In my 25 years of life, summer has always been an important time for my family. There are so many birthdays and holidays between May and August that we end up having BBQ’s every other weekend. Everyone knows the most important part of a black BBQ (besides the potato salad) is… THE MUSIC! Somehow, I am always appointed as the DJ. So being that we weren’t able to get together in person, I took song requests via text!
Kick your feet up (like my fabulous Grammy in that photo above), and check out my “Sounds of Summer” playlist below!
(FYI, it’s a long playlist… the Rooney/Johnson clan goes hard!!!)
Side bar… I need to know why and how my grandma still looks like that 25 years later and why I’ve aged about 15 years in quarantine. *sigh*
I am still blown away by Beyonce’s visual album, BLACK IS KING, on Disney Plus. If you haven’t watched it yet… stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now!
Beyonce never misses (obviously, she is perfection). The mixture of stunning visuals, upbeat music, and celebration of black culture makes for an overall powerful experience that everyone should be a part of.
BLACK IS KING is Beyonce’s retelling of the film, The Lion King, from the point of view of a young black boy. She previously released an album when the live action movie came out in 2019, but decided to bless us with the deluxe version. I really love how Beyonce mixed elements of afrobeat into this album. A few of my favorites are Find Your Way Back, Ja Ara E, Already, My Power, Mood 4 Eva and Nile. I also thought it was great to see Beyonce to acknowledge black artists from different regions such as Burna Boy, WizKid, Shatta Wale, Oumou Sangare, Moonchild Sanelly, and Yemi Alade. You can listen to the whole album below!
Not only was the music fantastic, but so were the visuals! The film was filled with bright colors, stunning symmetry, and plenty of homages to black history. At one point Beyonce was literally swimming with synchronized swimmers, came up from the water and was STILL FLAWLESS. HOW??? (I even wrote in my notes “how do you come up from the water and still look good???”). I’ve included some of my favorite visuals below as well.
We also got to see several special appearances from Kelly Rowland, Pharrell, Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyongo. We even get to see Jay-Z, Miss Tina, Blue Ivy, Rumi, and Sir who she actually dedicated the film to!
My favorite part of the film was the constant gems that were dropped. A few that really stuck out to me were; “step into your essence”, “we were beauty before they knew what beauty was”, and lastly “something about walking in the room with your head high and not disrespecting your crown by bowing your neck”. It’s SO important for black people to hear these affirmations, because we are constantly being torn down. With everything going on in the world it was really uplifting to see black culture be shown in such an artistic and appreciative way.
All of my life, I’ve never really been able to fit in. Not that I didn’t have friends, I just was never part of a “group”. For starters, I was always one of very few black students from first to twelfth grade. Even then, some of the black students didn’t exactly like the fact that I did not grow up in the same neighborhood as them. On the other hand, the white students (and their nosey parents) couldn’t exactly grasp the fact that I lived in a nice neighborhood, and in some cases even better than that of their own. No one was ever mean to my face, but they did make sure to remind me that I was in fact “different”.
Besides the color of my skin, I also have had different interests than the rest of the girls. I loved playing with Barbies and Bratz dolls, but I also enjoyed riding 4-wheelers and going fishing. All of the girls I knew loved shopping, make-up, and dresses, to this day I still hate all three. The mall is my personal hell, I probably wear make up twice a year, and the pants to dress ratio in my closet is 1,000 to one. I’ve always loved Star Wars, and playing with action figures, and going to see the latest Marvel flicks with my dad and brother. I’m not a girly girl, yet I’m not a “tomboy”. I’ve always had a lot of guy friends, but I’m not necessarily “one of the boys”.
Even my music taste has always been unique. Thanks to my parents, I grew up listening to Prince, The Doobie Brothers, and Miles Davis. But as a product of the 90’s I have a special place in my heart for The Spice Girls, *NSYNC, and Britney Spears. The older I got the more expansive my collection of music was. I began listening to artists of all genres, such as Kanye West, Tyler the Creator, Black Sabbath, Death Grips, Daft Punk, Bjork, The Gorillaz and so many others. Though I listen to a vast majority of music, you probably won’t catch me dead at a Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande concert. Both which are popular among girls my age. That being said, it’s often hard to find someone who listens to, or even enjoys all of the aforementioned artists and genres. My parents are relieved that they no longer have to sit through *NSYNC concerts, but they also are weary that their daughter listens to a group by the name of Death Grips (understandably so).
I always thought badly of myself, because everyone made it seem as though having other interests than the norm was wrong. The older I got I realized just how special it was to be “different”. So many people force themselves to fit into a box just to fit in with everyone else because it’s easier than defending your personal choices. But truthfully, it takes more courage to be unique. It took a while to get here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m happy to be different, because different is better than being dull.
Believe me, I know first hand how depressing quarantine can be. I live alone and I’m sure my neighbors are concerned how often I talk to my dog. Nevertheless, all we can do is stay hopeful in these crazy times (and of course wear a DAMN MASK — yes, you too Karen!)
What helps me on certain days, is to put on some music and turn up all by myself in my apartment. Check out the below playlist, and sing into your hairbrush like you’re 13 again!
I’ve been a fan of Rihanna’s since Pon De Replay first came out back in 2005. It has been exciting to see how far she has grown in the past 13 years! After getting her career started in music, she has expanded her empire to beauty products, make up, sneakers, and lingerie. However her latest endeavor is her most impressive yet.
Our very own Bad Gal Ri Ri will be creating a luxury line with Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, or LVMH. This is impressive for a multitude of reasons. She will be the first and youngest woman to ever create a line under the massive fashion conglomerate. The most recent line that was released under LVMH was Christian Lacroix… in 1987! The line is called “Fenty”, of course just like her last name and many other products. I am excited to see Rihanna’s complete fashion line and what else the future holds for Ri Ri!
May 21st, 1972 – The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls aka Christopher Wallace was born! As a native New Yorker, Biggie is a quintessential part of my childhood upbringing. In almost every home video we have, Biggie is bound to play in the background at some point. In the mid 90’s everyone was wearing Coogi sweaters because they wanted to be as smooth and stylish as The Notorious B.I.G.
Unfortunately his life was cut short on March 9th, 1997 right here in Los Angeles. Though he was only on this Earth for a brief moment, his music and legacy will live on forever. I was barely three years old when he was killed, but over twenty years later I am still blasting his music. Though time will continue to pass, as a New Yorker Biggie’s music and life will always be celebrated. Below I have created a playlist of my favorite songs either by or featuring The Notorious B.I.G., comment on which one is your favorite!
Sunday is right around the corner so you know what that means…. Game of Thrones! As many of you know, this is the final season so plenty of people are speculating how it will all end. For a show with so much detail and time put into it’s story line, it’s actually quite difficult to guess what’ll happen next.
However, show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss created a Spotify playlist titled “Game of Thrones: The End is Coming” where each song title alludes to subtle hints at how it may all end. Of course we’ll never really know how it ends until it you know, ends… but it’s still fun to guess!
Check out the playlist below to see if you can figure out which songs apply to the plots, characters, and story lines of the final season of Game of Thrones!
Yes, I know I’m late to the party but I’m glad I finally went! Amoeba Music is a record store located on Sunset Boulevard. There are many other Amoeba locations around California, but the original location opened up in 1990, on Telegraph Avenue up in Berkeley, California. I happened to go on “Star Wars” Day, so all of the Star Wars items were on sale!
There is SUCH an extensive collection of vintage music, movies, posters, and art from all different genres and decades. I wasn’t even sure where to begin! It was also quite nostalgic to be in there because I remember actually buying CD’s to put in my boombox and disc-man. My mom also felt nostalgic upon seeing 8-track records and Vinyl’s that my grandma used to play.
I was able to find a few cool items, but I felt as though there was so much to discover. I look forward to visiting Amoeba Music again in the near future!