A Message For the Movement

To say that May 25, 2020, is a date that has astronomically shaken the world would be understating the intensity of what we are experiencing in our communities. At this very moment, protests are happening across the country and for good reason. George Floyd was murdered in cold blood, in broad daylight by Minnesota policeman, Derek Chauvin. Chauvin held his knee to the left side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In a video that has been widely circulated on social media, you can hear him repeating “Please”, “I can’t breathe”, and “Don’t kill me”. It’s a scene that I can barely watch without my heart sinking.

The four officers involved in the murder of George Floyd have all been terminated. One of them has been charged with murder in the third degree. With the evidence being crystal clear, why is it taking so long to get justice? The number of Black men and women that have lost their lives due to police brutality continues to climb at an alarming rate. People of all colors are taking to the streets to declare, once again, that BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Tony L. Clark holds a photo of George Floyd outside the Cup Food convenience store on May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis.Jerry Holt / Star Tribune via AP

Since the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, we have been demanding justice. I still feel angry when I think about George Zimmerman still walking freely as if he didn’t senselessly murder an innocent teenager. The movement continues to live on despite other murders of Black men and women. Momentum has been building and tensions have been rising over the last eight years. Protesting and rioting is a result of decades-long abuse, violence, and inequality.

We are an uprooted race that this country had to be “creative” with eradicating. How do you dispose of people who have no home to return to? Think systemic racism affecting employment, mass incarceration, Black women being 2 to 6 times more likely to die in childbirth, gentrification, the list goes on. The dehumanization of Black people has reached its apex and WE. ARE. TIRED.

Speaking of tired, the “All Lives Matter” rebuttal is WRONG and also very annoying. All lives matter, but the lives we are focusing on at the moment are BLACK. If you or someone you know is saying this or putting it on a sign, t-shirt, button, etc. please stop them immediately. It’s possible to stand up for a specific cause/race of people without harming or not caring for another. Because we declare “Black lives matter”, it doesn’t imply that other lives don’t.

Police officers walk enveloped by tear gas in Portland, Ore., on Friday. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian/AP)

We are aware that white lives matter. It’s been obvious for decades. Blue lives matter because they can kill you with impunity. If you’re arguing against the Black Lives Matter movement, you are ignorant to these obvious facts or intentionally arguing in bad faith. People are angry because their voices are not being heard. Some of the stories of these victims have been shrouded in silence. The system being protested has yet to deliver justice.

If you are not Black and have Black friends, check on them. Listen to them and be present. Arm yourselves with the knowledge of our issues to fight against your peers and their ignorance. We need it right now more than you know.

Everyone, PLEASE be safe. We are still going through a pandemic. I don’t want to see more of us die for the cause. Mask up, make sure you practice social distancing, and wash/sanitize your hands regularly. I hope we can all find some peace in these times. 2020 has been exhausting and draining on so many levels so let’s look out for each other as best as we can!

Review: “No Cap” by Lowkey Kemp

There’s no reason to beat around the bush, I’ll get straight to the point: Lowkey Kemp’s new single “No Cap” is a hit. His rapid-fire flows are intelligible and pack a significant punch.

Lowkey Kemp continues to exude a unique style and obviously seeks longevity in this game. “No Cap” is no different from the quality artistry Lowkey Kemp has given us. The grit and speed with which he delivers these bars are nothing short of mesmerizing. We’ve heard him talk shit before, but I don’t believe we’ve ever heard him go off like this.

Lowkey Kemp released his fourth studio project, Lowkey 3, February 2020. Listen on Apple Music!

While contemplating my review for this record, I had to tame my own enthusiasm for the LP with the realization that this music is far from typical hip-hop. The production is damn-near perfect, and the hook up will be stuck in your head for days (if you can rap it as fast Lowkey Kemp does. I have tried to no avail). His execution is well above-average for artists at his level and beyond.

The visual for “No Cap” takes place in Atlanta, Georgia and chronicles his press run. In what looks like damn good time, Lowkey Kemp maintains his Northeast OKC hometown persona. The Sedohr directed video complements this record exceptionally well and features breathtaking shots of the city.

Lowkey has continued to top himself yet again, proving that he is his only competition. His laid-back style is felt all through this record. It’s clear that this artist has no roof and will continue to keep rising. “No Cap” will not disappoint!

Check out the video below and listen to “No Cap” available on all streaming platforms!

Press Release: “Dope Girl Vol. 1”

DopeGirl Zhané
DopeGirl Vol. 1
Independent Artist

February 07, 2020

DopeGirl Zhané Releases Ambitious Debut EP “Dope Girl Vol. 1”

ATLANTA, GA— DopeGirl Zhané’s debut EP “DopeGirl Zhané” is unlike anything heard in the streets of Atlanta. This highly anticipated project is the perfect balance of infectious beats and emotive melodies. Zhané’s passion for music shines brightly through all six tracks. Her innovative style of hip-hop and R&B is a rare treat for music lovers.

DopeGirl Zhané is an artist, songwriter, and engineer born & raised in the city well known for influencing pop culture, Atlanta, GA. This soulful entertainer started planning her takeover since she was able to walk. Zhané has been hard at work performing on Atlanta’s most prominent independent artist stages and continues to prove that she belongs at the top.

She has traveled from Atlanta to Los Angeles, working with a who’s who of today’s top artists, gracing stages such as the MBE Music Conference, and hosting events. She was also a featured artist at Atlanta’s A3C Festival & Conference.

While building content for her upcoming projects, Zhané has made a name for herself and continues to develop her ever-growing brand in the industry. Her supporters have been patiently awaiting the debut project, “DopeGirl Vol. 1”. Few artists have been met with such a warm reception. The EP “DopeGirl Vol.1” is live across all music streaming platforms.

For more information on this dope artist, click here!

Press Release: Lowkey 3

Lowkey Kemp
Lowkey 3
Independent Artist

February 21, 2020

Lowkey Kemp Releases Third EP “Lowkey 3”

OKC, OK— Lowkey Kemp has created his own lane to success on the hip hop scene. With hard hitting no-nonsense music and great energy he’s poised to become a major player in the business for many years to come. He has a very distinctive sound and style of his own and proves to be a great asset to the game.

His new project “Lowkey 3” is nothing short of audible gold. From beginning to end, he commands your attention. Kemp continues to top himself with each record and this new installment is nothing short of impressive. His storytelling skills are addictive and shine on songs like “ISO G” and “To the Top”. The lead single “No Cap” (my personal favorite) is gaining traction across the country and catching the ear of thousands.

Lowkey Kemp’s supreme lyrical ability stands out on each track (especially his freestyle). The man is a lyrical genius and shares his creative process throughout the album in a radio interview. “Lowkey 3” is a supreme edition to his collection of EPs and an impressive follow up to his last project, “Kasey”. The strategically chosen artists and producers featured on the EP are also a bonus. This wordsmith left no stone unturned.

With his second album releasing soon, now is the best time to check out an artist that is making quite a buzz around Oklahoma City and beyond. Treat yourself to “Lowkey 3” and his previously released music available on all major streaming platforms. If you haven’t heard of him (you’re living under a rock), he will make a fan out of you!

You can listen to “Kemp 3” on Apple Music and Spotify.

Kiss and Tell Radio

In true Landon fashion, I’m late to the party once again. Recently, I’ve started listening to podcasts. For those of you unfamiliar with podcasts, as I was a couple of months ago, let me explain. A podcast is pretty much a talk radio show. You have some that are dreadfully boring (think NPR, I can’t stand it), and you have some podcasts that are ear candy. One of my favorites is “Kiss & Tell Radio”. Shar Jossell and Jayce Baron have amazing chemistry together and the conversations they have, make you wish you were in the room.

Shar Jossell and Jayce Baron are funny, informative and absolutely amazing.
Shar Jossell and Jayce Baron are funny, informative and absolutely amazing.

Knowing Shar personally, I can tell you that the girl can talk and is NEVER misinformed. I’ll be posting her show “Shar Says So” here as well. Visit her website SharSaysSo.com. She’s definitely someone you want to check out! When she says she’s “a grown ass woman, with grown ass opinions”, she ain’t lyin’!

Jayce Baron is a writer, social entrepreneur, and advocate for the LGBT millennial. (I got that from his website, but if that doesn’t make him sound absolutely interesting, you’re crazy.) Jayce is handsome, smart and very funny! To learn more about Jayce, visit JayceBaron.com.

These two have one of the best podcasts I’ve heard. If you’re new to podcasts or have never heard one, I’d start here. This is what good podcasts/ good conversations sound like.

So click here to fall in to Kiss and Tell Radio. I have to go catch up on Episode Three! Ciao.

Back To School Encouragement

I remember my first days of school like yesterday. The most vivid is the year I went to sixth grade. Everything had to be prefect; my haircut had to be fresh, my school uniform needed to be clean and crispy, I was so serious, I even needed my school supplies to be top notch. Although none of this kept me from being bullied for the gaps in my teeth and not having facial hair, I still managed to be one of the coolest kids in school.

Sixth grade was a turning point for me socially. Here I was, this eleven year old kid who didn’t feel like a kid anymore. This was my first step into adulthood (or so I thought.) I remember feeling like one of the “big kids”. I wasn’t in elementary school anymore. Middle school was a Rite of Passage for kids at my school. Most of us had been there since Pre-K. Since I was a third grade import, I was always a target for bullying. By sixth grade, I had made my mark. No more bullying, no more confusion as to what my place was in the grade school food chain, I had finally made it.

My only trouble was, I was so busy keeping up with my peers that I failed to keep up with my studies. I was an extremely smart kid. I had some trouble in math but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. When I was in 1st grade I was reading at an eighth grade level. But being a smart kid didn’t make me cool.

Everyone else was goofing off so, of course, I went along with it. I skipped class and tormented substitute teachers, pulled girls by their ponytails and bullied the weaker species of children. I was a riot. My friends loved it, my teachers hated it, and my mom was stressed out. It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that I started taking my education seriously (that lasted until sophomore year of college, but that’s another story for another time.)

There are a lot of children going back to school today and I’m sharing this story to let them know that it’s okay to be smart. Don’t be ashamed of your desire to learn. Let the talents and skill that you possess grow without hindrance. Think of yourself as a seed. The more water you consume, the more you’ll flourish. Allow yourself to grow and don’t let the other seeds in the garden block your sunlight. That incredible genius inside of you is ready to thrive. The athlete that you want to be is restless and ready to get out there and impress everyone.

There will be some distractions but the more you focus on the positive things, the better off you will be in the future. The same people who bullied me for being a “dork” are the same people who want to work with me now because I’m great at what I do. I didn’t make all of the right decisions to get here, but I made it. You can do the same, but you have people like me who learned the hard way so you don’t have to. Be smart, be fearless, and always be amazing; because that’s exactly what you are.

Cultural Appropriation Crash Course

I’m not someone who takes offense easily, but when I do, I get pretty pissed off about it. I watched a video posted by sixteen-year old Amandla Stenberg about culture appropriation. “Culture Approriation” is defined as the adoption of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group, especially if the adoption is of an oppressed people’s cultural elements by members of the dominant culture. Basically, it’s when White people put dreads in their hair without understanding the cultural representation of them.

Watch this video that Amandla posted. She can explain it better than I can:

The question at the end of this video has haunted me since I first heard it.

“What would America be like, if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?”

Amandla has faced some backlash. (Mostly from people missing the point altogether.) This girl is not stirring up the pot, but rather pointing out black culture. I am also thrown off when I see people who aren’t Black exhibiting Black culture as a fashion statement, but dismiss the social ills coming from that culture. Don’t get me wrong: I love LEARNING from other cultures. But you won’t catch me wearing a bindi, commercial use of Kente cloth or using Chinese characters without respecting the history behind it. It’s cultural appropriation when the culture is watered down, commercialized, and used in a comical manner. Period.

Now before you all start flooding my comments, let me make this clear; This cultural appropriation is not just about Black hair, style, music, etc. It’s about understanding and respecting the culture behind it. I have seen so many people miss the point entirely because their ignorance won’t allow them to see the bigger picture.  It’s not simply about culture, it’s also about the race of the people behind the culture. We’re not just talking about Black people, but people of all races.

Respect the culture, respect the race of people it comes from and treat them like human beings. We have much to learn from each other if we could stop the hate and ignorance we constantly display against on another.

Ray Tennyson: Artist Extraordinaire

I love to see my fellow Oklahomans doing great things! So am I am super excited to feature Mr. Ray Tennyson.

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Ray Tennyson creates the most beautiful works of art! He’s also created one-of-a-kind pieces for Kim Zolciak and Keri Hilson among others! It’s truly incredible.

ray and Keri
Ray & Keri Hilson

Ray's portrait of Kroy Biermann on Bravo's
Ray’s portrait of Kroy Biermann on Bravo’s “Don’t Be Tardy”

From OKC Thunder players to beautiful couples, Ray Tennyson has made quite a name for himself in Oklahoma City and beyond. Like so many others, I’m a huge fan of his work and I especially LOVE the OKC Thunder paintings! He captures the athletes in a very powerful way. His paintings command your attention and are always immaculate.

Ray's portraits of the OKC Thunder. Full collection on display
Ray’s portraits of the OKC Thunder. Full collection on display. Pretty dope right?

As I’m writing this I can’t help but to think of how awesome it must be to see your work on television. I’d freak out every single time. I just want a local news anchor to plug my blog one time. Lol! But this isn’t about me…

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Chris Brown showing love on IG.

So Ray just painted an adorable portrait of Chris Brown and his daughter, Royalty. It’s one of my favorites because I think Royalty is just the cutest baby. I said it’s ONE of my favorites because of this next masterpiece… (keep scrolling)

Look. At. This. I'm not even a Lebron fan, but I appreciate the beauty of this painting.
Look. At. This. I’m not even a Lebron fan, but I appreciate the beauty of this painting. I just need a wall to put it on… *sigh*

I’m not going to show you all everything. I think you understand just how incredibly talented Ray Tennyson is. You’ll have to check out his website to see more of his gorgeous art. If you want a portrait of your own, head over to www.RayTennyson.com for prices. Print of his paintings are available as well! You can also follow him on Instagram (RayTennyson) and follow his process. It’s pretty cool to watch him work. Ray’s passion for art definitely shines through in his work. Thank you, Ray, for continuing to inspire others and adding beauty to the world!

You can also catch him at Studio XII on June 26th at 7pm!

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