Chronicles of Brooklyn Walks

pexels-photo-343469A year ago, I was blessed by the abundance of love for my date of birth.  I have to say that for the most part, my life is always packed with spontaneity, creativity, go-with-the-flow vibes and extraordinary moments.  Often, I’m asked what my favorite places are, and I never can come up with a straight answer and that’s because I don’t do ‘favorites’.  My reasoning behind it is everything I experience is my favorite.  I find beauty in it all and always enjoy each moment differently.  I wouldn’t be able to say that my walk through the Darien Jungle in Panama was more epic than my rides on a motorbike through the ‘barrios’ of Cali in Colombia.  Both these adventures were experienced at different periods in my life, with different things in mind.  I try as much as I can to live in each moment without discriminating by comparing it to another moment I’ve previously lived or will soon encounter.  I don’t think it would be fair, and to be frank, way too deceptive in my book.  All that to say, that my 2016 birthday weekend was one for the books…but aren’t they all.. sigh of joy.

As I’ve realized over the years, I’m a connector.  I tend to remember who? what? where? when? and how? when it comes to bringing people together.  I had this idea to get my friends on film in my neighborhood of Brooklyn.  Friends whom I consider family, and who made time to come spend my day with me.  New York City is most likely one of the most visited city in the world, where people from different walks of life mingle, or not, with the already heavy populated town.  These tourists come with an avid interest in the most visited places; Empire State building, Central Park, M&M store, just to name a few.  The ones who have been to the city many times, I would hope would be more interested in what the locals do.  As a traveler, I seek to discover a city by the way the people who live in it, LIVE IT.  I will take a night and go to a local movie theater, will grab a beer at a popular pub, will walk around town by setting a destination while referring to Google Maps.  I allow myself to get lost.  As a friend once told me, “the joy of discovering a city is to get lost”.  To get lost is to rely on your human sense, use your brain, your insight, your intuition, and learn the way you deal with the “stress” of being in a new place and figuring your way, all while absorbing the environment.  I wouldn’t’ dare to state my way is the best way, but I’ve allowed my intuition to guide me instead of a Lonely Planet.

It came down to combining these two concepts.  I phoned my good friend StillOne and asked him if he would be down to capture moments of me taking my friends around town, the way I would go around town if they weren’t here.  So on March 27th, 2016, we hopped in a car and went around a few spots in Brooklyn, shopped, conversed and danced.  I’m grateful for these moments and looking forward to creating magic with more of my visitors.  Chronicles of Brooklyn Walks.

Always Fresh, Never Faded

g&L

Tale of a City

Every so often, I get inspired to write things in my notebook or a piece of paper.  I’m not expert at writing, says the one who blogs, but what I do know is that my artistry is me, and that it stretches far beyond what most of you know me for.  I explore different facets of me, and I simply would like to share it with you.  This is a ‘something’ for a lack to call it poetry…

NEW YORK CITY

City of dreams, opportunities, friendships and lovers.

City of music and poetry.

City of arts and mysteries.

You never seize to amaze me,

Yet, I don’t get shocked easily.

Well, not anymore.

You give so much, and take so much.

City of broken hearts, wandering souls and selfish beings.

City of serendipity, french kisses and melodies.

Your heart beats a minute faster than anywhere else.

Your soul vibrates worldwide.

You bring people together,

And are the common denominator

To many.

I, as many others, have a love affair with you.

And there are days you make our skin crawl with anger, despair and stinky odors.

Rich culturally, wealthy enabled.

Run down, some neighborhoods are,

Gentrified most neighborhoods are.

NEW YORK F-ING CITY.

Living, embracing, hating but loving you.

NEW YORK F-ING CITY.

City of screams, City of dreams.

Nubian Nene – g & L

Words of …

It the interpreter’s eyes, movement is key.

In the artist’s eyes, emotion and feeling are key

to represent your soul; through movement.

The essence of feeling.

The feeling of realism.

Realize your dreams.

Dream big, plan accordingly.

Accord your instrument (s).

Satisfy your needs.

Needles and threads are terms of two entities.

Breaking and Fixing or should I say making?

Make your mark, leave your legacy.

Legalize weed.

Weed out the rotten ones, make space for the Fresh.

Fresh is Health.

Health is wealth, misery still exists.

Existence is scarce, as Androids are in packs.

Pack your bags, head to your freedom, run to your destiny.

Destination, Destiny: Funny, they relate.

Relations to you or to me.

Me, Myself and I is what matters.

Matter at hand is to love yourself.

Yourself alone is enough, but a crew is family.

Familiarize yourself with your environment.

Nubian Nene – g & L

Can You Feel It?

A few weeks ago, I added another project under my wings.  I was asked to co-host a party.  At first, I was a bit hesitant with the idea, since, if anyone has ever hosted a party, it’s not the easiest nor the least time consuming endeavor.  I remember when I was a kid, I loved having people over my house for family gathering or parties.  It was fun to be surrounded by love and laughter.  As much as it was tedious to clean up and fix up the place after, I couldn’t help but smile thinking of all the good times I had just had in good company.  So when the proposition fell onto my lap, I was excited about it but I needed to figure out how to time manage.  I remember when I first met Jon, we kept talking about projects we would get into, and one of them was to throw a party where people would come and have nothing but a good time.  A party where people would be excited about the music, the DJs, the dance floor, the company and the bar. ‘It’s A Feeling’ (I.A.F.) party was created.  So here I am, adding party promoter to the list of things I do.  I have figured out a system in terms of time management, and my goal is to get people bumping and grinding to the tunes of amazing ‘sound selectors’, as Loreto would say.

May 9th, we celebrated Nova’s birthday at the I.A.F. party.  We had DJ Eclektic and Taz on the wheels of steel.  The place was packed with dancers and non-dancers.  Drinks were bought, sweat was dropped but most importantly, love was in the air, as it should always be.  I took the opportunity to ask a few of my friends to explore their inner ‘funky-nasty-ness’, and I myself captured a few people whom I believe spoke through their clothes. Enjoy!

Oreo – Brooklyn Zoo Representative

Oreo

Georgios – Team Afro

Georgios

The Lady and her Hubby – TiffStar & Oreo – Brooklyn Zoo Crew

TiffStar & Oreo

Nova – NBK Representative – Birthday Boy

Nova

“Always Stay Fresh, Never Be Faded!” – Nubian Nene

The Funk Ain’t Always Nasty

SLANG.  Isn’t it THE most interesting thing in a language, better yet in a dialect?  In regions of the world, a few groups of people share the same language, but the vernacular is quite different.  In each respective dialects you find words that have a complete different meaning from their literal definition.  Now, we won’t go deep into the sociology aspect of things, but slang and dialects emerge with cultures, which are shaped through people, who, in turn, are a product of their environment.

Let’s look into some Hip Hop vernacular.

Dope which can mean good, fresh, cool, as in ‘these are dope kicks’, is also a reference to drugs.

Mad, usually used in NYC, is used as an adjective to describe something in a quantitative manner; ‘I got MAD love for you.’

Where I am from, we often use nasty to talk about something that is ill, dope, fresh, good; ‘That girl is nasty’ referring to her dance skills, but in most places of the world, nasty simply means discussing, unpleasant or nauseating.

Let’s talk about funky which has a few definitions.  Two struck me the most, one writes that funky is being “modern and stylish in an unconventional or striking way” – (Google definitions).  The second one, from Merriam-Webster, writes it’s being “unconventionally stylish: HIP.”  There you have it.  Two words with various definitions and used in many dialects but sometimes with complete different meaning.

A few nights ago, as I was capturing moments with friends, my homie Coco Motion pointed to this sticker that read ‘Funk Nasty’.  Interestingly enough, a few days before seeing that post, I came up with this crazy idea.  I was thinking how we live in the age of capturing every single moments and sharing them.  Taking pictures, that it is of thyself or of others, is possibly the most popular sharing-action.  Let’s be honest here, we all took a picture in a car, in a restaurant, on the beach, on the subway/plane/train and shared it on a social media.  Honestly, most of us have taken pictures in restrooms, bathrooms, stalls, tubs, etc., and shared it online.  It’s fascinating how so many of us take bathroom pictures with curtains in background, mirrors, toilet bowl, sink, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.  Seems it’s the best place for lighting, space and decor. Smile.  I wonder if this is a cultural thing? Do people in all places of the world do that?  Some might just think that the bathroom is nasty, and doesn’t inspire self-photographing, while others get the best shots of their essence in the funk. Yuk!

So, I came to this conclusion, WHY NOT?  Why not take pictures in such a place?  I experimented while in Philadelphia, and it turned out to be challenging and pushed me to be creative in that tiny bathroom.  I shared  my camera with my ‘rhomie’ (homie who’s my roomie) July, and she also got mad creative.  So now I say: “LET’S MAKE IT FUNKY NASTY.”  I let my friends capture their essence, their funkiness, their nastiness, in that sometimes Funky Nasty Bathroom…

Funk Nasty Funky LPR Nasty Nene Funky Philly Nasty July Philly Funky Nasty Nene1

Next stop…the next stall..until then, always stay fresh and never be faded!!!

Stylin’ At ‘Freestyle Session’

What an Epic Sunday it was.  Beautiful spring day, warm, sunny and full of creativity in the air.  I always look forward to go to jams.  It’s a social event that makes the community, I am part of, come together.  You meet and greet people and exchange through words, dance, music and smiles.  The location of the venue was amazing, close to the water front in Brooklyn, under the Manhattan Bridge, in the neighborhood of Dumbo.  At the end of the night, I got to hear from a native New Yorker, Conrad Rochester, that back in the eighties, that area was deserted and only frequented to do some low key business, if you know what I mean.  It’s very fascinating to me to hear from natives of this City, how things used to be and how things are now.  Conclusion : the venue and location were a great choice by the organizers.  Thanks Nemalesis Production for hosting.  Congrats to Supreme Beings for taking the win.  I do have to admit that in my opinion the best battle of the night was Del Fuego crew vs Street Masters/Domestic Apes.  That goes in my book of Epic Battles.  I captured a few ‘essences’, stylin’ while groovin’.  Here are a few people that I know and think are cool while in their dancing shoes and off the dance floor.

Still 1SchoolsSamoQDiegoFrostLance

Until next jam, stay fresh and never faded.

G & L

The ‘Hip’ in Hip Hop

STYLE

“The basic defining characteristics of a person, everything from talk, dress, hairstyle, demeanor, etc […] A few people have their own style which usually makes them unique […].” – Urban dictionary

When I first fell in love with Hip Hop, it was clear to me that STYLE is an understatement of the culture and its respective elements. The marking truth of these elements, is that their practitioners distinguish their craft through STYLE. There is pride and sense of accomplishment when an artist has establish their style; their voice is heard, their vision is seen, their art is felt.

If we take a quick minute to analyze where and how Hip Hop was born, you may see why uniqueness was and still is primordial. In order to be respected, you had to ‘come correct, and be you. You had to stand out with your style of rhyming. You had to be different in the way of dropping a record. You had to be creative to make any popular article of clothing special and matching your personality. For many centuries now, the way we present ourselves through clothing has a significance. So it is no surprise that in ‘Hip Hop Culture’ the presentation of self is noted, highly recommended, and expected.

I come from a family of people who love to dress well. It first was mostly manifested in the church going event on Sundays, to the first days of elementary school, high school and college. My interest in ‘speaking up’ through my way of dressing has always been present and I have learned to make something out of anything.

Being very active in the dance scene, there are many different styles of attire encountered. You may have the girl who just needs to feel comfortable or the guy that needs to wear his lucky hat in order to be invincible. Yet, there are always these few individuals who are able to dress in respect to all their standards, and still are able to make a point, fashionably. I would like to showcase these different artists from this Hip Hop culture, in different Hip Hop events. I want to capture their art through what they wear, why they wear it because it gives a clear definition of who they are. Hip Hop is all about who you are. Don’t get me wrong, my intentions here are not to discourage the person who couldn’t careless about what they dress like, or to encourage the ones that are more fashion sensitive, to do more. My point is to simply get to know the ones that pay attention to what they wear because they believe that it is an extension of their character. It doesn’t define them, but they define it. My dad always says: “Don’t I make this shirt look good?” instead of saying “This shirt makes me look good.”

The importance of style equals the importance of free speech. When you live in a city such as New York, you are exposed to different speeches and you learn to hear all of them, but only to listen to a few. My question now is “What’s your speech?”

Snowy Sundae

On a Snowy Sundae, I decided to venture to one of my favorite cities, Philly.  Some of you might think it’s crazy to travel to another city in the midst of a snow storm, one, that advises all from rats to birds, to stay in.  Well, I am not an usual ‘bird’ and definitely not a rat haha.  I come from Montreal, where we possibly receive the most amount of snow yearly, so some inches won’t stop this stubborn, yet free bird to migrate down south for a few hours.  I headed to the City of Brotherly ( why not Sisterly?) Love, to compete, share, dance, live and always Love.  Thanks to Steve Believe for holding it down for the community. Thanks to DJ Lil’ Dave for providing amazing music at the Second Sundae Jam…til next time!

A few people caught my attention with their styles, and here is what they had to say…

This is Just Sole aka Kyle Clark…

Whowas born in Baltimore, but has been calling Philadelphia home for 12 years now. Just Sole is a Hip Hop Dance Professor at both, the University of the Arts and Temple University in Philadelphia. He Co-Founded Funky Sole Fundamentals, and sits as the CEO. He also founded JustSole SDT. He is a principal dancer and rehearsal director for the Rennie Harris Puremovement Company. What inspires his way of dressing he says: “…AGE…lol..” he adds : “…[d]epends on the venue or what I plan on doing. No matter what I wear, I end up getting down in it…lol I believe it’s ok to dress like a grown man here and again.” His favorite color is: “The Primary Ones”.

Just Sole

Homie from another city, Hannibal…

…Inspiration today for his outfit was to promote his clothing line Wealth Of Knowledge™ (see link below). I asked him how he puts his outfit together usually, and he said that he starts by “matching some colors” and that he always starts with whatever message he’s trying to portray for the event he’s attending, and lately he’s been pushing his brand.  What inspires the way he dresses? He dresses through his feelings. If he could be an article of clothing he would be “…a fur coat, because I would be deeply thought about when you have all your special occasions, [either] you want to be flamboyant or elegant.” Hannibal is from and still resides in North Philadelphia, and you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @Hannibal____ and @Wealthclothes.

Hannibal

Now we have Brice…

…Also known as Professor Lock, is a dance educator and choreographer.  He is into a fitted, urban and clean look, and that’s how he got inspired to dress today.  I asked him if his outfit was inspired for this particular event, and he said that he’s fashion right now feels comfortable, sporty and functional.  In order to get to know him a bit more, I wanted to know who he is in terms of style, and he said that he is funky and chill, but most of all, an individual.  “I like to look how I feel, no more no less.”  What’s his favorite accessory to rock? His Newsboy Hat.  “It’s a timeless accessory that can work with a suit and tie or a pair of jeans and sweatshirt.” Interestingly enough, it keeps him connected to his ‘Locker’ roots.  Professor Lock reps Philly.

Professor Lock

Meet Joshua Culbreath…

…better known in the Hip Hop community as Super or Supa Josh.  He is a Hip Hop theater performer and a dance fitness trainer.  He hails from Philadelphia, and currently resides in West Philly.  When I saw Josh, I was attracted to his fun shirt paired with a nice hat the he wasn’t sporting the whole night, which, in my opinion, added to his outfit.  Sometimes when you rock something on your person, without ‘rocking it’, it adds that much more flavor.  What’s his favorite article of clothing?  He says he loves his feather necklace, because it means a lot to him.  He also adds that “I feel like it’s [necklace] a part of my wings and it’s a reminder that no matter what happens I can fly off into my own world.”

Supa Josh

My short visit to Philly on that ‘snowy dae’ allowed me to meet new faces.  Here comes Kingsley Ibeneche.  We met on the dance floor and exchanged words in a dance form.  It was a pleasure, and I am glad to have met an amazing dancer.  I was able to catch a glimpse of his mismatched socks and he felt a bit embarrassed as he told me he rushed to get to the jam, and “just threw his outfit together”, but I told him that even if it was a mistake, sometimes mistakes are meant to happen in order to connect to others…

Brother Kingsley…

…Lives in Camden, New Jersey but is originally from Nigeria.  He is a professional dancer and also teaches ballet, jazz and modern dances.  Theme he likes to play with, especially when he is about to dance, is a mix of semi-formal with a down-to-earth look.  I asked him, if he had to choose an article of clothing that would best describe him, he said “a nice vintage Christmas sweater”, …“though it’s made of simple design, it has a certain elegance about it, and it can be worn or used in more than one occasion.”  He relates the sweater to himself because he believes he’s a simple and calm guy, but can be elegant at times.  This goes into the question of how can he describe his style in 3 words, and he answers: Afrocentric, Classy and Nonchalant.  Kingsley can be followed on instagram @ugumba.

Kingsley

What a crazy fun night it was in Philly.  For myself I rocked a simple outfit, which says a lot with my accessories.  I rocked black just because it makes me look slimmer haha.  Added a hat which expresses how I feel about myself, DOPE, a couple of necklaces (one I made, and one which represents my inner soul, one that was given to me from an important person in my life), and a vest that speak of my energy, colorful.  And let’s not forget the Glasses and the Laces.  Thank you to all the contributors to my 1st post.  Stay tuned for the next jam I hit…til then..

Stay Fresh, Crisp and Hip Hop

Nene Sundae

All Photos Taken by Glasses & Laces

My Photo Taken By : Ryan Farber