire to be great. 

What motivated you to do this show?

Onney: I Love being a cheerleader of sorts. I have always been attracted to the light in others, so I created a platform that would allow me to introduce the world to the light I see in others. It’s not work when you love it.


What topic is your favorite?

Onney: The topic I seem to hone in on is, “What makes this guest Outside the Box”; be it music, film, beauty industry, arts or otherwise. I want to know their formula for success. The motivation behind this angle is to inspire others that may be on the same journey as the guest; if they can do it, so can you.


How do you think being Black and a Female has helped and hendor you in this field?

Onney:  Being black and female in a male dominated industry has been both a challenge and a journey, but women CEO’s are the future; therefore I am hopeful of what that represents. 


What would you say to females who want to follow in your footsteps?

Onney: Stay true to yourself, heal your traumas and let go of the social stigmas that leave you stuck. Understand that everyone will not see your vision, and that is ok. Accept that the support you desire will not come from familiar faces and some of the people that your journey will bless may not be from your immediate circle. Do it anyway!! 


What is one thing that you think is the most empowering effect that you have had since you have started your journey?

Onney: The most empowering effect my journey has had was proving to myself that I can do it. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. It is important to walk the walk and talk the talk. How can you inspire others when you yourself aren’t inspired? 


Who would be your dream guest?

Onney: I have so many dream guests that it’s hard to narrow it down. I would however love to interview Oprah because she is my inspiration when it comes to having a talk show that makes a difference in the community.


What do you want to see happen with your show?

Onney: The goal is to get my show on a syndicated network on prime time TV… It’s coming! 


What inspires your talent?

Onney: The love of life, and art. 


What’s your favorite part of doing your show?

Onney: My favorite part of doing my talk show is being able to sit across from others and be inspired first hand from their journey. I thoroughly enjoy being able to put those that inspire me on multiple platforms at once to inspire others as well. So far I have made amazing connections that have allowed me to pass the blessing forward to others on their journey to success. 


What’s the funniest moment you’ve had so far on your show that you were not expecting?

Onney: I had a guest get up in the middle of a recording to surprise a guest they brought with them… totally messed up the production and flow of the show, but I had to keep going as if it was planned… if you are reading this, please never excuse yourself while the cameras are rolling in the middle of an interview.


Where can people watch your show?

Onney: You can catch Outside the Box with Onney on all streaming platforms including Hip Hop Streets Live Stream Music App, YouTube, Apple Music and more on Wednesday’s at 7pm. You can also catch us on AStar TV on Thursdays at 7pm. Each week we bring new guests on the show.

Open mic!!!(the stage is yours…enjoy)

REFLECTION….

“The Liberation of a Lil’ Brown Girl” 

I’m on the verge of a break up, a break up to make up all of the inconsistencies that I have found within me… So yes, I am breaking up with myself! It’s not about anyone else, because when it’s all said and done and the shit hits the fan, I am the only one left to take the stand,… and I understand what bad choices can do. Bad choices can make you look like the fool, bad choices can make you seem so uncouf – I tell you the truth that, I HAVE HAD MY SHARE!! So as I stand in the mirror, I can’t stand to see the reflection staring back at me. So it’s time that I remove all of the trash and debris, plus the make up! And take up some advice from my old friend 7…like he said, “it’s not about Mary Kay, Fashion Fair or Mac it’s the personal baggage that’s attached” and I refuse to be the bag lady!!! So today I am breaking up with me! Because when I look in that mirror I can’t stand the reflection that I see.

Now don’t get me wrong everything I see is not bad, but it’s sad because, as I look beyond the surface of the reflection and look into my own eyes, the pain I have inflicted on myself makes me want to cry. How can I make bad decisions in relationships and then have the audacity, to turn around and ask God why Me? How can I love a man more than I love myself? How can I put everything else before my well being and put my priorities on a shelf? It’s time to wake up, so I am going to shake up myself with a personal break up so I can be a better me and be satisfied with the reflection I see in that mirror staring back at me.

Yes I am great mother to my sons and I love all three, yes indeed. But where’s that man that planted those seeds? The problem was I put his wants before my needs! The problem was I never had time to BREATHE, a mother at the young age of 16! Yeah I may have finished school but I have disillusioned myself with love by playing the fool. Not just once, but twice so I have to tell myself that something just ain’t right. You can’t do the same thing expecting different results, that mathematical equation will never add up. The problem wasn’t them, it was me, because I allowed those men to treat me unfairly. My first husband beated on me and my second husband cheated on me and I stuck around way too long because I didn’t think that I was worthy. That mindset was embedded in my mentality leaving me to be a product of my environment on the inside, so I wore a smile on the outside trying to hide my dismay, but today I AM FREE! I am free from your judgment of me, I am free to be whomever I want to be even if you don’t find it satisfactory. I am breaking up with me because I will no longer be – bound by the molestation that happen to me from the man I had to call step-daddy, I will no longer be bound by extension cord beatings and mother screaming YOU B***H! YOU AINT GONE BE S**T! I owe it to that little black girl who was lost in this dark world a new beginning with a Happy Ending. SHE DESERVES TO BE FINALLY BE HAPPY. She deserves a life that’s tear free and full of possibilities. 

 All my life I have lived just to prove them wrong! I’ve written books, songs and recited poems, starred in stage plays and executive produced my own CD, even did a few movies, But still I couldn’t seem to break away from the shackles that held me, because with all that success I still felt empty. I still thought that it was my image that would make me! But I was sadly mistaken, because they say imitation is the best form of flattery, but not when your imitating being happy! Not when your closest friends turn out to be your enemies. I would walk through the poetry lounge with this great big smile, making sure my hair on point and my cloths was in style. But who the hell cares? I wasn’t content even when I did get compliments. This was my get away from the reality of dealing with ME, and so…we’re breaking up! All those things I went through I never let go and forgot… I am making up my mind to say that isn’t what LIFE’S about!  I want to be free…so I am breaking up with me, because when I look in the mirror do you know who I need to see? I need to see a God Fearing, faith having, bold, beautiful and secure black woman staring back at me! And that is what I call a REFLECTION of Perfection…

Coping Mentality

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One woman’s insight into her mental health and how she copes with her processing of life. Please remember this is her perspective.

Enjoy.

When you hear the word PTSD my first thought is military but of course it goes beyond that. I look back at my childhood and knowing all the dramatic events and situations I was in I think to myself NO WONDER why I am the way I am now. I fit the behavior of the title but I don’t consider myself a person with PTSD.

Because I know someone who does have it and I can’t see two people suffering from it helping each other get out of it making any progress from it. But I need to focus because this is going to be a long story.

I feel that if you put your truth out there, there’s a freeing aspect that is worth getting pass the fear of putting yourself out there. Even if no one accepts it, it’s important that you can accept that your the one that counts the most. Because in the end it’s your life.

People look at me and tell me I’m very confident and I have this demeanor of seriousness but caring aspect. And honestly, I try not to laugh in peoples faces. Because I think to myself Why???? Me??? like Charley Brown would say, Good Grief! But that’s insecurities talking.

I guess I can say I do have those traits but I also know I have so much more. Others would probably look down on but it is what it is. I will list what my traits are and give a brief reason why to help you understand.

I am a control freak- at 17 I was assaulted by my pastor’s son so I have to have some type of control of whatever I’m doing. It’s my security blanket.

I am very fearful-growing up I was bullied not just by strangers but family as well. So I live with a lot of fear inside me at times.

I am sad-I lost my mother that I helped take care of from the age of 12 and in knowing I will never have the ability of having children it was like I have been grieving a mother friend and child all at once. I took care of her for 8 years so losing someone that you took care of like they were your child, I grieve like i lost an 8 year old child.

I am cautious-because I am naive. I am still very trusting of other’s when I shouldn’t be

I am happy-I have a life I never thought I have. I have friends that I could never dream of having and seeing my ability to do what my mindset can create is motivating.

I am smarter than your average bear-Knowing I’m looked at as not being very smart, uneducated and not going far in life but yet I’m the one you go to for help…yeah enough said on that.

I am confident-I know I am my main cheerleader and I know my weakness and my strength. I know I am capable of doing things and having the ability to learn new things is something I’m proud of.

I am sensitive-I know my vulnerability and family is one of them. Anyone or thing that I care about becomes my weakness.

I am vulnerable-I have never loss that ability of trust so I have not grown that ability to know who to trust safely or to be unsure of.

I am still alive-I have never shied away from being vocal about having health issues and I’ve always said to people I didn’t think i would see 19 so to come as far as I have helps me get pass peoples antics and bad behavior where I know other’s who would have ended their lives because of other’s actions.

I survived Mental Abuse-I grew up with a sibling who tried to kill me (literally) and the backlash for standing up for myself left me coming off as quiet nature

(until I open my mouth. )

Now with all that being said I still wouldn’t say I have PTSD I would say I had a challenging life. Because of dealing with a friend who has a severe case of it puts my trama in a different outlook to me. I know my mental health is better than his but I think everyone needs a type of check-up to see if everything is OK. I mean you make sure your automobile is working why not your mental health?

My check-up stations as I call them are: Friends, Family and Myself.

There are a couple of friends I go to when I need a oil change you could say. There’s always someone I can talk to when I need that extra ear and when those times come into play when I don’t have that access I have myself. I write my problems out and then I bake my stress away and go back to what I wrote with a clearer head and figure out the issue. That’s my process right now.

I remember having those days when I would cry & nothing was wrong and later realizing it was just hormones. But in those moments you just feel low. I don’t make myself feel bad for having them but I recognize what it is and I don’t add to it and let it pass through me and regroup and move forward. It’s an ongoing process with many trips for check ups sometimes, but just like a automobile its an investment that you want to keep in good condition. and I like to think I’m more valuable than an automobile.

Just my thoughts.

Shareeduh Tate

Her family tragedy became a global movement for Police reform and for Social Justice

I wanted to thank you again but also to send my deepest condolences to you and your family for your loss. I always thought you would leave a mark but never thought under this type of situation. 

I’ve met you years ago working together in the medical field, what have you been up to since then?

Shareeduh: A lot has happened since I worked with you. Since then I have obtained my Bachelor and Master degrees in nursing and currently working on my doctorate in nursing slated to complete in May 2022. Of course within the last year I suffered the loss of my cousin George Floyd and have the honor of being the President of the foundation founded by our family to honor his legacy.

 How long have you been in healthcare?

Shareeduh: I have worked in healthcare for almost 30 years.

How did you get involved in the Ivyinc Soarers?

Shareeduh: I became involved with the Soarers  community after feeling like I needed something more. Ivy McGregor, the leader of the community is a member of my church and I have always found her to be an inspiration. I had just gone through a divorce, change in jobs and was completing my Masters program but still felt something was missing. I saw that she was started a community that would service others and I wanted in immediately.

Where were you on May 25,2020 when you received the news?

Shareeduh: I actually did not find out until the early morning on May 26,2020 and I was actually at home getting ready for work when I received the call from my cousin notifying me of Perry’s death.

Before that day what was your thoughts about Black lives Matter?

And after?

Shareeduh: I have always felt that Black Lives Matter because I have been a Black woman my whole life . I have experienced the injustices and watched them throughout my life. When Trayvon Martin was murdered it kind of awakened me again . I remember being angry for some time after his death particularly when Zimmerman was acquitted. The difference is that I am now channeling that energy into doing the work that will make a change in the way people of color are being treated as it relates to police reform.

How do you think our African American community will translate the Bill if it is passed?

Shareeduh: I think our community will be slow to respond if the Bill is passed initially. Largely because we have had Bills for years that were supposed to protect our rights. I think once they see it actually being enforced that they will have a different perspective and or response.  

How do you think we can relate to them the reality of the importance of it?

Shareeduh: I think that education and our continual push to create the change will demonstrate the importance of it!

How has it helped you and your family knowing you had support from across the world through this tragedy?

Shareeduh: Having the support, prayers and love of countless individuals across the globe has made a difficult situation much more tolerable. To know that his death and the brutality of it resonated with so many and galvanized them to make changes has been a tremendous help

What is the name of the foundation and how can people support?

Shareeduh: The George Floyd Foundation www.thegeorgefloydfoundation.or

What type of events and efforts do you want to get done through the foundation?

Shareeduh: The foundation has 3 initiatives Social Justice, Work Force Development and Youth Services. We are engaged in activities from anything to protest, rallies, panel discussions, back to school drives, summer camps, training programs for students and adults and legislative hearings.

Unfortunately with all positive aspects with everything there is also negative. How has your family and yourself been able to stay strong throughout the negativity?

We have been able to stay strong because we simply do not give any energy towards negativity. We have recognized that we are not going to change the mindsets of most of them and our energy is best used to fuel positivity.

What do you want the world to know about your cousin George Floyd?

Shareeduh: I want the world to know that he was a person who was loved by many. He was someone who loved to help people and had a great sense of humor. He loved his family, God and his community. He represented the Third Ward,  Cuney Homes and Jack Yates with pride and his life mattered!

How do you help your son understand the magnitude of the historical importance of what you have been going through since that day in May?

Shareeduh: It is a struggle sometimes to get him to fully wrap his mind around the historical importance of this moment. I just make sure he is included knowing that one day he will be able to make the connection and be grateful that his mother included him in the process.

What was going through your mind when you were preparing to go on live TV?

Shareeduh: Each time that I am on TV my prayer is that I represent God and my family well and that the time that I am allotted to speak that it is used in a way that can help move the needle forward in social justice, police reform and solidifying George’s legacy.

 What is one question you wish people would ask about your family that you’ve been wanting to say?

Shareeduh: I cannot think of a question because when given the opportunity I share freely those things that I would like people to know about our family.

Let’s talk fashion! You’ve had a style all your own since I’ve known you….What’s your inspiration behind it all?

Shareeduh: From a very early age I have  admired people whose clothing was well put together. I enjoy putting clothes together and I am excited about what I come up with. Fashion is something that I enjoy!

What do you think Floyd would say about how everything has been playing out since his passing?

Shareeduh: I think he would be super proud of everything that is going on especially since he always said that people were going to know him and that he was going to be famous!

How has your faith gotten you through this journey?

Shareeduh: Faith has gotten me through so many challenges and tragedies in my life and it is the only reason why I am still standing strong! God is everything to me and I am nothing without Him!

Has there been anyone who you were surprised to get support from?

Shareeduh: Beyond the initial surprise of the legions of people who were supporting us I honestly cannot think of any one person that I was surprised that we received support from.

What’s a funny moment your willing to share of George?

Shareeduh: George was a practical joker so I cannot really think of just one moment that was funny to me. He was always doing something especially when we were kids..

What are your thoughts if the bill isn’t passed?

Shareeduh: I believe the Bill will be passed no matter how long it takes so I have no thoughts regarding  it not being passed

What do you want YOUR legacy to be?

Shareeduh: I would like my legacy to be one that used her God given gifts to help effect change that will make this world a better place for people of color as it relates to social justice and police reform and encouraging others to never give up on their dreams. If you can conceive it, believe it and you can achieve it!

open mic!!!

(this is where you can say anything that you want. The stage is yours!)

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all f our followers and supporters and to ask that they continue to keep us in their prayers. This journey is a marathon not a sprint and it will take the collective efforts of us all to see true social justice change and police reform!