This was a year of crazy ups and downs and a lot of the unexpected. Here are some of the most memorable moments of 2015:
The First Annual Valley Gala was a mix between my 25th birthday party January 11 2015 and the first of an annual formal event for the valley arts district inspired by the met ball. I partnered with my patna Kat Dolly Black for another Pat n Kat Style extravaganza. Andre’ played with his band and we closed the night with a dj.
LadiSav presents the Singers Room at Hat City Kitchen this was a cool music showcase but with all r&b acts which was unique and refreshing for the venue. I discovered talent and made tons of connections this night. LadiSav continues to do its thing!
SYKEZ, Juice, Ywn, Irnwrks Recordz & the music coming out of Ironworks this year has been full of ups and downs for the artists that reside in Ironworks. But one thing that has never wavered or lost steam was the music department. This year Sykez, Juice, Ywn and the rest of their hip hop soul proteges have been in overdrive. Never once letting anything get in the way of creating, recording and overall just perfecting their craft. Here are some of the links to just a taste of the fire that was released:
Sykez released teaser singles for the second part to his much anticipated mixtape series, Loosies. With the hot song like Dope 4 Dayz, and freestyles recorded on his phone that brings us back to “bars” in raw hip hop music. It was also a pleasure to see these performed at a second Don’t Drop the Mic and at the Era Musical x Visual show at Ironworks.
This year we were also introduced to Ywn, the musical alter ego of talent, Cesar Presa. Currently in school for music he has been blessing the world with his experimental beats and soulful rhythms. Take a listen to what some may call alternative, I just call dope. One of my favorite songs this year, World Domination by Any ft. Free… seeing this live is like it’s own experience. I can see this song opening a dope hip hop show *hint hint*
Then there was Juice the Bandit with bars that couldn’t help but catch everyone’s attention. Check out his page and this freestyle video featuring Ywn
Bomb Images x Era Artist Collective this year the artist collective and friend group in Ironworks welcomed another member who came in and never left. Nate Griffin has been a great addition to the team and has lent his video camera skills and overall ambitious nature.
Don’t Drop the Mic II Sykes threw another hip hop showcase, and it was even bigger than last time. I think he is well on his way of establishing the hip scene of the Valley Arts District. I cant wait for the next one, he performed as well as Juice, Ant, 199x and Christopher King.
Introducing What The Editor Wore on Instagram my sister gifted me a selfie stick she received at a press event she covered that happened to sponsored by Verizon. At first I mocked it, but it didnt take long for me to play with it and get hooked. I began taking pictures of my outfits, and posting my outfit of the day (OOTD) on my social media. Now that I have a new one, thank you Greg, I will continue to do so…
Follow me on social media, @zine_editor and search the hashtag #WhatTheEditorWore … Support me as I become a style star!
ORNG Ink takes World Fellowship Center for the third year. Ever since the summer of 2013 we have been traveling to New Hampshire as a collective to spend time at the World Fellowship Center and lead seminars, workshops and to volunteer. Just like every year we all had life changing experiences, met amazing people and can not wait to come back next year! Thank you WFC for always welcoming us with open arms and making us feel right at home.
Red Buddha Lounge Soft Opening finally happened after the valley and staff at Hat City Kitchen have been hearing about it for a year prior. Mark Lyons invited all of us to help open his new lounge in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. It was a lot of fun and there are many events planned there from LadiSav, that I would not miss!
The Community Issue – Winter 2015 zine Last year I moved back to New York and was not able to produce as many zines as I may have liked. But in January I was able to squeeze one out, and it was a good way to meet more people involved in the Valley Arts District. I met Rick Hauser who had been displaying his works at Hat City Kitchen. They were photographs of manhole covers with different sayings and local monuments. There was one that said, Hat City and that inspired me to do another zine and ask to cover it with that image. It was released at a different space, the Valley Arts artist salon and I was very proud.
LadiSav Luncheon: Find Your Purpose was held at Boccone in South Orange, New Jersey this summer and I have to say that it was one of the most uplifting experiences I have ever had. I brought Kat along as my date and we listened to professional women talk about their journeys as well as other inspiring stories. We all needed it and thank you Marie and LadiSav for hosting this type of event for us. I really can not wait for the next one
10 Years of Innovation: Valley Arts celebrates their 10th Anniversary in May with two groundbreakings and a ribbon cutting. The Powerhouse building, the smaller of the factory buildings now housing small arts businesses. The long waited Kelli Copeland Artist Lofts opened and local artists Krystle Lemonias and Terry Boddie now live there. And cutting the ribbon on the creative co-op now housing the ORNG Ink visual arts department. It was inspiring for me to be at the celebration which included a walk from the Powerhouse and Kelli Copeland led by a drum walk of my girls MaraFanyi and a huge art show on the walls of the new creative co-op. I had just moved back to the Valley Arts District so to be present for a milestone, and reflection of the past and looking towards the future.
Mine and Brittany’s Happy Hour Housewarming was so much fun. We decided to host a small get together on a Tuesday night starting at around 4 or 5. We did not want to make too much noise too late, and thought it could be fun for the party to start at the house and then we all go to the AMPED jam at Hat City Kitchen hosted by Declan O’Conner. It was a blast as we laughed, played jenga and successfully drank for an entire day.
Masconsumption’s first MC Youth Media program in partnership with True Youth, Inc. After a chance email I was able to meet the wonderful Tamika Withers. She was doing the first youth leadership summer camp and was looking for unique activities and workshops to offer the kids that frequent her community center. I had done zine making workshops in the past and saw this as a cool summer opportunity. This turned into a longer course in social media, journalism, self expression and learning about the valley arts district. Because of my background and history with youth leadership and journalism I was able to do what I do now. It is important to me to give back to the younger generations and give them the type of exposure and opportunities I was blessed to have. I had such an amazing experience with my group for those six weeks, and I can not wait to team up with Tamika and True Youth, Inc. to do more. This is by far the most fulfilling project I have done.
The Valley Gala promotional shoot with the amazing Mike Reilly was technically done in 2014 but it was for an event in 2015 so I am adding it anyway! This was such a magical shoot, and I was able to see such a talent in action. I feel so lucky so say that I not only collaborated with Mike I was in front of the lens! Something that I would normally not do. This I think added more buzz to the event and it was cool having my photograph hanging in Hat City Kitchen. Thank you Mike, Kat Dolly Black, Ashley Rutledge and Ash for doing this with me.
An Unexpected move into a new era is all I will say about how my friends and I are now in a new home. We recently had to say goodbye to Ironworks and it was bittersweet. I have countless memories in that building over the last four years, so many friendships and relationships blossomed there and talent nurtured. I guess it had to happen eventually and I know that only the best will come from the artists who were underestimated, and pushed out. We learned that we have ourselves and will be here in the next ten years with energy. For some reasons a main priority of the organizations are older artists so we now know that we are truly the future of the valley. Look out! Read more about the new Era Artist Collective and the state of ORNG Ink here: https://masconsumption.com/2015/12/20/moving-into-a-new-era/
West Orange African Heritage Organization‘s 4th Annual Afternoon at Jazz at Hat City Kitchen was the first paid gig I have ever done. I collaborated with the nonprofit to produce an ad journal for their annual fundraiser event. It was such a good opportunity and we just met the goal and then some at the event. Save the date for their 5th annual event next year April 3rd! I am proud to say that I will be working with them once again.
Brother Valiant live at SoPac for the first South by South Orange festival. I work with Curran and AJ and I always see their folk band play at Hat City Kitchen. When I heard that there was a new festival in South Orange I knew I had to be there and it was great to see that they were headlining the first night. I see major potential in them and like their music. Emma (Dream Team) and I rode our bikes to the village and it was better than I could have ever imagined. The stage is bigger and the sound better at South Orange Performing Arts Center so each instrument was emphasized and filled the room. AJ’s voice is frontman quality, followed by great musicians. It was all about firsts, as it was my first time at SoPac and I am glad it was to support local talent.
Domineer Media gets honored by Holiday Agency and Scholarich in New York City. Avery and LeTrice are two of the most hard working women I know. I am glad that their hard work was recognized and they were honored for their work in media last summer. I made it a point to be there to celebrate the two of them. I was also joined by my lovely god sister. All in all it was a fun night spent in VIP.
Luna Stage Productions are out of this world. They are known for producing more provocative and thought provoking works. A huge thanks to Cheryl who have invited me to see these plays. I was able to see Tar Beach, Tall Girls, Thrill Me, Abstract Sax with Reg E Gaines, A White American Hero by Erica Bradshaw. All terrifically done and left me with much thought and inspiration. I can not wait to see more!
Dean, you are always missed. Sadly this summer I lost one of my most prized possessions, my bike Dean. I had him for over a year and he was truly my companion. He was a part of my identity here in the valley and to be honest my main mode of transportation. He was stolen outside of Ironworks at the end of the summer and just kicked off an overall bad week. It was a huge lost, and I have yet to replace him but I know that people have suffered much worst so I am glad I was able to make so many memories with Dean.
New relationships and additions to the Valley has been a biggie this year, at least for me. I have learned that it really is all about being at the right place at the right time, responding to that particular email, or introducing yourself to someone. In short you have to be present, and all in in order to get somewhere at least in the arts and entertainment field. I have met people like Tamika Withers, Gregory Burrus, Kirsten Risko and countless artists and people at Hat City Kitchen. Each person I meet here will bring me closer to wherever I am met to go as far as a career is concerned.
Giving a tour of the Valley Arts District to Kristen Risko of Linc32 & Linc52 new lofts being built by Orange train station. It was one of those moments that seem small in the moment but I think going to be monumental for my future. I happened to answer the phone and she wanted someone to take her around for a marketing video for the real estate project. I saw the opportunity to introduce myself and offer a tour from an actual local artist that lived there, and knew what was cool. It was a pleasure to meet Kristen and I can not wait to see what can come from this.
Discovering NaNoWriMo was truly fate. After Dean had gotten stolen, along with my ipad the same week I had lost a little steam and to be honest I was a little depressed. On the side I had been thinking about my story that I had begun writing the year before and the characters had been swirling in my head. But at the end of 2014 while I was living back in the Bronx I remember making a decision between the novel and Masconsumption. I abandoned it and moved forward with The Community Issue. But when I was upset about losing Dean and other things I went to writing. I began to revisit the story I had been writing and was able to finally complete the plot, ending and a way to condense characters to save the 100 pages that I had already written and was not going to use. I wrote three different outlines, organized index cards of important information in my novel’s universe. It was the end of September when I was doing research on getting published, I came across NaNoWriMo. I say it is fate because of the timing of everything and this was an initiative to push me forward in writing and aiming to complete the novel. NaNoWrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it has a huge internet presence. It was like all these writer were together in this mission and it was comforting. A novel is technically 50,000 words, and you must complete that during the month of November. I was nervous at first but realized the 100 pages I had already written was almost 70,000 words, so I had already written a novel. I pushed forward and spent every second I could in front of my computer. Some days I was super productive, others not so much. I also lost a lot of time dealing with the Ironworks move but I was able to exceed the goal with 50, 120 words! I did not finish my novel but it pushed me to start, and there’s some good stuff in the chapters I have written. With this new approach I can pick up and let down my novel whenever I choose to work on it. I will always feel like I have to choose between that and Masconsumption sometimes because I am so passionate about what I am working on it is hard for me to divide my attention. But I am confident that I will finish it and make my first dream come true of being a published author. #NANOWRIMO2015
2015 has been a crazy year. Turing 25, and moving back to the valley, sprinkled with a lot of other shit. I am sure there are things I am missing but this was a jam packed year. I feel so much stronger and excited for 2016. I am usually terribly anxious this time of year, because of the whole “new year, new me” ridiculousness and I get a little reflective of what I have accomplished in life when I turn a year older (my birthday is not too long after the new year January 11). Going into 2016 however, I am so confident in what I like to call seeds being planted I don’t care to think about what I dont have or did not accomplish. I am incredibly blessed and happy to see another day. Rest in peace to all of the loved ones who were lost this year.
Shout out to my love!