Author: Shavon

“Half The Picture” trailer

Half The Picture opens in select theaters in NYC and LA this June!

Via https://www.halfthepicture.com/:

HALF THE PICTURE consists of interviews with high profile women directors including Ava DuVernay, Jill Soloway, Lena Dunham, Catherine Hardwicke and Miranda July, and many others, discussing their early careers, how they transitioned to studio films or television, how they balance having a demanding directing career with family, and challenges and joys along the way. We also interview experts about gender inequality in Hollywood including the ACLU’s Melissa Goodman, Sundance Institute’s Caroline Libresco, Vanity Fair’s Rebecca Keegan, USC’s Dr. Stacy Smith and San Diego State University’s Dr. Martha Lauzen, who establish the magnitude of this employment discrimination issue as woman are shut out across the board, of an industry that systemically denies their expression and point of view.

OPENING IN THEATERS

Friday, June 8 – Village East Cinemas, NYC
https://www.citycinemas.com/villageeast/film/half-the-picture 

Friday, June 22 – Laemmle Monica, LA
https://www.laemmle.com/films/44008

Inspiration: Deborah Willis

I own a copy of photographer Deborah WillisReflections in Black that chronicles black photographers and photography of black life from 1840 to the present. 

Even before I knew of her own photography achievements, I knew that her work in this project was special and something that I had to own.  I tracked down a hard copy at a fabulous black owned bookstore in Harlem called Sisters Uptown Bookstore  and began my journey into a comprehensive history of black photography.  I stumbled upon a Vice article about her and it quietly relit the flame under my own journey as a black woman carving out a space for herself in this white male dominated industry.  As a 30+ year old digital photography student, it comes as no shock that most of the studied “greats” of this field look nothing like me and do not capture work that reflects my existence.  Representation matters and Deborah Willis’ continued effort to share stories of our existence inspires storytellers like myself to soldier on and continue sharing our perspective.  Check out the Vice article featuring Deborah Willis here and Reflections in Black can be purchased here.  

 

What I’m Reading: Citizen: An American Lyric

I’m not exactly sure how to describe Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, but I can say that I can’t put the book down.  I’m a few pages away from finishing it (devoured it in 3 days) and it resonated deeply with my being as a black woman.  Her combination of poetry, essays and what I would call think pieces weave together to form an intricate and important collection of timely work in a society undoubtedly fueled by race. 

Via bn.com:

Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.

 

I FINISHED PAYING SALLIE MAE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Word to @dee1music

That’s right.  Sallie Mae aka Navient, EDU Financial, all them hoes.  DONE.  With all of the madness happening, this definitely brings some much needed balance and happiness in my life 🙂

What I’m Listening To

I must admit, I was SO against these music streaming platforms but I love having access to thousands of new music selections daily.  

Lalah Hathaway Honestly

I love this album.  One word that I can use to describe the sound of the entire album is digital.  Lalah is known for her sultry soulful melodies but this project seems to take a new direction that is definitely welcomed.  Standouts for myself include “change ya life”, “what u need” “y o y” and “let it go”.

Rhyon Pretty Girl

I don’t know how I stumbled upon Rhyon’s “California” but as soon as I watched the video I remembered her from the highly rated yet short lived tv series Lincoln Heights.  She also recently starred in Surviving Compton as Michel’le.  I had no idea that she was a singer in real life!  I instantly feel in love with “California” and decided to give her album a try and it did not disappoint. 

 

Jhene Aiko Trip

I love Jhene Aiko.  Some people are on the fence about her but I’m here for her music so I was pleasantly surprised when she dropped her latest album Trip a few weeks back. Her honesty in her music is one of the main reasons why I can relate to it and her as an artist.  Dealing with the recent deaths of two family members back to back, I can relate to the concept and overall vibe of this album.  Along with the new album, there’s also a short film and book of poetry that can be pre ordered here.    Standouts: the whole album is one giant standout however she’s talking that good ‘ole SHIT on “Never Call Me”.  Give it a listen.   

 

What I’m Reading

I love being able to share my current book list with you and since I’ve discovered The New York Public Library’s mobile app I’ve been able to download and read tons of books right on my phone for FREE.  A bookworm’s dream!  I’m currently reading a few books including one that I didn’t think I’d enjoy, Luvvie Ajai’s I’m Judging You.  Reason being for the initial trepidation has everything to do with this current “It’s cool to be mean/You can’t sit with us/the only way to get a few clicks is to degrade people” atmosphere.  I thought this book would be filled with these snippy antidotes disguised as a smart or helpful read.  I was wrong…sort of.  It is steeped in shade.  The title alone gives that away, however it’s a realistic view of many of life’s everyday situations.  It’s not mean for the sake of being mean, it’s brutally honest and so far, I’m enjoying it.

Another book that I decided to give a try was Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This novel follows the tale of two half-sisters born in different villages in 18th Century Ghana.  The tale follows their lineage from their very different beginnings, one sister being married off to an Englishman the other imprisoned in the dungeon below and sold into slavery.  It’s most definitely a page turner.

A few other books that I’ve downloaded:  No Name in the Street by James Baldwin, Buddhism for Dummies and I’ve also been quite curious about The Nation of Islam so I’ve decided to try and read The Qur’an…I know, very light reading material over here J.  Happy reading! 

Taking it Back: The B Side Show Podcast #50something May 2013 Project Hygiene

Once again, it’s ON!  I’m resurrecting another classic episode of The B Side Show for your listening pleasure.  This was a great episode featuring my interview with Anshia B. Crooms (formerly Anshia B. Tull) of Project Hygiene http://projecthygiene.org/.  With the holidays just around the corner, this is a great time to revisit this show and focus on the importance of giving back.  Project Hygiene is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established to support underprivileged youth, ages 10-18 by promoting health and wellness while denouncing bullying.  Through generous donations of personal hygiene products from supporters, Project Hygiene has been able to donate thousands of products to hundreds of adolescents across the country who could not afford or gain access to them.  This interview was taped over 4 years ago when the organization was in its infancy but I am happy to report that the organization is still going strong and making a difference with every child reached.  Check out the interview below!

The B Side Show Podcast #50 something

Travel: The Grand Canyon

Here are a few images from my recent trip to The Grand Canyon.  It is without a doubt MASSIVE.  So massive that the brain can’t really comprehend how something so vast can be created and sustained pretty much on its own.  The challenge in capturing something so immense (mid day on a beautiful sunny day might I add) is trying to figure out how to not make the images appear flat and boring.  I focused on perspective in a few shots by comparing something tiny such as a group of tourists or one person to The Grand Canyon and also had some fun with the editing.  Overall, it was a great trip and a photography bucket list item that I can now cross off 🙂 Check out my images below!  

  We also made a stop to The Hoover Dam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s someone doing exactly what the tour guide told us not to do.  There’s always one…and in this case, I saw more than one person standing on the rocks on this sunny but quite windy day just to get a photo.  This was the only person I managed to take a photo of.