#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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#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

#LOOKOUT: GROWN-ISH STYLES OUT AND STEPS IN ON FREEFORM

Culture, Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

All-new show, all-new wardrobe! Last Wednesday, the BLACK-ISH spin-off, GROWN-ISH. debuted its first two episodes, showcasing the eldest fashion-forward Johnson, Zoey (played by BLACK-ISH’s Yara Shahidi), as she matriculates to college far more ignorant than she might admit.

The show debuted on ABC’s sister network, Freeform, and if anyone expected this shift to mean the normative BLACK-ISH appeal in a younger body, GROWN-ISH graciously disappoints with an ensemble of trendsetters whom visualize GUCCI, IVYPARK, BALENCIAGA and more in casual classroom looks, revolutionizing the college aesthetic in just one day of syndication.

Best to remember: featured on the cast are the likes of fashion forerunner, Luka Sabbat, millennial icon, Yara Shahidi and Beyoncé proteges, Chloe x Halle. With this kind of creativity, the fashion will follow.

Catch GROWN-ISH on Wednesdays 8PM/7C only at Freeform and peep Lonzo Ball’s new hoodies inspired by Yara Shahidi’s cousin, Nas.

SOURCE: FREEFORM

#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:

 

#ARMANICODE: Beautiful Purchase

Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

Recently purchased a bottle of Armani Code, a passionate earthly fragrance, from Sephora for a total of $95.00. My tendency for spur of the moment purchases frighten my bank account, but my attention to taste and detail are still astounding. Ive used the fragrance every day and still have more than enough for any special occasion.
The fragrance can be purchased at https://m.sephora.com/product/armani-code-P96611?skuId=1007541.

Review: TACKMA

Fashion, Non-Fiction

A review of the boutique

Location: 844 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215

By Steven Underwood

I didn’t even know I was walking into a clothing store, if I’m being honest.

My friend, Matty, invited me out to an opening of some sort my last day in Columbus and I decided: why not, my brain is decaying in this house and I can blow a quarter C-note on an Uber.

Walking into the place, the first thing you notice is a pool table and a DJ booth. Today’s Hip-hop only, and it didn’t feel close to ashamed about it. I didn’t come to play: I gravitated to the clothes and began to pick through it. Hoodies, hats and trench-coats. Most of the clothes never dropping beneath a hundred dollars a pop. The most affordable objects in the entire room were the hats. Lucky for them, I was fake-balling for the day, so I didn’t turn around and leave.

But, I wasn’t going to blow more than a hundred there. I decided it was best to just bide my time, go to their online store and keep it simple. So, I blew 95 dollars on two hats because the material was like rubbing my hand across a suede jacket. I was judged by Matty, and I felt like I should be judged, but I’m a victim to the aesthetic.

Supporting Columbus business is also the goal of the day, really. I could’ve went across the street to the faux-bohemian boutique and blew a hundred dollars — hell, I was probably going to spent a hundred dollars online in a week anyway. The different? There were a lot of black faces in the store; the clothes were nice; and I have a hairline that’s evaporating like American patriotism in a post-Trump presidency: hats are vital. 

My issue (besides the pricing) was the lack of diversity in the boutique. There were hoodies and jackets, jacket and hoodies. Joggers, joggers and more joggers. All of them had essentially the same style, and none of it had any style that felt like it was…me.

In all, the place was great, though. I would’ve bought a hoodie and a jacket if I could stand. But, I’m a starving college student and Trump is my president. I’m hoarding my rubees for a McChicken on a snowy day (and I don’t even like McDonalds)

I give it four out of five stars that do not exist because they’re social constructs.