Kiretha Pratt: Artist Evolution

This month, I wanted to highlight some people, mostly creative spirits, that I find inspiring because of their gifts and hustler mentality. Many of us dream about “stepping out on faith” and pursuing our God given talents and entrepreneurial dreams, but for various reasons few of us succeed. The human-interest subjects that I have chosen to highlight in this series are people that literally started with a dream, limited funds and massive faith to create a path to their dream life. I find that the common denominator in many successful people is evidence of a spiritual journey that is interwoven with their route to career success, and these are the types of questions that I delve into during my interviews with each person. First up, let me introduce Kiretha Pratt, phenomenal visual artist and actress.

I first met Kiretha back in 2007, when I committed to doing a play entitled Girl Talk. The play was about a church affiliated book club where the topics discussed were about much more than the assigned book. I played a character, which was a lesbian friend of one of the regular members and was invited to participate in the book club. One night after rehearsal, one of the young ladies that was helping out backstage came up to me and introduced herself as Kiretha, a budding actress and a Believer. She specifically wanted to know if the character I portrayed was how I viewed myself in real life, and I said, “Yes, I am unapologetically Christian and openly gay”. I gave her my info and we agreed to stay in touch. I loved her bold and candid approach in asking me about such a taboo subject, so she intrigued me. I also figured that this was not a “chance meeting”, since I believe that everyone in my life is placed there by Divine order.

The thing that I have always admired about Kiretha is her joy; despite her circumstances, she always gets back to that place of joy. She has dealt with homelessness, betrayal, devastating loss, and a multitude of life’s other challenges, but every time I see her, she is filled with joy and gratitude. Celebration, spirituality and empowerment are the words that leap into my mind when I view Kiretha’s pieces and I wanted to delve into the journey that birthed such beauty.

Another quality that I admire about Kiretha is her constantly evolving style. I feel like one of the things that showcase a person’s spiritual growth is their sense of personal style. Kiretha is so talented at taking the simplest of materials and thrift store finds to craft bohemian ensembles that thoroughly convey the quirkiness of her personality. Every time I see this Queen, she represents pure artistry from the stunning hair colors and styles to her unique accessories. When I arrived to interview her early on Sunday morning, she did not disappoint, greeting me with her bubbly demeanor wearing some beautiful African print harem pants topped by a burgundy knit tank. Her fashionably shaved head was coiffed with grey silky locs and since we were comfortably at her home, no shoes were needed. I love her Afrocentric Boho Chic style from head to toe.

Who is Kiretha Pratt, the artist? She defines herself as “ an optimist, a healer, a lover, childlike, affectionate, passionate, open to life and open to accepting new things and being compassionate towards people.” Being open to learning new things, such as Kemetic history and other spiritual beliefs besides orthodox Christianity has, in her opinion, allowed her art to become more robust. Expanding her consciousness caused her to give more depth to her subject matter and express her passion for seeing the beauty in everyone. “ I see things in people that they may not see in themselves and I want to bring that out in them. I am a believer of others, and that’s art within itself, loving people, seeing the beauty in others.”

Kiretha’s initial supporter of her creativity was her Mother, Sylena Pratt. “My Mom always bought me art supplies to encourage my creativity, even though I always made a mess. LOL She would threaten to stop buying me things like colored sand or beads, but she never did. That was true love, her belief in me was her way of showing true love. She always kept me in dance class or any activity that allowed me to explore my artistic side, and I always wondered why she used to do that, but now I know it was because she saw something in me, she believed in me.”

Kiretha experienced horrible tragedy as a teen in 2002, when her Mother was killed accidentally while crossing the street on Christmas Eve. She was 15 at the time and the experience left her numb with grief, which also numbed her creative gifts. Her father passed away when she was 11, so this loss left her to navigate life alone. “I had to learn to live at 15 and I went through some shit. I stayed away from painting for 12 years because the last thing that I wanted to do was something to remind me that my Mom wasn’t physically present. “   During this difficult period, Kiretha became involved with the creative arts ministry at a prominent local church where she was able to exercise her acting gifts and keep some creative juices flowing. Meanwhile, she also began dealing with her burgeoning sexuality, simply put she discovered she liked women. Unfortunately, this got out to the well-meaning “church folk” who considered it sinful behavior and publicly shamed her.

This very un-Jesus-like behavior emotionally scarred her towards “church folk” and a relationship with the punishing God she had been taught about. “The God I was taught about in church was an evil God, I was motivated by fear. I was always walking on eggshells with God. They always talked about being perfectly flawed, but you really couldn’t be flawed and not be shamed.” The major difference in her belief system now is the freedom to be exactly who she is without condemnation. “Now I feel free! The God I serve now makes me feel protected. When you really decide to take that leap of faith to learn about God for yourself, that’s the real leap of faith. The God I serve now, I feel like I can go to about anything. I like this God.”

We have had so many candid conversations about how she came to learn God for herself, on her own terms and how different God is from what she was taught. Even uncertainty about the concepts of the Trinity and organized religion does not keep us from really knowing God, simply because God uniquely connects to each and every person on this planet in the way that is most beneficial and effective for that individual. I believe that Kiretha’s constant pursuit of God and acceptance of herself is what led to this being her appointed time to show the world her skills.

By developing her personal spiritual practices, like meditation, connecting with her tribal rhythms at the Malcolm X Park Drum Circle and above all, constant prayer, Kiretha has released her Divine gifts. That spiritual light burst through and manifested in an explosion of artistic expression!

Moving to Baltimore in 2015 proved to be the catalyst that reignited her return to her first love of fine visual art. Being surrounded by a community of artists reminded Kiretha of her own gifts and she desired to see what she could do. “It was kind of like a Divine tap that said, Kiretha don’t forget this is your gift, don’t forget this is what used to make you happy.” So she took the time to relearn her craft and stepped out on faith and simply created her own lane.

At the core of Kiretha’s being, she is a true Hustler and Survivor. Instead of Jack of all Trades, I like to call her the Queen of the Art Hustle because she is one of the few women I know who is actually sustaining herself through faith in her artistic abilities. Kiretha is a woman of many passions and talents; painting, acting, photography, clothing designer, model and hair stylist…she does quite a few things, and does them very well.

“I wanted to be able to have complete control of my life and being artist gave me that ability. Art has always been a part of my life so decided to pursue it as a career. I also have a passion for teaching people about nutrition and exercise.” Her future goals include opening a facility for homeless singles and an art space for others to explore their creativity.

Being the music lover that I am, I was curious to know what artists get Kiretha in the zone to create. “I like Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper, Future, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Bas, FKA Twigs, Erykah Badu, The Hics. I like a mixture of HipHop, R&B, jazz, anything that gets me there. If I can imagine myself in the video, I can be a little hood, I can be a little gangsta, you know, that’s what I like.”

Kiretha’s images celebrate the unique strength and beauty of the feminine form. The vibrant colors and brilliant layers to each piece celebrate the majesty and multi-hued beauty of the women of the diaspora. The joy that flows from her soul onto the canvas is indicative of the passion she puts into her work. “I paint women because I appreciate them. When people see my paintings they gravitate towards them because they appreciate them, and that is something I desire. I am a woman and I thought I was supposed to be appreciated. I feel like Black women are the most disrespected people on the planet, and since I am one, I know what it feels like to want respect. I want Black women to know how beautiful they are in their many colors. I paint out of my own hurt and desire for respect.”

Creation is a very emotional experience and she feels very connected to each piece. “It’s a struggle to part with my art once I create it, I really don’t like to sell it and I pray that when I do sell it, it goes to the person that it was created for. Selling commissioned paintings feel a bit different because it means that someone has trusted me with creating art for them.”

Kiretha has been getting booked for art shows and selling her commissioned paintings for wages that are representative of her worth. She has showcased and painted live at various art events in the DMV area. Her talent even piqued the attention of the internationally acclaimed RAW Artists organization.  Kiretha Pratt is destined for greatness and I know that her testimony and heart for her community will compel her to reach back and tell her story to other youth in her situation. God always gives Beauty for Ashes and Kiretha is a perfect example of this. I declare that with talent like hers, Kiretha will soon be known as one of this generation’s great contemporary African American female artists.


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Head-Roc: Black Leon Album Review

Aural Appreciation Fridays: Current Music in Wani’s World

Head Roc: Black Leon Album Review

 The Black Leon Project by Head_Roc

Since this is Black Music Month, as proclaimed by President Obama, I decided to start my music review feature by focusing on one of my favorite DMV artists, who should get more shine in my opinion. I’m all for diversity in music but I feel like the artists who display any sort of political opinion or overt pride in their Blackness get absolutely no airplay on mainstream sources, because of the corporate takeover of media. One of the reasons that I have always admired Head-Roc is because of his unapologetic love for his culture and his Chocolate City, before and after gentrification set in. I had the chance to pose some questions to Head-Roc, which he eloquently answered, and I will include below after my review.

Wow, what can I say about this dude. Me and Heady, as I like to call him, go waaay back like penny candies from the corner store! Back in the early 90’s, I began my foray into journalism by starting a newsletter called Strictly For The Underground. Back then, I tried to really immerse myself in local hip hop culture and I was always posted up at State of the Union on U St for the ciphers and DJ sets. There was a sea of wannabe MCs but the group that stood out to me was Infinite Loop, DC’s version of the Wu Tang Clan. As it turned out, Head-Roc was my neighbor, living right up the block from me on 12th St NE, so we ended up hanging out. I used to chill with him and his roommate DJ Marv on Friday nights after work just sitting around making mixtapes, hitting blunts and politicking about Hip Hop and life. He used to burn this really fragrant incense and I always liked the vibe of he and his folks because they were respectful and never tried to push up on me. One of us would cook, and he would supply the herb and the atmosphere. Even over the years, whenever I would run into him or one of the Loop crew, it was always love.

I have known Head-Roc from his early days of spitting that gully shit to his evolution into conscious, informative, revolutionary Hip Hop. One of the things that I admire most about Heady is his tenacity. As the business of Hip Hop has evolved it has become evident that in order to thrive on your own terms as an artist, it is necessary to create your own lane. Heady recognized this early on and has stayed on his hustle, bypassing all the traps of lyrical and beat trends and keeping it authentic, always repping DC and Black culture. As he matured spiritually and emotionally, it couldn’t help but be reflected in his art. From grimy to punk to his current project, Black Leon, which takes it back to the essence of soulful samples, Afrobeat horns and clever storytelling.

In the vein of Public Enemy and M1, Head-Roc spits that politically charged, revolutionary Black love hip hop that needs to be in rotation to encourage the masses.  His concepts of Black Rock Star Superhero, Sistar, and even Black Leon aka Napoleon is appropriate in a time when much of what we hear in Hip Hop is drug induced, misogynistic and lyrically mundane.  Yo, I like a good twerk song as much as the average club goer, but damn can we get some balance?

Conscious without corniness is his lane and he stays in it with each track.  This brother should be on tours at festivals like Afropunk, AFRAM and other diaspora oriented music festivals. One of my favorite tracks is C’mon Home, lamenting the erosion of Hip Hop anchored in Black Love and inviting artists to once again create from this perspective. His official theme song, Black Rock Star Super Hero, is about exactly what it sounds like…an audio graphic novel encouraging us to love ourselves and be our own saviors. The Afrobeat inspired Love The Way She Dance is a lyrically tantalizing take on a 21st century love song. Heady’s storytelling prowess shines through on Bully, where you can envision clearly how the situation went down at the bar. I’m sure many of us can relate to the drunken fuckery that can suddenly turn a chill situation into an “I might need some bail money” situation. His candor and transparency on Write My Life and INVANCIBLE give a chronological picture into his spiritual evolution over the past two decades.

I have always felt that baring your soul through your art is what makes it unique and relatable, which is what Head-Roc does on these songs. The Black Ink produced project, Black Leon is a must buy for music lovers of all genres because it is simply good music that comes from an authentic well of passion for both People of Color and DC, formerly known as Chocolate City. Support my Brother Head-Roc, the Black Rock Star Superhero, by adding it to your music collection and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • What was the catalyst for your switch to conscious music?

I’d have to say the catalyst was probably my relationship with my now ex-wife and mother of my daughter. This was some years ago now, about 2002/2003, and during the eve of the 2nd Persian Gulf War invasion of Iraq. She is of Iraqi and Palestinian descent, and so I have the experience of watching someone I love go through a hell I could not imagine… save to relate it to history of my own peoples as enslaved Africans and their descendants. It took some time, but once I began to understand how the histories of our Peoples connect with relationship to managing the challenges of living with the decisions of White Supremacy, I began to walk the path of social justice anchored artistic expression. First, I directed my art to support in favor of my ex-wife’s Arab heritage against the beast, and later I would do so for my own heritage as a descendant of enslaved Africans brought to the Americas to build European wealth.

  • If you were offered a distribution deal with a major label again, would you take it?
  • Why or why not?

Let me say that I am a businessman and so yes, I would entertain the overture by a major label to distribute my art. Of course, and it’s no secret, it’d have to be a situation and arrangement where the culture of all things Head-Roc is present in how business is done.


  • Do you find racism to be more prevalent in the US or overseas when dealing with promoters?

I’d have to say, for my experience, racism here in the US is way more prevalent as well as covert – making it harder to detect. I’ve been overseas (I Love It!) and have had a few instances where someone didn’t want to be next to me for no apparent reason other than that I’m Black – Maybe. Over here in the US, where I am a natural born American, I am, overtly or clandestinely, continuously under fire for declaring pride in my African Heritage, and pointing out the tremendous impact enslaving Africans to build wealth played in the founding and subsequent progression of this Nation.

  • How would you advise young artists to proceed when attempting to get paid for a gig?

As with any Profession, when you are first getting started there is a vetting process. Amongst your crew; artist peers; family; friends, open mic organizers, venues, concert promoters, the press, radio, etc. You have to make it through all the layers to be considered valuably marketable to invest time and resources organizing shows where all parties involved are taken care of financially. This “right of passage” process can take years, and sometimes decades, to accomplish. Once you reach that level, my advice to artists is be sure to hold true to the value of your request for financial compensation for your services.

  • How many members of the original Infinite Loop are still pursuing music or the music business?

One Two, Theory, and Grizz record, release and rock together as A.R.K. I’m working with Face (One Two’s partner in Organnic Symmetry). L.O.S from 13 degrees East (Theory’s partner with D-Man), DJ RBI is the Top DJ in Chocolate City, Jarobi (ATCQ) is Rhyming with Dres (Black Sheep) in EVITAN as well as enjoying being a rock star in the Culinary World. Platted Mind (Blas) is gearing up for a Solo Release.

  • What lessons did you learn from your daughter that you have incorporated into your musical style and content?

The lesson that I have learned from my daughter Jahmila is to remain genuine. Every Album I’ve released since my daughter was born, has been approved by her. She likes her daddy’s art expression a certain way; energized and crisp, not too docile or chill. That’s how she knows me, full of energy and always looking for and/or leading the next adventure. She likes the songs I create that pay tribute to the people we admire, and she like my “story” songs. I’d be remiss if I also didn’t not ad that she does like the songs where I big up myself and talk a little smack. J

  • Are you going to run for Mayor of DC in the future? City Council, Ward Council?

I have been asked many times these same questions by a few folks with the power and influence to help organize an effort that would result in a resounding win for the Citizens of Chocolate City. Right now, I’m focused on continuing my sustainability and securing my future so that I can remain a producing artist to the end. In that space, I am always looking for a Black Rock Star Super Hero DC local candidate to back with the weight and influence of the name and brand I have been building the last 25 years.

  • Do you think politics and musical expression, especially hip-hop, naturally go together?

Absolutely. In my research, observation, and opinion Black music in America is born out of political repression; meaning since our enslavers wouldn’t let us express ourselves in the normal course and flow of decent conversation, we had to revert to natures #1 soul expression: music. Hip-Hop is a link in the chain of development of Black music expression. Early Hip-Hop music has deep political expressive roots. Why? Because of it’s effectiveness to reach communities living under a system that worked to stifle Black/Brown expression. That’s its origins, and I am happy to play my part continuing the tradition as we move into the future.


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Taste of 3 Cities Baltimore Food Truck Festival: The Diabetic Gourmet Review


Taste of 3 Cities Food Truck Festival in Baltimore 

About last weekend, once again I got to indulge my passions of finding great street food, live music and enjoying some Baltimore people watching in the sunshine. This time, I actually had a goal, which was to see if I could make healthy food choices from the trucks represented and if the foods were really viable options for my picky palate. I mean, let’s keep it real, most food truck festivals serve food of the greasy, sweet comfort variety, and my will power is not always on point, so most of the time I will go for the funnel cake over the low fat sorbet or the gyro fries over the Greek salad. Just being real, that’s why I call myself #thediabeticgourmet. My gourmet palate overrides the usually bland healthier options sometimes.  Anyhow, with my trusty, health conscious BFF in tow, we headed to Baltimore’s Patterson Park to check out the action.

I have some stipulations that I go by when deciding which food trucks to try. First of all, there should be some type of line that indicates people are willing to wait for your culinary creations.. Secondly, if you advertise some type of grilled food, I should smell smoke and hopefully see some wafting up from behind your truck. Last of all, your signage and customer service should be welcoming. If you can’t take the time to adorn your place of business properly and greet your paying customers, then I’m not sure you put your best effort into the food prep either. Of course, cleanliness is a must, I need to see some plastic gloves and please don’t have the same person touching the money and the food.  With all of this in mind, here are my choices for the healthiest food trucks at Taste of 3 Cities Baltimore.

The first truck we stopped at was Crossroads Bistro, owned and operated by Brian and Nicole. All of their options looked delish but I settled on the Vietnamese veggie cannolis, with an Asian sesame dipping sauce. These were really good and the veggies were perfectly seasoned and roasted, with the sauce not being overpowering. I had to pace myself already because they were a bit filling and I had a long way to go. My friend ordered the Spanish Coney Island chili dogs, not as healthy but quite tasty. I couldn’t resist one small bite, for the sake of good journalism, you know?  Their customer service was excellent because they even provided us with some sunscreen while we waited for our order. We got there early to beat the crowds but the sun was blazing early as well. Just a random thought, I don’t recall having to use sunscreen as a kid. I thought melanin was the ultimate sunscreen but oh well, I guess the ozone layer is gone for real.

Next stop was the Pepsi promo stand where they were handing out sample shots of the new Pepsi Ginger cola, 1893. I’m neither a soda nor alcohol drinker but if I did, this would be the perfect mixer for some dark liquor like Bourbon or Cognac. Again, not particularly healthy but I’m sure I did no damage with that tiny shot glass. Right behind them was the Old Bay truck, handing out samples of snack mixes seasoned with Old Bay. The unique combinations, that included white chocolate chips and Chex Mix and popcorn were interesting enough for me to try them.  My first attempt to take a handful caused me to drop the whole cup. I figured that was God telling me to move along to the next truck, not worth the carbs. So I listened and moved on…

It was time to quench my thirst now since the heat was beating down and my little bottle of water was now warm. We came up on a Russian Food truck that served Birch Juice, straight from the Birch tree. I had never heard of such a thing but I was willing to try, it looked very refreshing and the Russian couple in line waiting for their Blini order encouraged us to try it. A quick Google search revealed some of the health benefits of Birch juice such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, Vitamins B and C and amino acids, all of which our bodies crave. I was pleasantly surprised by its lightly sweetened almost maple-like flavor, kind of like a flavored water. I can’t really compare it to another flavor because well, it was unique but definitely drinkable.

Now on to the real test, I decided to try the Goganics truck, simply because their food looked so good and clearly the name implied healthy. They had a few shrimp dishes but I chose the quinoa salad because I am really trying to like it. I’m ashamed to admit that I decided to take it home but it is still in my fridge, a week later. LOL. I really need to stop fooling myself but it looked so appealing, with the roasted peppers, red onions and feta cheese all crumbled on top. I think it’s a texture thing with me but the flavor was great. To be fair, all of their offerings like Lemon Pepper Wings and Shrimp Po Boys would have been my choice any other day, when I wasn’t attempting the healthiest options. I plan to go back and order a proper meal to really get the whole Goganic flavor experience.

My next to last stop of the day was the Koco Food Truck, which specialized in Korean food, which I absolutely love! Now, I can make a mean Bulgogi myself, so when I tasted their sample and it melted in my mouth, I was hooked. They offered what I thought was the best option for a flavorful protein packed meal without the starch of rice or bread. I had the BiBimBap bowl, which is an explosion of deliciousness in your mouth. It is comprised of the proteins of your choice, I chose Beef Bulgogi, along with cucumbers, carrots, spinach, bean sprouts and mushrooms. I had mine topped with an egg and some spicy Siracha sauce and I was in foodie heaven! That should have been my last stop but sadly my carb cravings took over and I succumbed to the hype of the Gypsy Queen truck’s Crabcake Cone. The Crabcake was good and so were the fries but the sauce they used was slathered on so much that it overpowered the flavors of the dish. I was kinda salty that I spent my $15 and couldn’t even eat it because it got so soggy so quickly. That was my greed kicking in.   I wanted to support the Jammin Flava truck but I didn’t smell any jerk coming from it when I walked by so I wasn’t sure it was going to be worth my dollars. By then, I was stuffed anyway so I didn’t need to even look at anymore food. This was definitely a great foodie event and I look forward to the next one. It is feasible to have all healthy food options at a Food truck festival, controlling my cravings is the real issue. Oh well, I love good food and it is what it is. Guess I need to amp up my exercise again and keep on cooking because clearly I’m not strong enough for outside options yet.  This weekend its off to NYC, Brooklyn to be exact and I’m eating on a budget and being health conscious so we shall see how it goes…

#TheGathering and #TheArtistsCompound will be putting on similar events all summer in the Baltimore area in case you missed the event. The next one will be at the Hollywood Diner Food truck park on 6/17. All information is listed at and




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Food, Glorious Food and Art and Music: Baltimore’s Gathering of the Arts

Food, glorious food, and art and music. All of my favorite things in 1 place! This was the scene of Baltimore’s Food truck, art and music festival held this past weekend at the Hollywood Diner Food truck park at 400 E. Saratoga St near downtown Baltimore. I had a bit of a health scare earlier this month so I had to take a break from writing to regroup and heal but this was the perfect event for me to jump back into the action. Not perfect for the culinary temptations but definitely what I needed to entertain and motivate me.

Let me start by saying that although Baltimore gets a bad rap in the media, I have gotten nothing but love from the arts community and the folks that run The organizers of this event, aptly called “The Gathering”, created an eclectic mix of musicians, performance artists, visual artists, DJs and dancers to keep the event exciting for all tastes and ages. The festival location made it a beacon for, let’s say Bmore’s more colorful residents, some of whom clearly had love for the CoCo and that Drank..if you don’t get that reference, ask your kids. LOL. However, the unique mix of artsy folks, military vets and music lovers of all ages and races blended well together. There was the requisite hipster smell of patchouli in the air, but thankfully it was pushed out by someone hitting that good good and of course the delicious smells wafting out of the food trucks. The food options were definitely for “cheat day” only, especially for those of us watching our diets. The cheating was definitely worth the carbs! The GrrChe and Greek on the Street trucks had succulent selections like Greek fries tossed with olive oil, feta and parsley or a Jalapeño popper grilled cheese on sourdough. Since I was already in cheat mode, I even got grown and sampled a cocktail, a Strawberry Lemonade Vodka Punch. I couldn’t hang and passed it off to my partner but, the few sips I drank were quite tasty!

The selection of artwork was interesting but I was most drawn to a slowly sunburning Mike Ruzika and his son selling gemstones and crystals, custom cutting them to your preference right on site. I don’t think I have ever seen a vendor bring his stonecutter equipment to an event. Dude was serious about that thing and we got into a great conversation about crystals and their different healing properties. He even schooled me to something called “record keeper crystals” which are purported to contain wisdom and energy from the geological events that formed them. I am always drawn to unique information and his gems were beautiful, I will definitely be contacting him for some new jewelry pieces.

Now to the most important thing…the music.

There were 2 stages of musicians and DJs covering the gamut of genres from folk to Baltimore club music and everything in between. I started on the left side stage, cause it was closest to the food. Yep, being the foodie I am.  The performances consisted of a few bluesy folk groups whose music evoked the political mood of the country surrounding this upcoming election. The standouts, in my opinion were, the “Dido-esque” songstress Sara Hurwitz who alternated between the piano and acoustic guitar to convey her political angst. She kinda lost me though when she proclaimed that she does not vote…I mean isn’t that part of the problem? Another favorite was Conor Brendan and the Wild Hunt, whose voice was simply sublime. He reminded me of a mix of Adam Levine and John Mayer. A special shout out to the belly dancer Liz Slaterbeck and acrobatic dancer Lindsey Golden, whose eye catching costumes and performances added yet another dimension to this festival.

So, being the Hip Hop head that I am, I was ecstatic to see the DJs setting up on the second stage. I mean I was cool with the other music, but well, you know my steez. DJ Stylo got it started spinning a hot house set, until I messed up his groove by engaging him in a conversation about blending beats. LOL, Sorry dude, but you still worked it. However, my new favorite DJ, Styletto shut it DOWN with her set! She started it out easy with some current joints but then she slid into the Caribbean/Afrobeat set and I damn near lost my mind! She hit the Major Lazer, “Bumaye Watch out Fi Dis”, Sean Paul’s One Wine and then my current theme song, Rihanna’s Work. She had the whole crowd wining down to the ground…homeless, senior citizens and the youth going crazy. Of course she had to slip in some classic MJ and Crystal Waters for the old house heads in the crowd…yo, Styletto slayed Period. Let’s just say I got my steps in that day, despite the doctor’s orders to take it easy. I just can’t resist a good wining song, it must be the Trini in me.  Bmore Dance group took over the end of the evening with some Bmore style house dancing and B-boying. All in all, I must say this was a wonderful event, no drama and everyone unified by music, art and community love. Looking forward to the next Artists Compound event.




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Bmore Artists Feel The Bern


Let me start this off by saying that politics are not my normal subject matter but I felt that I should explain why I’m really feeling “The Bern” after this past weekend. I attended a rally at the Hollywood Diner Food Truck Park, down on Saratoga St, which was organized by various grassroots community groups. One of the main event organizers was Chasz Sollmer, founder of, one of the areas best marketing and networking opportunities for DMV area artists. As we were chatting about me blogging for her organization, she mentioned that she was hosting this rally for Bernie Sanders and I was a bit intrigued because I think that art and politics make strange bedfellows. She explained that she wanted to do this rally to show that artists in the Baltimore area and nearby cities really do support the Bern’s platform, despite the media’s attempts to basically ignore coverage of his campaign efforts.


Until Chasz made this point, I never really paid attention to the lack of Bern coverage, I was simply sick of hearing the Trump bullshit. This made me realize that I had pretty much counted Sanders out simply because I hear so much about Hilary. Now, I used to be down with Hilary until Scandal came out and now I can’t help but think that the Mellie character is based a little bit on her. As a matter of fact, now that I am fully awake and realize that whether I like it or not, the political process has quite a bit of bearing on my life and livelihood. For this reason, I decided to really investigate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ record and how he articulates his position on the issues that affect me. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I admit that my interest in him was originally piqued when a few of my favorite rappers endorsed him…Killer Mike, Scarface and Bun B. Yeah, I know that’s juvenile but hey I’m influenced by my idols sometimes. LOL


Anyway, not only does he meticulously lay out his response to numerous societal ills but he also provides sustainable solutions and the methods to pay for these proposals.   The Bern is on point with reforming Wall St, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBT rights, Medicare and Free Higher education for all, empowering Native American tribal nations, increasing and improving Veteran services, complete economic reform for Puerto Rico, increasing minimum wage to $15 and generally working to close the widening economic gap between the filthy rich and the working class. The list is quite comprehensive and frankly sounds more genuine than Hilary’s explanations of the same issues.


This authenticity is what I believe his supporters connect with. I mean, Sen. Sanders has been grinding it out on the fight for social justice since the 60’s! Although The Bern did not attend the rally in Baltimore, his passionate supporters showed up about 1000 strong and marched in the rain to rep for him. Since these were representatives of Baltimore’s arts community, it was a very eclectic and diverse mix. I saw all races, the ages ranged from college students to seniors, vegans and carnivores, Wiccans and Baptists, all loving the Bern. Shout out to DJ B-Side who kept the crowd moving in between musical performances. A special shout out goes to Courtney from Craving Potato Factory who hooked me up with the massive Old Bay Lump Crab potato. If my trainer is reading this now, I know I’m going to pay for it, but it was worth the extra cardio.  A final thumbs up to The Artists Compound for a well-organized event and I am looking forward to the next one. Next up, The Gathering of the Arts on 4/16.




Juggling for BernRockin Out for the Bern
Cats for Bernie

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