Friday, July 31, 2009

soul food: iyaDede

out of monumental pain and darkness can arise true, exquisite beauty and light.

i've been meaning to write about fellow nomadic afropolitan, iyaDede, since i first discovered her a few months ago...and her voice is currently the soundtrack to these chronicles. it is a voice that is at once both delicate and powerful, her style uncategorizable, her talent unrefutable.

'love robot'

a survivor of Rwanda's 1994 Genocide, iyaDede has overcome pain, trauma and incredible loss and has emerged with an inspirational strength and spirit. after leaving Rwanda, she lived in Belgium [where she awesomely sang back-up for the incredible Zap Mama], and then ultimately in the US where she currently resides in Brooklyn. her passion and love for her home country and continent is evident in her words and i am so proud she is representing with such soul, beauty, grace, funk, and fire.

her forthcoming album is entitled 'talking to god' and is an eclectic mix of electronic pop funkadelic hotness. this woman's star is rising and i cannot wait to see what happens in the coming months. in the coming years.

here she performs her powerful 'in my darkest hour' at the Brooklyn Museum (spontenously accompanied by Rwandan dancers).


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the black issue: vogue italia does it again

Vogue Italia is, once again, back with its Black Issue.

this time, it has produced a collector's supplement dedicated to the iconic Barbie doll.

"Barbie has been an icon for whole generations which is why I really wanted to give a strong sign in step with the times, and dedicate the anniversary issue to Black Barbie,"
Franca Sozzani, Editor

love the concept, love the execution.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


seven years to the date of his arrest, John Forté has released his new EP.

download it here.
tracks that have embedded themselves onto my soul: 'best that love could be' (ft. ben taylor), 'nervous' and 'more beautiful now'.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

john forte: play my cards for me

john forte's 'style free' EP will be out next week.

from the sounds of his latest single 'play my cards for me', it seems like he's picking up right where he left off seven years ago with 'i, john', a seriously slept-on album. loving the new direction.
new track available for download at
edit: the whole EP is now available for preview on


we had him

We Had Him--Maya Angelou

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


um...guess what finally drops today?

*dance of joy*

'fistful of tears' is the track (other than 'pretty wings') that i have instantly fallen in love with.

the rest of the album is classic maxwell. no departure from what he does best. and as usual, he manages to stay classic and current, at the same time.

BLACKsummers'night is definitely worth the seven-year wait.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

michael jackson: in memoriam

over the past week, we have been inundated with images of and words about michael jackson. it's expected that the shocking passing of such a loved/loathed/fascinating icon illicits such massive and widespread response. i've chosen to focus on the tributes to the man, the artist, the visionary. here are a few of the heartfelt tributes that touched me the most, over the past week:

jody watley's touching ode to a man and artist she truly loved and admired, in which she shares precious memories of michael, from her childhood years to the moment she'll never forget: "I remember thinking a piece of my own childhood went with you. I will always remember the time I had with you.May your deepest sadness be healed. May your soul now rest peace."

nelson george's piece (via in which he acknowledges the man's genius and warns against people's attempts to simplify such a complex life:
"To simply brand him a smooth criminal, as some have, or to overlook his tragic nature, as have others, is to deny his humanity."

ian kamau's personal tribute to the little black boy that profoundly influenced his young life:

"Rest in Peace big brother.. you were far from perfect but you were a force to be reckoned with and you influenced my life personally so much when I was growing up that I can't deny your power and your magic..."

in terms of musical tributes, the awesome High Heels and Hi Tops did all the work for me and has compiled the best musical remixes, covers, and tributes to MJ, here. i'm currently playing JPeriod's 'The Man or The Music' mixtape, constantly, as well as DJ Lioness' tribute mix.

he wanted to heal the world, but was in a constant struggle with self.
i hope his soul is finally at peace.