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December 2009
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Archive for December, 2009

Fear & Fancy drops FREE download for the holidays

Posted in Community, Entertainment on December 31st, 2009

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Esface Endorsed music group Fear & Fancy collab with DJ D Sharp to bring you a holiday gift, “the Playlist”.

Click here to Download the new heat.

Fear & Fancy’s music is a jubilant proclamation of the dawn of an age governed by the power of love rather than the love of power. Its sound-scape blurs time and space, swirling sounds of the carnival with the powwow, ‘80s New Wave with ‘20s Pop Standards into a digital potluck of artistic ingenuity that bumps.

Perhaps the ability to move audiences to party and ponder is the mark of Fear & Fancy that distinguishes them beyond the marks of paint that adorn their faces during live performances. Fear & Fancy has already shared the stage with notable artists including Bad Boy Records’ Janelle Monae and Day 26, Konvict Records’ RIZ, platinum-selling French R&B/Soul recording artist Tété, and “Portland’s French troubadour” Eric John Kaiser. Currently producing their debut EP, Fear & Fancy will begin their first tour beginning Spring 2010. More info at MYSPACE, FACEBOOK.

How To Live A Forbes Life (The Art of Doing You)

Posted in Entertainment, Fashion on December 20th, 2009

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by Ajani Husbands

I read Forbes Magazine… and it is way above my pay grade. For example, the magazine is littered with advertisements for jet cards, which is like a timeshare for jets, starting at $60,000 for 25 hours. The Forbes subscription also comes with a subscription to Forbes Life, which is, as you might guess from the name, a lifestyle magazine for Forbes readers. And, although the magazine features luxury items such as a $180,000 hooded fleece made of pure gold (not kidding here) or a $30,000 stone bathtub, Forbes Life speaks directly to me. Strange, but true. What makes Forbes Life so appealing is that it doesn’t just feature luxury items that seem galaxies away. The magazine focuses on the individuals who produce such items, and all of these individuals have one thing in common:  dedication to quality.

Probably the majority of people reading this blog would describe themselves as young professionals. Maybe you work at Accenture or JP Morgan. Maybe you are a resident in med school or have an entry or mid-level position on capitol hill. Or maybe you are an entrepreneur starting your own NGO or corporation. The idea though is that you are young, full of energy and innovation, and feel unstoppable. That is the first step to a Forbes Life, and unfortunately that’s where it ends for most people.

As we get older, we become more sensible and get attached to security. We by and large find it safer to stick with a company than strike out on our own. We’d rather seek the security of earning an additional degree and a guaranteed pay raise than take a leap of faith into the unknown. Even the fields we go into are exciting at first but are eventually humdrum. Real estate. Corporate law. Government and politics. Consultancy. And we stick with this humdrum reality because we believe it will get us to the point where Forbes Magazine truly applies to our living standards. One day we’ll have the $5,000 watch or maybe the $60,000 jet card.

But just because we have it, doesn’t make it a lifestyle. You can only grasp a Forbes lifestyle when you strike out on your own along a dedicated path. The guy who makes the $30,000 stone bath tubs dedicates his whole life to the process. He doesn’t just chisel bathtubs; he creates an experience. The same goes for the man making the solid gold hooded fleece (seriously… could NOT make this thing up). And that’s what a Forbes lifestyle is, an experience.

Basically what I’m talking about is doing you. In life, we eventually forgo our deepest ambitions and talents and trade it in for security and comfort. And for some of us, our comfort levels reach a level of luxury, and that’s fine. Nonetheless, that luxury often comes at the cost of personal fulfillment.

So what is doing you? Is it your artistic abilities? Photography? Sketching? Your uncanny ability to be innovative in any situation? Your distinct knowledge of World War II era comic books? Doing you is taking what it is you love and doing it at a level of quality that far surpasses the norm. That is the Forbes Lifestyle.

For instance, if I were to do me right now, I’d blend my love for writing and my love for innovation and create the definitive writer’s retreat that would fully immerse writers of all variations (journalists, poets, novelists) into a creative space. That’s just one example (I have many definitions of doing me).  And though I’m not doing me yet, there are steps I’m working on to get there asap:

1) Determine what you love. Often times we do what we’re good at, but not what we love. I love writing, but I work in politics. I may be pretty good at politics (I like to think so), but it’s not what I love.

2) Go Two Steps Higher Than What Exists. Since I love writing, it’d be easy to say “I want to write books.” But what is above that? If I loved basketball, I could be a player… or I could be a coach… or a manager… or design the next generation of basketball stadiums. There’s always more to what we love than what we see on the surface, and we have to fully explore it.

3) Do What Hasn’t Been Done. Jay-Z said “I can’t base what I want to be on what everybody isn’t.” In other words, just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean that it’s not doable. On the contrary, it means that it’s out there waiting for you to do it.

4) Do Nothing Short of Absolutely Perfection. Whoever said perfection was impossible? That person was lying and did not know how to do them. Perfection is what defines doing you and is what will set you apart.

At the end of the day, doing you comes down to being 100% about what it is you love. And you know what… that’s also what defines being Esfac’e.

Health Care Reform: For or Against?

Posted in Community on December 18th, 2009

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The health care reform debate: Where do you stand?

The Business of the First Black Princess

Posted in Entertainment on December 13th, 2009

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by Ajani Husbands

If you read my article from months earlier, you know I was initially against Disney’s The Frog Princess, an animated tale featuring the company’s first Black princess. At the time, it was easy to be opposed to the film. The “princess” was actually set to be a chamber maid named Maddy (aka Mammy?) in New Orleans. Well, Disney kept the New Orleans aspect, but finally relented and changed the character to Tiana, the head cook of a white family in New Orleans, who would meet a Maldonian prince cursed as a frog.

Disney has a long history of racism (Uncle Remus in Song of the South and the crows in Dumbo being two prime examples), so it should not come as a surprise that Tiana was originally a chamber maid named Maddy. Of greater concern, though, is how much alike Disney and Bob Johnson, infamous creator of BET, think.

When asked about BET’s destructive impact on the Black community, Bob Johnson simply stated that you have to separate the social from the business aspect. In other words, he’s about the business of making money, not the business of making positive community images. Disney operates in a similar vein. Mike Surrey, one of the animators for The Frog Princess stated:

“I don’t think there was ever a moment when we were sitting there looking at animated scenes in rough form and thinking, is this really representing the African-American community properly?”

Is Black profitable? If Disney can create a whole animated feature film centered on a Black protagonist and not give a thought to “representing the African-American community properly,” is Black profitable? If Bob Johnson, one of only two Black billionaires in America, can create the bulk of his wealth from a cable station that admittedly did not have positive community representations as part of its business model, is Black profitable?

Or perhaps a better question is, how to force entertainment industries to acknowledge that positive images of Black people is profitable? After all, it was outside pressure that forced Disney to make the changes to The Frog Princess and actually make her a princess rather than a chamber maid. What additional impact could outside pressure have?

Maybe the important thing to remember is that the default Black setting doesn’t HAVE to be negative. Maybe it is negative, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As ordinary people we can all do ordinary things to change this default setting.

- Stop attributing daily woes to “Black people” (i.e. “why are Black folk so LOUD”) and attribute them to PEOPLE.

- Turn off BET.

- Write the local news station to complain when you see too many negative images and congratulate them when you see positive images

- Hell, write your congressman

The point is simple. There is no need to endure negative images of Black people as the norm. If you see something that calls to old stereotypes, speak out against it.

Preciously Blindsided

Posted in Community, Entertainment on December 8th, 2009

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 by Ajani Husbands

I initially was writing an article about the use of food stamps spilling over into non-Black America, but given the recent ABC blog article debating Precious versus The Blind-Side, I had to switch gears.  There seems to be a lot of animosity towards Precious and a lot of love to The Blind Side.  And who can blame the masses for that?  The Blind Side is heroic.  It is warm, encouraging, heroic, hopeful.  Precious is the opposite.  It’s dark, twisted, demeaning, depressing.  So why should we even cast a passing glance towards Precious?

For the same reason I purchased a book on lynchings. 
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