Bring The Beat In: DJ Stacye J

You can’t go to any kind of event without some kind of music playing in the background. Whether it’s a live band, a symphony, or most commonly the DJ. The DJ usually makes the event. They carefully discover the temperament of the crowd and creates a more lively environment. DJ Stacye J is one of the best at making a regular event into a spectacular one.

Not only is she known for her amazing DJ skills, but she’s known for her lovely spirit, positive energy, and giving artists of all kinds opportunities with her collective Liquid Flow. People like Stacye J are one in a million.

What inspired you to become a DJ?

I’ve always been a fan of music and finding new music growing up. Plus I was always fascinated with how DJs were able to keep parties going with mixing and scratching especially when they would play booty mixes on the radio.

What is your favorite kind of events to DJ for?

Anywhere I can throw in some ratchet-ness with local [Detroit] music and people will dance.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at an event?

I’d have to say getting twerked on mid-transition while scratching and still getting the clean blend might have been the craziest.

You have a collective called Liquid Flow? Describe your mission.

Our mission is to bring people of like minds together to create a safe environment for others who like to explore their talents and have a judgment free zone to do it all in.

What things can we look forward to with Liquid Flow?

Liquid Flow is planning a few free shows this year [in Detroit] for all of our supporters this summer.

You were just recently married, how is married life?

Married life is LIT. We have become a whole different kind of crazy because we know neither one of us is going anywhere.

Being a female DJ in a male-dominated industry has to be challenging. What is the biggest challenge you face?

The biggest challenge I face is trying to prove that I do know what I’m doing especially during my setup time.

Who do you wish to work with one day?

I want to do sets with Erykah Badu and Solange who also DJ.

What does Stacye J as a DJ, have coming up?

Plenty parties for spring and summer.

Where do you see yourself in a year?

The goal is to get overseas.

The Hands of an Angel: Ahya Simone

 Many may say classical music is a lost art form, but in Ayha’s world, it is not only relevant but amazing. Ayha Simone is a renowned harpist who has performed her angelic melodies from Detroit to Scotland. Her phenomenal skills as a harpist and her successful bout with modeling have allowed this beautiful trans woman to dabble in many forms of self-expression.

She’s not just an artist. As the co-founder of Trans Sistas of Color Project, a Detroit-based organization that works to impact the lives of trans women of color. She uses her voice for social justice and opportunities for trans people. As well as being against the discrimination and murders of trans people.

Seldom do you find someone with a beautiful face, spirit and talent, so it is obvious that Ayha is one in a million.

 What inspired you to play the harp?How long have you been playing?

January 2017 marks about 10 years.

 I accidentally stumbled upon the harp. I was 15 at the time and a voice student in choir at Cass Tech High School. At the time I didn’t even know harps existed; let alone had the idea of playing one.  Part of my required classes was Health. However, all the health classes were full that semester so my counselor assigned me to Harp class- I needed an elective anyway.

So on the first day, I walked into a room with 9 harps going all at once. I honestly wasn’t impressed. For at least the first week of harp class, I had every intention of dropping it next semester, but the more I played, the less I wanted to leave. The harp started to intrigue me and slowly I was advancing passed my classmates, playing more intense pieces.  Harp became my outlet in a very confusing and difficult time.  To put it succinctly, harp saved my life.

 You majored in Harp Performance at Wayne State University, how do you think that helped you as an artist?

College taught me how to perform. It taught me music theory and history and what it takes to be a professional classical musician. I’ve honestly learned so much in college. Much more than I ever wanted to learn.

You have performed at many amazing places, what has your favorite performance been?

My fave? Hands down would be Glasgow, Scotland with an amazing performance artist and DJ Juliana Huxtable.

Who is someone you’d love to play the harp for?

There’s SOOOOO MANY I can’t name just one!!!

My top 5 would be Solange, Flying Lotus, Dwele, Kaytranada, Kelela. Continue Reading

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: Bree Gant

Bree Gant is a renowned photographer who has been featured in Fader Magazine, Metro Times, Essence Magazine and more. She is known for her projects like Lost and Crowned, work with Rock City Lookbook, and helping many artists ideas come to life.

With an eye for fashion, a creative will, and a drive to bring beautiful diasporas to life, Gant has not only been making a mark in the photography world but every art world in between. She has a plethora of amazing ideas and is not afraid to do whatever she has to, including riding with Aunt Ddot to do so. Gant continues to show the world the beauty she sees within her camera lens, and personally, I cannot get enough.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

My dad got me a pink Fujifilm point and shoot digital camera when I graduated from Cass. I got to Howard and never put it down. A friend at the University paper suggested me for the photo department and within the semester I was Photo Editor. I started blogging portraits of students on campus, and the opportunities just kept coming. I found not just an audience, but a mutual support system in women of color across the diaspora, and the world. We were in need of a new reflection of ourselves. My photos allowed me to communicate across time and space. I felt so powerful and when other Black women told me they felt the same just experiencing my work, I knew I could never give this up.

You are also a stylist; does that make your job as a photographer easier or harder?

I’m not a stylist. I’m glad you mentioned this because a lot of people think I am. I love aesthetics and adornment and fashion. I’m actively exploring my style, and even doing a little sewing these days. Having an eye for fashion definitely helps when shooting, though–especially with portraiture. It also really helps to work with dope professionals like Stephanie Blair and Lord Tini 🙂

You are a black female who is also openly queer, how do you think those elements of yourself influence your work?

It makes everything about politics, for one–whether I want it to or not. I remember going to an artist talk while I was in undergrad and hearing a white hipster chick who did embroidery in southeast DC say the phrase ‘art for art’s sake’ and mention how she keeps politics out of her work. I was heated. At the time, I thought it was because she didn’t use her work to make a statement and because gentrification was suffocating Chocolate City, and this white girl who landed a funded residency in the hood thought politics had nothing to do with her art. Later I realized I resented her ability to choose, or maybe her agency in choosing. ‘Art for art’s sake’ sounded like a fantasy to me. I never politicized my work. If I’m being honest I never even identified as a lesbian, even though half of campus thought I was. All I ever did was what I wanted to do, and let the pieces fall where they may. But one day I started carrying other people’s pieces…I guess the influence has been how to manage that weight, what it looks like to manage the weight of the world. Continue Reading

The 13th: A Whlgn Cabaret

2017 for many reasons started off pretty damn smoothly for myself and many others. For The Whlgns, however, decided to bring in the year with a sort-of traditional Detroit Cabaret. I mean of course if you have a collective such as, there’s going to be a bunch of creativity in the mix. Tony Whlgn was doing a live mural, BreAnn Whlgn took photos while Allante Whlgn sold WHLGN shirts (That Sean Whlgn screen printed) and one-of-one WHLGN pins. For quite some time The Whlgns deemed themselves early on into being the epitome of a unit that moves together fluidly. Which reminds of The Powers Rangers just with some Eastside flair, some style and a pair of buffs. You can find them on the move with a new project from Cali to Miami and in between!

Below are a few words from the perspective of Tony Whlgn about their first cabaret.

In our attempt to uplift the community in a pursuit of leisure & pleasure, we invited the Metro Detroit community to come and experience our first event & Cabaret, Whlgn style. Cabarets in Detroit, for those unfamiliar with the term, is just another name for a party at a rental hall, or in our case a former Firehouse. Instead of the usual night clubs and bars, as kids we called them “Grown Folks” parties, we decided to introduce a new venue. Our event reintroduced the idea of self-severed alcohol and welcoming B.Y.O.B. (Bring your own Bottle). The occasional food catering included chicken wings, mac n cheese, pasta, & desserts on the menu. Along with music and live entertainment, we decided to include a live Painting of a mural to put our OWN creative spin to it. It’s understandable that some people are not the club going type, however, events such as Cabarets are staples in our hood and a powerful local tradition. Kudos to the generation that uplifted the community before us and praise to the continuing new experiences, A Whlgn Cabaret For Our Generation. Some Strictly Ghetto shit, but Good vibes and a Good time.

 

Funny & Fabulous: Meet Delo Brown

Who said women aren’t funny? Probably a bunch of guys who don’t know how to laugh. Delo Brown is one of those women who always has several jokes up her sleeve. Whether she’s talking about her sex life or her everyday mishaps she will have your side splitting.

I had the pleasure of seeing her do stand-up comedy twice and it had me in tears both times. This star has only started to shine and has much more up her sleeve.

What inspired you to become a comedian? Who helped you in your early years?

My inspiration to become a comedian surprisingly came from this guy that used to bully me in elementary school. I always knew I was funny, but one day when he wasn’t bullying me he told me that he could see me being a comedian when I grew up. From that day on deep down inside I knew I had something in me. My parents have actually inspired me to keep going. Seeing them work a 9-5 every day just to make sure me and my siblings are straight inspired me to make my goals even bigger and better so that I could take care of them. I knew I had a gift that I could use and let the world see but working a 9-5 ain’t it.

Stand up comedy can be intimidating especially for beginners, have you ever bombed a show?

Stand up can definitely be intimidating. I’ve never “bombed” a show. I’m witty as hell so even if I did, the crowd would never know. During my birthday show, I messed up like 3 times, but no one knew. My confidence kept me going.

What is the most outrageous thing you’ve said on stage?

I said I fucked the entire city in front of my parents.

When did you first know you could make others laugh?

I knew I could make others laugh back in kindergarten. I always brought smiles and laughter to the people that have met me. Laughter is natural to me. It’s like breathing. It’s something you’re supposed to do; well at least that’s how it works for me. I say one thing and people are [automatically] laughing, but that’s just the person I am. I don’t force it either, and I think that’s why people think I’m genuinely funny.

What challenges have you faced breaking into comedy?

The biggest challenge for me is actually revealing my comedic side to the public. A lot of people see me as an educator or young professional before they see “comedian” so it can be a bit offsetting. Some people didn’t believe me. It’s like you really have to show a muthafucka sometimes, but it’s cool. I’m sure their friends bought tickets to the shows. Another challenge for me is not having a mentor to guide me through the comedy game. But I’m sure God will bless me with one when the time is right. Continue Reading

Sexy and Sweet: Detroit’s Up and Coming Raptress Milfie

Some may call her a late bloomer because she only started rapping in 2015, but others will call her a natural born talent. Milfie is a native west side Detroit girl who knows no shame. She is brutally honest, spits fire, has probably made out with the girl you have a crush on, and she is killing the Detroit art scene. Don’t hold her down as just another scene girl though because Milfie is only starting her movement.

What inspired the name Milfie?

Milfie was inspired by my early pregnancy. I had my son at 18 and some people may not consider me a milf because I’m  not old enough for cougar status. Milfie is just a lil cute version given to me by a friend and I hear that name more than my actual name, Jasmine.

When did you start rapping?

I started rapping in October of 2015. Even though that isn’t too far back, I’ve been writing poetry forever.

You have received a lot of opportunity and fans in a short amount of time, how does that feel?

People actually listen to my songs and share them, tweet my lyrics, and all types of shit. It makes me happy that people recognize my talent and genuine efforts to make music when I didn’t have the courage to for so long. Clearly, once I decided to do it though I went all out

Your lyrics are gritty yet boastful, what inspires your music?

I’m rapping about my life, the things I go through, how I’m grinding, and playing these niggas. I’m playing, but not really. I’m a hard ass worker and I think that’s why my lyrics are so boastful. Anything I have, I’ve worked to get. Everything I’m doing, will do, and have done are direct results of the pressure I’m putting on myself. I’m also a little (very) rough around the edges as a result of tough love from my mother and my city.

You also model, how has modeling helped your music?

It definitely helps me bring out my sexy and gets me comfortable in my skin. Modeling directly affects your confidence, and I also think that contributes to how boastful or cocky I may come off in music. Seeing a photo of myself with my face beat like the girls I watched as a kid on America’s Next Top Model? It makes me feel on top of the world. It makes me feel like I can literally do whateverthefuck I wanna do. BECAUSE I REALLY CAN.  

Some consider you to be a sex symbol, do you consider yourself to be one, why or why not?

People consider me a sex symbol and I LOVE IT! I have a baby face. The baby face of all baby faces and I’m really grown as fuck. I like to put my sexy on the table because I enjoy it. I  enjoy feeling sexy for myself. I’m assuming a sex ‘symbol’ would maybe make the sexiness a luxury for everyone else, but it really is for me I just know that I’m beautiful and I’m falling more in love with myself and my body everyday and I don’t mind flaunting it.

Who do you aspire to work with?

I aspire to work with Xavier Wulf. He is so hard man. He is so loud and proud and unapologetic and just everything. If you think I’m gritty and boastful, listen to Thunderman. I can’t wait to create with Sam Austins and The MonaLyse. I’ve known them for years and they have so much talent.  

What new projects do you have coming up?

The most recent things I have dropped are Behavior and Filthy Vol. 1 which are two totally different flavors but still very me. This goes to show how crazy MILFIE will go when it drops early this year. I’ve been working on my sound and comfort level and I’m really just going to keep flourishing.

Where do you see yourself this time next year?

This time next year, I will be discussing my life with you, about how it changed my life and how I can’t believe it all happened this fast even though I’m speaking it right now. Watch.  

Gucci Mane interviews with ESPN’s Highly Questionable crew

With last year literally highlighting Gucci Mane and his remarkable transformation I guess you can say within the past 10+ years of his career this is a proud moment for everyone who’ve be a fan since 2015.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m not a murderer, I was upset, I was scared a little bit but I had to do what I had todo. You gotta be a man about it

Gucci Mane, May 2005

After being released from one of his longest and public sentences, a sober Guwop did a complete 180 that was celebrated shortly after getting out last may. Not only did he bless us with 2 albums, we’re soon going to see him on the big screen, and he’s also known as a “relationship goal” because of his engagement to long-time lady/business woman Keyshia Ka’oir! Life is good and when he was invited to do an interview for ESPN’s Highly Questionable Gucci shared the settle details of his early career, drugs/mental illness and how prison helped him make the conscious decision to be happier and healthier.