#UPDATES: September 18th

Culture

By: Steven Underwood

 

What’s Good,

For those of you who’re in the unknown, this is the owner of this wonderful website, Steve. After some months, I thought it prudent to keep everyone up to date on what I’ll be doing with the site, kind of a short term goals. While this blog is primarily a host for my portfolio and professional writing career, it is also a place I want to push as a platform for Black Art, and Black Artists (because those things are the topics I tend to talk about in MY art).

With that being said, I think it prudent that I list some things that will be rolling on soon onto the platform:

1.) I am going to pull back from the “take-downs”. A lot of people traffic my read of Luka Sabbat, and while I stand by a lot of what I say, I don’t agree with participating in negativity as a means to promote my career. It was an honest moment and necessary, but I don’t believe in holding grudges, or chaining someone to my opinion of them. If something happens that warrants it, I’ll do it again, but Luka Sabbat is a Black artist doing his thing, and this is a place for uplifting that. So… do with that as you will.

2.) Patreon! I have one. It’s pretty damn great, and I cherish it. On there, I will be releasing some of my cutting edge fiction work, like my screenplays, my short stories, etc. Now that I’ve finished something exciting, I can’t wait to roll out more things for you guys. Following this post, I will put a link to my work you guys might love.

3.) Artist Directory. This is something I think will help a lot with my work. Keeping a tab on specific Black Artists, it will allow me to provide the content here that I think will most help. So, PLEASE submit to me artists you’ve come across in any area and I will look into their work. Hell, send me work they’ve posted online: I’ll review it! This includes:

  • Music (Hip Hop, R&B, Pop, Blues, Pop Rock, etc.)
  • Literature
  • Painting
  • Graphic Design
  • Film
  • Videos (YouTube, instagram, etc.)
  • Fashion
  • Modelling
  • Dance

4.) My Novel is Done. Yeah, I finished a Novel. Soon, you will see a few pitches and a summary of it, but until then  just know a Black Guy wrote a whole 150k+ Fantasy Novel starring ghetto black kids.

5. Blow-by-Blow on Internships, Travel and Art Lifestyle: I’ll start blogging about a lot of things. I work for OUT MAGAZINE to expand my background in Fashion Editorial, I travel to different places for great shows and experiences and participate in a bit of Travel Journalism and, most importantly, I have involved myself in exposing the REAL LIFE of the Black Millennial Artist, so I’ll be doing my part in showcasing what that looks like.

 

So, there’s everything.

If you see something that interests you, or you have any questions, feel free to comment. I don’t bite; I just quip.

 

–Steven

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#WAR: WHOM TO BLAME

Articles, Essays, Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

In Columbus, there is a military stand at every College fair, at every job fair. Across the street, you hear about a Miss, or Mister whom has their homes and bills paid for by a noble son or daughter in the military. Advisors make suggestions to the middling student on how to afford college; athletes without the intellect to propel themselves academically into the D1 get a brochure for adventure.

Nothing talks about the pain and anguish that will be inflicted by them onto people whom look just like them.

The military is a billion-dollar enterprise and puppet of American greed. They swoop into foreign nations and flush them with violence and anguish until there is little to nothing that can save them from the monsters they eventually become after the are forced into the uniform and after they are forced out.

Image result for Army Recruitment

This is not to say there is no choice, but when the questionnaire is: A. You avoid the military and watch your family become swallowed by the persisting hopelessness of the city; B. Become consumed in the drug enterprise that is glamourized despite its entire market hinging on the poisoning of black and brown people (much like what they would be doing in the military) and risking the prison system; or C. Conforming to an organization that turns you into a weapon of people who are your enemy and promising a Hero’s journey in service of the government that has never protected them, you see that there is no choice at all. Any free will, makes you culpable in the downward spiral of your entire generation.

Recently, many leftist digital personalities have taken to bashing and wishing the extreme misfortunes of death, depravity and karma upon the poor. Some people are justifiably upset, victimized by the enterprises that have a stranglehold on the poor and exploits their economic disadvantages to harm everyone they’ve ever known. Others simply talk from a pedestal too high for them to see their own culpability in these military transgressions: how they’re upper-middle class suburban lives have swallowed programs, advantages and aid that the communities adjacent to them have starved without. I’ve seen these people every year in high school: they cross from the other side of the tracks – often for drugs – and dabble with the dark side.

Whatever the case is, I never think it’s a solution to focus on the mutual destruction of the lower class. That’s not very socialist, and therefore, that is not to the benefit of a disadvantaged group here, or across the seas. I won’t get into the arguments on compliance and force. I won’t get into the rhetoric of blame and target. Instead, I will get into the rhetoric of fact.

Fact: the Government chooses to fund the military over education and social reform programs.

Fact: the Government chooses to strategically place these programs and organizations that place the military pipeline between high school and economic liberty and expect its vacuum not to suck in the gullible naivety of 18 year olds.

Fact: the Government targets locations high in poverty, high in resources and high in such profound cultural dichotomies and western media propaganda over the last two decades that these exploited children can barely recognize if they will be battling people, or terrorists.

Image result for Ta Nehisi Coates Obama

In all honesty, I can admit that I have some culpability in turning a blind eye to the actions of the government and the exploitation of the poor in the military (Much like Ta-nahesis Coates, I do harbor a bias to Barrack Obama the person, and distinguish him as separate from Obama, the President). And I do blame some of these children – the young who enter the military to become hometown heroes, or to champion the imperialistic powers of the West; the middling students who refused to even attempt the other way out that didn’t include the pain of another: the people who knew they would be hurting others for their own wealth. (I may have subscribed to the institutional scam of Accademia, but I never picked up a gun in the name of the West). However, what I always do is encourage that focusing of power at destroying the root of an evil.

The root I so clearly sense is a government that is still stuck in the exploitation of others to create this construct of power that is incapable of being shared, without the poisoning of its lower half and the halves it cannot directly influence without anguish.

In all, toy soldiers execute a plan that a larger hand positions them to perform. Microcosmic actions always begin at the macro, as per the human constructs we subscribed to.

#LOOKATTHAT: HOWARD GOT FINESSED BY SOMEONE HONESTLY NAMED TYRONE HANKERSON

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Culture

By: Steven Underwood

Maybe if they weren’t clocking Blacks at PWIS who only sin was wanting to afford a cup of ramen noodles every once in a while, instead of selling a kidney for a degree, Howard would’ve realized someone’s nephew was running off with their Housing Grant.

After, what? Four years? Four years of being finessed by someone’s boat shoe wearing Blavity black, the total sum of financial loss snatched by Mr. Hankerson amounts to about $500k. That’s 500 stacks. That’s maybe fifty times my current amount of debt I’ve amassed being “finessed by the white man.”

I’m shook. Not shook like Howard’s CFO by the IRS, but I’m shook like a Wakandan watching the Civil Rights Movement from the comfort of my rhino: saddened by the audacity, but otherwise unaffected.

I guess this just means I made the right decisions. You know? Maybe, I did sacrifice an “Authentic HBCU experience” for bein dicked by white men. But you know what didn’t happen to me? I wasn’t scammed by a mink coat, designer bag slinging undergrad in white rubber boots.

I wasn’t scammed by Curious George’s unscrupulous cousin.

I wasn’t scammed by someone named Tyrone Muthafuckin’ Hankerson.

Do I sound petty? Comment below with what you would’ve done with the $500k your pre-law/pre-med/home health aid major cousin took out a personal loan under your auntie’s name with? I’m sure it would’ve been half as nice as what Hankerson did with it.

#ONYASHELF: CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE BY TOMI ADEYEMI ‘REVIEW’

Articles, Music

By: Steven Underwood

TL;DR: Snow-haired black girl, Zélie Adebola, comes from a race of magical and oppressed race in a world without magic known as Maji. Hated for their violent power and spiritual culture, Zélie embarks on a quest to return the power to her people alongside the timid, yet progressive daughter of the very king who slaughtered their people – and most importantly, her Maji mother – Amami. If only the heir to the crown of Orisha, Inan, shared his sister’s views, rather than a coveted secret.

“Safe?”

Yemi meets my eye with a hatred that impales me like a sword. Though her mouth never opens, her voice rings in my skull.

“Safe ended a long time ago.”

***

The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is one of the last examples of why the novel cannot be doomed at such a pivotal stage in the decolonization of Culture. Just as we excavate the shrines of closeted racists, misogynists, sexual predators and bigots from our Art, there leaves open space and room for us to erect new geniuses of the craft. This is not their playground anymore. This will never be their playground ever again. Take from that what you will people who expect us to feel bad for forcing our way through the door and eliminating the mediocre or dry.

With that said, Tomi Adeyemi showcases the brilliance of a story driven by the necessary spirit of characterization. Starting with her protagonist, Zélie, an arrogant and fiery force of revolution and fight, we witness the unfiltered anger that comes with those oppressed. Rather than depicting the narrative of noble forgiveness and the superior power of peace, the author manifests a character who cannot and will not forgive or love an oppressor who wishes her harm that is included in the narratives of specific groups penned by people with an extremely obvious bias in laying the stakes within forgiveness.

This characterization forces out a story that is fresh and exciting because of how simplistic the view is: that you can be all-consumed with anger, and still not be wrong for refusing to relinquish it. Zelie’s fire is by far the most exciting part of the story. Equally, Adeyemi creates a supporting cast of complicated heroes and anti-villains whom emphasize the very real fears of fighting against a society that benefits you, and only seeks to benefit you (Amami): of the realities of resistance and the double-sided nature to those who seek to raise equality only when they themselves are put at risk for oppression (Inan).

Despite a elementary magic system embrightened by a prose and cultural significance that shames the simplistic and forwardly lackluster nature of Harry Potter, the world-building incites feelings of wonder and dream, and even a sadness that even in a world as spectacular as that illustrated by Adeyemi, we still witness the atrocities and pains we find so common in our every day life.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in a decolonized approach to conventional Fantasy or interested in Speculative Fiction.

8.5/10

-1 for Generic Magic System

-.5 for Convoluted Ending

#MAKEITMAKESENSE: WANDA SYKES JOINS THE MARCH, ‘Netflix offered me less than half’

Articles, Culture

By: STEVEN UNDERWOOD

WORDS TO KNOW: Misogynoiry – misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias. It was coined by queer black feminist Moya Bailey.

Following Mo’Nique’s announcement and call for boycott of Netflix, Comedienne and actor, Wanda Sykes took to twitter to reveal her own experiences with Netflix and pay disparity.

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This pay dispute reveals a mutual pay out of $750,000 for two black women who’ve circulated 50+ years in the entertainment business. This news comes just after the 2nd Annual Women’s March and in the middle of the #METOO campaign, both of which Netflix has all but expressed support of #MeToo and female rights online and in production of “progressive” programming, leading others to question if the support is either performative measures for views or just egregious misogynoiry.

Wanda Sykes was the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner, mutually the first African-American woman and first openly LGBT person to perform this task.

Mo’Nique is amongst the most awarded comedians of our time, whom following an alleged blackballing from the wider entertainment industry due to a refusal to promote Precious, cultivated a career as a seasoned comedian and actress outside the influences of wider Hollywood.

Do you agree with the issue of pay disparity in the business? Comment below and follow us for more updates!

#LOOKOUT: @MEECHONMARS RESTOCKS ‘YOU MATTER” MERCH

Articles, Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

Monday, Actor, Poet and Activist Demetrius Harmon or @Meechonmars announced restocks for his “You Matter” hoodies, available for international shipping, are coming Friday, January 12th to his site.

The hoodies feature a personal message from Harmon on things we tend to forget when discussing mental wellness.

Demetrius Harmon is best knowns for his plentiful contributions to Vine and his BE HAPPY short seen below.

Are you excited for the new merch? Comment below and follow for more updates!

SOURCE: Meechonmars

#Trailblazing: BRUNO MARS & CARDI B FINESSE IN LIVING COLOR!

Music

By: Steven Underwood

Unexpectantly, we took a trip back into the retro raw talent and culture of the 90s when Bruno Mars debuted the remix of his soul-funk inspired single, Finesse from his album, 24K MAGIC, featuring the rising street icon, Cardi B.

Fresh off her third number one on the charts, Cardi B brings the eccentric street style that defined 90s hip-hop, unleashing a spontaneous urge in her flow reminiscent of Lisa “Left-eye” Lopez, a sorely missed powerhouse of 90s Rap/Pop. Not only the fifth single dropped from the acclaimed album, Bruno Mars debuted it with a paint-dripped dedication to 90s hit sketch comedy show, IN LIVING COLOR, where he and his cast of dancers took up the larger-than-life shoes of the Fly Girls (including Jennifer Lopez) and the Wayans Brothers.

Missed it? Watch the Video Above! A day later, Justin Timberlake returned to music with his single, Filthy. Check it out!