Category Archives: profile

Haitian musician Paul Beaubrun sings for his people, he sings for his country! (@CAAM live performance event)

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Yes, I made it to CAAM (California African American Museum) earlier this month for their LIVE PERFORMANCES to catch one of my favorite artists to date, Paul Beaubrun

He made his way toward the stage with such a calm and humble manner it made me rest easy and look forward to what was to come. There was no huge fanfare just Paul and his percussionist Morgan Zwerlein –they took to the stage and made the entire room feel welcome.  He played with such raw enthusiasm and love.  Every now and again I find so much truth in watching an artist perform.  Beaubrun is definitely one of those rare ones.

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Together they brought the audience to their feet, freeing the room from any restraints. At one point Paul was joined on stage by legendary drummer Munyungo Jackson lifting the entire room into one beautiful frequency.  In that moment, we were in the presence of pure spirit.

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Paul Beaubrun’s music not only pulsates with rhythm and force, it also makes you think.  His love for Haiti and its people is commanding.  Paul gave us a window into what being Haitian is all about.  Check out the clip below.

It was such an honor to get a snippet of time to share with Paul.  Artist to artist we connected instantly and I was able to impart my respect and admiration for his work and his presence.  Look for a new album coming late 2017! Follow Paul Beaubrun on Instagram

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Paul Beaubrun is a scion of Haitian musical royalty, Paul has spent his life living to the beat. Son of the Grammy nominated band Boukman Eksperyans, his earliest memories is of rhythm and sound. Moving to New York as a youth he was inspired by his heritage to begin crafting a sound all his own. Constantly aware of his roots, the struggle of an immigrant and the drive of New York life, Paul began to create a path where music, activism, and history meet. Read and find out more:

Paul Beaubrun

I had a wonderful time.  CAAM is a great place to see live music.  The room is inviting and of course, the shows are free!

All photos & video courtesy Philippe Roc

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That dude Tai Allen, POET, MUSICIAN, A MAKER OF THINGS

Tai Allen

Yes, I know this guy and proud of it.  We have shared stages and shared non-conversational moments of the poetic kind.  I have respect and admiration for the continuous presentation of his gifts. He speaks in ways that hold us accountable as human beings.  He is in your face with that confident wordsmith kinda power. He doesn’t have to speak loudly or often to actually be heard and remembered, I think that is what has always drawn me to his work and to keep up with what he has going on.

VISIT: TAIALLEN.COM

From across the landscape, I have sometimes wished I was hangin’ back in Brooklyn with some of the folks, Tai being one in particular. That’s ok though, I can read and listen to his new works!

“The award-winning poet/soul singer’s new project uses poetry and songs to create a narrative around innocence lost to abuse and weaponized love.”

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#NoJewels is a book that tries to narrate a young man’s life that was loved well, loved wrong and, once, not loved at all. Sadly, this story is not an aberration or oddity. There are numerous No Jewels tales in every city. This book of lines, devices, stanza, and spaces hopes to serve them all.

The 20-poem chapbook reinterprets classic literary forms, such as triolets and haiku, to create a narrative of a young man’s loss of innocence. The book follows a psychological path of being subjected to an abuser’s potent mix of love and abuse and the subsequent emergence.

“There’s a lot of trauma in the world, in this story,” explained Allen. “But, even in the midst of that, the collection is about finding yourself. You can emerge on the other side.”

No Jewels

nothing to offer
but remembers (without “whys”)
of a fall i raked,

bagged and placed on the
curb — cliche-close to the cans
waiting for trash day

-tai allen

released April 11, 2017

Available on Amazon

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Please be sure to check out the sound that accompanies the book!!! Get ready to Groove to truths and beats!! Right up my ally!! THE “TRAVEL SONG” HAS ME SWAYIN’ AS I WRITE THIS PIECE…YES, I PUT IT ON REPEAT!

Tai Allen is a respected creative who excels in multiple disciplines. The Brooklyn-based creative director is a poet who sings over music he has produced. His poetry has been published in noted tomes ( Bomb, Killens Reviews, OPEN and African Voices) and his music has been heralded by such publications as SoulTracks, CentricTV, Soulhead, Okayplayer and Uptown Magazine. He has headlined such venues as BAMcafé Live in Brooklyn, Nighttown in Rotterdam and the American Jazz Museum’s Blue Room in Kansas City, as well as co-hosted the main stage for Art of Cool Festival in Durham.

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Be sure to check out this artist and his work.  Please feel free to share any and all information you find here!

Thank-you Tai Allen for using your story and your art to open hearts and minds.  To bring things to light!  To create spaces and places for us to shine!  1Luv always!

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Hanifa Queen former BGIRL turns painter with a twist

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Hanifa Queen rose to fame in the 80s as the only female member of Wolverhampton’s famed B-boy group. Known as Bubbles, she was the leading female break dancer in the world and internationally known in her field.

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Since then Hanifa has trained as a nurse and has become a mother, but her strong passion for break dancing remained. After a lengthy break from the field, she has returned to B-boying, but with an artistic twist!

Hanifa is making a name for herself yet again – by incorporating painting into her impressive dances.

The talented mother of two spends her days spinning around her home covered in paint and creating amazing works of art.

“I call it ‘b-boying on canvas’ – b-boying being the original name for breakdancing,” says Hanifa McQueen Hudson, from Newhampton Road West, Wolverhampton.

“Hanifa is one of my favorite artists to date.  She is a teacher of her craft and has taken her art to a place of extreme originality.  She combines her dance moves, her sneakers, her paint, and her canvas transforming her moments into something beyond words.  She herself is a work of art, blending her presence with her tools.  There is definitely nobody else like her.  Her artistic image and perseverance as an artist is something to be celebrated and presented as an overwhelmingly positive image for both our children and our community. ” #NEVAHBLACKDOWN

The above images are a few of our favorite pieces! To find out more and to stay connected to Hanifa Queen aka Bubbles visit her website: CLICK HERE

Check out Artbreaker – The Process

Check out a few great articles:

UK’S FIRST BGIRL HANIFA QUEEN AKA BUBBLES DOIN ART

Break dancing on canvas

FOLLOW HANIFA ON FB

Please feel free to share any information! Peace and Light

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The duo ‘Climbing PoeTree’ is art meets activism in its most powerful revelation

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These two young ladies “ALIXA + NAIMA are at the forefront of using art to speak, to inspire and to share thoughts on the state of affairs in the world at large.  They have inspired me for a few years now.  As a poet and mother of a young lady, I am thrilled to share the story of these immense artists with my daughter and those I come into contact with.  They epitomize exactly what we do here with NevahBlackDown, we use art to uplift and promote positive change.  They bring truth gloriously mixed with a passion that creates a template to be honored. (photos by Pablo Aguilar)

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“Creativity is the antidote for violence and destruction. Art is our most human expression, our voice to communicate our stories, to challenge injustice and the misrepresentations of mainstream media, to expose harsh realities and engender even more powerful hope, a force to bring diverse peoples together, a tool to rebuild our communities, and a weapon to win this struggle for universal liberation.”
– Alixa + Naima

“Over the last 13 years, Climbing PoeTree has infused our movements for justice with healing and imagination, inspiring thousands through their award-winning multimedia theater, dual-voice spoken word, visual art, sustainable touring, and community organizing. Co-creators Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman are cultural architects committed to reframing the story through multi-voice spoken word, hip hop, world music, and multimedia theater that translate deep research around the most pressing issues of our time into stunning artistry that catalyzes their audiences to activate the transformation they wish to cultivate within themselves and their communities.” Read and find out more about CLIMBING POETREE

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Climbing Poetry has just released their latest album “INTRINSIC” A must purchase for your music collection!

On 3/31/2017 Climbing PoeTree released a new collection of rebel-rousing anthems, bilingual ballads, and unconventional love songs. Backed by 33 world-class musicians, vocalists, and producers, Alixa and Naima’s impassioned lyricism propel 17 soulful compositions bridging electronic music and live instrumentation, combining hip-hop, spoken word, rock, blues, folk, and Afro-Latin beats.

Produced by the powerhouse music legend, Toshi Reagon, INTRINSIC features an incredible cadre of collaborators including Carolyn MalachiRising Appalachia, B Steady, Taina Asli, Arooj Aftab, Juliette Jones, Ayla Nereo and many more.

Check out the official video for ‘WE SURVIVED’

There is so much more to check out with these powerful young ladies.  I suggest a visit to their website CLIMBING POETREE

NevahBlackDown is proud of the profoundly positive and strong images these young ladies present to the world.  I hope they continue to speak up and share their gifts with the world!

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Gina Breedlove: Her Voice & Soul Can Heal All Wounds

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There is nothing more powerful than a voice filled with soul, raw emotion and the alchemic brew to heal and bring light to darkness. Gina Breedlove fashions her sound in a way that draws you in and envelopes you in love and magic.  She lifts you up and leaves you feeling empowered and strong.  There is nothing holding back, there is nothing hiding, there is nothing selfish, there is nothing egotistical about this song bird.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Gina sing (on more than one occasion) and getting to know her personally through friends. Her softness and Goddess like nature has and will always inspire me.  She is feminine strength and power personified.  I watched her and learned.  I listened to her and imagined.  I sat in her space and grew. That is what Gina brings to the world, she brings change, she brings truth and she brings the bridge where all can cross and find passion, love, and balance.

 

She began performing at age 15, singing back up for the incomparable Phyllis Hyman. Since, gina has toured all over the world with artists who, like herself, define and redefine genre; Harry Belafonte, Toshi Reagon, Ronny Jordan, Ani Difranco, Craig Harris, and Sekou Sundiata, to name a few.

She calls her music Folksoul, a coalescence of Rhythm & Blues, with story telling cadences of Folk, Soul, and the gospel truth. Folksoul is music that lifts the Spirit, opens the heart and allows one to find their way. Breathing into the Sound of this woman’s voice, gina embodies healing artistry. An Actress as well , gina created the role of “Sarabi” for the Broadway production of “The Lion King”, and recently appears in 2 Spike Lee films, ”Living Da Dream” for NBA 2k16 and “Chiraq“.

If you don’t know anything about her you must visit here website: ginabreedlove.com

If you have never seen her perform you must see her show if she is in your town.  Find out more about her tour schedule @ her website in the above link! Lucky for those in NYC, Gina will be at Joe’s Pub June 20th! joespub.com

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We are all very lucky that a spirit like Gina is roaming the earth with here healing nature.  We are all blessed to have our sister in love walk the path of helping to heal the wounds of the world.  We are so very blessed to have an image such as Gina to share with our girls! Yes yes we are blessed!

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Baub: Poet, Actor, Playwright

“If New Haven’s hip-hop community has a Renaissance man, it just might be Baub Bidon.”—

Jim Shelton, New Haven Register

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Yes! I am finally sitting down to share with you an artist that I feel is keeping it real.  Baub speaks to the times, he speaks from the heart.  His pen is littered with truth.  He holds nothing back and stands behind everything he writes.  We have been sharing inspiration and poetry for more than a decade.  There are people who come and go and then there are people who lift each other up.  He is one of those people, one of those artists.  His poetry sticks to my thoughts and keeps me engaged.  I visit his page often for inspiration. He is mighty and strong, he uses the medium of poetry to bring wisdom, change and thought provoking messages to light.

Baub ( pronounced:Bawb ) Bidon is a Haitian/African American Poet, Actor, Writer, Playwright.

He writes to tell the stories often marinated from the ghettos, and jails throughout the United States. His poetry speaks of injustice and poverty. His hope is that his work uplifts and empowers those who are and have been victims of oppression.

Learn more: HERE

Jogging the Mind (6/30) 1986

In middle School,

Mr Neff, would have me read a dictionary

write the words, and definitions

as a way of punishment

eye would have to eat my lunch in class

in an empty room

while the other kids, would be in the cafeteria

eye could imagine some rapping,

and banging beats on table

but eye was alone

pounding, these webster pages

filling these legal sheets,

with words, eye didn’t care for

just wanted it to be over…

Father of,

translated into Arabic

is Abu

Prince defined

as Mumia

Put together, as…

Mumia Abu Jamal.

1986 marks, five years in prison

redesigned plantation

blamed for the crime, do the time

lose time, plant slavery in the mind

keep the body, close the blinds

the blind, don’t see injustice

nor read the fine print,

etched in the 13th amendment

my friend J-sun once said…

“slavery hasn’t been abolished, 

it’s just been polished”

Cleaned up, like a Philly crime scene

scarecrows, hide behind smoke screens

communities gated

the privileged keeps their suburbs

closed, to black hope

hope done died, with Jessie’s rainbow

Knock on Al Sharpton’s door

where’s the marches,

and all that freedom talk

what has it done, since he lost weight

privatized prisons, pockets much fatter

subsidized households, holds an empty plate

empty platter promises.

talk that freedom in your mind, Mumia

put it on radio, like hip hop

like, don’t stop

like, a head bop

bang on that wall my brothah

jog your mind, till it grows feet

till it knows how to defeat

till it runs out of that cage

and onto the streets

jog your mind…

till it becomes free

Copyright © 2017 Baub Bidon

 

READ MORE POETRY: HERE

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The Bearded Dapper Gents are Emissaries of Change

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So, as usual, I was perusing the internet for stories when I stumbled upon an article talking about these brilliant Black men making an impactful change on the world and society at large.  The article is entitled: “Sean John and This Company Are Working to Change the Perception of Black Men” read more HERE

I visited the website so I could find out more: www.beardeddappergents.com

Their Mission: To change the perception we have of one another, by inspiring each other to be great.

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Bam! just what I was looking for.  A fashion story, an inspirational story, a story making a difference in our young men of color.  I found them and their story extremely authentic and enriching.  The way they bring light to the mentorship arena is empowering.  This picture often times gets pushed aside in favor of so many negative stories/images about black men in this country.

The Bearded Dapper Gents was created by George Myrie, 37, and his friends Darrell Moore, 30, Arthur “Nestlé” Hylton, 33, and Collis Torrington, 36, as a way to break down the negative perceptions of Black men in America. Day by day, the organization works towards presenting Black men in a positive light.

The BDG actively seeks out young men to assist. The three organizations Bearded Dapper Gents works with most frequently include:

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1. Pens of Power: A non-profit organization that has a program that works with the youth in literacy and mentoring.

2. Foster Care Unplugged: A non-profit organization that works with children in the foster care system and has their best interest at heart.

3. 100 Suits for 100 Men: A non-profit organization that rehabilitates males that have been released from prison.

“While they have built a collection of images that are nothing less than awe-inspiring, make no mistake, they are far more than just a group of handsome, bearded faces. 
In addition to changing the narrative and the visual of urban black men, these brothers are also impacting change in their communities by not only mentoring young black men but also grooming them from the inside out.” 

bearded 5“We want to outfit young men with tailored suits because many have never experienced how it feels to wear one. A man’s outward appearance can change his whole perception and views on life and give him the confidence he needs to succeed.”

Huffington Post

All day long we accept what is fed to us in the way of black imagery through visual stimuli. Through stories like this, we can choose how we absorb positivity. We can help make changes that count by sharing information like this. There is an innovative and enriching story here! Share it! and #NEVAHBLACKDOWN

www.beardeddappergents.com

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