Women

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.

 

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

STEP (Documentary)

Whew.  @Stepthemovie

I watched this trailer a few days ago without sound and without hearing a word, I knew it would be good.

   

Step hits select theaters August 4th.  Head over to http://www.foxsearchlight.com/stepmovie/ for more info!

What I’m Listening To: H.E.R. & Zonnique

I don’t claim to keep up with any of the music that the young folk are bumping, at least not the rap music.  I couldn’t tell you who Lil Uzi Vert is, what Lil Yachy sings (raps…whatever) or what Future or Migos latest hits are and I’m OKAY with that.  It’s not for me, that is until I’ve had a few drinks or am at a club listening to their music at obnoxious levels because everything sounds AMAZING in the club at 2am.  I do however seem to appreciate some of the r&b that’s being created by a couple of young ladies.

I recently discovered the sounds of an artist named H.E.R (twitter is good for something).  What initially attracted me to the artist was the mystique of H.E.R.’s Vol. 1 ep cover, a simple silhouette of a woman against a blue background.  I quickly discovered that the artwork added to the mysterious story of the woman behind it.  Upon the release of her ep, her record label (RCA) sent out her promotional package with no information or photos of the artist.  She dropped her ep, shook up the world and had everyone from Alicia Keys to Wyclef Jean talking about H.E.R. but no one knew who she was!  Well, not exactly.  A few Google searches and I found who most believe the mystery woman is *spoiler alert, this isn’t her first rodeo*.  I spent the past weekend absorbing the 6 song EP and I love it!  Her music is smooth, sensual and addictive.  I’m no music journalist, so I’ll skip further trying to explain why I enjoy the ep, I just do.  It sounds good to me and left me wanting more.  Luckily, Vol. 2 is set to be released June 2nd and can be pre ordered here.  Give it a listen.  

Ever since I began my Tidal subscription I’ve been more open to trying new music that I probably wouldn’t have had it not been for its availability through the app.  Occasionally, I make my way to the “Tidal Rising” section which features young up and coming musical talent and a young lady by the name of Zonnique caught my attention.  What really caught my eye was the name of her ep: Love Jones.  “What this girl know about Love Jones?” is what I was really thinking.   The title alone seems like enough to generate interest from an older crowd and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  While listening, I discovered that she’s the 21 year old daughter of Tameka “Tiny” Cottle of the r&b group Xscape and step daughter of rapper T.I.  Love Jones is the opposite of H.E.R.’s Vol. 1.  It’s fast paced, catchy and has just the right balance of energy and melody.  There’s no doubt that having the talent of her parental unit added to the sonic success of the project.  After learning who she was, I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that I couldn’t get enough of the ep.  Purchase or stream the project and let me know what you think.  Happy listening 🙂

What I’m listening to: NAO “For All We Know”

I’m a little tardy to the party on this one but better late than never.  NAO hails from East London and might not be a new name to many but she is to me and her debut album For All We Know which dropped back in 2016 has been in heavy rotation in my household.  I was first introduced to the artist, who for some reason I assumed was a band and not a solo artist, via a playlist on Tidal.  NAO’s song “Girlfriend” was on the playlist and I instantly fell in love with her high pitched melodic tone.  I really thought (and still do think) her voice was the product of a producer or engineer going a little too heavy on the effects, but it worked and I loved it. Whether it’s all her or a creative enhancement on her vocals, that unique sound that she seems to be well on her way to mastering is what works throughout For All We Know.  Other standouts for me include Bad Blood, In The Morning, Blue Wine and (Feels Like) Perfume.  As always, you be the judge and check out NAO for yourself.   

2017, let’s get it! (Say what’s real)

First off, THANK YOU!  Thank you for supporting everything that Visuals by Shavon Meyers has done in the past year.  Yes, 2016 the year that we we don’t speak of was a bit of a shit storm for many but I have to admit that personally, professionally and academically I excelled in the past year.  A few positive moves made by myself last year include:

Professionally:

A 100% increase in voice over work.  Seriously, I went from not having done any major voice over work since I left radio around 2011 to being a regular voiceover artist for a news app!  It’s funny how the universe works.  I say that because the minute that I decided to expand my brand and offer more services such as voiceover work, the universe said “Ok, here you go!”. 

I created my first client website.  Now I created and have been running my website for over 8 years now, but it’s my website.  I have total control over it and have had time to learn the various platforms used throughout the years, but this was different.  For the first time I was commissioned to create a website from scratch for a well know and established author and professor in anticipation of his new book.   No pressure! 😉  Well I did it and he and his fan base love it so I intend on learning more about website development and will continue to offer my services in that field as well.

I finished my screenplay for what will be my fourth short film!  This film will be longer than the last three but not feature length so it will still be considered a short.  I anticipate production beginning this year.

I graced two major set productions that will hopefully make their premieres this year.  The first involved me being an extra on Spike Lee’s Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It”.  The overall experience was great and seeing Spike Lee work first hand was an inspiring moment in 2016.  The second involved me flying to LA for a totally different video production experience.  I can’t say anything else about it (the way this non disclosure agreement is set up…) but when it’s released you’ll hear more about it.

I launched sometimesshewrites.com in hopes of being more consistent with my writing.  I said I would give it a good solid year, so here we go.

I’ve been shooting!  Photography is my passion and I’ve been able to continue capturing moments and creating stories with new and existing clients throughout the year.

Personally:

I paid off TWO credit cards putting me one credit card closer to being debt free.  That’s a huge accomplishment that once did not seem to be attainable but with a bit of sacrifice and consistency I did it! 

I ended the school year with a 3.8 GPA.  3.8 GPA!  

I survived the madness that was the election season without harming myself or anyone else.  That was an accomplishment.  

Overall, I had a pretty good year and I hope you did as well.  If you’ve been with me for awhile by now you now that I don’t really do new year resolutions, I just aim to do better.  Get shit done, talk less and do more.  I’m all about results because talk is cheap and in 2017 EVERYBODY has a platform to speak from which leaves room for lots of empty chatter.  Each year I strive to be more present in this social media infused world and this year is no exception.  Disconnect a little more from time to time and have real life connections with humans.  Read more.  Learn more.  Grow more.  Love more and allow myself to be loved more.  Continue growing spiritually.  Be more creative in my art forms and push the boundaries of these creative arts a bit more.  These are honestly my everyday goals that are magnified at the top of the year.  I hope this new year brings more prosperity, blessings, love and joy to you.  Once again, thank you for your support.  Let’s fuck 2017 up in the best way possible! 

Wishlist: Reflections in Black A History of Black Photographers 1840 – Present by Deborah Willis

‘Tis the season to be jolly and shit and I’d be the jolliest photographer in all the land if someone were to put this book in my Xmas stocking this year!  Ok cut the cheesy holiday talk,  I really want this book.  I’ve had my eyes on it for awhile now but have never gotten around to hunting down a new copy.  It’s out there for sure and I’m sure it is waiting to start its new life on my bookshelf 😉

blk-photo

 

Risk it all. #sometimesshewrites (say what’s real)

A NY Daily News article from January 2016 came across my social media feed highlighting a young Queens photographer by the name of Dark Cyanide.  The teen captured photos of some of the city’s abandoned subway stations, you can see more of the photos here.  It got me thinking about taking risks.  I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do this.  Sneak into one of the many access points throughout the city, camera in hand, ready to document the rarely seen underbelly of the beast that is New York City.  I have an attraction to “dirty” things.  Let me be clear, I am a neat freak.  I do not enjoy dwelling or working in filth or clutter.  I hate when things are not neat and tidy, but I am attracted to ruin.  Buildings that have been demolished, abandoned areas, things that were once new and beautiful and in use but have been left unkept and are now abandoned, old and dirty (see my trip to the abandoned Immigrant Hospital on Ellis Island). So what’s stopping me from exploring the abandoned subways that I’ve yearned to document for so long?  FEAR.  Damn right.  I’m scared AF to go down under to not only discover what is sure to be a wonderland of undocumented ruined city jewels but also the thousands of city rats, insects, people (yes, the “mole people”) and not to mention the risk of being electrocuted, arrested or catching something that my body can not properly fight off.  This 19 year old and his friends have that 19 year old immortality that we all believe we have at 19 and I envy that a bit.  The 30+ year old me knows damn well that I am not immortal and no picture is worth risking my safety, however, there is still a part of me that wants to take that risk.  

Dont-be-afraid-to-FLY-W

 

I want to risk it all and take that literal leap down an old manhole in the middle of an abandoned city block and leave all of that fear on the city street above me.  I want to roam the desolate subway tracks capturing the beauty in the ruins below.  I want to stand perfectly still holding my breath as I try to hand hold a long exposure shot, because fuck a tripod in these uncertain conditions.  I want to leap from track to track as the wind from an approaching train brushes across my face.  I want to discover the unknown and be fearless while doing it.  Do I want to do this alone?  Nope.  Am I saying that I’m going to do this at all?  Absolutely not.  What I am saying is, I do want to flirt with the idea of it.  Risking it all.  Even if not for this act in particular.  Maybe I take a risk and start a project that I’ve always wanted to start.  Maybe I risk some money on an investment and see where it leads me while not worrying about the potential to fail.  Maybe I film that ambitious new completed screenplay that’s sitting on my desk (actually, this is already happening…stay tuned).  Maybe I just jump for the sake of taking the leap, knowing that I’m risking it all, or nothing at all.  Maybe, the fear is all in my head and the risk is an imaginary door whose certain defeat is as easy as me taking a breath, opening it and walking through it.  

Just breath and risk it all (or nothing).    

The Schomburg Center presents Black Power 50 Films: “¡Palante, Siempre Palante!”

 As part of their Black Power 50 programming, a retrospective of the past 50 years of black power around America, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is featuring a film documenting the Young Lords movement, ¡Palante, Siempre Palante!.  The screening takes place on 11/10/16 and tickets are free but an RSVP is required and can be done so via their website here.  

Via the Schomburg website:

In the midst of the Black Power Movement, liberation was sought by communities across the globe. In the U.S., Puerto Rican and Latino/a communities fought for economic, racial and social justice. The Young Lords emerged as a powerful voice for the independence of Puerto Rico, empowerment and improved living conditions in America. ¡Palante, Siempre Palante!, directed by Iris Morales, a grassroots activist who was the first woman to join the East Harlem branch of the Young Lords, features interviews with activists. After the screening, Morales will join three former Young Lords–Martha Arguello, Carlos Aponte, and Carlos Rovira –for a talkback with Johanna Fernandez, PhD, professor of History, Department of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College (CUNY).