D’Angelo and The Vanguard Present Black Messiah


D’Angelo came out with one of my favorite albums last year and I wrote a review for it in my local newspaper. Here’s an except:

This month, people of all walks of life organized protests in the Bay Area, taking over the streets, freeways, and city halls in solidarity to fight against police brutality and racial profiling against people of color. Against this backdrop, D’Angelo released Black Messiah, a highly anticipated album with a timely message.

I had just come from a weekend of marching in Oakland when D’Angelo shocked the music world with the long awaited album. It was 14 years ago that he gave us his soulful R&B album Voodoo, so new material was long overdue.

Best known for his gospel roots and soul influence, D’Angelo’s quieter career period wasn’t a completely silent one. He started playing new instruments that helped develop a band, the Vanguard, for his new sound on Black Messiah.

Check out the full article on The Richmond Pulse here.

Five Locations For a Great Workout Outdoors – Bay Area

There are days when I will walk in the gym with no motivation at all to stare at myself bouncing up and down on the treadmill for 30 minutes, stretching in front of lurky-looking sweaty men, and feeling cramped when I’m trying to get my “zumba” on.  There are also days when I would like to get some fresh air, in a short amount of time, with little-to-no gym distractions, so I turn to the great outdoors of the Bay Area. Whether you have a gym membership or not, check out these five locations with beautiful scenery and exceptional performance, that will for sure amp up your workouts:

1. Alameda Beach


This is fun after work favorite, especially with the benefits of daylight savings time. I love to come to Alameda Beach to get my power walk on. Located along Shoreline Dr., the parking is very easy with access to shopping and restaurants. You have an option to go as far as you want and you can either run/walk on the sidewalk or to burn more calories on the sand.  Dog and kid friendly, as well as babe watching friendly too 🙂

2. Lake Chabot Regional Park


photo courtesy of livinglandscape.net

Hills, Nature, and and the reservoir! Especially if you’re short on time, this hiking trail is probably the most convenient option to get a workout in.  There is a paid parking lot, but plenty of street parking. What I enjoy most about this park on the San Leandro/Castro Valley side is you can go fishing and to paddle boats.

3. Lake Merritt and the Cleveland Cascade Stairs

ImageI always come to Lake Merritt for the social scene and people watching. It’s about 3 miles to get around and mostly flat so if you’re looking to burn off more calories I’d add in the Cleveland Cascade stairs which after a few rounds will have your booty and thighs burning! They’ve remodeled this year, so if you haven’t been in awhile I’d check out the amphitheater and tidal marsh – great for a sunny afternoon!

4. San Leandro Marina


Right on the water! Noticing a trend here? lol I started biking the San Leandro Marina with my dad not too long ago because it definitely tests your endurance with the marine winds whipping full force. The trail are very big so you don’t feel like you’re dodging bikers and scary looking dogs – My only suggestion is to go in the morning or at dusk. Thank me later.  Oh, I have a cool Instagram video if you’re still not convinced. Check it out here.

5.  Joaquin Miller Park Stairs

You can go on one of the trails at Joaquin Miller Park if you want to but just these stairs are enough to give you a workout in less than 30 minutes. I’m a sucker for stairs, so if you’re in Oakland I’d definitely recommend going to the hills and conquering these once, twice, or three times if you’re adventurous!

A cool way to track your walk or run is to use the MapMyWalk app on your phone. It calculates distance, calories burned, and more. You can even changes the setting to cater to what type of exercise. So, what are your favorite outdoor spots where you love to get a workout in?

Labor Day Weekend in the Bay Area – Events

San Francisco Skyline from Berkeley Hills, Oakland Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay

If you’re going to be in the Bay Area and looking for something to do with your extended Labor Day weekend, check out some of these events that may be of interest. A lot of people my age don’t know where to look or go so I decided to put together some events that have been lingering in my inbox. I’m no entertainment concierge but I do know where to find some fun. Who knows, you may even catch me at a few of these events 🙂

P.S. If you know of any social events catered to young professionals and/or art, culture, and music friendly, let us know in the comment box!

Dancing Under the Stars: Free Dance Class & Party
Date: Friday, August 30, 2013
Time: 8:30 pm
Location: Jack London Square, Oakland Ca.
Free! For more info click here
Doin’ it at The Phoenix Hotel
Date: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Time: Noon – 7 pm
No cover, to RSVP click here
DopeOnly Presents: Cool Water (Day Party)
Date: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Time: 3-8 pm
Location: The Rock Steady, Oakland, Ca.
For more info & to RSVP click here
Open Canvas at the Independent: Hosted Bar
Date: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Time: 9pm -12 am
Live Painting, Music, Warhol to Jay-Z Inspired.
Free! To RSVP click here
Oakland’s 3rd Annual Pan African Family Reunion 
Date: Monday, September 2, 2013
Time: 10 am – 10 pm
Location: Mosswood Park, Oakland, Ca.
Friend and Family event, live art for the youth, Music, Food, Games, Dance, and More!
For more info please visit the Facebook page here
Hiero Day: Free Hip Hop Music Festival
Date: Monday, September 2, 2013
Time: 11 am – 6 pm
Location: Linden Street Brewery, Oakland. CA
Live Peformances, Food Vendors, and more
Free! To RSVP click here
Monday Soul Featuring Adrian Marcel
Date: Monday, September 2, 2013
Time: 9 pm
Location: The New Parish, Oakland
$15 for tickets online here

Black Girls Do Hike: Muir Woods


I can’t believe I waited until the end of summer 2013 to hike Muir Woods.  Even as a Bay Area native, I have  heard about this national monument, seen it on TV, but have never made the drive to visit. People come from all over the world to see the beautiful redwood trees and so I’m glad I had a chance to experience it right in my own backyard.

Muir Woods is located on the Pacific coast about 12 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County.  I went with a friend and we drove from the east bay for about an hour to get to the park. Parking was kind of bad and there were a lot of tourist buses and hella people from all walks of life. We decided to bypass the tourist stroll and do the Dipsea trail which is about a 7 mile loop around the park, moderate to strenuous uphill, and took  us about two hours. I won’t babble on about my experience because my pictures can explain it all, however just know that this was definitely one of my best hiking experiences in the bay!









Art Radar: Chicago Street Artist Hebru Brantley

Hebru Brantley by Kristie Kahns Photography.jpg

Photo Courtesy Kristie Kahns Photography

A couple Ebony issues ago I came across this Chicago bred artist and thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite pieces of his. What I love about Hebru Brantley’s craft is the influence he takes from comic books, Japanese anime, and street culture and paints a picture that tells a thousands words.

“Brantley draws influence from an array of pop culture icons, comic book heroes, Japanese anime and the bold aesthetics of street art pioneers Jean Michel Basquiat, Kaws and Keith Haring. Brantley’s recent focus is to share energetic narratives— moments of reality from his life and the lives of his peers, mixed with fantastical fiction— to create a fragmented environment of make believe. Spray paint is often at the forefront of these mixed-media illustrations, working in part to de-contextualize the levity of cartoon imagery, and bring a critical edge into the white cube. From this, Brantley has developed his own unique style and identifies as an Afro-Futurist.”

I hope to see his work next time he exhibits in San Francisco!

For more of his work check out http://www.hebrubrantley.com

Drake Natural Presents: 2nd Annual Community Thrift Sale 7/31

If you’re in the Bay Area make come check out the Drake Natural community thrift sale at the East Oakland Youth Development Center, Wednesday, 7/31 from 3-8 pm. 20% of the proceeds will go to the EOYDC Pathway to College Program and the rest will go to the Drake Natural fund which is a ethical marketing and event production company that’s dedicated to providing resources and raising awareness about sustainability in the fashion industry. The founder, Dominique Drakeford recently graduated from NYU with her masters and is working to build her brand and give back to the community. Show her and the youth in Oakland some love and stop by to shop and learn more about sustainable fashion.


This week at The New Parkway Theater: An Oversimplification of Her Beauty


Have you ever found yourself  in a situation with a guy/girl where you have been placed in the “friend zone”? What about if you’ve reached a grey area in your relationship and you have no idea how to get over that hump of emotions? Well, filmmaker Terance Nance makes an accurate attempt to display these emotions in his film”An Oversimplification of Her Beauty“.


This past Friday I went to The New Parkway Theater to see the opening night screening of this film. (By the way… it was my first time at the theater and I happen to fall in love with this hidden gem in Oakland)  The film documents an interesting relationship between a man (Terance Nance) and woman (Namik Minter) where the guy is trying to get with the woman and make it official. This is not much of a spoiler alert because in fact, as you watch this disaster unfold you see the signs and emotions that any person would go through when the person they are falling for isn’t on the same page as you.  What struck me the most about this romantic limbo was Terance Nance did an awesome job with the visual effects, textures, and sounds.  The 1970’s animation was probably my highlight of the movie for me! Anyways, this film has sparked some interesting dialogue amongst my friends and then some.

If you’re in the Bay Area you still have a chance to support this film in Oakland on Wednesday 7/24!

For more details click here

Whipped for Men – The Beard Gang Essentials

Image of beard butter

Often times I ponder my love for bearded men and wonder how they keep it luscious and gnarly … I came across a product called Whipped Body Goods awhile back and started using their body butters to keep my cocoa skin nice and smooth. As a sucker for lotions, oils, and smell good stuff I found their butter to work rather nicely.

With all the smell good, girly sensations, I came across their line for men. For all you beard lovin’ girls out there you should get your honey some “After Shave” and “Beard Butter” which comes in many scents such as almond, Frank & Myrrh, Kings, Sandalwood, wild lavender, vanilla, amber, and cognac (my fave!). Although I can’t review the effectiveness of the product, I have some guy friends who use Whipped Body Goods share their results:

“I like their products simply because it works better than any other equivalent products I’ve ever used” – Jon

 “It really does moisturize my dry hair. That stuff will have my whole face greasy though so I don’t use it every day” – Marcel (in other words if your beard is hella brittle it moisturizes but use sparingly)

Have any of you fellas tried Whipped for men? Thoughts? ….

p.s. possible Father’s day gift? I think so.

MISSSEY’s 2nd Annual Inspire Change Gala – June 15th Oakland

Hello Readers and Supporters! If you are in the Bay Area this month I encourage you to come out June 15th to MISSSEY’s 2nd Annual Inspire Change Gala at the Oakland Rotunda Building. MISSSEY (Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting, and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth) is an organization that advocates and facilitates the empowerment and inner transformation of sexually exploited youth by holistically addressing their specific needs.  They have direct services, training/workshops, mentorship programs, and even an employment programs that support at-risk youth.

This year they are celebrating their 2nd annual Inspire Change gala which will feature a live auction, feature two keynote speakers, Minh Dang, Executive Director of Don’t Sell Bodies and Jessica Midkiff recognized by Los Angeles County Probation Department and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for her work and dedication. A lot of leaders in the community have sponsored and supported this evening so the Rotunda building will be filled with nothing but positive energy.

If you’d like to attend, purchase tables, or would like to have your business/brand sponsor or donate please visit the gala website for more information. http://missseygala.weebly.com/

Make sure you follow MISSSEY on twitter @misssey_org and “Like” their Facebook page to get involved.

Which Demographics Use Social Media?

Hey, Reesa here! I haven’t been on my blog  in months and although I have plenty of excuses, I just don’t think there is a right answer as to why I haven’t been writing. With my budding PR career and amongst the community projects I’ve picked up on, just haven’t given me the time or desire. But after I read a few comments about missing me you know I had to give ya’ll something.  So, If you insist on my real-time commentary about what’s going on in the media or local community I’d highly suggest you stalk my Instagram or twitter. (See links below)

Speaking of Twitter and Instagram …

I read a recent article on Mashable, covering the social media demographics and it really sparked my curiosity to dive into the results.  If you look below at the infographic you will see that based on the research survey by Pew Research Center, hispanics and AFRICAN AMERICANS are in the lead as the race that uses social media the most. What does this have to do with you or I? Well, if you’re a business owner, artist, journalist, or work in any industry where you’d like to take your brand to the next level I’d highly recommend you hop on the social media band wagon. Whether we like it or not, black people are the biggest consumers of all things trendy (and then some) so of course it makes sense for you to publicize your brand, cause, company, or art through social media.  Not only do I find social media entertaining, but the way it has shaped my generation (20 somethings) is pretty remarkable. I’ve seen movements in my area, met some interesting game-changers, and I feel more in tune as a (part-time) journalist. I won’t make this a tech nerd rant,  so please let me know your thoughts, how are you using social media?