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

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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!!!

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?”