Category: Social Awareness

Companies, brands, and individuals influencing social change and promoting humility.

Moogfest 2017 Recap (Conversations)

Moogfest was incredible; I’m so glad I had the chance to attend this year. I actually shot Moogfest last year too; got to meet Rome Fortune and saw some dope shows. For those who aren’t familiar, Moogfest is “the synthesis of music, art and technology.”

By day, Moogfest is a platform for conversation and experimentation. This mind-expanding conference attracts creative and technology enthusiasts for three days of participatory programming in Durham, North Carolina. By night, Moogfest presents cutting-edge music in venues throughout the city. Performing artists include early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant garde experimentalists of today.”

Moogfest was a fast-paced, information-filled, thought-provoking four-day journey filled with mind blowing conversations, stimulating workshops and astounding live performances.

During the stint of the bull city-based festival, I attended five intellectually broadening conversations: Talib Kweli’s dialogue with The Atlantic’s David Graham about the nature of media in the age of the Trump administration, a discussion on the future role of religion in the scientific age, a Sci-Fi reading from collectives Afrofuturist Affair and Metropolarity, an exchange about the creative process between recording artists’ Lafawndah & Princess Nokia and a hilarious recording for Hannibal Buress’ live podcast featuring Flying Lotus.

 

In Conversation With Talib Kweli

Photo By King Phill

Knowledge; supreme knowledge. I felt so empowered just from listening to this man speak. Kweli gave us some extraordinary wisdom during his talk with David Graham and touched on many topics that most black people in America could relate to.

Here’s some footage from Kweli’s conversation in Moogfest’s Day 1 Recap:

 

#OpenSourceReligion

Photo By King Phill

A real eye-opener. This one wasn’t for the religiously weak of heart. The speaker touched on the positives and negatives of practiced religion. He even gave a chance for attendees to defend their own belief systems.

 

Nowtopia

Photo By King Phill

This was my first experience at a Sci-Fi reading and I can honestly say it was captivating. The tales read during Nowtopia were all stories that most millennials could find a relation to. From readings about online role-playing relationships to real life issues; it was dope.

 

Masterclass: Lafawndah & Princess Nokia

Photo By King Phlll

Sadly, Princess Nokia showed up a little late, but she more than made up for it with the great insight she gave about her creative process. Listening to Lafawndah and Nokia discuss music and their development was really inspiring.

 

In Conversation With Flying Lotus

(So I don’t have pictures from this conversation because the lighting was super trash from where I was at; forgive me)

If anyone tries to tell you Hannibal Buress isn’t funny, they have a fear of being real with themselves and aren’t your friend. It was just funny as hell. Hannibal, Fly Lo and Tony were all playing with synthesizers that would distort their voices during the podcast recording. When the episode drops, I’ll definitely update the article with a link to it for you guys.

Get Ready For Moogfest 2017!

In 2016, Infinite had the opportunity to cover the Durham, NC-based technology, art and music festival Moogfest via our social media; this year we’ll be doing the same! From May 18th-21st, Moogfest will be going on in downtown Durham including more than 300 musical performances, daytime workshops, conversations, masterclasses, film screenings, live scores, durational sound installations, and interactive art experiences.

Image Cred: Moogfest

Moogfest is the synthesis of music, art and technology. Since 2004, Moogfest has brought together artists, futurist thinkers, inventors, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, scientists and musicians. By day, Moogfest is a platform for conversation and experimentation. By night, Moogfest presents cutting-edge music in venues throughout the city. This mind-expanding conference attracts creative and technology enthusiasts for three days of participatory programming in Durham, North Carolina. Performing artists include early pioneers in electronic music, alongside pop and avant-garde experimentalists of today.

Image Cred: Moogfest

With numerous themes ranging from Black Quantum Futurism and Hacking Systems to The Future Of Creativity and Techno-Shamanism, Moogfest provides an array of dope programming that anyone could fall in love with. Flying Lotus, Talib Kweli, Princess Nokia and NC natives Professor Toon and Pie Face Girls are just a few of the music performers the Infinite staff are excited to see this year out at Moogfest. Make sure you get your tickets for Moogfest this year here; don’t miss out!

Image Cred: Moogfest

Here you can check out the full schedule for this year’s Moogfest: Moogfest 2017 Schedule

Follow us on social media (@InfiniteDotCo on Twitter & Instagram) for live updates during the festival!

Hope to see you guys out there!

3 Reasons Donald Trump Is The Marketing Genius We Hate Learning From

Donald Trump has made a career, and has been attempting to make a case for the presidency, using smart, albeit dangerous and hateful, marketing and persuasive tools. Using scarcity, scare tactics, and outright lies, he has taken a seemingly impossible campaign all the way to Super Tuesday.

To date, this is Trump’s biggest venture yet – as it related to popular culture, not in the business or criminal world. (SN: the fact that I can confidently refer to a presidential campaign as a pop culture venture is both hilarious and frightening.) But before this, there was The Apprentice.

In The Apprentice, Trump served as host while ambitious (albeit unknown) professionals from the business world compete for a chance at a job within Trump’s organization. It was here where Trump began nurturing his craft of political showmanship that he would use years later.

As a host and co-producer of the show, he lied about the show’s ratings and even dabbled in some racism and anti-Semitism from time to time. He once went so far as pitching an Apprentice season in which black contestants were put against white contestants. His behavior on air, in retrospect, showcased what would to come from him while on the campaign trail. On the show, he consistently pitted team members against each other, promoted antagonism, and had a penchant for bullying and name-calling.

Here’s the kicker. Here’s the most important similarity between Trump’s time on The Apprentice, and his campaign: he knew his audience. He knew what worked. That alone is why both were so successful.

Knowing Your Audience

It’s a guarantee that Trump knew his audience well on The Apprentice. At it’s core, it’s a reality show. Controversy sells, provocativeness sells, larger than life personalities sell. People don’t watch reality television for it’s plot or the fact they genuinely care about the lives of the cast; they watch it for the drama, the fights, the absurdity. From the first episode of season one, Trump was all over it.

The same goes for his campaign. Trump understood that a large group of Americans – mostly white and working class – felt left out in the cold in the age of America’s first Black president. In an age of government bailouts for multimillion dollar corporations and marriage equality for the LGBTQI community, this ground felt like everyone was getting something except them. Because the political establishment had largely turned their backs on this group, Trump sensed it was time to take advantage and mobilize this group’s collective power into a seat in the Oval Office.

Controlling Your Audience

Once, you know and understand your audience, you can begin controlling your audience. In this election, Trump has shown that he can be the master puppeteer and ringleader. The way he’s been able to galvanize an entire group that has mostly swore off politics into being enamored with politics is remarkable. This comes primarily from his keen understanding of his audience. If you promise anything politically to a group of people who have cast away by all other politicians, of course they’re going to listen and believe you; they have nothing and no one else to believe in.

If you understand your audience, you understand what they want to see, hear, and even possibly, have. Power – perceived or real – is a hell of a drug. Through that you can control people into believing or doing almost anything. Trump began this on The Apprentice when he pitted teams and team members against each other, instigating fights and disagreements that caused rifts in teams, leading to their ultimate downfall.

Controlling The Narrative

Once you understand your audience and begin to control them, then you can finally control the narrative, which is exactly what Trump has done.

If you can convince a group that the media is biased and liars, of course they won’t believe the media when they say you’re lying. Media outlets tear down all of Trump’s claims with facts and his supporters completely ignore it and deny, deny, deny. Why is that? Because he’s been able to convince them, through persuasive appeals, that he’s more trustworthy and reputable than media outlets. He’s been able to convince them that everyone that doesn’t support them is against them – and will do whatever necessary to stop their momentum, including lying, cheating, and stealing.

God help us all on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

The Black Struggle for An Ideal America

Colin Kaepernick represents the ideal America; a collective of individuals that are motivated to act and speak out of moral obligation and philosophy. An individual who recognizes the obstacles that lay ahead but chooses to carry on. He recognizes a simple, unyielding truth; he has a choice and a right to protest even if the white institutions around him fail to recognize it. He is willing to be targeted, reproached, and isolated for his refusal to accept the status quo, the master narrative. As far as I am concerned Colin Kaepernick is Captain America manifested.
This American man, who plays an American sport, is being vilified by many for claiming and exercising his first amendment right. I believe his awareness and ability to embrace his rights are inciting fear in those who want to ensure that the “other” is excluded from civil liberties. When Black people claim their rights they become dangerous and have to be “put in their place.” I’ve heard various coaches and players saying that his actions are “inappropriate.” But what is more American than the ability to protest and fight for equality. White institutions have tried to ensure that privilege is for White men alone, but that has always been meet with varying degrees of resistance. Perhaps social media has turned that resistance into a movement that can finally unweave the fabric of institutionalized racism. Hopefully heightened awareness will demonstrate a lesson that people of color already know; civil liberties and rights are only given to a selected few.

I’ve heard that people are burning Mr. Kaepernick’s jersey; do me a favor, send them to me. They are protesting Colin Kaepernick’s protest? I am in awe that individuals can feel threatened by a man exhibiting his right to protest peacefully for what he believes in. They are rejecting his philosophy. A philosophy that this country was built on but has repeatedly failed to provide; freedom and equality for all. If there is one lesson that American history has taught me is that Black men that fight with their actions, muscles and/or voice will be lynched, mutilated, isolated and/or murdered. This is a painful truth that has been illustrated over and over again for hundreds of years. Black men who oppose the institution will be destroyed.

I want you to think about this. Black teenagers who smile or whistle or “have” White women- they will be destroyed. Black women who know their rights and vocalize them will be arrested, hanged; destroyed. Black men who are driving, without a weapon, while their wives are screaming, don’t shot will be destroyed and the black children who see their mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters gunned down and somehow find the courage to yell it’s going to be ok, will be mocked and ridiculed. You can be the most peaceful man; who loves and promotes love for all but if you are Black and you protest, you will be destroyed. You can be the individual who says confront and fight and you will be destroyed. You can be the citizen at a protest and be destroyed. You can have your hands in the air, screaming don’t shoot and you will be destroyed. 

I laugh when people suggest that these hate crimes are committed by “trained” police officers or “concerned” citizens because Black people are scary. I laugh so hard that I cry. I cry because that boy wearing a hoodie with skittles in his hands is not scary but that man that shot him and walked away is. The people who rejoiced at the not guilty verdict, the people who offered ridiculous reasons why an innocent child deserved to be gunned down; they are the scary ones.

I think about how many scary faces have donned white skin and yet they are perpetually innocent. I think of the irony that these criminals shoot citizens and then criminalize their victims. I think of their motives: “scared” of those with black skin. Why are Black people culpable for those who are threatened by their own insecurity, lack of intellect and power? 

Hatred towards Blacks is everywhere, explicitly and passively. In educated circles it is often masked as microaggression. Comments that are cloaked in a cruel mixture of ignorance and fear but nonetheless equally as dangerous as overt racism. They all perpetuate the idea that Black people are the “other”, different. When people are “different” in this country, they are inherently not safe. 

My ex brother in law, college graduate that majored in history, once said that of course slavery was wrong but…it’s so smart, one hundred percent profit; I mean it makes sense. He possessed no empathy; he lacked an understanding of what his life would look like, the lives of his wife and daughters if they were destined for slavery. His privilege made that possibility unfathomable, even though historically (White people were slaves) it is very reasonable. But this is an example of a type of aggression that burns your ears and lingers in your spine; it makes you feel uncomfortable. You think, should I run or should I fight. But in the past, I didn’t run…I didn’t run because I knew I would be destroyed. Maybe I would be the angry Black girl and as a result discounted, disvalued. Because it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have or what you like; if you are Black and you protest you are destroyed- someway, somehow. In my younger years, I ran from my feelings; muted my voice into that lump in your throat right before you cry. With time that lump felt like a sickness that lingered on my body like a nasty film. I like all Black people had to make a decision.

No, I will not stand up for the anthem; I will not put my hand over my heart. No, you cannot touch my hair and I’m not your token friend. Yes, I know my rights and maybe one of us is going to perish tonight and maybe it’s me; more than likely it is but I can’t run anymore. I can’t run because I have a son. I have to teach him to fight because even when we don’t teach our kids to fight, you kill them. Even when we teach them to play by the rules, you kill them. They could be walking on a corner and still be gunned down; they can still be destroyed.

Thank you Colin Kaeprnick, thank you for reminding us what it means to fight and not run. I stand with you; we stand together. 

Missing the Bar: How The Education System Is Killing Potential By Killing Creativity

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing knowledge.” -Albert Einstein

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Ideally, the role of a teacher is to guide students towards intellectual individualism. Student success cannot be determined upon one unit of measurement. In fact, that is an ‘uncommon sense’ approach to teaching. If we want students to be intellectual, then they need to thrive as thinkers. It is imperative that education does not become a vehicle for compromising intelligence and surrendering potential. The current state of many public schools across the nation suggests we are refusing to acknowledge budget cuts mean that schools are providing less and less quality education to students.

One of the problems public schools are facing is that as more professional platforms arise for students to be independent thinkers and creators, schools are being forced to cut programs that generate intuitive, independent thinking. Art and music curriculums unleash creativity and productivity. According to Elliot Eisner, an art curriculum broadens problem solving skills and teaches students to surrender their fixed perception of a solution in exchange for various solutions. It also speaks to the ability to communicate without language. Many great innovators articulated that their ideas needed to be visual before they could prescribe words to their concepts. If so many great thinkers express that art and music led them to their success, then why are schools cutting arts and music programs? This action incites the question, what do we want our students to learn in school? What is considered a valuable education? Are parents and communities apathetic to the growing financial distress that public schools are facing?

Teachers often recognize that music and arts programs may keep the otherwise disenfranchised or non-traditional students in school. Engagement in these core subject areas can build confidence and skills that promote achievement in other subjects. But it is also equally true that these programs thrust students who are already academically successful to new levels of aptitude and creativity. Students who have had continuous art and music classes perform better on standardized tests, exhibit stronger critical thinking skills, social tolerance, and historical empathy. A public education should honor and advocate for what inspires and heightens intellect. Leigh Klonsky, the digital art and photography teacher at East Side Community High School, reminds students that prior to words and numbers people communicated visually and that there is power in the ability to draw as a means of communication. Her students create a multitude of projects that require them to reflect and comment on what they think, feel, and value about the world around them. Music and art facilitates both abstract and concrete thinking. Apple is perhaps the most noteworthy and global example of innovation that is generated when art, science and technology interact. Art programs teach students that with imagination, anything is possible. And that is the American definition of success; if you can imagine it, then it is possible. We are in a world that demands that students have a complete education balanced with fine arts, science, math and humanities. Removing art and music is quite simply robbing them of core subject areas that will expand their minds, abilities, and successes.

East Side Community High School, a District One school, has been burdened with budget cuts and is working diligently to ensure their students have an art and music program.  Currently students can take art, dance, and music. The music program was built on the passion that adults had for music and wanted to share with children. In 2009, The East Side Band Project began; they had a $5,000 budget and none of the students owned instruments. Their space was in a corner in the school’s basement and classes were held after school. In the last few years, band membership has increased and students who were marginalized have become school leaders. Perhaps that is because they talk about what they learn, which again transcends and reaches far beyond common core standards. This summer, the basement was flooded and all the band equipment destroyed. The director, Peter Da Cruz, is currently working to salvage equipment and piece together the band that he has worked so diligently to maintain for the last six years. The reality is not every teacher can or will be able to initiate and maintain an arts and/or music program. There are many administrators who want these programs but don’t have the money to pay for it; parents have to advocate for them. An arts curriculum in schools represents an understanding that school leaders and parents recognize the importance of teaching students different ways to think. We must ensure that education is dynamic, fluid, and reaches as many minds as possible.

Educators often refer to The Harlem Renaissance as a pivotal moment because it infused art, science, and music. It inspired and motivated people to move in a direction that they had not previously seen before. We must commit to teaching our kids to imagine something beyond the realm of the here and now. If we want our students to excel and prosper in schools, then we should support creativity and imagination alongside science and math. Demand that schools reinstitute and/or continue with their arts and music programs. The biggest mistake Americans can make is believing that the arts are frivolous endeavors and continue to treat it as such.

Albert Einstein was known primarily as a scientist and genius but he was also a musician. And when he found himself perplexed, he turned to music to help him unpack and express himself. He believed that his imagination and intuition were inherent in his own success. If you want students to intellectually evolve then they must have the space and platform for that degree of development; they need to have the skill set to create.

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If you’d like to learn more about  or support the East Side Community High School or donate to the cause, follow this link: https://www.nycharities.org/give/donate.aspx?cc=3101

 

 

Photography by Adriana Porras, Veronica Vasquez, and Peter da Cruz

Stock photos from Google Images

Video via www.ted.com/talks

Dwan Smith; Spreading Positivity and Making a Difference in Maryland through Leadership

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Over the past several months there’s been an increasing amount of tragedies occurring in various states. It’s become such a daily routine in the media to witness grieving families, national protests and angry citizens combined with race wars that have divided relationships between the community and law enforcement. However, while we all have varied opinions, the fact remains hate does not cure hate, and perhaps there should be a shift in portrayals of positive images with some individuals working in law enforcement who should be highlighted and celebrated.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Dwan Smith knew as a teenager her career would lead on a path to serve and protect. While attending Milford Mill Academy, Ms. Smith served as Commander of the ROTC Program, the highest ranking role which she showcased natural leadership skills. In addition, Ms. Smith was also Commander of the Honor Guard Team where she and her peers traveled and competed in various states. “One thing I was taught, which always stuck with me, was ‘Always give a firm handshake and look a person straight in the eyes upon meeting them.’ I’ll never forget that.”

Upon graduating High School in 1999 without the option to attend college due to family finances, Ms. Smith, she eagerly followed her first passion and enlisted in the US Army where she proudly served her country for four years until she was honorably discharged. It was a very noble and courageous decision to take on such a responsibility of serving ones country with no guarantee of returning home. However, as a higher power saw fit, it was during Ms. Smith tenure in the military where she was blessed with her daughter, Arielle who just a short few months after birth had to undergo a heart surgery procedure which she survived and grew to become a lively and gifted teenager. “Arielle is a miracle child, and as I call her my angel. She’s a fighter, so lovable and the reason I grew a closer relationship to God and became more knowledgeable of the different events happening around the world. I am her role model, therefore, I have to make decisions that’s best for her and be more conscience of my own actions.”

Upon returning to Maryland after service in the US Army, Ms. Smith continued along the path to protect with a nationally accredited law-enforcement agency where she is currently employed. “In law enforcement, we see the worst of what’s going on in the world. It’s not like we’re getting called to locations because situations are great, it’s normally the opposite.” One who takes her role very seriously, Ms. Smith is the recipient of several “Life Saving” Awards for performing CPR procedures during various crisis situations.

When asked about the status of law enforcement in Baltimore City and the community (Ms. Smith is NOT a Baltimore City Police Officer) she replied, “All of these instances that are occurring is heartbreaking. Although the city may be different, what’s common is that behind every situation, whether an officer or community resident, a person’s life is involved.” However, Ms. Smith also confessed, “I don’t think it’s fair that all law enforcement should be looked at in a bad light. I am a human being and mother who’s concerned about the safety of my daughter as well as my own when I depart my home each day.”

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However, Ms. Smith was eager to offer suggestions for more positive resolution. “The focus should be the youth, with more community involvement such as the 300 Men March to produce more positivity and leadership that offers hope for the future of our youth.” Adding, “Destroying your own community is never the answer. Over the years there’s been peaceful protesting that has done wonders in this world.” One who certainly leads by example, Ms. Smith volunteers monthly at the Baltimore Rescue Mission, an organization who serves homeless individuals throughout the city. “It may not mean much to some, but just seeing the smiles on the faces of the people I encounter is a humbling experience. I just enjoy being there.”

In addition to being an advocate for homelessness, Ms. Smith is a supporter of equal opportunities for the LGBT Community. “Usually when a person finds passion in a certain area, it stems from a series of events they have witnessed. The tragedy in Florida was an example of hate and discrimination. For me, being in a particular role to advocate is about growth, expanding knowledge and helping others receive fair treatment within the LGBT community.”

A pillar for positive change with great optimism about her future, Ms. Smith demonstrates just how to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world.

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We Know All Lives Matter But…

This post is for everyone who has trouble understanding why #AllLivesMatter is an undermining and dismissive statement that completely ignores the problem we have at hand. 

Imagine you’re sitting at dinner with your family; everyone is getting a share of their food except for you, so you say, “I should get my fair share,” and in response your dad says “everyone should get their fair share.” That’s a wonderful sentiment that works in theory, and is essentially the point you were originally trying to make saying you should be a part of everyone. However Dad’s statement completely undermined your point, and didn’t solve the problem of you not getting any food. 


The statement ‘I should get my fair share,’ has an implicit ‘too’ at the end. I should get my fair share too, like everyone else. But your dad’s statement treated your response as only you should get your fair share, which is obviously not your intention.

That is the situation we are in with the Black Lives Matter movement and people responding with ‘All Lives Matter,’ that message already abounds in our society. Clearly. 

All Lives Matter is true, but unfortunately the world doesn’t work that way. A black kid being killed is not necessarily news (with the exception of at the hands of police), but a white woman being killed is. That’s, in large part, due to the disproportionate rate at which black kids are killed, so we don’t treat it as new. But the result is that, societally, we don’t pay as much attention to certain people’s deaths as we do to others. So, currently, we don’t treat all lives as though they matter equally.

So just like asking your dad for your fair share of food, blacks are asking for their fair share of justice. And so saying “all lives matter” as a direct response to “black lives matter” is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem.

I hope this rings understanding that blacks are not saying we matter any more than anybody else, we are simply saying we want our fair share of justice too. #BlackLivesMatter #RIPAltonSterling #RIPPhilandoCastile

Why is fashion week a great place for freelancers

I recently attended London Collections: Men, the four-day event that kicks off a five-week global showcase of men’s fashion. From London, buyers and press move on to Florence for Pitti Uomo, before heading to Milan and Paris, with things eventually wrapping up in New York in February. Womenswear then kicks off in New York shortly after that, with the whole thing starting over again… it’s crazy.

Fashion week itself is a million and one moving parts made up by everything from makeup artists to photographers, writers to models, events managers to hair stylists. I was super surprised to learn quite how many freelancers were involved in not only the running of the event but also the fashion industry in general.

I guess it makes total sense. Fashion brands change and move forward two to three times a year at least, with some brands bringing out ten or more collections out. The whole industry exists to innovate and not stand still, so I guess it only does brands justice to bring in outside eyes and cutting edge freelance talent at various opportunities to keep ideas, seasonal concepts and the brand, in general, moving forward.

Outside of the brands themselves, editors, publishers and agency types are all in attendance, who, outside of attending presentations and being seen at the right shows, are there with their own very different drivers, objectives and motives.

So where am I going with this? Well, amongst the hubbub and near chaos of each day, the opportunities to network at a fashion week are second to none, at least from my experience in London, anyway. Even as day turns to night and parties begin, people are still talking about work, the shows they’ve seen and of course fashion in general. Free drinks might be flying around but it seems that people stay relaxed but professional throughout the day and night… To a certain time, at least.

Whether you are directly interested in fashion, are a freelancer or are just beginning to pursue a creative field or profession, the opportunities are there. I’m convinced that the relations that can easily be made at the launch of a collaboration over a beer could well lead to work and freelance opportunities down the line. With that in mind, here are some tips to assist in getting stuck into fashion week if, like me up until a few weeks back, you have never attended. I’ve come out of my first time knowing exactly what I need to do next time, so I’m hoping this advice

Apply for tickets to everything, no matter who you are

Individual brands and PR companies handle their own events, so at the most, an agency will have four fashion week events running over the weekend. Each event will have a specific purpose, which is important because it means an agency is looking for a certain audience to attend. Some are far easier to attend, others you won’t have a hope in hell, but the point is you have the opportunity to try. Prior to my first fashion week, I hadn’t touched base with any of the major brands or their PR agencies, and I still managed to get a fair few invites for each day, and that was from completely cold contact.

Turn up and try anyway

I didn’t register any interests for a lot of events I ended up attending. I found that by turning up and simply explaining who you were, what you did and that you hadn’t reached out for an invite would secure you entry. This isn’t about blagging because if they want you there, they would have invited you. This is more just being straight, down to earth and explaining that you want to attend to cover the event for whatever reason. As for the bigger shows, turn up and hang around outside to try and get some good pictures or something, or join the standing room queue; they will let in the general public without question if there is space, it’s not just about who is invited to sit in the front row.

Understand what you are trying to achieve

Not something I had thought about one bit, but “I’m a writer” when you’re stood in a room of press, PRs and whoever else isn’t exactly enough. To be honest, going out and speaking to people was the only way I got to the root of understanding what I am even trying to achieve as a writer. Sometimes when you do something for passion in your spare time, you forget to think about it formally, which st some point you might have to, when you meet a fellow writer or even someone who is a bit of a personal hero.

Learn your pitch

Someone said to me after a long chat “okay then, how can I help you?”. I managed to get an answer together but if I’m honest, I didn’t have a clue outside of “give me a job to write about nice clothes”. Think about what you’ve done and the direction you want to take things in and equally think about who you would like to meet – you might just run a blog but you could well meet someone in exactly the same position as you with a different talent who wants to collaborate.

Instagram is your portfolio, resume and follow up

Letting anyone walk off after a great conversation is a waste, and that’s not because I’m some money hungry beast, it’s just the age we live in and how millennials and creative industries communicate by default. Instagram feeds not only provide people with a literal snapshot of who you are but also what you do and how you think and present yourself. It also provides the opportunity to follow up with a message, which might be inappropriate for a few months or so, but after all, the feature is there and when the time is right, it should be used.

Upon finishing this piece, I’ve realised how this doesn’t just apply to fashion week, this applies to all sorts of freelancers and all sorts of events. I’d never been one for networking but I guess I’d never been properly in and around an industry I want to be involved in until London Collections: Men. It sounds simple but wherever you go, talk to people, think with your creative endeavour first and never feel dazzled by the lights or like you shouldn’t be somewhere – it’s your job to make sure you are invited back.

The Jubilee Project: Be The Good You Wish To SEE

Be the good that you wish to see in the world.
This old adage takes on a new form in the Jubilee Project. A not for profit organization founded during the colossal aftermath of the earthquake that Hit Haiti in January of 2010, Project Jubilee wasn’t even a project. It was just three friends trying to raise a little money to aid the Haitian relief efforts. Five years later, Jason, Eric and Eddie have created an impressive social media video platform. A platform that produces short films and documentaries, along with PSAs that raise and consequently change the perception of a bevy of causes. Project Jubilee has but one ultimate goal; stir to action the onlookers, while bringing light to numerous philanthropic efforts.
It’s undoubtedly amazing how a goal of one hundred dollars turned into a mega dais for organizations of all kinds, aimed to people of so many different types, tackling issues that range from wellness to economy to humanity. Project Jubilee has most definitely taken notice of the social media video boom and capitalized on it in the best way possible. However, it’s essential to remember that it was born in an era where video and sharing go hand in hand. It was bound to happen, but like all other things, it could have been used for good or evil. Lucky for us, Project Jubilee is simply comprised of really good, really genuine guys that want to save the world.
The projects cover issues and efforts that range from battling Alzheimer’s to blindness, natural disaster devastation and a few plain old feel good videos. Important issues that are so heart wrenching will always pull at your heart strings through these viral worthy documentaries, always aiming to ask one question; Now that you know something has to be done, what will you do?

IG: @JubileeProject
Twitter: @JubileeProject

Kiwani Tapper & The Bowtie Kids

There is a distinct difference between your success and your legacy. Success can be defined as all that you can acquire while on Earth, and a legacy being all that you leave behind. But you’ll find that as you work towards a legacy, success will tend to follow.

That’s undoubtedly the case for Kiwani Tapper and the Bowtie Kids. Tapper is a twenty-six year old communications therapist who always wanted to pursue fashion. But having been raised by a Jamaican mother, let’s just say fashion design was not a typical point of discussion when talking about career goals. Like many other young adults preparing to leave the nest for the first time. Tapper started of pursing a more stable career field.

Graduating in 2010 with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Florida, Kiwani began work as a speech therapist. She specifically concentrated on children who had been impacted by communication diseases and disorders. But we all know, when you truly want something, rarely does that want disappear. In Kiwani’s case, her love for creating was no different.

Then three years after graduating from university, Tapper had a dream about what would come to be the Bowtie Kids. It was a rather simple dream where she saw herself making bow ties. Consider it divine intervention because that image stuck with her. She combined it with her drive to educate others and magic happened.

 “I’d never written anything down, I wrote this down. This dream I had to see, I needed it to be real.”

She began building in house. Literally funding all projects and merchandise production on her own. Trial and error have become her method of grooming the business.

“I lose big and have yet to establish a system that works a hundred percent,” she says. But she’s learning as she goes, picking up hints from people (and google) along the way.”

Two years after that dream of building a business that combined fashion and awareness, Tapper saw it come to fruition. The Bowtie Kids would grow into a fashion brand dedicated to spreading information on numerous disorders that affects thousands of children around the world. She’s grown a solid clientele mostly by word of mouth. She’s even dressed the babies of celebrities such as singer, Omarion and reality star, Yandy Smith.

Each bow tie or garment is custom made, either by color or design, to generate mindfulness towards disorders like, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida. However, the list continues to grow as she customizes designs for new disorders and diseases brought to her attention. Those she might not know about.

“I learn too, so I’m continuously adding to my list of what I want to bring to the forefront, as far as awareness.”

Now providing custom clothing as well as awareness bracelets and earrings, Tapper doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. She has meticulously combined all that she loves and that is a major accomplishment in and of itself; while it took just over a year for consistent sales of her products, production and clientele are now steadily increasing.

“I’ve found a way to do all the things I love doing, while giving back to the kids that inspire me daily.”

Most of us are faced with this obstacle during the quarter life crisis. Choosing between the things you love, and determining which should be sacrificed. But if you think outside of the box, a choice doesn’t necessarily have to be made! You’ll find that tapping into your passions and finding a way to combine them almost forces you to work harder, because every part of you is working.

Tapper credits her daily motivation to the positive feedback from her kids and customers, knowing that she’s educating as she creates.

“It’s quite amazing, knowing that people are learning, and knowing that it’s because of you.”

That’s what creating is about, after all. There really is no better talent than teaching others, no matter how we decide to do it. It’s about leaving them with something greater than ourselves, something far more important than our persona. Because who we are here, will never mean anything if not for what we leave behind.