Archive for category: Editorial

Rayana Jay Interview

Rayana+Jay+-+Cover+with+Sticker+-+FinalV1 After listening to Rayana Jay’s music for a few months, I fell in love with her sound and wrote about a track she released with Soulection producer ROMderful. Her lovely manager reached out about the release of new music and I couldn’t have been more excited. We headed to Rayana Jay’s Morning After release party a month laterhosted by the Girl Mob. I could feel that chill, fun California vibe as soon as I stepped through the door. A little bit of rum punch had the NYC crowd ready to bust a two step to some new tunes. The setting was perfect for Rayana Jay’s EP to be played for the first time. I was able to get a bit of life wisdom with Rayana before the show began. Take a listen to Rayana Jay’s new EP Morning After and learn more about her in the interview below (shot by Kidz ‘r Evil):

 When did you find out you can sing? When did you know this is what you want to do? Forever?   

I started singing in church. As soon as I could talk my mom just threw me into the choir. I think that’s what it was. I was all in these church plays and I had a little solo ; and that’s kind of where I found my voice. I just recently hit that note that had me like “hold on, who said you could do that girl?” That’s how my song “Sleepy Brown” came out last year. I’ll always be singing. This is what I love. I really have no other choice or option.

I definitely want to get more into songwriting. I only have writers credit on one song right now and it’s one of the best feelings. Knowing that someone trusted my pen enough to want to sing what I had to say. The song is called “Selfish” by 1-O.A.K.

You write all your music, correct? What’s your process like? Where you think you  write the best tracks?

My safe space is anywhere after 2am; I can’t really write songs during the day so a lot of my writing happens at night. The process is always different. Some songs take me like fifteen minutes and some songs take me two years to finish. My theory as a songwriter is we already have all these songs in us, it just takes the right person or event for it to finally come out. So I never really trip off writers block. If I have writers block I just need to go experience something. But my safe place is definitely in a room after 2am. I feel like that’s when you’re most honest with yourself.

Who are your top five favorite artists of all time? And who has your attention now?

Amy Winehouse, Sam Cooke, Frank Ocean, Jasmine Sullivan & Mac Dre. SOB x RBE from Vallejo, California. These young boys from North Vallejo, which is where Mac Dre is from, and they’re just hella tight. They’re bringing back that old hyphy, mobbin’ sound back & we missed it. I really been slappin’ Sza’s album, Kehlani’s sweetsexysavage, Tyler’s new album. Everyone in my age group is hella tight. 

Who do you want to work with in the future?

Gucci Mane. Everyone in ATL. I wanna work with Young Thug, I feel like we would make a beautiful love song. I want to work with Migos because who doesn’t. Future. As far as producers, I want to work with Pharrell. That’d be tight. Something with Missy. Anything you do with Missy is going to be fire.

What are you plans for the next five years? We’re now 23, so let’s say by 30; what do you want to accomplish?

At 30, I want to be in London. I want to have done everything I can do in the states and I want to move off to London. I still want to be making music but I want to be at a point where I don’t have to make music anymore because everyone still loves the old stuff. I want to get another EP under my belt, some albums. I just want to build a catalog I can be happy with. I can retire like “okay I did my ting and I’m done here“.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell young Rayana to feel all the feels. Let yourself have emotions. I think a lot of people try so hard not to have emotions because I think we’re living in a really weird time where nobody trusts anybody. Everybody has their guard up all the time. Nobody wants to be vulnerable or feel anything. I used to shut my emotions out all the time. I used to apologize. I realized the first thing that people do when they cry is say “I’m sorry” and I’m just like why, it’s okay. Please be emotional. Cry girl.

Interview: Kitty Cash Dishes On Curating Her ‘Love The Free’ Series & Shares The Pheels’ “French Toast”

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In 2014, I walked in to a colorful, blossoming room with gold lining the walls and an open bar. The end to New York’s fashion week and only my second month living in the big apple after years in the south. I danced the entire night away at Saint Heron x 1MSQFT and just knew I had to be apart of this culture in some way. I’ve always been a huge admirer of music, and I noticed that there was a female DJ that knew all the exclusive hits both new and old to get us on the dance floor. I remember just pausing and basking in the moment. Disc jockeys will always find a way to move you in some way or another.

Three years later, between the tours, parties, and mixtapes, Kitty Cash has made a cozy spot for herself in the art and music worlds. With the pleasure of our recent conversation, I’ve uncovered the growth within her music and within herself. You will find that Kitty Cash’s passion and work ethic is unmatched, which is what led her on this righteous path.

Today we are thrilled to premiere our interview with the Brooklyn native, along with a new track from the final installment of her Love The Free series. The track is entitled “French Toast” from Atlanta-based duo The Pheels.

With music elites like Dev Hynes, Sampha, Vic Mensa, Kelela, SZA and many more already leaving their mark on the admired series, Vol. 3 is sketched to hold a stellar roster of artistry. You can expect to hear sounds from the likes of Lion Babe, St. Beauty, BOSCO, and a slew of other noteworthy contenders. Take a listen to The Pheels’ latest, and read up on what Kitty Cash had to say on developing the series through the years.

Where did the name Kitty Cash originate?

It’s really funny because whenever I hear the name I kind of chuckle inside. My name is Cachee, and my family calls me Cash. When I decided I wanted to be an artist, I said that I wanted to differentiate what my family and close friends called me. At that time I was with Kilo Kish, and I was going on tour to be her DJ. We were in a bar with about two other friends, and we literally just sat down with margaritas. We were throwing them back! We began just throwing out names to go before Cash. Kilo Kish has two names, so we were like, “okay what can we do for Cash?” It could have been the tenth or whatever number drink, and we came up with Kitty Cash. We all were like, “We like this right here, this is sick.” I think I love the name even more just because I created it with my friends, and it’s just such a good memory. Every time I think about it, I get super warm because we were all so lit. It was just one of those things that just stuck, and I’m happy with it. I love my name.

That actually builds on another one of my questions for you because I was introduced to you as Kilo Kish’s DJ. Was that during the time when you actually broke out as a DJ?

That was my introduction, yes. That same night actually was possibly the second meeting me and Kish had about it. She basically said, “I really need a DJ, and I can’t find anyone. Why don’t you just try and do it?” At that point I was a little scared, of course, but I also wanted to be there for my friend. She was trying something new too. This was the first time she was being an artist. It started off as a joke her damn self. Just joking around like not thinking it would become a whole new career path for her and an entire new passion for her. I did it out of love for her. So yes, touring with Kish was my introduction to DJing. We started within a few states then we did a European tour, and we were on tour with The Internet at the time.

What was your favorite place that you visited?

I really love Belgium, and I also really, really love London. When we went to London we had a show with SBTRKT, and it lasted all night underneath a bridge. I think it ended around 7 in the morning. It was insane, and there were all of these amazing DJs that I really love. It was one of my favorite shows. I just love the energy of London, especially that type of party. It was so underground, raw, and so real. It was something that I connected to. In that moment, I knew that I had to do this.

So let’s take it back. When did you fall in love with music, and what was the first genre or artist that you just could not get enough of?

I definitely fell in love with music as a baby. Both of my parents played a lot of music. For my dad, it was a lot of old Soca and Reggae. So that is a very big part of who I am. Unapologetically, I’m a Trini gyal at heart. Everyone knows this. From my mom, she played a lot of Portuguese music, R&B and soul. So everything from Tony! Toni! Toné! to Lucy Pearl. I just always remember her playing Lucy Pearl and being like, “this is my jam!” She also loved Maxwell and Raphael Saadiq. It’s funny because when I was younger my mom took me to this concert and I was really excited because she was surprising me. It was a Maxwell concert. I thought she was taking me to a Biggie or Lil’ Kim show. I was trying to hear some Kim, so I got an attitude actually. I had to be about 12 or 13, so I was pretty young. At that point, I was listening to a lot of Jay-Z, a lot of Lil’ Kim, and all of that. I’m from Brooklyn, and that’s what I loved at the time. Even though I loved what I was listening to with my parents, this was the music that my friends and I were listening to. Anyway, moms took me to Maxwell. I went there, pouting and everything. I’m talking about attitude. But, once Maxwell hit maybe the third song I was in there body rolling in my seat. I got a smile on my face. My mom tapped me like, “Oh, you’re enjoying yourself?” I’m like, “I mean it’s cool,” trying to play it all tough. Fast forward to now, it’s such a joke because I listen to Maxwell like once a week. A lot of my moms favorites are my favorites right now. Everything that kind of stems from Love The Free is partially because of my mom. Then with my grandmother, she only listened to the disco and funk. I would go to her apartment and she had a little living room that was sectioned off. She would be like, “We’re about to have disco night!” She had a record player, and she’d literally play disco and funk all night long. We would just jam out. I have a lot of lovely memories of music for sure.

You talk about how you’re from Brooklyn. Were you born and raised in Brooklyn? Tell us about the neighborhood you grew up in. Do you think it shaped your upbringing as far as who you are now?

I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I’m a native. Where I grew up was Ditmas Park or Flatbush. Flatbush is known for Caribbean culture. You walk down Flatbush, the outfit that Rihanna had in the “Work” video, that’s Flatbush right there. That’s it. It’s embraced and to me, Caribbean people are just very proud of who they are and where they come from. I would definitely say that has influenced me and how I dress, for sure. My confidence, sexuality and not being afraid to show skin, in a respectful manner of course, that’s all inspired by my culture. But, it’s something that’s embraced by the culture. I feel like us Caribbean women have a certain spice to us, and that kind of exudes from who I am. I always talk about Carnival as well, Trinidad Carnival. I’ve been playing Carnival in America because my grandfather was very big in that scene. He played steel pan. It’s one thing to go to Carnival here, but when you go to Carnival in Trinidad the whole country is involved. It is a culture experience that is life changing. No matter your color, your body type, whether you think you’re on beat or off beat, whether you got a big butt or little butt, stretch marks and all; it’s all embraced. I think going to Trinidad also helped me to kind of love myself a little bit more. Everyone is so warm. They embrace everyone.

I will never forget the time I met this woman. She was the thickest woman I’ve ever seen. I’m talking about caramel, just thick. Thick legs, thick big ol’ butt, and just a very full, voluptuous woman. She had on her costume, and I had on mine. I was busting a whine in the middle of the street because that’s what you do during Carnival. She had on her thong and she asked me, “Why you have on them tights?” I’m like I didn’t want to be all naked. She looked at me and said, “You ain’t got nothing to hide. You need to go rip them things off right now.” It was so funny because I feel like when you’re in America when someone is voluptuous, they want you to cover it up. She looked at me like I was crazy, like I needed to be proud of what I have. It was this beautiful boost of confidence that I needed. I loved everyone there, and I didn’t want to leave. So, I say all of that to say I think that definitely shaped me. Growing up in Flatbush, you meet every kind of person. Yes, it’s very rich with Caribbean culture, but right across the street you have Indian culture and then two blocks up it’s the Jewish community. That makes me very open, and I think it makes me very welcoming, and nonjudgmental. Also, my mother is Muslim, so I was raised in a household where my mother converted when I was 14. I’ve been open to a variety of cultures, and I think that’s also influenced me in making sure I kind of tap into all of that as a DJ, artist and as a talent.

From listening to your Love The Free series we sense that you hold an eclectic ear in selecting features. We’ve heard dreamy alternative R&B tracks like Kelela‘s “The High” and melodious rap bangers from artists like Rome Fortune. We wonder, how do you curate the artists and track selections for your projects? What do you listen for during the development stages?

This project is a process that I think seems a lot easier than it is. Even for me, sometimes I’m like, “girl are you overachieving right now?!” But the process is me being very involved in every part of it. I’m always on SoundCloud, reading up on who is new, or trying to find artists who have yet to be mentioned on publications. I want to find them first. It’s almost like the job of an A&R that I put myself into just because it’s something that I’m passionate about. I love finding new talent in an organic real way, and not because this artist has a hundred thousand plays. That doesn’t make you great, and that doesn’t mean you have that thing that is different or stands out. Putting this together, it’s just me and Shabazz. She helps me reach out to artists because it can be a bit overwhelming. So, I’m very grateful for her. You have these two girls reaching out to people, signed to labels and everything. Some of them get so excited to be apart of the project, and it’s amazing to get that response from them. I usually have a brief with the artist where I tell them kind of what I’m going through and the story I’m trying to tell through the project so that the messaging in the song is right. I give them different topics of discussion that I want them to talk about so that it fits what Love The Free stands for. So, it’s not just like, “Oh send me your submissions.” That’s cool, but that’s not what this series is about. It’s about me really putting in that time, effort, research and the energy to find artists that I love and believe in and that I really feel are shaping the sound of today and tomorrow.

If you think about it, it takes me about five or six months to put this together, then artists blow up like seven months after that. It’s kind of crazy. In the beginning it was literally me doing it for fun. I just wanted people to be on what I’m on too. I’d be like “Oh you don’t know who The Internet is?” or “You don’t know who Kilo Kish is?!” I’d kind of get upset [laughs] because I’m big fans and I’m on tour with them. Then I realized I started feeling that same love for other artists, and I wanted to put that all in one place under one home, so that’s kind of the basis of Love The Free and the process. A lot of artists have tried asking to pay me to be on the project and people have pitched their clients, which I do listen to because I can miss something, but it’s not about that for me. I will not accept any payments because it would dilute everything that I’ve worked for. I don’t think people get that sometimes. I want to keep it to the streets. I want to say with this project that we have our ear to the streets. This is what’s next, and this is what’s next before the blogs find out about it. Sometimes it’s like I’m working on the project and the artist gets discovered, and I think to myself that I took to long. But, it also still reassures me that I’m on the right path and I still have this ear. I have this vision and other people are noticing. I think that’s kind of cool as well.

That leads me right into my next question. You kind of touched on it, but we want to talk about the beginning of Love The Free. You began the series a few years back and the final installment is on its way. Where did the idea of the name for Love The Free come from? Can you explain it’s origins and why you’ve decided for the series to come to an end?

I came up with this idea during the European tour and at the time it was just Kish and myself. We were getting a lot of free shit and we were like, “yo, I love the free.” But, I was like this name is kind of cute and at the same time I was thinking about dropping this mixtape. I told them about the idea, and everyone was super supportive about it. But because I thought about it on tour, I kind of wanted to tie it back to that. I switched it up to Love The Free because at the same time when I thought about it, through this new passion I definitely discovered a new side of myself that I never met. I never really thought I would say that, but I did and I felt very free being able to express myself creatively through music, as a DJ curating these mixtapes. It was like a new found love for me. It started as “we love the free shit,” but then the more I thought about it, I realized that I’m really just loving my life right now. I was meeting all these people who were going through the exact same thing as me, so the title was another way to tie it back into almost like my personal diary. This series is literally like a musical diary for me. I could tell you about the first one, where I was, what I was going through, and the same thing with the second one. Now, its the same with the third one and all the growth that has happened thus far. This is why I kind of want it to come to an end. I don’t really want it to come to an end, as I’ve been debating it. The decision gave me a few gray hairs. But I think for me it’s about growth and taking myself to the next level.

The last project I had the visual tape and this time I have a few other tricks up my sleeve for y’all. Then after that I kind of just want to be in the next phase of who Kitty Cash is. So if that’s me really focusing on production and coming out with my EP and then an album, then I need to be able to do that. Even though this is curating music, it is very time consuming and sometimes draining. I don’t have the backing of a label. It’s two of us up all night harassing people like, “I’m sorry I don’t want to be annoying, but please can you send this now?”. Then its also the fact that this is all coming from my pocket. If I need studio time or anything, it’s a process and I don’t think people see that part. Each time around, I’m just trying to be better than the last time. It’s like a game with myself. I feel like all three of them together, the trilogy, just tells a very consistent story and I think it’s a very beautiful closing to a chapter.

What is your favorite thing to do as a DJ? Events, touring, or just being in your solace making mixes? Do you think it’s important to be alone sometimes in your field?

I’m very close to my family and a lot of my friends I’ve had for a very long time. I love to keep them close to me because I feel like they keep my grounded. They’re real and they just know me as Cash. I really love doing the events. I love dressing up, I love every part of it. But, I also love just being at my uncle’s house, in the basement and it’s a family affair. I’d just play random Soca tunes for 40 and 50 year olds. I love being in my house and having house parties. I think those are my favorite moments because I’m all about creating memories and things that you can’t really buy. I’m really big on that. Although I do love art, fashion, and music events so much, even tour. Touring is so much fun because you get so much of a culture shock sometimes. Like going to Scotland and realizing there’s not that many black people there, so when I’m walking around with braids to the floor they’re looking at me like “whoa whats going on?!” But for me, personally, I love being with the people I love and just having that party at my house. It could just be my sister and I, and I’d have the time of my life. That’s kind of my favorite thing to do, honestly. As an artist, it is true that I have to be out and seen a lot and, no matter what I’m going through, I have to be on. I need to have that positive energy so that people can receive me in the right way, especially if that may be the first time we’re meeting. You could have had the worst day ever, but when you have to be out, you have to be on. So, I think it is important sometimes to kind of distance yourself from that and for me, it’s always about being true to yourself. So, I definitely do have those trips. I will go to my mom’s house in Jersey, turn my phone on airplane mode and I am unreachable. I’ll go to my grandmother’s house and we’re there for hours just talking and I’m not paying attention to anything else. I’m not online, I’m not on social media or anything else. I think you have to detach sometimes so when you step back into it you understand what’s real and what’s not. This is a world of smoke and mirrors that we’re in right now, and I think sometimes people get lost in the idea of or the facade of not realizing that these are created realities for a lot of people. I don’t want to get caught up in that. So alone time is very important to me, along with family time because that’s part of my alone time.

You’ve obviously been very innovative in your approach to your career. Prior to the power of the internet, it was a rarity that you found the glorification of female DJs. Do you think that the internet affected your career in giving you a larger platform to be heard? Are there any negative or positive experiences you’d like to share?

I think that the internet has definitely allowed access and that’s what was lacking before. You didn’t have the access to hop on your computer, Google that person and set something up immediately on your phone. You didn’t have the access to get on someone’s Instagram, see who they’re associated with, see what they like to do or anything of that nature. You didn’t have the access to go on SoundCloud and listen to someone in Australia and get that song AND for free. You didn’t have that access, so I definitely think that it has opened a platform for me that I needed to take advantage of. I have fans reach out to me from all over the world, and I’m still in shock about it. As with too much of anything, it becomes a double edged sword. There are negatives things on the internet and people always have comments. I don’t take that as a stab at me, but people have opinions. You now open up this door for people to have opinions about you, and I guess that’s something I’m getting used to. I’ve realized that people have opinions about me that can be positive or negative. But, it’s not for me to internalize that. It’s for me to continue on that trajectory that “this is who I want to be, this is what I want to do, this is my vision,” and sticking to that because at the end of the day people project their insecurities onto you. A lot of people do this online, and that shit is crazy because it’s like you’re writing this, you’re saying this and you’re a real person just like me. You get up and brush you’re teeth, hopefully, you do what you have to do but then you’re sitting there criticizing me or trying to be mean for no reason. It’s like, what do you get out of that? You’re trying to knock me down because it’s like, “Oh it’s not a big deal that she’s doing this or that.” Well, if you feel that way, do what you want to do but I’m not stopping you. I just think it’s that kind of thing with the internet sometimes. Even when it’s not with me, but I’m seeing someone write on my friend’s page and I’m like wow that is so mean why would you say that? We all get on our Instagram and check our DMs. It doesn’t matter who you are. So, I’ve learned not to internalize that and make it affect me in a way that is destructive.

Lastly, do you have any advice for female DJs or any females new in the industry?

A lot of times people would ask how I’m doing what I’m doing because I don’t have an agent. I don’t have a booking agent or a manager. It’s all through word of mouth. It’s all through having a certain level of respect for myself online and offline and then of course being good at what I’m doing. People organically reach out to me and are interested in seeing what I do and how I do it. So I would definitely tell women, especially young women, to be aware of what they are putting out online. I think sometimes, especially because I am an older sister, younger people forget that people check what you put on social media and how that can affect your brand if you’re trying to build one. Also, definitely never think you’re too big for something. Like I said, I love doing the parties at my house all the time. If my friend is a DJ and they’re coming over I’m like, “you’re going to spin, let’s have a party.” Theres nothing wrong with starting small and growing little by little. You have to utilize what you have. You have SoundCloud, Instagram, Mixcloud and it’s for free. I think sometimes people think that they need all of these people behind them, but you don’t. You just need yourself. You need your vision and yourself to start especially if it’s something you’re just passionate about. You just need to start doing it and after, everything else will come in due time.

Photography: Hannah Sider and Whoop Tonelle
Illustrations: Mithsuca Berry


Mattel gives Misty Copeland her own Barbie!


The breathtaking, boundary breaking ballerina Misty Copeland made a special announcement on Good Morning America today that is sure to bring out your inner child!

While she has been making heavy strides to break barriers since making history as the first African American female principal at the American Ballet Theatre, Copeland has now inspired a new, exclusive Barbie doll. The ballerina also held a large part in the design process of mini Misty, as the dolls outfit is influenced by Copeland’s Firebird costume, which she wore to her debut performance as principal ballerina.

“I always dreamed of becoming an ABT ballerina, and through Barbie I was able to play out those dreams early on. It’s an honor to be able to inspire the next generation of kids with my very own Barbie doll,” she shared. Copeland joins the likes of starlet Zendaya, Trisha Yearwood and Ava DuVernay as a part of Mattel’s Barbie Sheroes program, which is the evolution of Barbie with new body types, skin tones and hairstyles. Mattel says this series is “honoring female heroes who inspire girls by breaking boundaries and expanding possibilities for women everywhere.”

The doll retails at only $29.95 online, but the inspiration is truly priceless! Purchase the Misty Copeland inspired Barbie here.


Amandla Stenberg To Star In New Black Lives Matter Inspired Film

amandla5Author Angela Thomas originally wrote The Hate U Give as her debut novel, and fter a huge bidding war, Fox 2000 has won the film rights according to Vulture. Our favorite actress-meets-activist Amandla Stenberg has apparently landed the lead role in the forthcoming George Tillman Jr. directed film that will depict the story of #BlackLivesMatter and a 16 year old prep school student who loses her best friend to police brutality.

No word on the release date yet, but we are beyond excited to see the execution of The Hate U Give. Be on the lookout for updates. In the meantime, revisit Solange‘s interview with Amandla for Teen Vogue here!


Taraji P. Henson To Star In Upcoming NASA Film


Since winning her Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a TV Drama Series from her role as Cookie Lyon in Empire, it has now been confirmed that Taraji P. Henson will follow up as she stars in an upcoming film about NASA.

The movie Hidden Figures is based on the book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win The Space Raceby Margot Lee Shetterly, and Taraji P. Henson will be playing the role of NASA math genius Katherine Johnson. No word on who will be playing the other women responsible for helping astronaut John Glenn get to space in the ’60s, but we hope that the actresses who play Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson will be among the likes of Taraji.

John Glenn was the first American to orbit earth thanks to Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. These three women crossed gender and racial lines during this mission. Let us congratulate Taraji as we celebrate these three outstanding women!

Hidden Figures is slated for a January 2017 release; right around the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.



Fresh off the release of his sophmore album Malibu , Saint Heron favorite Anderson .Paak has taken the next step on his growing road to stardom. The west coast took to Twitter to announce that he has officially signed with Dr.Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment with an accompanying video from Dre.

Dr.Dre has seemed to be somewhat of a mentor to Anderson .Paak since featuring .Paak on his long awaited return album Compton – with features on 8 tracks to be exact. His Malibu album debuted last month with a slew of features from a pool of artists including ScHoolboy Q, The Game, Rapsody, and more.

Watch Dr. Dre’s announcement below, and listen to Anderson’s new album here if you haven’t already.

5 Morning Rituals That Will Change Your Day & Life!


Morning time is when most of us have to be up for work or school; or at least that’s how we think of it. We are still half sleep on our journeys to productivity. Monday mornings we don’t even want to leave the bed, just dreading the entire work week. But have we even thought about why we feel this way? Mornings can make or break your day before it even begins. So here are five quick and easy rituals that can change your entire perspective on early mornings.

1. Go to Sleep Earlier, Wake up Earlier 

According to TIME magazine, “The time of night when you sleep makes a significant difference in terms of the structure and quality of your sleep.” There are 90-minute cycles which our brain moves from deep, non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep to REM sleep. Non-REM sleep occurs in the beginning of the night while REM dominates the hours closer to daybreak. Studies show that non-REM sleep is deeper than dream-infused REM sleep. Basically, if you go to sleep later you won’t be able to reach the full extent of non-REM sleep resulting in grogginess. Get your full eight hours and wake up a little earlier than normal so you won’t rush through these steps. 

2. Do A Stretching Routine

It’s important to wake the body and muscles up along with your brain. Here’s a quick 5 minute stretch you can practice. Once these simple stretches become habit you can move on to yoga or morning exercises.

3. Drink a Healthy Green Smoothie

Contrary to belief, a good breakfast doesn’t mean a heavy one. We may begin our mornings trying to fill ourselves up so we won’t be hungry again until break time but…that will just slow you down. Nourish the body with a nice smoothie to boost your energy. Leafy greens like kale or spinach provide phytonutrients, fiber, and minerals. Here are a few smoothie recipes to give a try.

4. Meditate for a Few Minutes

The three previous steps should have you on a feel-good path already so find a comfortable spot. Developing your own style of meditation is important, find what works best for you. Decide on comfortable positioning, if you’d like music and clear your mind. Just a few minutes is enough to begin, you are preparing your mind for the day ahead of you.

5. Listen to Uplifting Music or Audiobook

Motivation is essential in the morning. Find music you think is inspirational or beautiful to get you in the right headspace. Audiobooks are also a good way to feed your mind with motivation at the top of the day. Remember, whatever you listen to may be stuck in your head so choose wisely. 

These five tips can change your mornings for a lifetime if used as ritual. Some things that may throw you off course like  morning news, a big breakfast, stimulants like coffee or energy drinks, sleeping in and negative people should be avoided. It’s important to stay focused on all things positive as you are trying to change your morning routine. Give these five rituals a try in the morning to see how much your day can change!

Five Reasons Why Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ Deserves’ Best Album of The Year

Kendrick Lamar has been making heavy strides since the beginning of his music career but 2015 may be his biggest year. His third studio album To Pimp A Butterfly broke the record for most streamed on Spotify with 9.6 millions hits before its official release. Black Lives Matter protesters chanted the lyrics to “Alright” as if it was published in the book of hymnals. Six tracks from To Pimp A Butterfly including “The Blacker The Berry” and “King Kunta” made the Billboard Hot 100 and reached Gold sales after just a few weeks of debuting the album. The 16 track revolutionary album has most recently received the Best Album of The Year spot by Rolling Stone. Here are five reasons Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly is the best album of the year:

1. Kendrick & his producer Sounwave bring live instruments back into music by mixing funk, jazz, neo-soul and of course hip hop into their own flavor. (“Wesley’s Theory”, For Free?”, “For Sale”)

2. Kendrick Lamar gives us a very personal view of his life and career charging a revolution in all of us. (On “The Blacker The Berry” he says, “Why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street/ When gang-banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me? Hypocrite!”)

3. To Pimp A Butterfly exposes us the many roles we all have to play in society through his own spiritual journey. (Loving “u” is complicated…I believe he may be talking about accepting himself while everyone is pulling him in different directions. A suicide letter in between tears and gulps of liquor. Then we see him overcome and begin to love himself more on “i”.)

4. To Pimp A Butterfly is unpacking the idea of “overwhelming blackness” in America and every nation the album has reached. (“Every nigga is a star” is the first thing we hear as the album begins, a voice from 1973 Blaxploitation film, forcing the listener to accept what is to come.)

5. Kendrick Lamar used his intellect and creativity to tell us all that we are all more than cynical caterpillars. Everybody has their cocoon time when they need to be alone and regroup to become the beautiful butterfly. The evils of Lucy and society will try to pimp the butterfly for all its worth. But we have to stay strong & unify. (His conversation with Tupac on the final song “Mortal Man” talked about how the ground is going to up and swallow the evils. The ground being the lower and middle class.)

Kendrick Lamar earned the Best Album of the Year with just being genuine and talking to the people. The message on To Pimp A Butterfly will live on way past this generation and the ones to come. Kendrick stated on his Kunta’s Groove tour that it will be his first and last time performing TPAB. His producer Terrace Martin elaborated with Complex:

We didn’t do the album for pop culture. We did that album for people who have no way out. We did that album for people who can’t afford to go to the shows. We did an album for people who need hope. You don’t prostitute that.”

If you haven’t already, give To Pimp A Butterfly a serious listen and you too will understand why it earned the spot for Best Album of the Year.





Beyoncé Reminds Us Why She Runs The World On Spike’s Lip Sync Battle

Beyoncé surprised Channing Tatum with a little backup assistance on last nights Lip Synce Battle, and it was an unforgettable moment for the books! Channing’s wife, Jenna Dewan Tatum, had the dance-off in the palm of her hands as she recreated hubby’s Magic Mike XXL scene  to Ginuwine’s “Pony.” That is until Channing came out on stage in an elaborate outfit, hair, and make-up suited as Sasha Fierce. He even had a nearby fan vigorously and “flawlessly” winding his hair. A few moves and grooves into “Run The World (Girls),” and Queen Bey strutted out with an army to join forces in the dance off. The look on Jenna’s face, priceless. Get a good laugh at the clip above.

Harriet Tubman As The Face Of New Currency

Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill or $10 bill? You may have seen polls going around a few months ago about what woman we should honor on the new $20 bill. Well, the Treasury Department has recently released a video stressing the importance of choosing the face for the redesigned currency. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, and many other U.S. officials come together in efforts to get more of our input.

After months of polling from multiple sources, has selected 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman. With an online tally of 600,000 votes Harriet Tubman was chosen over Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller. The poll originally sought to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill but the Treasury Department decided to alter the $10 bill instead. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gives us an explanation in the Washington Examiner:

“The $10 bill is currently scheduled for a redesign, and creating new currency is a painstaking process that takes years to plan and complete. The $10 is the first in a planned new series of redesigned notes. It’s a process that began before he (Barack Obama) took office and that he has been discussing with the Treasury since the beginning of his tenure in 2013. The new bill won’t be unveiled until 2020.”

According to the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton will remain on the $10 bill in some fashion. Hamilton will remain on the bill as a smaller image with the chosen woman or on a separate $10 bill which will be added to circulation at the same time as the new currency. Jack Lew also added that their will be new anti-counterfeiting properties as well as new tactile features to aid the blind on the redesigned bills. 

Who do you want to see on the new $10 bill? Let us know using the hashtag #TheNew10 and visit this Treasury Department site for more info.

Photo Credit: Linda Ruiz-Lozito