Monday, February 27, 2017

The Meaning Of Marsumä

Photo Courtesy Of Nour Omanr

Nour Omar

Photo Courtesy Of Nour Omar

WHERE WERE YOUR BORN AND RAISED AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt and still live there now.

WHAT’S THE BEST THINGS ABOUT YOUR CITY?
It’s the city that never sleeps! It's vibrant and lively and whirls with uncontrollable energy. It's also a metropolis that brings ancient civilization to modern life.

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY DOING AS A KID?
I enjoyed drawing and painting and making arts and crafts. I even wrote stories and created my own children's books. Creating anything with my hands was my absolute pleasure; and still is.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A DESIGNER AND WHEN DID YOU START YOUR LABEL?
I was looking for a way to create a new and unique product that would combine the art and the fashion world. Creating accessible and wearable art was something new and untapped. So I started by hand painting converse shoes with famous paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso etc. and it took off from there. I decided to become a designer when I created my first collection of hand painted bags and beach bags, adorned with modern and contemporary art; and that's when Marsumä Designs was born.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND TRAINING?
I have a Bachelor in Fine Arts. And have studied and trained in the arts for most of my life.

WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS FROM CONCEPT TO CREATION?
Firstly, I need to find inspiration; I find inspiration in nature, in people, in books. And from there I come up with a general concept for my piece. I then take to my canvas and brushes and somehow it all comes together.

HOW DO YOU ALIGN YOUR ARTISTIC AMBITION WITH FUNCTIONALITY?
Artistic ambition is of course not always functional. I try to be practical and stay grounded, however the creative process does not always allow you to do so.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST PREFERRED MATERIAL TO WORK WITH?
My go to material is always my canvas, paint and brushes.

HOW DOES YOUR AESTHETIC TRANSLATE IN OTHER AREAS OF YOUR LIFE AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I'm always trying to learn new techniques and new art forms. I find myself always trying out new handmade projects in my free time. I love creating DIY projects.

HOW DO YOU SPEND A DAY OFF?
I spend my days off with my husband and daughter. Spending quality family time together is always my priority.

HOW DO YOU STAY IN SHAPE AND WHAT IS YOUR BEAUTY ROUTINE?
Juggling my career and motherly duties, it’s hard to make time for myself. I would say having some beauty sleep is the most important thing. I do enjoy yoga and Pilates classes when I can muster up the time.

HOW DO YOU STAY CENTERED?
I stay centered by keeping my priorities in check. I do my best to keep a good balance between work and play. And I always put my family first.

Music

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dougie Kent (JBDK)

Photo Courtesy Of JDBK

WHO ARE JBDK?
JBDK stands for Jbre and Dougie Kent. We are a hip-hop duo.

WHERE DID YOU MEET?
We met at Millersville University, in the gym. There was a mutual respect between us both from the jump.

WHERE ARE YOUR RIGHT NOW AND WHAT’S YOUR PRIMARY LOCATION?
Primarily we’re located about an hour outside of Philadelphia, PA.

WHAT’S THE CLUB SCENE LIKE WHERE YOU LIVE?
The club scene has definitely come a long way. Some of my favorite spots to hit up are Altana Rooftop Lounge and Tellus360. They're both easy to get to right off of King Street. I like both places equally, but I definitely vibe with Altana. The staff is dope, and it's always lit way up by midnight.

WHY MUSIC AND WHEN DID YOU GET STARTED?
Music always was a form of expression ever since I was 12. I used to be in the marching band, then realized playing only one drum wasn't as fun as playing a drum set. After playing drums and signing to my dream record label at the time, Facedown Records, I was 19 fresh out of high school with big eyes of the future. The band broke up, and I was left pretty much with no option but to reconsider other avenues. At that time, I knew I always wanted to be a singer so I gave it a shot. I dropped a couple tracks by myself, and was able to at least get a real basic foundation started in Lancaster. But it wasn't really until me and Jbre linked up were we really started seeing a change in pace.

FIRST SONG EVER SUNG?
Ah on the spot here! I am pretty sure it was this track called, "Forever and Always”.

HOW WOULD YOU CLASSIFY YOUR SOUND?
We always try to go for the harder style beats. Heavier trap style bass/aggressive high hats. I'm a huge fan of old school samples in new school trap beats. For choruses though, we always try to stick to the plan and keep our melodic influence living there.

WHAT IS A SUBGENRE THAT DOESN'T GET THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES?
I would have to say old school hip hop. There's something special about hearing the stories of others, and the beats are raw. Another one would be country music, as strange as that may sound coming from me. I appreciate all types of music, but country music primarily lives in the U.S. When I was in Europe I barely heard anything in terms of country music.

WHAT’S A TRACK THAT NEVER GETS OLD?
Bad things by MGK and Camila Cabello. Been the jam since it dropped. When it started hitting the main stream, I wasn't surprised. Miss Cabello hits a bridge that is hella strong, and takes the track to the next level.

WHAT’S THE “DIVIONS OF LABOUR” WITHIN THE GROUP?
This is a great question. So we have the group which is cool, we make the music and handle scheduling with our photographers. We also enjoy talking with the fans over social media which is tight. As far as labour, it ranges. We always are communicating with our managers in NYC and PR squad out of Chicago and Long Beach Cali. Everyone is real spread out. Emails keep us talking and connected on a daily basis. Everything is always in essence, a group effort.

WHAT HAS BEEN A SEMINAL EXPERIENCE?
A seminal experience was getting a phone call from our current manager who has successfully served as business manager for Lil Wayne, Outkast, Nelly, and many others. It was a sigh of relief that our hard work was starting to pay off.

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU’RE NOT DOING THIS?
At the moment, I’m studying in school for my bachelors in business. If I want to be a successful entrepreneur the grind to educate, and be the best I can be will always live inside me. Either that or hanging with my homies or brother, Mista John.

WHAT OTHER FORMS OF ART DO YOU APPRECIATE?
I appreciate the art of architecture. Spent some time in Germany and Madrid this past 2016. Always tight to see the differences between cooperate architecture, NYC style business towers in the U.S. And seeing then Rolex in Madrid flexing hard with an even more impressive style of building. Even homes, you can see differences. All architecture tells a story.

A SONG FOR PEACE?
“Comfortable” - Lil Wayne

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Directed by Stanley Kubrick


All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
 
 All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

"The Shining" (1980).

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Leah Harding

Photo Courtesy Of Leah Harding

WHERE WERE YOUR BORN AND RAISED AND WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR HOMETOWN?
I was born in the U.S., but grew up in Jordan. My hometown is a short drive from the Dead Sea, ancient Biblical ruins, and is home to (quite possibly) the best shawarma and falafel sandwiches in the world.

WHAT WERE YOUR ASPIRATIONS AS A CHILD?
I raised chickens, parakeets, rabbits and hedgehogs as a kid and wanted to be a veterinarian. Then I started traveling and found a curiosity in politics the economy and the way people in different cultures choose to live. I became a Christian as a teenager and realized I had a duty to act and share these stories with others.

YOU PRESENTLY LIVE IN DOHA, WHAT’S LIFE LIKE THERE AND WHAT PLACES MUST ONE EXPERIENCE?
I call Doha “Dohallywood” because while it's glamorous and unique, it can easily chew you up and spit you out if you don't live on the optimistic side of things. It's a tiny country so happiness comes from community and traveling. If you come here, you have to go dune bashing and ride across the sand along the sea (the only other place besides Namibia where the dunes meets the sea!).

WHAT ARE SOME MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST AND WHAT HAVE YOU DISCOVERED TO BE ACCURATE?
The Middle East is like North America in that you can't really generalize it and say the people there are all a certain way. If you were to try, “hospitable” would land you closest to the truth. The greatest misconception is that this region is all in chaos. I've lived here for nearly a decade and have never seen war.

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A JOURNALIST?
I grew up in a post 9/11 world and defended my Arab home and friends for years. I made up my mind that I wanted to work for Al Jazeera and move back to the Middle East when I was 11. I lived in Ethiopia and Kenya for a season as a teenager and my time there really fueled my joy for storytelling that later turned into a passion.

WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?
I studied Broadcast News and Arabic at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida and graduated in 2014. Go Gators! While I was in school I hosted a radio program and anchored and reported for a local news station.

YOU SPEAK ARABIC, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO LEARN, AND WHAT PROSE AND POETRY DO YOU LOVE IN THE LANGUAGE?
My parents put my siblings and I in an all-Arabic speaking school so we were forced to learn it right away. I was five. People would call our house and I would answer in Arabic and they would hang up and call again, convinced they had the wrong number. I was fluent before I was 10. I highly enjoy Arabic pick up lines and compliments. If someone says, “You're pretty” there's a phrase where the response back is, “It's because your eyes are beautiful”. Or, “You're the light in my eyes.” Like, who wouldn't love to hear that!

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING AT AL JAZEERA AND WHAT BEATS DO YOU COVER?
I first went to Al Jazeera as an intern in 2014. I was offered a job that summer and started working as a producer in 2015, after I graduated. I began presenting the news in 2016 with my debut on U.S. Election night. I spent 18 hours in the newsroom that day and feel like I haven't stopped covering it since. I try to report on stories that get their start on social media then bring them onto the mainstream media stage. So many great stories get their first bit of traction online. Countries with highly underreported headlines need journalism the most. If you can't point to Burundi, Zimbabwe, Argentina or Papua New Guinea on a map then chances are there's a conversation going on that not many people know about, but should.

WHAT NEWS AND STORIES DO YOU FEEL AREN’T GETTING THE ATTENTION THEY DESERVE?
The war in Yemen. No Internet in parts of Cameroon. The reason Trump supporters actually support Trump. These are fascinating stories that have nothing to do with flashy headlines, but everything to do with true human suffering and perseverance.

WHY ARE THERE SO FEW PROMINENT WOMEN IN JOURNALISM?
There are incredible women in journalism. They sadly do not always get the recognition they deserve. Clarissa Ward, Holly Williams, Stefanie Dekker and Zeina Khodr are huge inspirations to me (Google them!), and are true pioneers in our profession. I hope to one day inspire young journalists the way they have motivated me.

WHERE DO YOU POSITION YOURSELF IN THE “FAKE NEWS” DEBATE?
Fake news is like gossip: you either know the truth but share it anyway, truly don't know it's false or you enjoy feeling like you have something to blab about. Sometimes rumors are true but it's usually just an inflamed version of the truth. If it 'smells' fake it probably is. Would the British PM actually publicly humiliate the Queen? Unlikely. Search for that same story on a news website you trust and see if you find anything. Going with your gut is a great tool for finding and defending yourself from fake news, so is reverse image search (Google that), TinEye and asking the person who posted where they found that information. As a journalist, I only report on a story if I can verify it with my team. If I can't bet my life on the story with the tools I have then I can't expect our audience to accept it. I'm a sleuth and gate keeper of tweets, reaction, grass root initiatives and underreported news. If I can prove it and cross check it so that it stands on its own two feet then it's good to go. If I can't, well, then I'm suddenly a part of the problem.

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I've been to more than 30 countries and am trying to do ten new ones a year. I'm actually writing this on my way to London but just got back from Budapest. I can't stay still for long!

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
I love running. It's the cheapest therapist anyone could have. I've run two half marathons, one in Holland and another Qatar, and I plan to train for more. I'm also a sucker for a good book and drink on the beach (so basically the opposite of running).

For more on Leah visit, her here.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Case For All White

Image Courtesy Of Warner Bros And Hawk Films

Minus the jockstrap. Ladies.

Fatoumata Diawara

Photo Courtesy Of Fatoumata Diawara

WHERE DO YOU PRESENTLY LIVE?
I live in Africa now.

WHAT ARE THE TOP THINGS ABOUT YOUR HOME?
The music.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BEST CHILDHOOD MEMORIES?
Life with my grandma. She taught me how to love others.

WHY MUSIC?
It’s the voice through which God speaks to world. FIRST SONG EVER SUNG?
“Artiste”, one of mine.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST PICK UP THE GUITAR AND DO YOU PLAY ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS?
In 2007, and now l’m learning to play the Piano.

HOW WOULD YOU CLASSIFY YOUR SOUND?
It’s traditional music with modern sound influences.

WHO OR WHAT HAS INFLUENCED YOU THE MOST ARTISTICALLY?
Nina Simon, Mariame Makeba, Oumou Sangare...

IS THERE A SONG OR MUSICAL PASSAGE THAT NEVER FAILS TO MOVE YOU EMOTIONALLY?
“Boloko”.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
I like good melodies. The lyrics come later.

DO YOU PURSUE ANY SPECIFIC THEMES THROUGH YOUT LYRICS?
Yes, female genital mutilation, arranged marriage and many other social subjects.

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE STUDIO?
I’m on stage.

HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED AND IN THE PRESENT?
Because of Children.