#TRENDSETTER: CONGRATULATIONS TO ‘STREET SERENADE APPAREL’’s GIANNA ROSS @ the #WCWFashionShow

#TRENDSETTER, Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

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#Wcwfashionshow set it off with Gianna (or Gia, as she is affectionately called)’s ode to the Streets.

Yesterday, New Jersey native, Gianna Ross, released her street inspired collection for Street Serenade Apparel. Her line focused on the dynamic looks of rap, hip-hop and black culture, celebrating the fierce nobility in our nouveau noir generation. The bold Centenary University Alum’s showcase stunted, featuring several of her sorors as models for her collection.

“Heart Beat Of The Streets”

An ode to the Streets, Culture, & the People that arose from it. Using the streets as our muse & embracing our journey, from the ground up🥀✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

Do what Janelle Monae said: Femme the future and follow her Movement!

IG: streetserenadeapparel

IG (Owner): Gia_lizz

Like, Comment and Follow for a close look at this artist’s journey!

Sickness

Art, Poetry

Does whiteness

Get as sick

As i—

Ovehearing their negligence

Of black voice

As i do?

If not,

Why bother

Speaking?

#INSPIRE: LOVE FOR GQ

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Non-Fiction

“I want to be an authentic, unapologetic warrior for black culture and the culture of the street and how it moves. My thing is most importantly to change the narrative of the black race. I can’t relate to anything that isn’t about that.” — Love, formerly Sean Diddy Combs, for GQ April 2018.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from his shoot. Got any favorites? Comment below!

#DEADPOOL: DONALD GLOVER LEAKS FANTASTIC ‘DEADPOOL’ SCRIPT VIA TWITTER

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Culture

By: Steven Underwood

“For the record: I wasn’t too busy to work on Deadpool.” Tweeted Donald Glover, moments before dropping a 14 thread false pilot episode, featuring topical jokes such as Sanaa Lathan biting Beyoncé’s and Tekashi69’s (lack of) rap skills. This BOMB dropped just after Glover and his brother parted ways with the Deadpool animated series, where “differences” in creativity were cited. (Pictures below).

After reviewing the script, Glover stated that it was likely his “different” approach that scared away the prospectively lucrative deal.

By different, I of course mean Black.

What do you think? Do you agree Sanaa Lathan bit Beyoncé’s face? Where do you imagine Gambino’s series fitting in? Comment below

#LISTEN: BLAQUEWORD’s SUNDAY SIT BACK PLAYLIST

Articles, Music

Sit back and enjoy a little vibe while you scroll through some more social media savagery.

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/playlist/pl.u-11zBX83HKW2428?country=us

Like, Comment and Subscribe! Don’t forget to subscribe to our Patreon here for exclusive content every week!

#STYLEHITTER: Balenciaga’s ‘TRIPLE S’ Sneakers Are Just Expensive Sketchers

Fashion

So, how isn’t this whole “Sketchers are ugly and no one with self-respect over the age of 10 should be wearing them, except white suburban fathers and sex offenders” about class and elitism?

Balenciaga released what even GQ, the premiere magazine for men’s luxury fashion, called “ugly” and suddenly it is lit to rock something audaciously like this:

 

Backseat Driver

Art, Essays, Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

Names have been censored to protect people, identities, and relationships

Some Men have these rides with one another that isn’t very fun, it’s always very hurtful, and it’s about doing your best to destroy the person closest to you, at the benefit of rising among a hierarchy that ultimately might not matter.

I participated in this while still in high school, and to this day I can’t imagine why. We were driving in the car up Demorest Road, a long street that connects you to the most important places in Columbus, Ohio. I’m in the back seat – neither my choice, nor the first time this weekend. See, this place – the back seat– is the most toxic environment in my circle. It’s where you’re forgotten and ignored and relatively useless to the overall direction of the evening. It’s where it’s whispered: “You should honestly just be happy we invited you, several of us didn’t want to.”

It’s a place I really should not have been, because the person driving the car was my best friend, B.

There is an unspoken truth to it: every man might have a circle, but every man also has a right hand. The dynamic between the two isn’t always equal – hell, the strongest side at the moment might even realize this, and will take advantage: hoping to keep the power on their side, lest they lose something important to their character. Yet, there is an agreement between the two: you will take care of your right hand, and your right hand will take care of you.

And still, I was in the back seat, and not by any insignificant act. I knew I was put there. I knew I had done something wrong in the eyes of the highest order of the hierarchy, and this was a punishment. Maybe in some group chat they were laughing at me; I already knew that in some conversations they were: I knew because I was told about it every time, and if I got upset, It would probably happen again, this time around someone I liked, next time maybe around people who could potentially like me. This was the rule of the hierarchy, because to them I didn’t bring anything to the table and I had no point to me outside of my relative loyalty.

B and I, lock eyes in his rear-view mirror. It’s for a moment, but I still see him smirk as he accelerates up the road. I try to figure out what I did wrong exactly, but I’m clueless. The car keeps moving, and I’m interrupted by a ringtone.

It’s another friend, a good friend. Someone more loyal than we deserve, and stronger than most of us gave credit too.

B quickly takes him off speaker for the conversation. I want to tell him to get off the phone. I don’t: we don’t die this time.

Our friend’s voice is stronger than the silence in the car without the music or the radio. “What are yall doing tonight?”

It’s very obvious: we’re going to eat, and going to a movie, likely to see our other friends – a crowd of girls who either have dated, will date or thought of dating every member of our circle.

B does that thing he does before he lies, before he convinces himself he is lying for everyone else’s benefit – that he is being selfless, instead of selfish. He smiles. Not a true, full smile, no, he shows his teeth and cocks the ends of his grin, like he is caught in a hesitant laugh. “Nothing. We just staying at my house tonight, for real, for real. Nah, it’s gonna be boring and my folks don’t want anybody else here. Talk to you, later.”

He hangs up the phone.

Noone laughs at M, but there is an energy of humor between all of them. I don’t feel it. I’m not in on the joke, because I’m observing and analyzing, and I feel more outside of the group, more outcast than the times I was the one on the otherside of the phone, hearing them lie to me and convincing myself I actually did not just get ditched, during a time I really needed the people who accepted the mantle of friend.

The Truth, like the sun, can never stay in the dark for too long before it rises. It elevated off my tongue and between my lips before I realize I had been with child my own ruin.

“Why did you just lie to him?”

The energy of humor dissipates, and suddenly I realize there are worse things to being outside of the joke. It’s being outside of the circle. They turn on me, quickly.

“I ain’t got the room in my car for him, Steven.”

It was odd to hear my whole name coming from him. I’ve long since learned to measure familiarity with how people use my name. When I’m good, useful and loved, I’m Steve. When I’m boring, broodish and antagonistic, I’m Steven. Coming from a friend, it shatters. After all, there’s so much difference in a letter when it’s said by someone you love.

I remain quiet the entire ride.

The next weekend, after a long week of classes and lunch room laughter, I find myself at home again. I call my friends, and conveniently, they’re all over our mutual friend, S’s house. They’re not doing anything tonight, and hang up the phone.

I open my phone and check the social media trifecta: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. On all three, I see the streetlights and stop signs behind a window. Someone else is in the backseat.

And despite the clear excuses your consciousness plucks from the river denial, you find yourself so sad you’re drowning in self-doubt and contempt.

There’s thoughts swirling about you that are dangerous to think and you’re stranded, alone. “Have I ever meant something to someone? Or has ever moment of care just been another rush to get me out of their hair?”

Men have this way of ostracizing each other worse than any other toxic environment because we often root ourselves in the domination of other creatures. For this reason, they build hierarchies. We compete with one another to rise in them. No one can be equal, and there’s always someone to be beaten or left out.

If you’re a B, you’re at the top because you learned to make yourself the top: by choosing people who live to love and love to nurture, and bleeding out the compassion from them until you’re floating in it.

We claim a bond between brothers is the purest form of love to exist next to that between a mother and child. That’s a lie. It’s maybe the most vindictive of relationships. The few times I’ve seen my friends cry, they followed up their behavior with decisions that derives on cruelty. Often, we know the things we do to each other, as men, are horrible, because we know we love each other; we know that if we lost the other person, it’d be a pain we couldn’t speak on; we know that romantic love isn’t sometimes the strongest love we can feel, because going forever without a girlfriend is reasonable, but going forever without the person who loved you despite never having to need you for anything is unrealistic.

And yet, men put each other, and our love for one another, into the backseat.

 

A Wall

Non-Fiction, Poetry

By Steven Underwood

 

You walk into a black wall and barely recognize that it’s built of brown bodies

And ask if something is the matter with how it is formatted.

There are arms mangled into the body, jabbing into broken ribs and closed mouths and shuttered eyes and pork-rolled tongues.

There is sweat dripping down their body in crimson, mingling with blood in a marriage of decay and debauchery and self-loathing.

You still wonder if something is the matter with how it is formatted.

You turn to the Asian pharmacist around the corner and ask him, and he has no answers and so you ask the Jewish librarian, and he ignores you outright. You ask the Hispanic barber and he does not want to speak your blistering white language on his pink tongue and you ask the Arabic teacher and he is afraid to answer because you wear a red hat. You ask every spectrum and color of the rainbow until the world is a searing maelstrom of every color and every pink, gooey tongue and every shade but black, until you return to the wall and patiently stare.

Then, you ask the wall. You open your mouth and speak.

“Why wall,” You say in a frantic manner. “Why are you joints connected and your foots in mouthes and your heels pressed to throat with the aggression of a boot, or a hammer or a world-smashing, all-ending fist of iron?”

The wall speaks in a powerful manner, in a warm tone that sounds like your father who abandoned, and the mother who sacrificed and the sister went ignored and the brother who protested nothing. “It is because, we cannot untangle from ourselves.”

#TRENDSETTER: Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Make for Men’s Clothing

Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

You know how you have a bunch of brilliant and creative ideas, but none of the skill to actually make those things? Well, Men’s NYFW just ended; NYFW Fall/Winter 2k17 is on its way; and I had a bunch of ideas that I just can’t accomplish with my own meager hands.

***

  1. Sleeveless Navy Deepwash Trench: Imagine a trench coat made of denim in that jean deep wash blue that is basically designed to stain your white clothing into disuse. Its one solid color all over with a single pocket on the inside (for the convenient cell phone use) and two exterior pockets on either side. At the sleeves, it is stealthily cut to create a form of waistcoat cut — but wait! There are a series of thin, worn, distressed strips that have been washed in such a way that you now have two faded mans hanging just off your shoulders like faux-fur manes (except for your — you know… shoulders).
  2. Free Flowing Tunics: 2k17 has to mean the return of the tunic. And not just any tunic, the gawdy and flashy sort with more bends and twists than a mandala. Lets bring back the flashy back into men’s fashion. Everyone can wear a dark shade with very little stitching, but to pull off contrasting patterns like this? Challenging!
  3. Vintage Free Flowing Long Sleeves:  I think everyone who knows me knows I enjoy a large top over some jogger or skinny jeans. And the vintage bohemian look always appealed to me. I don’t know if its the pseudo-artsy appeal of it or the free mobility it allows, but it’s a look I love to try, except most of these looks require a lot of thrift store hunts and I’m ready for the style to become more mainstream. The time of looking like a model for a cheap romance novel is here. Let the wind untuck your shirt and nearly rip out a button!
  4. Floral Tops: Thanks in part to brands like Versace and Childish Gambino’s GUCCI ensemble in the WIRED photoshoot (seriously, Donald Glover is my fashion messiah sometimes, I swear), floral prints have made a comeback; and by comeback, I mean adjacent to modern standards  of masculine images. I like roses. It’s one of the most beautiful things of the French aristocracy: the use of flowers in textiles. I think its return could be beneficial. On satin, on wool, hell on bleached denim! It’s beautiful, it’s feminine, it’s individual!
  5. Flannel Skirts: Let’s stop fronting: we don’t just want to tie our flannel shirts around our waists anymore. The frompy look of the sleeve knots just won’t do. Just give us a skirt we can button or clip with a brooch and we are good to go!

But, sadly, I am just a humble writer. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below and maybe some kind fashion designers will see kindly to contribute from your inspirational ideas!

We the People in a Less Perfect Union

Art, Articles, Culture, Non-Fiction, Poetry

Sometimes, it’s better to look at the world through poetry until it starts to make a lick of sense.

***

On Monday, he wasn’t our president, and we celebrated the legacy of a man with as many faults as he had virtues. The skies held their breath, and a world of bright blue became bleak and cried. We remembered how we love the rain, but this was different.

Together, We investigated the landscape of the world. We judged the people of the time: for treating people like cattle, for their shameful attitudes, for their racism. We couldn’t see how these people, relatives, and friends to many of us, couldn’t see what was going on in front of them. That same day, we ignored many obvious clues that history was licking its fingertips and turning a few pages backward in its book just for emphasis.

On Tuesday, We pressed our thumbs to small digital boxes and opened Twitter. We discussed “Dr. King’s Dream,” and judged the black community according to it. Are we honoring him when we kneel during a pledge of allegiance? Is calling a white person racist acting in his image? Dr. King’s progeny got into the tabloids and said Dr. King would’ve liked Donald Trump. Our world cracked at the seams.

On Wednesday, We steeled ourselves for the worse, and found that our best metals were but rust: we would lose Barrack Obama. The skies remained gray, but the winds whipped with a sheering coldness. Tempers were high, and we fought each other. We lashed out, without really knowing what we were lashing out f. Anger for anger’s sake, a test of those chains we swore would remain. Both to unite us, and to shackle our ambitions.

On Thursday, We maintained the song of Monday. Dr. King’s progeny’s comments sang again. I stare blankly at the screen for a moment. This is someone who knew him best, isn’t it? I re-read a line by Fredrick Douglas, and I make us remember.
“Power concedes nothing without a Demand…It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows or with both. “
I take to this new world of zeroes and ones, and I make a declarative. “If we are to believe MLK would’ve supported Trump, then maybe MLK isn’t the person we should look up to?”
Few comment. Many have a feeling. The words hang in the air.
On Friday, the sky wept upon his head. Orange flushes down his face and drips onto the American soil beneath his feet. The brown in the soil becomes stained in chemical lies. We shake our hands and test these chains. We meditate on what others have decided for us. We ask ourselves how people could be so ignorant. We judge the people for many things: for their racism, for their bigotry, for their sexism, for their phobias.
History hasn’t turned her page.
The page becomes wet and the ink runs down the page. Our name runs with it. These symbols hold no more meaning.
On Saturday, we ask ourselves if we can be united when these important things have no more meaning.