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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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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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The Power of Neycha

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A rockstar…a healer…the embodiment of love blowing into any room.  Her fiery forward nature is what makes Neycha a force to be reckoned with.  She is transformation coupled with empowerment. A much-needed feminine force unto the world.

For 18+ years, K. Neycha Herford, the founder and CEO of The ReMixed Life™ and creator of TheCrossfade™,  has helped thousands recreate their lives through multiple mediums including transformational counseling, lifestyle coaching, writing, speaking, providing abbreviated advice for national radio and television audiences, as well as stirring provocative and compelling conversations as a skilled interviewer and lead moderator.

Have you ever been in the same room with a person that changes the emotional shape of the space, have you ever walked away from a person and realized somehow that your life has been made better.  That is the essence she sprinkles about the world at large.

In this piece I want to focus on something called Crossfading.   Pioneered by artist and healer k. Neycha Herford over a decade ago, Crossfading is both an inventive transformation method and a way of life led by those Neycha dubbed as “crossfaders” – who intentionally push the boundaries of perception, remix reality and cultivate bold, authentic lives. 

The Crossfade Method™ engages critical self-inquiry, encourages a mystical interpretation of life, and a commitment to reconstructing our personal narratives in ways that feel purposeful and empowering, rather than stifling and oppressive.  

Learn more here: www.crossfaderlife.com

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In our culture, there is still the stigma of staying away from self-investigation. We are taught to say “everything is ok” or “I’m alright” when things are not.  Finding your purpose and stepping past your pain is quite literally still frowned upon.  There is so much we don’t face and talk about.  There are so many dreams being neglected and set aside.  That is why Neycha is so very important during this time we are now living in.  We have to conversate, investigate, dream bigger and translate our trauma into beauty, power, and the realization that we are whole and creative beings capable of immense success.  Success in the sense of confidence and self love.

While doing some catching up on what Neycha has been up to I got lost in her loving world.  Her attractive world of empowerment.  I wanted to get on a plane at that precise moment and knock on her door in Brooklyn and say, “I need a splash of Neycha to boost me on high.”  She has given me the courage to step out even further than I have in the past.  She has taught me how to take the talents I have and set them on high.  To believe in the larger picture of myself, larger than I thought possible.  Like starting this blog and writing in a way I believed I wasn’t good at.  There are no closed doors or windows in this world of Neycha, only open ones.  Step into something grander!

Stand up…CROSSFADE and #NEVAHBLACKDOWN

Find out more about Neycha the artist here : www.neychaonline.com

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KGR

Val Jeanty: A Powerful Spirit

 

Few people in the world bring something different, stamped with an originality that can’t be compared.  I guarantee you’ve never seen or heard anything like the presence and sound of Haitian artist Val Jeanty known as VAL-INC.  She has been mesmerizing audiences around the world for some time, her RESUME is long, her artistry is profound, her place in the world is needed.  She brings you into a dimension where boundaries are broken and the shape of the room changes with her music.  Energy shifts as she takes you journeying through passages never before traversed.

The producer, drummer, DJ, turntablist, teacher and sound engineer has created a distinctive style of music called Vodou Electronica which she also refers to as Afro Electronica. Her music is a fusion of electronics and African Vodou rhythms.

Below is a performance @ National Sawdust –Performance center & recording studio located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn

On her music, Jeanty says: “I use these electronic tools, but the music is spiritual—something you might hear at church, or in any other religious ceremony. It’s the kind of sound that gives your spirit freedom to roam.”

It is sublime knowing that in Brooklyn, NY there resides a passionate artist that shares exactly what is in her heart.  She is important during these times as her image and confident music goes a long way in showing our children that following your own truth and passion is what is important.  Labels don’t define us.  Boxes can’t hold us in and with Val Jeanty, we can be assured that this idea won’t fade!

Keep up with Val Jeanty on INSTAGRAM

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Black Hair: A Modern Day Controversy

These days I find I can continuously ask myself this question “Why is black hair such an issue?” After all,  it is an unquestionable natural state.  My hair doesn’t grow out of my head straight, it grows out of my head frizzy, somewhat curly and nappy.  That is a definitive fact.  My ten year old daughter’s hair is the same way, my mom’s hair is the same way, my two sisters have the same texture hair.  I am surrounded by a plethora of black women with the same hair.  So why ohhhh! why is this such a huge discussion.

So (lol) I answered my own question with another question:

“Does BLACK HAIR instill in others the fear that black women have actually found and have fallen in love with their truth?  With their beauty?  With self?”

Please feel free to answer this question in the comment section below! I would love to hear from you!

“Art stems from the concept of being or tuning into one’s authentic self both on the inside and out.  Our hair is natural.  Our hair is our natural expression. Our hair is our art!” Karen Gibson Roc

Fifteen years ago my sister dared me to grow out my natural hair and wear an afro.  At the time I thought she was absolutely mad.  Why did I have that reaction?  This is another question I have pondered on.  What was I afraid of?  Back then not many people were doing the big afro natural thing.  In our little bubble of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, we held each other up so we could express ourselves in whatever natural and artistic way we wanted.  I was cradled as an artist so I went ahead and followed through on the dare from my sister.  I loved rocking my afro.  I loved everything about it.  I stood out in other areas of NYC, people stared, wanted to touch all that crazy shit!  Now, however, an afro is a natural sighting pretty much anywhere.  So why still the controversy?

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Karen Gibson Roc Live @ The Whitney Museum 2005

Does it have anything to do with the climate of the times? Oh gosh! another question! That’s what this topic unearths.  It unearths questions and more questions, truth, power, self love, empowerment and the natural gift of hope for something/someplace more loving and accepting!

Check out this most powerful SpokenWord piece by: Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a world wide discussion. I hope that through our daughters something will burst through and really make a change!

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In ‘Moonlight,’ Actor Mahershala Ali Found Characters He Recognized

 

“When I read Moonlight … I was blown away by seeing characters from my own life and people that I recognized on the page.” Mahershala Ali

Read more and listen to interview

Thank you to NPR for the original post!

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