National HIV Testing Day: Know Your Status

 

If you haven’t noticed, today is National HIV Testing day!  There are free testing centers everywhere open for anyone who wants to come in and know their results.  There are so many people who take HIV/AIDS so lightly and think that just because they don’t feel sick or aren’t as sexually active or loose, they will not be affected.  I was searching for centers, activities and campaigns, when I came across “Karaoke, Condoms & Cocktails” at the Everett & Jones Q lounge happening tonight from 8-12 am.  Bay Area’s radio station 106 KMEL is sponsoring and there will be free HIV/AIDS testing on site.  So you can seriously grab you a cocktail, condom, and get tested all during karaoke night.

I believe just these little incentives to get tested are what is needed in the black community.  Shout out to colorlines.com for this interesting statistics form pretty much explaining that blacks are the least likely to know they are infected. So people, before you lay down again, just know.


Advertisements

Marcel William x My Baby

Happy Monday! I have some new tunes for you today.  Check out Marcel Williams, a newcomer to the music scene, with a fresh and tasteful sound.  His song “My Baby” was written by Esinchill, and it was produced by G Koop.  Shout out to Rod Campbell of Dope Only who put me onto this San Francisco bred artist.  You can check out his full bio below:

Being a newcomer to the music scene can be overwhelming for most, but for an artist
like Marcell William, the obstacles and occurrences already accomplished only continue
to drive his determination on becoming an appreciated entertainer. Hailing from the San
Francisco Bay Area, Marcell William separates himself from what R&B has become and
strives to bring back what traditional rhythm and blues is. His goal is to inspire todayʼs
youth to know and experience what true R&B sounds like. Marcell feels like vocalists
back in the day had only their voices, no outlandish tricks or antics. Thus, he is looking
to bring substance back to R&B music. Being a singer, songwriter, composer, performer
and natural comedian helps him incorporate a higher dynamic to his music as well as
his artistry. Marcell draws his influence from the likes of Jackie Wilson, Frankie Lymon,
David Ruffin, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Tank, and Maxwell.  All artists who have in some
way help create what we know and love as R&B today.
        Marcellʼs true Musical Background began upon his acceptance into the Oakland
school of the Arts in 2003. There he studied vocal, piano and drama. He starred in the
schools leading plays, The Wiz, Footloose, The Maids, and The Wild Party. During the
years 2005-2007 he studied at the University of California in the Young Musicians
Program (YMP) with a full scholarship. During his junior year of high school he was
given a 1-year scholarship to Berkeley College of Music in Boston upon his high school
graduation. His high school years clearly solidified his love and commitment to music.
Between 2006-2008 Marcell was blessed with the opportunity to open for such artists as
Tina Marie, Patrice Rushen, Roberta Flack, the Ohio Players, The Isley Brothers, Jamie
Foxx and other world renowned artists all around the U.S.
      Marcellʼs music is tasteful and bold.The richness of his voice makes it easy for him
to comfortably blend with any genre of music. Marcell is a go-getter, live wire with a
confident seductiveness, a role player that does not want to put a stamp on his music to
a specific audience. He is embarking on a journey that he is humbly and fully prepared
to take on, appreciate and welcome. Marcell William promises to take and deepen his
audiences understanding of great R&B music.

I think Marcel William’s voice has is very raspy and eludes seduction. His single “My Baby” gives off passion and enthusiasm that will immediately draw me into any R&B artist.  I’d love to see him live one of these days because if his voice matches his stage presence he will be a winner.

Reesa Speaks Goes “Dope Only” with Rod Campbell -The Creator


If you have been to concerts in the Bay Area, or attended any events that have showcased arts and culture you might have seen someone wearing an “Oakland USA” or “Dope Only” logo.  I’ve always wondered what the meaning was, so when I came across the creator I had to share it with you. Rod Campbell is an Oakland native that is the man behind the brand that you see.  He describes it as “an interest in all things, fly, fresh, and raw”.  The hip-hop culture has used the term to describe just that so he stamped it with the “only” to make it his own.

Dope Only was created the summer of last year from his pilot project called Oakland USA.  “People understand what lives within them so that’s where Oakland came from.  Dope only is the greater umbrella”. Rod has built a foundation in his own hometown networking with local entrepreneurs like himself. He makes sure to use his marketing and savvy techniques to produce a business and develop a team that he works with to promote through out the bay area. Artists like Nate, Esinchill, Ryan Nicole, DJ D Sharp, Kmaxx, and DJ Toure’, just to name a few are representatives.   Dope Only currently endorses a weekly Monday showcase called “Monday Soul” where local artists perform and young and affluent music lovers gather at the New Parish in downtown Oakland.  Dope Only has been worn on known names like Andre Ward, Raphael Saadiq, Dwayne Wiggins, Too Short, Richie Rich, and even Shamar Moore.

Rod in the Streets

Dope Only and Oakland USA clothing comes in the form of hoodies and t-shirts.  There are different colors that are customized and individually selected.  When learning more about the brand, I gathered that it’s almost an official approval if you were caught wearing one- you are officially dope at what you do whether it be in music, art, or entertainment.  Rod Campbell plans to expand the brand beyond just clothing and recognition to campaigns catering to youth development and networking.  This summer he plans to bring his business to Oakland ‘s annual “Art & Soul” festival and plans to work on future expansions with San Francisco and other major cities outside the Bay Area.

Rod Campbell’s best advice he could give to aspiring entrepreneurs, “Don’t be afraid to get your feelings hurt.  You are going to get a lot of doors slammed on your face but when you do find one that opens go through it.”  He has definitely followed his passion and has created a brand that will continue to open a lot of doors.

Think you’re “Dope Only” material?  Check out the official website for more info here.

Baby Jaymes x Heart and Soul

His sound is part r&b, part hip-hop, and part mystery. Check out new music from Oakland bred singer/songwriter Baby Jaymes, “Heart and Soul”.   His new single is described as a declaration of who he is and his musical intentions.  He defines his genre of music as “Ghetto Retro”- making him a musical chameleon with soul.  Baby Jaymes addresses issues of following your own passion and believing that you can succeed.  I think this song sends out a perfect message to any individual who puts their heart into whatever they do and show that you don’t have to belittle your character, or your well being.  Being different is cool 🙂

“why you always doing you, do what everybody do, if you really trying to get it?/ instead of trying to dumb me down, doing what they’re doing now, here’s something you won’t forget.”

Baby Jaymes has a album out,  The Baby James Record, where he’s done work with Raphael Saadiq and George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic. Check out his website here for more of his work.

Jill Scott’s Summer Block Party-Light of the Sun (Review)

My favorite Neo/R&B soul singer and songwriter is back with a new look, new label, and definitely a new attitude.  “The Light of the Sun” is her fourth studio album and her first with Warner Bros. records.  With her leading single “Still in Love” featuring Anthony Hamilton that reached the top 11 on the Billboard charts, the anticipation is finally over.  On the first day of summer, Jill Scott kicks off her summer block party!

The Light of the Sun brings you a re-awakening of the hip-hop neo soul element.  You can take it personal or be just as carefree as you want to be but I love how Jill Scott manages to hit all type of angles.  Being that she’s been through a lot with her relationships, you get a dynamic feel of her thoughts across the board.  In a recent interview with NPR she describes the making of this album as, “I’ve really just been standing in front of the microphone and blacking out musically. I come back a couple hours later and there’s six songs from beginning to end.”  With Scott being able to just spit on the mic and using her creative ability to produce great music is astounding.  I haven’t seen her do it, but I know it’s something serious in the studio.

As a single woman trying to establish a career, I thought I could relate to her song “So Gone (What My Mind Says)” which features Texas native Paul Wall.  She sings of a woman who is fighting celibacy.   The preaching of self-respect for your body and especially if you want to build a relationship, sex can be a very underlying issue.  I’m not going to lie; we all need that sexual satisfaction, so for her to put those thoughts to words, and to produce a song that doesn’t elude too much sexploitation is dope.

Jill Scott always seems to bring it for the powerful, fist rising, and proud, appreciative woman and with “Womanifesto”.   If you ever seen her in person, her spoken word segments are the highlight of the night and this poem here was my highlight of her whole album.

 “I Appreciate my culture/thick not just from bone dense and eat/ I have a rhythm in my ways and a practice in my speech/ and yes I do crave the rhythm of my own space/with a man that rejoices in God’s grace, with faith /I do hear to listen, two hands that fist.  I am gifted, and all of this…..and indeed, the shit.”

The Light of the Sun is indeed a different sound, but the same character and content that any Jill Scott fan can appreciate. Check her out her Summer Block Party Tour in your area, and if you are local to the Bay Area, AUGUST 12TH!

Ledisi x Pieces of Me (Album Review)

Seeing Ledisi perform for the first time while I was away at Hampton a few years back was probably one of the best live experiences I’ve had in awhile.  It’s something about the intimacy in her voice and the connection she has with her audience that makes you an instant fan.  Ledisi’s latest album entitled “Pieces of Me” dropped Tuesday and fans and avid listeners of her work have been putting the pieces together all day.  This project is interesting because it covers the whole dynmanics of female identity, in pieces rather.

New Orleans born, Oakland bred singer releases soul and power into her songs where she pours her heart out about her own self-realization.  Los Angeles Times states, “Ledisi — sounding at times like Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin or Erykah Badu, and looking like Janelle Monáe as Billie Holliday — explores different pieces of herself: the libido (“Coffee,” “So Into You”); the ego (“Hate Me,” “Shut Up”); the heart (the Jaheim duet “Stay Together”).”  I can  relate to these pieces because like her puzzle, my pieces are everywhere.  Often times, women neglect or try to hide our issues of self-identity but I love how Ledisi is able to express touchy subjects and put herself out there so that all women can relate to her music.

My favorite of the tracklisting is “Bravo” because not only does Ledisi’s voice compliment the piano background but she tells a message of encouragement to always celebrate your success and overcoming your trials.  For me, its always about the small things, the small steps that put me ahead of the game that I will always be proud of myself.  So clap, clap bravo to Ledisi for this one.

You can purchase “Pieces of Me” on iTunes or in stores now!

Clif Soulo- Toast! feat. 1. O.A.K. & Netta Brielle

Check out Oakland bred artist, Clif Soulo and his newest song “Toast!” off his upcoming project Pacific Standard Time.  It features vocals from Netta Brielle and 1 O.A.K, also upcoming artist in the Bay Area.  This is definitely a great opener to his project, right in time for summer.  Gotta love the bubbly, red cup sippin, and house parties, Let’s toast 🙂

 

Also, check out his blog where you can find more of his creativity here.

Friday Jam: Kalae All Day x The Sun, The Moon & the Stars EP

I’m always looking for music to put on my Friday workout mix, and what good way to bring in the weekend with “The sun, The Moon, & The Stars”.  Harlem Native, Kalae is a songwriter/emecee/singer and what is said to be a “vandal”.  Apparently I’ve been missing out, because she’s been on the New York scenes for a couple years now opening for artists like Talib Kweli, CL Smooth, Pharoahe Monch, and Dead Prez.  Kalae All Day released her first project entitled “AFROMATIKNEOHHIPPEROCK*SOLEMUSIK*”  which was produced by Princess Superstar. Her first single, “O.G.LYRIKALBOOKBAGGER feat. Homeboy Sandman” hit the blog scene with a music video that was scene worldwide.  I love the angles and the bright colors and of course her afro!

Kalae All Day recently released her EP  this past April, The Sun, The Moon & the Stars and can you say AWESOME?!  All five songs represent an underlying theme of the galaxy.  Her diversity as an artist makes her stand out because she is able to sing and rap, quite like the skills of the legendary Lauryn Hill.  I notice that her strengths in creativity are well expressed through all of her music but as a newcomer to her craft, it gives me refreshing appreciation for music and production on this EP.  Her song “Eclipse” eludes a very jazzy, afro beat feel, where as “Sun & Moon” bring the pure hip hop.  An opening statement I’d like to call it, but Kalae All Day is definitely a breathe of fresh air from the typical hip hop scene right now.

Enjoy your weekend 🙂

Revisited: Almond & Shea Butter Shampoo/Conditioner

It’s only been a few days since my first wash with the Suave Professionals new shampoo and conditioner, Almond and Shea Butter. You guys have been asking so I’ve decided to give you the update a little earlier.  Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. . .

Almond and Shea Butter Moisturizing Shampoo (retail price $2.99)

Suave’s Claim: This moisturizing shampo is infused with 100% natural almond & shea butter, which are known for their rich emolients.  It replenishes as it cleanses leaving your hair well-nourished & beautiful.

My Results:  I’m so glad it comes in a big bottle, because I love to apply a very generous amount on my hair just to make sure that it works. This was my first time using Suave on my natural hair and I like how it builds a good lather and washes my hair clean.  Not to mention, I still smell the freshness of the almond and shea butter that they advertise to make wonders.

Suggestions:  I don’t recommend you use these products if you are doing a blow out or adding heat to your hair.  I wore my hair for three days in a blow out where I did roll/tuck style and it was very dry.  I don’t like having to add extra moisturizing creams that go against my daily spray.  Although it’s only been a few days, the only great things I like about it was the price and the smell.  Next time, I will do a deep conditioner with Free Your Mane’s conditioning mask to ensure a protection when I apply heat to my hair.

If you bought this Shampoo and Conditioner, I’d like to know your results so do share 🙂