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
I’m taking it back, way back! 10 years or so ago I created The B Side Show Podcast. The idea began with my frustration while a student at CSB (great school) with traditional FM radio and its limitations. The same songs being played every hour, the same dry talk breaks, interviews with artists who weren’t saying much with their music or in their interviews and hosts who didn’t ask the thought provoking questions that I thought should have been asked OR discussing topics that I felt were important enough for some air time. Back then, no one knew what a podcast was. People were still beginning to understand and accept the concept of satellite radio and paying for exclusive radio content so the idea of an online radio show kept many scratching their heads. Now, everyone and they mama has a podcast. I noticed the change in tide and began seeing the over saturation of the podcast platform early on, right around the time that I began expanding my brand and began falling in love with photography and video productions. By the time my last show aired, there were new podcasts by big named celebrities and public figures popping up weekly and the concept of playing music from artists not heard on traditional radio was something that had made its way into the mainstream. In short, everyone was doing it. I decided to cease production of the show (better to end on top) and rebrand the idea of the show to focus on my photography and visual arts. Thus thebsideshow.com became shavonmeyers.com and my popular podcast episodes remained idle on various external drives.
(Me at CSB as a student working on The B Side Show)
I recently started thinking about The B Side Show and how FIYAH it was (fire emoji). I will pat myself all the way on the back because I was a one woman band. I filled the role of creator, host, producer, engineer, editor, talent relations etc. I was the show! I contacted and interviewed every artist on the show, created every playlist, recorded every interview with the artists, held down the website and posted every edition of the show myself. I did all of that and promoted the show without any type of machine behind me. I managed to gain listeners across the country AND globe. People as far as Africa, Alaska and Asia have heard my voice via The B Side Show and for that I am forever grateful. Again, I have to stress, this was 10 years ago when it wasn’t as easy as it is now. There was a lot to learn but I managed to do it and put together some amazing radio content. Content so dope that the shows have a fantastic shelf life, which brings me to now: I’m posting old episodes of my show for those who have never heard it AND for the overnight “radio hosts” that pop up daily…because, levels. I also had a full time radio job at Sirius XM which kept me on my toes and my skills sharp because I worked on live radio broadcasts everyday. I don’t know who in the terrestrial FM radio world besides talk radio shows actually do FULL LIVE radio broadcasts everyday but being in that environment made me the radio beast that I became. So here we are. Me with tons of content a decade later and a platform to share it. I’m unlocking the vault and rereleasing some of my old shows for the next few months or until I get tired of hearing myself again. The first oldie but goodie comes at a perfect time. The year is 2007 and I decided to tackle the gay marriage conversation on my 8th show. MY 8TH SHOW EVER, lol. I went straight for the jugular clearly and despite the freedom of shows today, back then no one was really talking about these topics while playing “B Side” songs and songs from newer artists. The topic of gay marriage was quite controversial then, even our beloved President Obama at the time did not fully support it so my views were probably considered a little on the radical side since most people were not willing to say out loud on a public platform that they supported gay marriages. Other than the somewhat dated material, the show still sounds amazing technically, playlist is still fresh and I think I did a damn good job for it being my 8th completed show. Listen below and you be the judge!
Just in time for Pride month I present: The B Side Show #8 “Gay Marriages” Air Date: Winter 2007.
My President is black!
Next year, I won’t be able to say that SO, I’ll say it now for what will likely be the last time that I can say it for awhile.
About 7 years ago when I first decided to take my photography to the next level, I started as many photographers do. I took classes, learned as much as I could and shot as much as I could. This meant shooting a TON of events. You name it, I was there. Didn’t matter the event or if there was a budget attached to it (which most if not all of the time, there wasn’t) I just wanted to get out there and shoot, share my images and be seen on the scene as a photographer (most definitely not my style now). My first big gig was to photograph various events for a member of the NAACP at it’s 100th year celebration at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown. This was a huge event with the main speaker being non other than President Barack Obama.
The universe aligned perfectly to even allow me in the building, let alone capture images for one of the representatives and possibly of the then newly elected President Barack Obama, but it didn’t start out that way. After hearing about the event a few months earlier, I applied for a press pass for “The B Side Show” which was a podcast that I hosted and produced back then. I picked up my official pass and details about the events. The President was the highlight speaker, but only pre approved national news organizations and members of the press would be allowed into the auditorium to cover the speech for national new outlets. Blogs and podcasts be damned. Note: this was 7 years ago, before people even truly understood what blogs and podcasts were. Today, SOME of them are highly respected outlets of information, 7 years ago when I started mine, people scratched their heads and wondered why anyone would listen to a radio show online. Meh. My goal was to cover the event for my show and blog at the time. Sure I would have LOVED to be in the same room as the President during his speech but with no real connection to any national news outlets, it didn’t seem possible…to most.
The hotel was a few block away from my then current job at Sirius XM Radio. I was able to work my 9-5, leave and walk up the block to the event. It couldn’t get any better, right? I bolted out of the doors at Sirius XM (back then just Sirius) with the first DSLR that I’d ever purchased and my standard lens kit, press pass in hand, for ready for whatever. I made it to the hotel with no problem. Got to the entrance, showed my press pass to the attendant and made my way inside.
So now I’m here! I’m inside
The Carter ugh, The Hilton (but I did have that same excitement as Ice T and crew when Pookie finally made his way into the core of the operation). Now what? I didn’t have anyone on the inside to guide me through anything. I had my list of events and speeches that I was allowed to photograph but there was no point person to check in with. The President was scheduled to speak the following day, so this was the warm up to the burn down so to speak. One of the main days of musical performances, lectures and other NAACP events that led up to the President’s address. So, I made my my around. Pulled out my camera, put my press pass around my neck and waited. I was ready, but there was nothing happening. I’d gotten there early and none of the events were scheduled to take place at that time so I roamed around looking for anything to capture. I made my way into an event space for one of the speakers and performances of the evening. I stood close to the stage, camera in hand and again, I waited. Then something happened, the universe came through in a major way. A handsome young black man who worked for the organization approached me. “Are you photographing the event?” he asked. “Yes.” I replied eager to do something other than wait. “Would you mind helping me out, my name is…and I’m the Director of…for the NAACP and I need someone to follow me around and get images of me and the celebrities of the evening” he said. “OF COURSE!” is what I hope I said. Like his name, title and the exact conversation, I can’t remember every detail but it ended up with me following this young man around for hours meeting, photographing and mingling with celebrities and activists that I grew up seeing. HE was the plug as folk would say today. He knew everyone and everyone knew him and I was his photographer for the evening. PUSH THROUGH UNIVERSE.
We ended the evening with me having a ton of photos to sift through and him mentioning the main event the next day, The President’s speech. “Will you be here for that?” he asked. “Well, yes but I don’t have a pass to get into the actual auditorium.” I told him. “Ok…we’ll see what we can do about that. Be here tomorrow and I’ll try and get you in.” “OF COURSE!” is again what I hope I said, either way, I was excited and knew I would be there.
If you live in NYC or any town in which any President has ever visited, you know the madness that I am about to speak on. When the President comes to town everything shuts DOWN. I’ve never seen a city stand still and have so much movement at the same time quite like it does when the president arrives. I figured the word would get out about the President being at the event but I didn’t think it would be Times Square New Years Eve crazy. After working my shift at Sirius, I left a bit earlier to try and avoid the crowd. Unfortunately, I could see the crowd from a few blocks away as I approached the hotel. Excellent. I somehow managed to get myself to the front of the crowd with the NYPD and their barricades. Here comes the bullshit I thought. I showed them my pass and without a word, they opened the barricades and let me through. It was like the parting of the Red damn Sea! If there was ANYTHING that would stop my ass from getting into the building SURELY it would be NY’s finest, but no, the universe kept on providing…
I made my way in and called my contact. “You made it!” he seemed thrilled but not as thrilled as I was to make it in the building. Again, I don’t remember how exactly the conversation went but it ended with me getting access to the auditorium in which the President would speak. He told me that I would be seated next to the official White House TV crew. Some national media outlets were allowed inside the room, but most were only allowed in the separate media room to watch the event on tv screens. He pointed out the secret service people and other people that I should be aware of. He showed me to my section and off he went. He had to return to his duties and would actually get to meet and greet the President as an NAACP member. “Get whatever shots that you can get, but most of all have fun and enjoy his speech…” he said warmly. My heart smiles to this day when I think about the kindness and willingness of this stranger to give a newbie like myself an opportunity to shine. Hey universe, hey…
And then, there was The President.
The room exploded with applause as he walked on stage. Newly elected, youthful and full of energy. His speech provide inspiration, hope and promise. He gratefully acknowledged the past and looked onto the future. As a black woman, seeing my first black President address members of the NAACP at its 100 year celebration was one of those defining moments in my life. A monumental and historic experience that I will cherish for all of my days. But I also had to work! After the initial shock, excitement and moment of clarity, I picked up my camera and went to work. I couldn’t move around the auditorium and I had several huge tv cameras in my line of sight. Not mention the fact that I was situated on the balcony and was only working with a consumer level camera and standard lens as a novice to the art…so my photos weren’t great LOL. In fact they sucked. They suck to me now, 7 years later after learning more about the craft, myself and my equipment. After sharpening my skills with years of practice and investing in better equipment. But back then, they were ok. In fact, everyone including the person that I eventually delivered the final images to thought they were great. Keep in mind, the NAACP most certainly had other photographers present that were able to capture up close and personal images of The President backstage with other prominent NAACP members. The White House also always has its staff photographers on hand to share images for the press that they have total control over. I was more of a Camera B/behind the scenes photographer for the President’s address. But nonetheless, a behind the scenes photographer for a historic event featuring President Barack Obama. Not bad for my first official gig.
“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” – Paul Coelho The Alchemist
Overall, all of the images, including the photos that I took at the various other events for the celebration, came out pretty good. Today, I strive for greatness and know that if the opportunity presented itself now, I’d excel at it with no problem. With the knowledge and skills that I’ve accumulated for my craft both in the field and in the classroom, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be able to provide exceptional images, even from a dimly lit balcony with tv cameras in my direct line of sight. Experience does that. Time and practice as well. Here’s the one thing that I had back then, even without the added skills and experience, I had confidence. I had it all! Did I know that my equipment wasn’t the best of the best? Yes. Did I let that stop me? No. Did I let the fact that I wasn’t as experienced as most scare me into backing out of this amazing opportunity? Hell no. I showed up, was ready to work, learn, listen and be open to the possibilities. That event, that moment in time solidified a lot of things for me, including my push to become a full time photographer. It proved to me that you don’t have to have a big name, huge following or sometimes, even the most knowledge in the room. You have to be willing to show up, step out on faith and be open to the possibilities. And let’s not forget, if you make mistakes, learn from them and move on! I am grateful that I had the universe working on my side that week and always. I’m grateful to the young brother that took a chance on me and offered an amazing opportunity to get my foot in the door. I’m grateful for being able to witness a black man with ties to the south side of Chicago be elected President in my lifetime and for the opportunity to watch him address those who helped create a path for himself, myself and the black youth that follow. Those images and that day are apart of my history.
No matter what happens with this election, UPDATE: Fuck Trump… I’m grateful that I was able to witness someone who looked like myself accomplish something that was so much bigger than myself. President Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama inspire me to BE.
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.
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).
I recently got a Tidal subscription (I know, I know…) but my reason for doing so has nothing to do with Jay Z, thinking I will actually listen to all of the music that they claim they have (they definitely do not have EVERYTHING) or any other reason that most people seem to get a music streaming subscription. I actually think it’s insane to pay a subscription to “rent” music that you can pay a one time fee and actually own but that’s my flaw, get your money music streaming sites. I feel like I was forced to get this subscription due to my recent iPhone debacle. In short, I upgraded, got a new iPhone and for the first time in my Apple history received a lemon. The phone randomly deleted all…ALL of my music collection three separate times. I’ve done some research and can’t find an answer that makes sense. The only thing that I can come up with in my conspiracy theory laced brain is that all of the newer Apple iPhones are flawed when it comes to Itunes and their algorithm because they want us all to eventually move to an Apple music subscription. Apple has already made it clear that they are moving forward with cloud subscription based programs and the introduction of Apple music’s new platform was the beginning of the end for owning music via mp3’s or downloads in my opinion. So after being frustrated with having to re-download thousands of songs and getting a replacement phone, I decided to take advantage of these student discounts that some of the music streaming services offer and skip the drama of losing my music again. However, I REFUSE to give in and get an Apple music subscription so I decided to give Tidal a shot and I must admit, it’s not bad at all…for a music streaming service.
So after a few weeks of getting used to not having any real music that I own on my phone, I decided to create and share a 90’s hip hop playlist, mainly because I couldn’t find a really good one. These are songs that I grew up listening to, songs that I’ve missed and songs that in my opinion go harder than ANY OF THIS NEW SHIT PLAYING RIGHT NOW. If you have also
been forced into getting purchased a Tidal subscription, do check out my playlist below. If you haven’t jumped ship yet, I’ve provided the song playlist below so that you can check out the songs on your own. I don’t think you can listen to more than a few seconds of a preview without a Tidal subscription but you can always purchase the tracks or vibe out on youtube.
These are songs that were on my original playlist but the mighty Tidal did not have them in its library, FAIL:
I’m not sure why these songs aren’t in the massive Tidal library. I kind of understand why the soundtrack songs would be more of a challenge to get on a music streaming site (New Jersey Drive for The Queen and Crooklyn and Clockers for the Crooklyn Dogers) but the rest are regular singles that I thought would be there. I found Nine’s “Whatchu Want” for crying out loud, WHY is there NO Lil Vicious on Tidal (that one random song doesn’t count)? Anyway, take a trip back in time and check out the playlist on Tidal here or you can view the selected tracks below. Enjoy!
As the last week of July rolls around, I’m sharing 3 summer inspired pieces for the July edition of my #findyoursummer project. I have to admit, this month has been a bit of a rollercoaster in the world. Between the various terrorist attacks around the world to the murders of innocent black and brown individuals by police officers in my own backyard to this mess of a presidential campaign, it’s been quite the challenge to come up with a new piece for the series. Then I remembered that THIS is exactly what it’s about. “Finding your summer” is all about finding your paradise, your heaven or you peace in a world filled with chaos and sometimes that means revising whatever it was that gave you that special “summer” feeling. So I went back in time a bit and decided to revisit a few of my favorite summer inspired pieces to share for this month. Reminiscing, revisiting and remembering all filter into “finding your summer” so I invite you to take a sunny trip down memory lane and get lost in the pieces. Enjoy!
A Love Supreme
Mold my heart to yours.
I’ll mimic every beat.
Trace every crease with my lips and leave behind my devotion.
I’m a slave to your touch.
Your love lives in me
Can’t you see it?
Take my hand and guide me through your dreams.
Give me your night terrors to slay and I’ll never stop fighting.
Let me kiss away your pain and shield you from the world’s evil glare.
Your love lives in me.
Can’t u see it?
This love supreme
Can’t you feel it?
I see your lips in the clouds and now pray for rainy days.
You eyes make themselves known in sunsets off the coasts of
Beckoning me to play in the valley that is your being.
Let me in.
Please let my love enter your heart.
Don’t be afraid.
Don’t run away.
Please stay and allow me to be here for you
Because you are here.
My love for you is strong and lives,
Can’t you see it?
Your love lives in me.
Your love lives in me.
Your love lives in me.
If only you knew it was living there.
Fatherless girls with fatties
Looking for the next dude to call Daddy
They gladly extend bare arms
Reaching for tatted soldiers that bear arms
But not as Kool as the gang
Situations stay the same
15 year old died after his championship game
The news claimed
He was gang affiliated
Human life underrated
Young men claim city owned blocks
White tees and black jeans
The cycle never stops
The shots never got
The intended target
EMS trucks don’t even bother
Fatherless youth cultivated in a motherless womb
Summer heat always brings out the true goons
Ruthless heat bring cold metal to streets
The whole block gets caught in your beef
Wake me up when it ends
Until we meet again.
How exciting! 20 year old Olympian Gabby Douglas revealed her very own Barbie doll on her Instagram page. She writes:
The doll is apart of Barbie’s “Shero” Campaign, celebrating real life women breaking barriers. “Selma” Director Ava DuVernay has also been highlighted in the series.
I discovered the Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski while clicking around online. I stumbled upon this post which led me to further investigate his work. I love it! I love art that sends a message and forces people to think. He’s got a lot of his work available on his website for purchase here. Some of my favorites are below.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about the late great Prince. Typing “late” followed shortly by Prince hurts the pit of my stomach. Such a beautiful artist, philanthropist (even I’m amazed at some of his past and recent contributions), spiritual being, ENERGY. Spike Lee managed to shut down a Brooklyn block for a tribute block party the evening of his death. Yes, the same day, hours later, Spike had a good thousand people dancing our sorrows away for the one and only Prince. I’m fortunate enough to have had seen him live at his Welcome to America Tour and baby I’m so glad that I got to witness a true artist in every sense of the word in person. I managed to get some cell phone vid and a few flicks. Still in disbelief.
I’m excited about anything that Dawn does but this is groundbreaking and I’m glad that she is the person kicking off this new way of capturing and broadcasting live performances. It all happens Wednesday 4/20/16 via The Verge. You can read about the Verge’s 1st 360 livestream with First Lady Michelle Obama here and see the video to get a sense of what will likely take place. Check out her latest single “Not Above That” below.