2016
May
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Demons: Music & Mental Health

It is my personal testimony that music has indeed saved my life. Kanye wasn’t lying when he said that music is the only medicine. Bob Marley wasn’t exaggerating when he said that the one good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain. The amazing people at Vice have joined forces with UK raptress NoLay to discuss the role music has played in her coping with the mental illness of her father and herself. View Demons: A Short Film About Finding Solace In Music below.

“In the second video of Noisey’s Music and Mental Health series, UK rapper NoLay details how focusing on music and the catharsis of songwriting has helped her cope with her father’s schizophrenia and her own mental health demons.”

 

 

 

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Eclectic Artist: Rashaad Newsome

 

Photo Courtesy of W Magazine

 

The kaleidoscopic collages of Rashaad Newsome were first brought to my visual scope when Solange’s Saint Records dropped their first compilation album entitled Saint Heron. I was mesmerized by the intricate cover art and the cool ass Lamborghini with the same pattern that Mama Solo arrived in to the release party. The genius responsible was none other than the New Orleans born Rashaad. Since then he has gone on to exhibit in multiple museums across the country, and produced performance art through film.He uses his plethora of platforms to explore post-feminism, bring the Harlem vogue scene to the mainstream, and even perfectly the depicted the art of shade.  Check out some of his work below and be sure to visit his website to view his entire portfolio.

 

 

 

 

 

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TED x Siyanda Mohutsiwa

What can a young woman with an idea, an Internet connection and a bit of creativity achieve? That’s all Siyanda Mohutsiwa needed to unite young African voices in a new way. Hear how Mohutsiwa and other young people across the continent are using social media to overcome borders and circumstance, accessing something they have long had to violently take: a voice.

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“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – Wilma Rudolph

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Eclectic Artist: Alim Smith/ Yesterday Nite

Photo courtesy of @laurenersk

 

When I first noticed the work of Alim Smith, I immediately drowned in a wave of nostalgia due to his ode to 90’s Black culture, In Living Color: My Black History. The canvases donned colorful images of Black icons of our generation: from Tupac to Gina and Martin, my youth was immortalized through the strokes of his paintbrush. He describes his style as Afro-Surrealism and I couldn’t think of a better description of his work. The portraits he paints are gently distorted and disproportionate yet still evoke a sense of clarity and familiarity. I had the pleasure of interviewing Alim about his moniker Yesterday Nite, his inspiration, and his definition of creativity. Read what he had to say below and be sure to check out more of his work on Instagram, Facebook (he’s known for posting the most thought provoking statuses) and cop prints on his website, www.ydnite.com

 

Figuratively speaking, who is Alim Smith/Yesterday Nite?

Alim Smith: Alim Smith is a simple man who aspires to live off the grid near the mountains growing food with some beautiful black woman that believes in magic and levitation.

Yesterdaynite is a pro black visual philosopher, who wants to remind black people of their Greatness.

 

What is your favorite motivational quote? (could be rap lyrics, a Snapple fact, some shit you read on a fortune cookie etc.)

A.S.: My favourite quote is ” An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. I CHOOSE to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved. So I don’t think you have a choice. How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist.” – Nina Simone. Hands down my favorite quote.

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How do you define creativity?

A.S.: That’s a good ass question! How do I define creativity? 

Creativity is figuring your way out of a room with no exits.

 

Who/what influences your artistry?

A.S.: In order of importance:

Black People
Black Women
Music
Comedy
Worldstar Hip Hop
Hippy Spiritual Shit
Porn
M. C. Escher
Fill in the blank: Being a badass Black artist is ______
A.S.: Necessary in today’s time.
Describe your art in 3 words.

A.S.: Abstract/ Black/Honest ? I don’t know, that’s a tough one. How would you describe it?

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What message do you want your art to convey?

A.S.: BLACK PEOPLE ARE FUCKING BRILLIANT. That’s it.

If you could create the album artwork for any artist dead or alive, who would it be and why?

A.S.: It would have to be Kendrick, Andre 3000, or Tribe Called Quest. Ah, you know what, Chance the Rapper also. Kendrick because he’s just a legend already TPAB and GKMC are classic ass albums, he’s my favourite rapper right now. 3000 because he’s just like the best rapper of all time excluding PAC. I say Tribe called quest because I just think my art would go well with their sound and Chance because I think my current style would go perfectly with his face.

What’s next for Yesterdaynite?

A.S.: Hmmmmm

I kinda can’t disclose anything too specific but I have a couple projects lined up
OH, I will be illustrating some books and uploading a lot more consistent content to my YouTube channel and trying to take my art to the next level.
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Finally, what advice do you have for fellow Eclectic Souls who are in pursuit of their dreams?

A.S.: Don’t give up, Souljah Boy followed his dreams and succeeded

IF SOULJAH BOY CAN DO IT
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!
and if you don’t think you can, then you shouldn’t
Don’t give up, and try your best not to compare yourself to others in your field
and most of all
WORK AT IT
i heard a quote that’s like ” I’ve never seen nothing, come form hard work”
just don’t stop working at whatever is you wanna do.
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Kindness Above Everything

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Although we’ve all heard the phrase “kindness is contagious,” oftentimes we may neglect to see the mantra manifested in everyday situations. Even a seemingly minuscule act of kindness such as smiling at a stranger or giving a genuine compliment can create a chain reaction of chivalry. Sisters Alicia and Rae-Ann Patten are all too familiar with the power of kindness and have elevated the virtue through their clothing line and social movement, Kindness Above Everything. The inception of KAE originated when Alicia traveled to Uganda, Africa to build a school, however it wasn’t solidified until after she completed a graduate school assignment to create a mock business. She reminisced, “It was during this trip and my second trip there a year after, that I saw such a contrast in how human beings lived and thought to myself, ‘No matter how miserable life gets, God gives each of us so much to be grateful for-if only we took the time to notice it.’ Read more about what the founders of KAE had to say below and be sure to support the movement at www.kaecollection.com

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

Alicia Patten: Everyone knows that I am such a quote person! I just find it amazing how the simple construct of a phrase can encapsulate such strong emotions or points that you may be thinking but may not know how to verbalize. My favorite inspirational quote that reminds me of how necessary it is to remain true to not only myself as a person, but to the lessons my parents have taught me is, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision, your thoughts, your words. So impact lives, create relationships, love others, and live only as you can.”

 

Rae-Ann Patten:  “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m Possible.” — Audrey Hepburn & “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13

 

Explain the motive behind KAE, how did the idea originate, what message do you all want to convey to your followers?

Alicia Patten: KAE began, on paper, in grad school when my class was told to create a mock business idea. KAE was later solidified after I graduated and shared the idea with my sister and close friends.

However, without calling it “KAE”, this idea of creating something that would help others while doing what I love was crafted when I traveled to Uganda, Africa to build a school block in 2008 with a few other students from my undergraduate school, Drew University. It was during this trip and my second trip there a year after, that I saw such a contrast in how human beings lived and thought to myself, “ No matter how miserable life gets, God gives each of us so much to be grateful for- if only we took the time to notice it.” The people there had little, but were so kind! With this life that God has given to me, the resources that I have, the people that I meet, and this business that has started, I want my followers to understand what it means to exercise “kindness above everything”.  I once read, “If you knew everyone’s story, there is not a person you would not love.” That quote is beautiful. Living in our world and getting caught up in our routine, we forget the impact we can have on another person. We see so many horrible things on the news and in our circles, that we sometimes use those things as our “reasons” for being rigid and blinded. I want to remind people that God did not create us or this world to live for ourselves. As a Christian, my purpose here is to hope that others will see God in me. In John 13:34-35, Jesus says that we must “Love one another as I have loved you…By this, all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” I am not perfect, never will be and because God finds a reason to love me anyhow, I challenge others to do the same by putting kindness ABOVE everything.

 

Rae-Ann Patten:  The message we want to convey is in our motto, “Be Kind”. The world can be such a cruel, hateful place. Every year, we see more and more instances of people being bullied, hate crimes, etc. Kindness to others would make the world a much better place. It’s a small touch that anyone can do & impact someone else’s life.

 

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What can we expect from KAE in the near future?

Alicia Patten: I am seeing KAE take turns I never expected-in a good way!- and I am so thrilled. KAE is currently in the process of donating school supplies to various projects & organizations. We encourage everyone to follow us on Instagram @kae_collection to see the different items we sell and the various organizations/projects we are working with. It being breast cancer awareness month, a few KAE members will be volunteering with Avon on the 17th for their walk which we are super excited about! We will be donating to “My Sister’s Place” of Westchester, NY.  We just continue to ask for the support of those that believe in KAE. We are able to impact more people through the items we sell and we ensure that our items are wearable and stylish pieces that we ourselves would wear. When we started, many saw us as one or the other- either a clothing brand or a charity. We are not a charity. We are a clothing line with a strong emphasis is on kindness above everything. We have more things coming up so we encourage everyone to stay connected to KAE and reach out to us! We always answer emails!

 

Rae-Ann Patten:  KAE has big plans for the future. Branching out into more accessories/clothing items. We are also being contacted by more & more organizations, so our presence is being felt on a bigger scale.

 

What is the most inspirational act of kindness you’ve ever witnessed?

Alicia Patten: Great question.  The most inspirational act of kindness I witness, is seen within the relationship between my parents. Growing up, you don’t notice the true importance of surrounding yourself with kind, sincere, and compassionate people. You may understand why those traits are nice but you don’t understand how valuable those people are until you get older and experience life on a different scale. My parents love each other in such a pure way that each conversation and action I witness between them leaves such an impact on my life. It has allowed me to set a standard for my circle of friends, the men I date, and the person others should expect me to be- and for that, I will be forever grateful for them.

 

Rae-Ann Patten: One of my family members putting aside her problems, putting herself second to help another family member through a very difficult time. Many people would say, “it’s family, that’s what you’re supposed to do”…but that isn’t always the case. It really made me stop & appreciate her more for her actions.

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What are 3 simple things someone can do daily to be more kind? 

Alicia Patten: 1.) Remind yourself each morning before you start your day to expect & embrace differences  2.) Remind yourself that no one is perfect, not even you, and for that fact alone, we should proceed with kindness & 3.) Be honest with how you approach each situation/person & have no reservations when you know you should apologize- just do it, be sincere, and be done with it.

 

Rae-Ann Patten: Smile & say good morning to people you come into contact with daily, Remember to treat everyone with respect, keep yourself in a positive state of mind. You’ll be surprised how that can rub off on people.

 

What advice can you give fellow Eclectic Souls who are pursuing their dreams?

Alicia Patten: The advice I would give to fellow Eclectic Souls is to take yourself seriously. We live in a society where if something gets too serious, things become awkward. I don’t know why that’s the case. I encourage you to be yourself and identify & refine your skills, and move forward with your ideas boldly- however, take advice willingly! My last bit of advice is to pursue God. God has brought me through places that you’d never believe but because of His grace, I’m here doing this! I want the same for others as well. Trust God’s timing and trust your journey.

Rae-Ann Patten: Push towards your goals, no matter how tough it may seem. If you’re truly passionate about it, then don’t give up.

 

Be sure to follow the Kindness Above Everything movement on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You shop their amazing collection of KAE clothing & accessories at KAEcollection.com

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