Mars visits the Octopus

September 2007.

 

A young me walks fresh out of the local, and long since closed, CD and record shop with Kanye's "Graduation" album tucked. I had been reminded by 106 & Park that the battle between Kanye West and 50 Cent for album sale supremacy had begun, and I had to go support my mans. Little did I know I was also purchasing a piece of artwork: the album cover by famed master contemporary artist, Takashi Murakami.
 
Fast-forward to the year 2017. I get word from a friend that the Chicago Museum Of Contemporary Art is having an exhibition that will be featuring Takashi's artwork throughout the years. Soon after, I flew out to visit the exhibit titled "The Octopus That Eats Its Own Leg" and was blown away by the work of the Japanese artist, as well as the many works of the local talents on display. I could go on and on about my Indica induced adventure through historically magnificent contemporary works, but my words would not do it justice. Instead, I took photos to help!
 
"The Octopus That Eats Its Own Leg" wraps up and leaves Chicago Sep 24, 2017. If you happen to be in the area, stop in and check out a fine display of brilliance by the master.

 

Contrary to your Beliefs. The Art of not Conforming: The Whlgn

From mere observation The Whlgn, pronounced Hōo-Li-Gen, is now becoming a household name among people all ages in inner cities around the country. NY, Philly, LA and of course where it all started, here in Detroit (just to name a few). This group of twenty-somethings is the epitome of a walking one-stop shop. Photography, carpentry, graphic design, and so much more. Each Whlgn has their own mission for their hometown and their own gifts that set them apart from one another. Which is both inspiring and admirable.

Check out a small description of the fellow Whlgns below.

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Antonio Robinson, or better known as Tony Whlgn, grew up on the Eastside of Detroit and is a firm believer of not conforming to society’s standards and is proud of being a product of his environment. In a positive light, of course. The Whlgn was founded in 2009 and since then they’ve invited other like-minded people to follow their dreams to the fullest and eventually be their own boss. The key is to stay true to yourself and to never doubt your potential. Shortly after, he dropped out of school and began to brand himself and pursuer what he desires. Now, being in New York for 4 years, he has solidified his name as an artist. He was able to  work and elevate individuals who, undeniably, love what they do! Whether it’s in the fashion world or something music related. Slowly but surely Tony is helping reshape his environment and is inspiring others do be better by being a genuine example.

I believe in the concept of thinking, with no box, because I believe anything is possible.

Check out the many projects he has been apart of at Tonywhlgn.com


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In 2009 Philly native Rynear Smith came to Detroit to attend the College of Creative Studies and that’s actually when he met the rest of The Whlgns. While in school he was majoring  in Transportation Design, completed a year, went to study Diagnosis for automobiles at Wyotech and received his diploma! Good shit! He’s now building a brand called Details by Naj (which includes auto repair, auto consultations, and home renovations) and is also working on a custom furniture business. Yeah, this guy builds shit and is now helping build-up his city with exquisite architecture. Despite working at what may have been a dream job and the Nissan Dealership prior to his current career he has found a passion in what he does an it shows through his work!


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Marie Streety is the Color Theorist for The Whlgn’s as well as the creative mind behind the Detroit bound cosmetic line, Hometown Hues; Which is vegan, Halal and handmade. Yes, you’ve read that correctly, she makes every lipstick and eyeshadow by hand. The growing line is inspired by the city itself with lipsticks such as The Spirit of Detroit (a lovely teal with gold flakes) and Motorcity oil (a rich bold black). To see the true hues of home visit the site here! Continue Reading

Children building robots? ACI program inspires the world!

These past few days have revealed to us what happens when people decide to go out and do evil things but in the midst of that ugliness are other people trying to do some good in the world. People like Olaoluwa Balogun, graduate of Obafemie Awolowo University in Nigeria, and creator of the ACI Computer Education organization; whose function is to teach children about technology and equip them with the tools to go on to become engineers and computer programmers.

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Of the 30 million school aged children less than ⅓ is expected to continue in their studies but the ACI aims to change that by providing a more hands on approach to learning. One of the cool programs in the organization is teaching the children to build robots! Founded in 2011 and dubbed ‘Project 10,000 Kids’, this program takes 50 kids from 200 secondary schools in Nigeria plus 50 kids from the Kids and Teens Resource Center , and 100 kids from two orphanages in Lagos and teach them about robotics and coding. Children as young as 10 are learning to code, program, and build working robots! The ACI’s website states Continue Reading

Update: It’s been a month!


I guess you can say I’m in my natural habitat that being Detroit. The East side to be exact for those who didn’t know. So far, being back for a month has been nothing far from delightful. I’m not even going to lie, trying to get myself back on my feet money wise was difficult. Or maybe I just despise waiting on money to come my way. Nonetheless the hustle never dies.

~listens to Jill Scotts It’s Love~

Being on my own for the short months I’ve been in Brooklyn has been a great experience. Coming back home, to my parents spot is cool but at the same time I’m thinking to myself, “Why am I even here? I need MY space. I need to get away and be on my own”. Like, for-seriously. The bright side to that is I’ve missed my family like crazy. They’ve also helped me get back into rhythm as far as maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Morning runs, eating right (like I used to), strengthening my Buddhist practice, yoga and all that cool shit. It’s something my body and spirit has yearned for.

Getting my smoothie game together. Blueberries, bananas, chocolate chai tea, honey and a wee bit of nutmeg.
Getting my smoothie game together. Blueberries, bananas, chocolate chai tea, honey and a wee bit of nutmeg.

Of course I found myself reuniting with my friends. Why the fuck wouldn’t I? They’ve been supportive of me since I left and well before hand. A few times we’ll ride around and show me what’s new in the city. Some say that the energy here was crazy over the summer but from what I seen I can sincerely say that I’m proud. Entrepreneurs are flourishing with opening their own stores and building their brand. You run into black-owned businesses more than ever. Yesth Detroit! You fucking Better.

Aside from all the really weird weed dispensaries. They’re literally on every corner, like a liquor store or a gas station and it’s extremely eerie. Support your local weed man. Really, it’s something just “not right” about it

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My guy occasionally visits Detroit when he can so when he’s here of course I tag along to spend some quality time and witness the projects that he’s working on. Continue Reading

The Night That Was Not

It’s Saturday Night, New York City. And I am stuck on the train. Let me backtrack.

I made a trip back home with my best friend Wonda for a few days, and come saturday night, we were ready to hit the town. What we didn’t know is that this simple trip to a bar by the name of The Wren on Bowery street would be a tale for the ages.

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My Nana’s house (where we are staying while we’re here) is in the Bronx and so far uptown, that it would normally take about an hour and 20 minutes to get to Astor place, the stop we needed to get off at. So we get ready, hop on the bus, then get on the 6 train. While we’re still above ground, I get a call from my Nana saying that someone got hit by the train. Yes, someone got hit by the train. Luckily, it wasn’t the train I was on, it was the one in front of me. Unfortunately, this slowed things down for a quite a bit if you can imagine. But that didn’t stop us, we were determined. What could go wrong from here? A lot. Continue Reading

Surviving in Brooklyn: Back to Detroit

My summer flew by. Seems like I’ve been in NY for two months opposed to five. But in a way, I’m bittersweet about the departure. I’ve met so many amazing people and overcame so many challenges. The last couple weeks were awesome, I mean, it had to be right? One of my homegirl’s came to visit the city since she had a couple of DJ sets. Known for her Chopped and Ohslowed mixes, DJ Ohso is beastly.

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I’ve caught a couple of her sets. There was one in Brooklyn and other in New York, at the 40ozBounce. Which was a great experience. On the way there I had this amazing sandwich with green apples, brie and a fig spread. Put together in a cranberry raisin bread. I grabbed it at some random cafe on my way to the venue and my goodness it was delicious. I HAD to be a fat ass…and while I’m on the subject of food, we pigged out to some homemade shrimp and grits. Ohso bought the groceries and I cooked. So I HAD to honor and perfect it. Anyway… Continue Reading

Imani’s tips on ‘Subway Etiquette’

Learning the subway system isn’t that much of a challenge if you have a sense of direction but you do need to understand subway etiquette. Subway etiquette is vital if you’re not looking for any negative confrontation with another person. I’ve watched people get threatened and heard many yell at another after getting off at their desired stop.

Who fucking knows what happened between those folks…here’s a few things I’ve observed and practice while I’m on the train.

Well, I understand that there are subways almost everywhere (not really) but out of the states I’ve visited NY’s trains are def more congested. Everyone is doing their own thing, which I love, but a lot of folks are a bit on the inconsiderate side. Or they simply don’t pay attention. So coming from someone who’s sub-conscious of how they treat others, peep this…

  • If you bump someone, say excuse me, even if they can barely hear you.
  • It’s not hard to not step on feet. So yeah, quit that shit. Fucking up my chi.
  • I don’t want your bags, jackets, groceries, whateverthefuck spilling on my lap/feet. Keep all of your belongings in your  space my friend.
  • I’m already super short so when I sit down I’m literally parallel to another person’s genitals if the subway is crowded. Like hey guy, get your balls off my forehead.
  • A very simple one here, mind your business. Stare at the floor or something
  • And…IF YOU FART NIGGA OWN UP TO IT.

There’s also plenty of things to do on the train besides staring at people. I point that out in particular because it happens, a lot. Yes, if I notice you were staring at me then I was looking at you so we’re both being guilty of creeping on one another. The difference in being polite about it and not awkward is simply speaking up. Or even smiling. I’m only going to become annoyed and/or hostile if you can’t keep your eyes to yourself for a strange amount of time. I like to greet someone or compliment whatever if is that kept my attention. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to strangers. Here’s a few things to keep yourself occupied…

  • Any type of reading material or brain games are a great way to entertain yourself. And a cool way to strengthen your mental!
  • MUSIC! Grab yourself some tunes whether it’s from your phone, iPod, laptop even etc.! Seems like a train ride is much easier to bear especially when there’s a ton of activities going on around you. That can vary from people dancing on subway poles, magicians, or a drunk couple serving up soft core porn in the back of the train.

I’ve seen a lot of shit. okay.

  • Regardless of how old I am I will still have at least one game on my phone. This is must especially when I’m underground and can’t diddle my way through social media.
  • Make conversation with people. It’s actually not that hard to do. New Yorkers are more friendly with open conversations. Some woman shared her memories as a teenager growing up in the Bronx. No reason to be timid.
  • This is actually something I like to do if I don’t want anyone bothering me. I day-dream. I stare out of the windows and zone the fuck out. I find myself funny so I laugh to myself, more than one should within a group of people. And there’s no shame. No embarrassment. Just myself and my thoughts.

Weird right?