Recently signed Interscope Records artist, Jarad A. Higgins aka Juice Wrld, dies at 21. The Lucid Dreams × Robbery rapper passes soon after being admitted into a Chicago hospital. Details as to what actually caused death is still unknown.
According to TMZ, he suffered a seizure and died shortly after landing his private jet in Chi-town.
In the latest episode of ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl! podcast, hosts Cori Murray and Charli Penn talk to Whitney Houston’s confidante Robyn Crawford—who reveals a side of the iconic singer that only ESSENCE can share.
While at the height of a whirlwind tour promoting her book, A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston, Crawford shares her own truth with the Yes, Girl! team on life with Houston—weighing in on everything from their bond, the first time they met, their friendship after Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown came on the scene and more. She shares with ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl! (time codes included):
ON WHAT WHITNEY WOULD WANT [12:09-12:35]: “…I asked myself that question, what would Whitney want? What would Whitney want? So my intent is to raise my friend’s legacy, honor our friendship because that’s what she deserves. That’s how I feel…”
ON BEING YOUNG, FEARLESS AND FREE WITH WHITNEY [15:06-15:36]:“…We were young, fearless, and ready, and I was a believer. It was happening. Everything she said was happening. She didn’t talk like, ‘I’m going to have a hit record and we’re going to…’ It was none of that. It was like, ‘I’m a singer. I sing. I’m going to get a recording contract, and stick with me and I’ll take you all around the world.’ And that’s exactly what happened…”
ON THE FIRST TIME THEY MET [17:20-17:50]:“…It all happened at that first meeting when I walked in and we met that day. It just clicked, something happened, and it was just a friendship that developed and it kept growing and growing. And it was deep because we were open, we were bare, we were naked. And when I mean naked, with our feelings and we didn’t think about what we were saying, we just said it…”
ON ROBYN’S BOND WITH WHITNEY [26:52 – 27:46]: “It was the bond, and the deepness, and the connection that we had. And it was beautiful. Those moments…I know I am very free when I express it in the book. And that’s because that’s what that moment felt like. Whitney used to always say, if you want a friend, you have to be one. If you love me, love me unconditionally. And that was something else for me to strive for, understanding what the word unconditional meant. And the love that I had for her was really deep. And that love she had for me was the same…”
ON HER FRIENDSHIP WITH WHITNEY AFTER SHE MARRIED BOBBY [35:42 – 38:04]: “…I did not know Bobby before the wedding. We never really got a chance to know each other. And, when they became a couple, I still really didn’t get to spend any quality time with both of them. But, while I will say about Bobby is she told me she loved him. And his behavior and the way I saw him treat her… let’s just say this about Bobby, Bobby’s behaviors played out in the press. And he and I were not squaring off in Everlast shorts and boxing gloves. That never happened. I was still in the same spot that Whitney always wanted me to be. Bobby never approached me personally and said anything to me about the rumors of our relationship. Not once. But I watched him make a mess of her trail. Bobby was funny. He had a way of shifting the attention to him anywhere, any place, at any time. That was Bobby’s talent….But I wasn’t competing for anything. I had her friendship. I was her friend. And he could have been a better friend too…”
Essence Communications is the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 20.2 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival. Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent Black-owned, technology-driven company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pens an exclusive op-ed for ESSENCE.com entitled, Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Good. In this piece, she talks about the threat that young students of color face every day, rethinking the approach to public education and public safety and more. She states:
“In the 1990’s, hundreds of police officers were deployed to public schools across the country as a component of the war on drugs and later in response to school shootings. Today, at least fourteen million students attend schools staffed with a police officer — but without a single counselor, social worker, psychologist, or nurse.
The result is that in many cases, an infraction as simple as back talking or skipping class that should end in detention or administrative intervention can end in arrest. Over the years, the implementation of policies from Zero-Tolerance to surveillance to criminalizing lateness and absenteeism have created a system of loopholes that trap our most vulnerable students in a pipeline kept alive by the for-profit prison system. It’s a system that disproportionately hurts black and brown students and undermines their learning…As President, I will work to close the school to prison pipeline, by rethinking our approach to public education and public safety…”
In addition, she reflects on her recently revealed plan to invest $800 billion in public schools and how she would invest “an additional $100 billion in ‘Excellence Grants’—that’s equivalent to $1 million for every public school in the country—to invest in things like after school arts programs and school-based student mentoring programs…” This would be in an overall effort toreduce the impact of systemic racial and economic disadvantage on students.
ONE-THIRD OF U.S. ADULTS SAY FEAR OF MASS SHOOTINGS PREVENTS THEM FROM GOING TO CERTAIN PLACES OR EVENTS
Hispanic adults more than twice as likely as white non-Hispanics to say they experience mass shooting-related stress often or constantly
A large majority of adults in the United States are stressed by mass shootings, and a third of U.S. adults say that fear of mass shootings stops them from going to certain places and events, according to a new survey on stress and mass shootings by the American Psychological Association. “It’s clear that mass shootings are taking a toll on our mental health, and we should be particularly concerned that they are affecting the way many of us are living our daily lives,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s chief executive officer. “The more these events happen in places where people can see themselves frequenting, the greater the mental health impact will be. We don’t have to experience these events directly for them to affect us. Simply hearing about them can have an emotional impact, and this can have negative repercussions for our mental and physical health.”
To better understand the impact of mass shootings on stress and health in the aftermath of the recent tragic El Paso and Dayton shootings, APA commissioned the nationally representative survey. It was conducted online by The Harris Poll between Aug. 8 and 12 among 2,017 adults ages 18 and older who reside in the U.S. The survey found that more than three-quarters of adults (79%) in the U.S. say they experience stress as a result of the possibility of a mass shooting. Additionally, many adults report that they are changing their behavior due to fear of mass shootings. Nearly one in three adults (32%) feel they cannot go anywhere without worrying about being a victim of a mass shooting, while just about the same number (33%) say fear prevents them from going to certain places or events. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of adults report changing how they live their lives because of fear of a mass shooting.
When asked which places they are stressed about the possibility of a mass shooting occurring, adults most commonly say a public event (53%), mall (50%), school or university (42%) or movie theater (38%), with only one in five (21%) saying they never experience stress as a result of the possibility of a mass shooting. “Mass shootings are a public health issue, and we need to take a comprehensive public health approach to understand and devise lasting policy solutions,” Evans said. “It is important that people and policymakers realize that this is not an insurmountable issue; it is something we have the power to change.”
Hispanic adults (32%) are more likely than white non-Hispanic adults (15%) to say they experience stress often or constantly related to the possibility of a mass shooting. Hispanic adults and African American adults also are more likely than white non-Hispanic adults to say they do not know how to cope with the stress they feel as a result of mass shootings (44% of Hispanic adults and 43% of African American adults vs. 30% of white adults). Black adults are more likely to feel that they or someone they know will be a victim of a mass shooting (60% compared with 41% of white adults and 50% of Hispanic adults). Women report feeling stressed more often than men about the possibility of a shooting (85% vs. 71%), and parents of children under the age of 18 are nearly twice as likely as those without children under 18 to say they experience stress often or constantly because of the possibility of a mass shooting (28% vs.16%). Further, 62% of parents say they “live in fear that their children will be victims of a mass shooting”.
The historic Spanish Hip-Hop and Trap Music Festival, SOULFRITO, will include appearances from some of the most important names in the genres.
The list of artists set to make an onstage appearance includes: Latino artist Ozuna, Bronx rapper A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Hip-Hop artist Gunna, and puerto Rican Trap artist, Arcángel.
The full list of appearances includes: Farruko, Jeremih, El Alfa, Duki, Guaynaa, Melii, Jay Critch, Myke Towers, Farina, Lil T Jay, DJ Enuff, Alex Rose, DJ Camilo, Lobo, AJ El Kallajero, and social media stars Ken Starrz, Dee Nasty, Sasha Merci, and Bernice Burgos.
The new generation of urban artists will take center stage at the Barclays Center on August 30th in Brooklyn. The event will showcase the new wave of Trap artists.
Songs like “Baila, Baila, Baila,” “Taki Taki,” “Te Boté,” “Swervin”, “Drip Too Hard,” “Dios Bendiga,” and “Pa Jamaica,” are just a handful of the hits to be featured at the event.
Soulfrito Music Festival 2019 continued its legacy as the first Latin festival of urban music in the world that links the African-American and Latino communities with its focus on youth culture. The event will mark the official end of the summer targeting the millennial and Gen Z generations.
Since its inauguration, Soulfrito Music Festival has seen attendees from several cities across the US. For this reason, its organizers are allying with major radio stations while targeting the current east coast demographic. Soulfrito Music Festival is using the radio stations to offer listeners the chance to win a trip to the show with VIP experiences through contests in time for Labor Day weekend.
Latinos are the youngest ethnic group in the United States. A third are under the age of 18 (17.9 million, Pew Research Center). A fourth of Latinos are millennials (14 million between 18-33 as of 2014, Pew Research Center). By offering first level art, the festival maintains its focus on youth culture.
The festival was created to join Latin urban artists and second as well as third generations of multicultural Latinos living in the US. The festival has already accomplished its goal of bridging the gap between all the musical interests of second and third generation Latinos in the US. This is especially true in metropolitan areas. Statistical studies show Latinos will generate $1.7 billion by 2020, with the festival representing some of the most important consumers of music.
The event includes Coca-Cola, General Motors, Toyota, Best Buy, Jack Daniels, Heineken, United Airlines, Lionsgate Films and many more.
Soulfrito Music Festival 2019 will highlight the best of the urban and Latin American world. According to a YouTube end-of-year report, “when it comes to a total of music video transmissions, the Hip-Hop genre led the list with 22.8% participation, but, the Latin genre is just behind a 21.8% participation. ” In addition, the 100 most viewed videos on the platform, half of them come from Latin artists, and 8 of them occupy the top positions in the list. Many of these performers have been part of the Soulfrito Music Festival stage, this year, Ozuna will head the festival, one of the artists on “Te Boté”, along with Bad Bunny, Casper, Nicky Jam, Nio Garcia and Darell. It was one of the most viewed video on the YouTube platform during the year 2018.
SOULFRITO is a brand of entertainment and lifestyle centered on the essence of urban Latin culture. The SOULFRITO events are recognized for reaching out to “Latinos of the new generation,” an underrepresented but growing multicultural market consisting of a large and diverse group of Latino urban culture enthusiasts.
TRAVEL JOURNALIST THOMAS WILMER INTERVIEWS 360 MAGAZINE PUBLISHER VAUGHN LOWERY
Small to medium sized business often fall short due to high turnover. Vaughn Lowery, Publisher of 360 Magazine, provides listeners with first-hand knowledge on the ever-shifting world of digital publishing and content creation through a youthful lens. Likewise with his innate ability to be accessible, he speaks to working in tandem with emerging generations and how their input could be detrimental to the survival of a brand.
An Additional Conversation with 360 Magazine’s Publisher Vaughn Lowery
If Vaughn Lowery was asked what his idea of success was 10 years ago, his answer would be very different from what it is today. He may have said that success means doing what he loves to do, being accomplished, or having a certain amount of material things.
“Success to me now is having a purpose in life and feeling passionate and fulfilled by it,” says Lowery.
Lowery got his first taste of the industry while interning for Vibe Magazine while on Summer vacation from Cornell University. His sister drove him into New York City every morning to drop him off and always advised him to be the first one at the office. One morning Lowery found himself alone with the publisher of the magazine at the time, Keith Clinkscales, which gave him the opportunity to speak with him one-on-one. It was due to his sister’s advice that he got the chance to do what no other intern would normally get to do.
After finishing up at Cornell in just three years, Lowery became an executive trainee with Saks Fifth Avenue. He was able to get along with everyone in the office and was doing great when he was called into his boss’s office one afternoon.
“She told me I was in the wrong business; that I was very charismatic and should try acting,” Lowery says, “but, I liked the path I was on at that time.”
It wasn’t until Lowery was asked by someone connected to the talent industry if he was a model that he truly considered breaking into the talent industry. Shortly after taking professional photos and getting them out to agencies, Lowery ended up with Ford Models. From there he did photoshoots, tv commercials, and ad campaigns, all while still working in outside sales at Aetna US Healthcare. Once he began modelling full time his face was in the pages of GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Gap. By being around people of all different positions, primarily in the magazine publishing industry, Lowery came to understand how content was produced. It was right before the recession hit while he was living in LA that Lowery made the transition from modelling to the publishing industry.
It was his experience in modelling that inspired Lowery’s creation of the 360 Magazine. While working on any given shoot, Lowery was often one of just three or less black men. Often times he was the only black man on a set which drew his attention to the lack of representation in the media industry. Lowery’s goal for the 360 Magazine was that it would fill this niche and promote diversity across the publishing world, specifically the covers of its magazines.
For those wanting to work in the media industry, specifically in the publishing world, Lowery suggests starting from the ground up.
“Being self taught and learning as you go is something you need to be open to,” says Lowery, “Ask tons of questions, and learn everything you can from every position.”
Lowery warns that it’s important to be open and cordial to everyone, because you don’t know when your paths will cross again. Making connections and using them is how most people gain opportunities. He also adds that just by hanging out with people you’ll always learn something that you can apply to aspects of your work.
Things in the industry have been changing and becoming more digitally focused since the beginning of 360 Magazine’s launch. The magazine was started during a time of e-zines, so it’s not a surprise that the website came first. Lowery had experience with creating websites from a young age so the move from print to digital was natural for him. It was clear to him where the industry was going.
“Print was getting costly, bookstores were looking dilapidated and even Barnes and Noble was focusing on their version of the tablet, the Nook,” says Lowery, “All the magazines were looking alike anyway.”
Print was still important though. Besides the fact that advertising agencies want to see a physical copy of a magazine before working with them, print is taken more seriously due to its cost. Other companies will be aware that a certain magazine has the funds to support itself if they have a print copy to show for it.
360 Magazine printed their first issue in 2009, but it was costly. Lowery began thinking that there had to be some other way to work with print. It was then that he decided to do print on demand publications. 360 Magazine linked with Blurb, which allowed anyone to order a print copy of the magazine right from our website. They’ve been distributing to them for 9 years now.
The magazine’s estimated circulation, which is based on print, is 110,000 from print on demand. This number doesn’t tend to move much, but most people end up reading 360 Magazine’s online articles through WordPress.
When asked what makes a media contributor most marketable, Lowery says that in this industry you need a social following and the ability to network. Being accessible and having a portfolio of published work is a great place to start as well.
“Do it all,” Lowery says, “monetize, write, take photos, be on time, and take initiatives.”
The hardest thing about the industry in Lowery’s opinion is breaking into it and surviving on freelance jobs along the way. Writers should be prepared to sacrifice mentally, physically and financially. While working for a publication, Lowery says that writers need to do what they can to become a valuable asset to them. That way, a publication will be more likely to keep you on board and help you in the future.
As for internship positions at 360 Magazine, Lowery aims to teach interns everything that he didn’t learn. He’s assigns articles for interns to write, pushes them to network, has them do coverage and teaches them how to get published or to self-publish.
“We teach interns how to be resourceful and find themselves in the organization,” says Lowery.
When interns can bring business to the magazine, the magazine will bring business to them. Special assignment opportunities are available for interns who finish their program and are still looking to remain involved. Lowery says that while the magazine is specifically looking to groom editors, that if a publication wants to really pop, then they have to have a revolving door.
When asked what goals he has for the future of 360 Magazine, Lowery responded that he aims to keep it three dimensional with podcasts and web series.
“I want to be able to put the brand out to different countries and places in America,” says Lowery, Local presences would strengthen us.”
He also says that he’s interested in the possibility of a reality spin off or docu-series, as well as introducing more formal programs for educational purposes.
Although it is well known that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability among all Americans, there is still a misconception that it primarily affects older, white men.
The truth is, the risks are even higher for African Americans. African Americans have higher rates of heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Currently, 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women have some form of heart disease in the U.S.
Experts say there are several reasons why heart disease disproportionally affects the black community ranging from genetic to environmental factors. There are simple ways to control certain risk factors to reduce your risk for heart disease – it can be as simple as changing your daily habits.
Lifestyle Changes Can Include:
-Be physically active every day
During Heart Health Month, Dr. Wayne Batchelor, an interventional cardiologist and member of the Association of Black Cardiologists, is available to explain what you need to know if you have a risk factor that’s out of your control, how to talk to your doctor and the latest advancements in treatment options.
This February, Hip-Hop Entrepreneurs are making black history by advancing the technology industry. Clifford Harris Jr, known as “T.I.,” launches a new syndicated investment vehicle called Tech Cypha with business partner Jason Geter and Brandon “BL” Lewis; son of late great boxing promoter and entrepreneur Butch Lewis. Leveraging technologies such as Airbnb, Lyft and Lime through the eyes of hip-hop culture, the team also launched a Los Angeles-based entertainment startup called Culture Genesis. Together, the new collaborative investment strategy allows high-net-worth individuals to participate in trending tech startup deals.
The strategy evolved when Geter and Harris made their first investment 12 years ago into a company calledStreetcred.com, a site that allowed fans to go online and share opinions about street culture. While that first deal didn’t work out, Geter and Harris maintained interest in the technology and startup scene to create opportunities for their networks and promote new businesses.
“We learned a lot,” says Harris. “Now, we know where our demographic is.”
For Geter, that demographic is taking advantage of Atlanta’s surging position as a cultural and technological mecca in the United States. Indeed, Atlanta-area startups raised roughly $1.15 billion in 2018, a record for the region, according to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.
“Being in the city of Atlanta and with Georgia Tech producing so much talent, and coming from us being within the hip-hop culture, which is always influencing and promoting things, we saw an opportunity,” says Geter. “In the past, we were always looking through the glass window and looking at ways we can participate earlier. And that’s by coming together to pool our resources so we can invest more.”
Through informed mentorship programs and partnerships, Tech Cypha will include using influencers in various fields. Currently, the syndicate includes Lil Duval, Killer Mike, Tamika ‘Tiny’ Harris, Tai Green, Korey Roberson, Stephanie Shirley, and BJ Kerr among others. As an industry leader, Lewis is known for his talent in branding, marketing and partnership deals.
“Often times, we drive technology like social media and apps, but we are never apart of the ownership,”Lewis continues, “Tech Cypha is going to be an investment vehicle looking for promising, early and late-stage startups to invest capital in, assist with marketing and give branding directions. It’s our way of bridging the gap between the culture and technology.”
Acclaimed actor and comedian Chris Tucker will steer the star-studded event.
Distinguished industry leaders to be recognized with the EBONY Icon Award and Inaugural Chairman’s Award
Following the recent unveiling of its prestigious annual EBONY Power 100 List in celebration those whose work and heroism continue to inspire and influence society, EBONY magazine has announced the host for this year’s highly anticipated EBONY Power 100 Gala, presented by Nationwide, taking place in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on Nov. 30.
EBONY is also pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s coveted special awards which will be presented during Hollywood’s star-studded spectacle.
Helming the celebration of the 2018 EBONY Power 100 list honoring crusaders, innovators, disruptors, business titans, entrepreneurs and MVPs who are making a difference in the community at the EBONY Power 100 Gala is international award-winning actor Chris Tucker. Once a frequent stand-up performer on Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s, Tucker is best known today for playing Det. James Carter in the Rush Hour film series. Chris is currently returning to the stage on his stand-up comedy tour that has received rave reviews all over the world, while spending much of his spare time traveling and working with his foundation.
EBONY Media Operations CEO Michael Gibson will present the inaugural Chairman’s Award to former BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee. The trailblazing business dynamo joined BET as executive vice president and general counsel in 1986, was promoted to president and COO of the network that reaches approximately 78 million homes in March 1996 and to chairman and CEO in 2005. She guided much of the 38-year-old network’s growth beyond music and into entertainment, news and public affairs programming, including original movies, late-night talk shows and concert specials, with successes such as bringing to cable The Game in 2014 and the miniseries. The New Edition Story in 2017, the launch of BET.com and the acquisition of the television rights to Black Girls Rock!
This year’s prestigious EBONY Icon Award will be presented to Motown Records. There simply isn’t a name in music more synonymous with era-defining hits, star-making, and innovation than Motown. Started in Detroit with a dream and an $800 loan, Berry Gordy’s Hitsville USA became a cultural behemoth that swiftly hooked pop culture with a brand new beat. The unmistakable, irrepressible sound of young America didn’t just dominate the charts–it crossed the racial divide during the social upheaval of the 1960’s. The hits and cultural influence doesn’t stop as Motown and its family of imprints explore new genres in partnerships with labels including Quality Control Music, which set the stage for signings of Migos and Lil Yachty. In recognition of the brand’s iconic relevance and impact, EBONY is pleased to honor Motowns decades of success. The award will be accepted by Motown President, and EVP of Capitol Music Group. Ethiopia Habtemariam, who is also honored in the Women Up category for her outstanding leadership in the music industry.
Habtemariam, whose former title, President of Urban Music & Co-Head of Creative for Universal Music Publishing, is responsible for revitalizing the storied label that boasts hit makers NE-YO and Erykah Badu. Habtemariam has ushered in a new generation of artists with acts like JAMESDAVIS, Lil Baby, City Girls, and BJ The Chicago Kid. Last summer, Billboard magazine recognized her as Universal Music Group’s Most Powerful African-American Woman.
“We are delighted to announce our celebrated host and award recipients for this year’s EBONY Power 100 Gala,” says Gibson. “Since unveiling our 2018 EBONY Power 100 List last month, the anticipation and buzz throughout the country has been very exciting to see. This year’s gala will surely prove to be the most memorable to date, and I would like to personally congratulate all our honorees.”
The 2018 EBONY Power 100 List recognizes the most influential and inspiring from the business, philanthropic, entertainment, and social activism communities in the following eight categories: Community Crusaders, Disruptors, Entertainment & Arts, Entrepreneurs, Innovators, MVPs, Power Players and the coveted Women Up.
The 2018 EBONY Power 100 List includes politicians and lawmakers who made the news over the past year, such as Stacey Abrams, the first Black Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee (recognized in the Disruptors category); Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, and the first Black candidate for governor of the Sunshine State (another Disruptors honoree); Keisha Lance Bottoms, the second Black female mayor of Atlanta (recognized in the Women Up category); and London Breed, the first Black female LGBT mayor of San Francisco (also honored in the Women Up category).
Other honorees run the gamut of industry, community activism and more. Civil rights activist Tarana Burke the Bronx, New York native who achieved global acclaim after starting the MeToo movement will be recognized in the Community Crusaders category. Group President and Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer will be honored in the Women Up category as the first African-American woman to the hold that position as at Starbucks. March of Dimes PresidentStacey D. Stewart will be recognized in the Disruptors category as the first African-American female president to lead the charitable organization. Junior Flip Kids, honored in the Entrepreneurs category, is a company made up of six schoolchildren aged 7 to 13 years old who met with Oprah Winfrey before starting their business to transform distressed properties into renovated single-family homes in Washington D.C., and Maryland. Cheryl “Action” Jackson will be recognized in the Community Crusaders category as the founder of Minnie’s Pantry, an organization that has provided over 8 million meals to families in need.
Honorees are celebrated each year at the EBONY Power 100 Gala, presented by Nationwide. The event will take place this year in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on November. During the gala, the prestigious EBONY Power 100 special award recipients will be recognized for their contributions to business and industry. The 2018 EBONY Power 100 Gala is hosted by EBONY Foundation and benefits Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. Learn more about sickle cell disease and to donate by texting “EBONY” to 91011 and using #SCDHOPEWINS. Follow #EBONYPower100 on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
The complete EBONY Power 100 List for this year can be viewed here!
As of late, South African Artist, Lionel Smit, hosted his first solo show on the West Coast of the United States of America in Los Angeles, CA. 360 Magazine had the opportunity to join Smit for his pre-night & VIP showing to discuss his art work and upbringing as a Caucasian male in South Africa.
The exhibition featured work from his studio in Cape Town, South Africa as well as his previous solo exhibition OBSUCRA, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami. This being the first of his work to be released commercially.
Smit was born in Pretoria, South Africa and later moved to Cape Town. There, he discovered his passion for the culture and history behind the city, specifically with the Cape Malay women. Smit explains how these individuals are genetically created in the sense that there is a mixture between the European, African and Malaysian bloodlines. This discovery can be related to many other countries which Smit used as a starting point to spark conversations on who we are and where we are going on an emotional level.
During the interview, Smit touched on his experience during apartheid as a White South African and explained, “everyone knew what was happening… but you lived in this bubble… and there was a whole generation that wasn’t responsible for it but still went through the same kind of motions. My idea was to steer away from that and create something that’s more universal and speaks to us on a universal level.”
Smit’s art will be available atArtLife Gallery,located at 655 N. Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood until October 28th.