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December 24, 2010
Happy Holidays from your friends at Urban Pop Life
In yet another challenging year, there are reminders everywhere of how wonderful life is and how blessed we are to simply be alive. To you and yours here's to a safe holiday, blessed new year and the wisdom to appreciate and live in the eternal moment of NOW! There is NO PAST, and there is no future. There is ONLY RIGHT NOW! Appreciate it, embrace it and always do your best in it.
Urban Pop Life will return with a new look, new contributors and new content in January. Get ready for a new level of POP in 2011.
Urban Pop Life 2010 Holiday Party at Pearl Lounge TONIGHT!
Please join us 2nite for a warm evening of friendship, networking and holiday cheer. There is NO COVER charge and there will be 2 for 1 drinks. The music selections will include pop, R&B, hip hop and soul. This gathering of friends, clients and associates will be as diverse as the city itself and a lot of fun!
Looking forward to seeing you tonight. Your guests are welcome.
The UPL Holiday party is from 6:30 - 8:30pm and leads in to the popular weekly After Work Wednesdays event regularly hosted by the venue for an urban alternative crowd.
I am passionate about life, love, family and all things creative. I tend to avoid politics because I think that politics often get in the way of us becoming our higher selves and most certainly present obstacles to otherwise kind and rational people coming together as one.
These past few months have been a reminder of how adversity has the power to bring out the best in people, but when that adversity is coupled with fear it also can bring out the worst in people. I honestly believe that the only way we can survive as a country, rebuild a thriving economy and heal the wounds that threaten to tear our communities and country apart is to earnestly listen to each others complaints and fears and to find common ground. I pray that the day soon comes where we can set aside our petty differences so that we can create a world that is safe, clean and peaceful for our children.
Every institution, relationship, and structure large and small must be built on a solid foundation in order for it to survive. To move forward to a brighter future for ourselves and our children we must first make sure that the foundation of this country is safe, secure and strong. Everyone who wants to work should be able to work, immigrants (of which every single one of us is a descendant) should be lawfully admitted, welcomed and treated with respect and EVERYONE regardless of race, creed, sex, gender or sexuality should be treated with equal protection under the law.
This weekend the NAACP and over 300 organizations including labor unions, Latino cilvil rights organizations and for the first time ever LGBT organizations will march in Washington D.C. to present a common set of values, demands and concerns to our "leaders."
I honestly believe that somewhere between the often hateful and almost always hyperbolic statements made on both sides that there is ultimately much common ground to be tilled in preparation for the next great American harvest. If we plant the seeds of hope, till the common ground of our collective challenges and nurture our children and their dreams as we would crops we will ultimately come together and celebrate a bountiful harvest. Republicans, Tea Party activists, conservatives, liberals, Democrats, straights, gays, women, men, Christians, Jews, Muslims, children, teens and adults are all ultimately human beings entitled to the same inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This weekend is about presenting the progressive approach to securing basic human and civil rights for ALL AMERICANS!
I have lost much of my faith in both sides of our political spectrum to see beyond petty differences, fear and sound bites, but as a human being and artist I do not have the luxury of giving up or giving in. So I urge progressive folks who believe in equal protection under the law, a strong education system and using every tool at our disposal to create new jobs NOW to march this weekend and show our leaders there other voices in this discussion and that we all strive to sit at the table, be heard and to move forward as one country as we renew the American spirit.
On Oct. 2, 2010, we have the opportunity to make history. On that day, the LGBTQ movement will join together with labor, civil rights, women’s, youth, environmental, immigrant, faith and peace communities as we all stand unified as One Nation Working Together (ONWT). Join over 30 local and national LGBTQ organizations and over 300 other progressive organizations as we demand equality for all, because everyone deserves equal access to jobs, justice, and education.
Everyone in America deserves a just and fair chance to achieve the American Dream. Our national identity is rooted in the ideal that all people - regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or ability - should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and contribute to an economy that works for everyone.
Yet today our nation remains in crisis. We face serious challenges, including: a deepening jobs crisis caused in part by a bubble economy of low wages and exploitative credit. We continue to struggle with a broken immigration system; crumbling infrastructure; too many failing public schools that help some, but not all, children; increased levels of division and discrimination; economic and energy peril; and environmental catastrophe. And, in this time of crisis, too many voices offer only a choice between doing nothing, and turning against one another.
Today, more than ever, we need to break the gridlock in Washington, and we need decisive leadership and policy that will move all in Congress, especially the Senate, forward. A committed public is also needed more than ever, to advance inclusive solutions that will overcome these challenges, put Americans back to work, and pull us all back together as one nation.
One Nation Working Together is about a better future for all of us here in America – a future of justice at home and peace abroad, where we create good jobs for all of us and take on the great challenges we face as a nation: rebuilding our economy; respecting all families; educating all our children in safe environments; transforming how we use energy; ensuring safe, vibrant, diverse communities; and providing for an economic future built on the principles that America has always aspired to achieve.
One Nation Working Together will chart a bold, pragmatic path toward a more unified, sustainable, prosperous future.
One Nation Working Together
For Jobs, Justice and Education for All
WHO WE ARE
We are One Nation, born from many, determined to build a more united America – with jobs, justice and education for all.
We are young people, frustrated that society seems willing to spend more locking up our bodies than educating our minds, yet still we find ways to succeed and shine.
We are students and newly-returned veterans – persevering in the face of mounting debt – determined not to be the first generation to end up worse off than our parents.
We are baby boomers and seniors – who saw hope killed in 1968 and will not let the dream of a united America be taken from us again.
We are conservatives and moderates, progressives and liberals, non-believers and people of deep faith, united by escalating assaults on our reason, our environment, and our rights.
We are workers of every age, faith, race, sex, nationality, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ability – who have suffered discrimination but never stopped loving our neighbors, or our nation.
We are American Indians and Alaska Natives - citizens of Native nations – who maintain our cultures, protect our sovereignty, and strength America’s economy.
We are the new immigrants, raising our children in the torchlight of the Statue of Liberty, while confronting the shadows that are bigotry and mass deportations.
We are the native born. We inherited the divided legacies of settlers and American Indians, black slaves and white and Asian indentured servants. And yet, in this moment of shared suffering, we rejoice in newfound friendships and new alliances.
We are people who got thrown out – thrown out of our jobs, schools, houses, farms and small businesses – while Wall Street's wrongdoers got bailed out. We are families who pray every day – for peace and prosperity; for deliverance from foreclosures; for good jobs to come back to urban and rural America.
We are unemployed workers – forced to watch hopes for bold action dashed – because some Senators threaten filibusters, and other would-be champions fold in fear.
And yet, we are the majority – fueled by hope, not hate. We have the pride, power and determination to keep ourselves – and our country – moving up and out of the valley greed created.
And most importantly – from ensuring women are treated fairly at work, to expanding health care coverage for millions– we have been victorious whenever we worked together. We have proven the only thing we need to succeed is each other.
And so, on 10-2-10, we come back together - to march.
WHY WE MARCH
We march for a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. We march for jobs, justice, and education. We march for an economy that works for all. We march for a nation in which each person who wants to work can find a job that pays enough to support a family.
We march to create a million new jobs right away, because the national values that got us out of the Great Depression will get us out of the Great Recession.
We march to build a world-class public education system, from pre-school to community college and beyond - because our nation must start unleashing the greatness of every child today.
We march to end racial profiling and re-segregation– from Arizona to Atlanta. We march to defend the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment. We march to advance human rights, civil rights, equal protection, and dignity for all.
We march to fix the broken immigration system – because no child should live in fear that her parents will be deported.
We march to ensure every worker has a voice at work. We march for green jobs and safe workplaces, so no worker will have to choose between her livelihood and her life.
We march for a clean environment, so no child is ever forced to decide between drinking the water or breathing the air and staying healthy.
We march to move our nation beyond this moment when a handful of Senators can block urgently needed progress – skewing our national budget towards tax cuts for the wealthy, unjustified military spending and prisons.
We march to demand full equality for all women in all communities, indulging an end to wage discrimination.
We march for peace abroad and job creation at home. We march for energy independence, public safety, and public transportation because the nation we want to build most is our own.
We march to demand full equality for all women in all communities, indulging an end to wage discrimination.
And on 11-2-10, we will march again – into the voting booths. We will bring our families, our friends, and our neighbors. And once the ballots are counted, we will keep organizing, we will hold our leaders accountable, and we will keep making our dream real.
This movement will grow. It will put America back to work, pull America back together, and keep us moving ever forward.
Join us. We are One Nation Working Together: For Jobs, For Justice, For Education, For All.
As promised we are hard at work on a new design of the UPL website and it is scheduled to be completed shortly. Akim Bryant has joined us a music contributor and we will soon announce new contributors in the fields of fashion and visual art as well.
NY Fashion Week was a major success as we were one of a handful of sites invited to stream the Oscar de la Renta show live, covered a variety of the weeks shows and special events and brought you the excitement of Fashion's Night Out!
Coming soon we'll provide you with even more in-depth coverage of art, fashion, music, film and fun. DC Fashion week, Art Basel Miami, the New York Art Fairs, new music releases and more are coming soon. We'll also be launching new features and adding lots of original content in the form of interviews, profiles and more.
There is a small chance the blog may be down for a few minutes at some point in the next couple of days as we make changes behind the scenes. I apologize in advance for any difficulties this may cause you.
Thank you for your support and here's to a great new season of UPL.
This is one of those times when I am more than happy to join the chorus and sing the same tune everyone is singing. By now you are all aware of the extremely tragic events unfolding in Haiti as we speak. Please join me in doing everything we can to reach out and help the people of Haiti survive and recover from this terrible tragedy.
Text yele to 501501 and a $5 donation will be billed directly to your phone or go directly to http://yele.org to donate larger amounts.
2009 has been one of the most trying years of my adult life in many ways, but it has provided a wonderful opportunity for growth and self reflection. I am blessed to have been given this opportunity to see who I really am as a man and an artist. This tough year has also provided an opportunity for those who I consider friends to stand by me and show who they really are.
My cousin Melvin, my dear friend Jeff F. and road dawgs and best friends Akim B. and Adam Irby have all been with me every step of the way providing moral support and even some material support when the recession came home. Of course my family has been better than ever and this has been a banner year for renewing ties with family (both paternal and maternal).
I will be taking a much needed break from blogging for a bit to celebrate the holidays and focus on a great new nightlife project that has fallen into my lap. To those who know me, I know what you're thinking and I don't really believe I'm going to take this break either (lol), it is my intent.
No worries art lovers, Urban Pop Life will be back better than ever at the top of the year. I'm planning new features, new content, and eventually an updated look and feel. There are also plans to add contributors so if you are a writer, photographer or artist interested in contributing contact me at email@example.com to express your interest.
Republican or Democrat...I really don't care what party you belong to. I do care about affordable health care for all. After many recent personal struggles with care for loved ones, not to mention the challenge of being self employed and worrying about coverage, health care matters to me. I am passionate about seeing to it that these people we elect actually get something significant done about health care at last. The only way real change ever comes is when average people demand it.
Read the plan. If you support Obama's plan then voice your support and do everything you can to get it passed. If you disagree with his health care proposal then engage in a positive way to make it better.
if you're wondering why I am talking about this on an art blog it's because artists need health care too. I'm talking about it because God made each human being in his image and that means we are creative beings...each and every one of us. The greatest works of art we create are ourselves. We all create solo artistic projects called our lives as well as jointly conceived works like children, companies and sports teams. Let's make our collective work called the United States of America a little more beautiful by coming together and doing something that needs to be done NOW! Passing a compassionate and meaningful health care reform NOW!
There are so many people who have inspired me in my life. My parents, some friends and the occasional pop culture icon. I am not easily inspired by flash and style. For me it has always been substance, discipline, integrity and persistence that inspires me to be more than I ever thought I could be.
None of us are perfect, but we're perfect in our imperfections because we each serve as a reminder to each other of the promise of God to forgive us all for our sins and his promise to love us all unconditionally. Our lives are the greatest works of art ever created.
Our lives are performance art because we dance a daily dance that balances our thoughts and urges with our dreams and aspirations. We create ourselves with our actions, choices and deeds. Our lives are visual art because the beauty of the images we paint during our greatest moments of happiness and the pain of the tragedies we create and experience are woven into the most wonderful tapestry one can imagine. We view each other through our five senses as well as our minds and when we evolve we can learn to see with our hearts and souls. I've learned to start seeing with my heart and you are all beautiful works of art.
Life is also a collaborative type of art. God created us in a single act of divine and passionate creation, but then he then proceeds in an exceedingly generous fashion to hand the paint brush to each of us. We are provided with an opportunity to go about creating, refining and presenting ourselves as ever evolving works of very personal art.
Senator Ted Kennedy is the most recent work of human art to be completed. He was a kind and caring man with very deep personal convictions. He was a statesman, father, uncle, brother, nephew, son, friend and so much more. He was of course as flawed as any of us, but what made his life special to me if that he lived his life with conviction, persistence, humility, gratitude, compassion, kindness and love. In my personal view his redemption is complete.
He was able to hold on to his personal beliefs and stand for what he thought was right. He was able to disagree passionately with someone over a political issue, but still embrace them as a loving friend. This ability is an example of not taking things personally and the power that living that particular agreement can bring to ones life.
I believe that the Kennedy family has held a special place in the consciousness of our country for a very long time for one very special reason..that despite great wealth and influence and the temptations that surely come with that kind of wealth and power the Kennedy family seems to have never forgotten that they are blessed. The family embodies a sense or service to ones community and the duty to make sure that all families have a right to live in dignity. Ted Kennedy and his deceased brothers John and Robert all seemed to understand that health care, civil rights, equal protection under the law and a quality education are rights NOT privileges and that all human beings are entitled to them. He was also a huge supporter of the arts and this part of him has a special place in my heart. He was an accomplished painter and he also did a tremendous amount of work to help make the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. what is is today.
Senator Kennedy lived a life in which he treated those with less with the same dignity as he did the wealthy and powerful. He was both an idealist and a pragmatist. More than anything, Senator Kennedy inspired me in his teaching and living of one very simple ideal: there is NOTHING that you can't accomplish. In his own Irish Catholic way he embodied my personal truth: YOU ARE WHAT YOU DREAM!
Yet another person who inspired me to be the best man I can be has passed away. We can remember his sacrifice and service by doing our very best to follow our own dreams and to love and cherish each other despite our perceived difference. We are all Americans and humans and members of the same wonderful family of God.
Rest in peace a true American hero...Edward M. Kennedy
Hey everyone I'd like to take a moment to thank those of you who send me emails and those of you who use the comment section of the blog to express your thoughts on a particular post. Taking your time to read my blog is already a blessing and much appreciated, but actually taking more time to email me or comment is particularly generous of you so THANKS!
Believe it or not one of the newer forms of spam is fake comments, so as I go through and delete the spam comments sometimes I may delete a legitimate one by accident. If this happens to you, please don't take it personally. Just send me a note and we'll take it from there.
Have a great day everyone.
Special shout out to my Uncle Bill who reads the blog all da time and comments from time to time as well. He's one cool dude.
The blog has been really taking off lately, but of course I have no idea why...LOL. In an effort to make sure that I get to know you better I'm asking you to complete a brief survey. The survey will take 5 minutes to complete and will provide me with invaluable information about what you like and dislike about the blog. Happy Monday and thanks in advance for providing your feedback.
The blog has been really taking off lately, but of course I have no idea why...LOL. In an effort to make sure that I get to know you better I'm asking you to complete a brief survey. The survey will take 5 minutes to complete and will provide me with invaluable information about what you like and dislike about the blog. Happy Monday and thanks in advance for providing your feedback.
This is so sad. This blog is about art, pop culture, entertainment and life. This falls into the life category. We're all entitled to believe what we want and live our lives according to our beliefs, but it's NOT OK TO USE those beliefs to cause harm to others mentally, verbally or physically.
11-Year-Old Hangs Himself after Enduring Daily Anti-Gay Bullying
GLSEN Calls on Schools, Nation to Embrace Solutions to Bullying Problem
NEW YORK, April 9, 2009 - An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year.
Carl, a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on April 17, the same day hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment at school. The other three known cases of suicide among middle-school students took place in Chatham, Evanston and Chicago, Ill., in the month of February.
"Our hearts go out to Carl’s mother, Sirdeaner L. Walker, and other members of Carl's family, as well as to the community suffering from this loss," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. "As we mourn yet another tragedy involving bullying at school, we must heed Ms. Walker’s urgent call for real, systemic, effective responses to the endemic problem of bullying and harassment. Especially in this time of societal crisis, adults in schools must be alert to the heightened pressure children face, and take action to create safe learning environments for the students in their care. In order to do that effectively, as this case so tragically illustrates, schools must deal head-on with anti-gay language and behavior."
Two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive. The top reason was physical appearance.
"As was the case with Carl, you do not have to identify as gay to be attacked with anti-LGBT language," Byard said. "From their earliest years on the school playground, students learn to use anti-LGBT language as the ultimate weapon to degrade their peers. In many cases, schools and teachers either ignore the behavior or don’t know how to intervene."
Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.
In most cases, the harassment is unreported. Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (60.8%) who experience harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school. The most common reason given was that they didn’t believe anything would be done to address the situation. Of those who did report the incident, nearly a third (31.1%) said the school staff did nothing in response. While LGBT youth face extreme victimization, bullying in general is also a widespread problem. More than a third of middle and high school students (37%) said that bullying, name-calling or harassment is a somewhat or very serious problem at their school, according to From Teasing to Torment. Bullying is even more severe in middle school. Two-thirds of middle school students (65%) reported being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and only 41% said they felt very safe at school.
Carl's suicide comes about a year after eighth-grader Lawrence King was shot and killed by a fellow student in a California classroom, allegedly because he was gay.
GLSEN recommends four simple approaches schools can take to begin addressing bullying now.
Said Walker in the Springfield Republican: "If anything can come of this, it's that another child doesn't have to suffer like this and there can be some justice for some other child. I don't want any other parent to go through this."
Ten years ago, almost to the minute (It's 12:38 am right now) I drove my Mazda across the Hudson River and into my new home called New York City.
I've been up and I've been down. I've experienced joy and witnessed a whole lot of pain. I've lived through a tropical storm, blackout, World Series victories, the incredible Giants Superbowl win and a series of losing seasons for the Knicks. I've had a Senator named Clinton, Mayors named Guliani and Bloomberg and stood on 125th Street when Barack Obama was declared President.
I arrived knowing 4 people and long ago was given the nickname Mayor of New York because I quickly made my presence felt in my new home. I left great friends behind in LA who I still love and speak to and gained a host of great new friends here (not to mention a few of the California friends have since located here as well).
I left a great apartment in LA and I have been blessed with two great spots here including my current apartment and studio here in Harlem.
I've lost several friends, my Uncle, my step dad and both my grandmothers, but I've gained ten years of new experiences, great memories, new friends and business associates who have taught me much.
I left LA as a senior level marketing professional who traveled internationally and spent the rest of my time producing music. Here in New York I did some freelance PR, continued making music and then quickly transitioned into a marketing consultant and club promoter. I have finally have found my true calling as a visual artist and photographer and I'm happier than I have ever been.
New York is not a place for weak, but she can nurture you in her own special way. New York is not known to pamper the meek, but kindness, integrity and honesty can take you a long way. New York can be a cold and lonely place, but when your spirit is at peace you can fully appreciate the lessons the lady has to share.
I was born in Saint Louis. Los Angeles will always be my "hometown." However, I can proudly say with no hesitation, my name is Ricky Day...I'm a New Yorker!
Although I am a visual artist and by my very nature inclined to focus on visuals first, I am of course a well rounded individual who enjoys using all my senses and my intellect. A few weeks back I wrote about the great African-American literary journal called Callaloo and received such good feedback I decided to share information from their special issues and events whenever I think it may be of interest to some of you.
Below please find the details on a great conference that is taking place this week in St. Louis, Missouri. It's a lil late for those of us who live out of state to plan a trip at this point, but I figured I'd share the information anyway for our mid-west readers.
This is just some of the information for the event. If you are interested in more detail visit the Callaloo website.
Another soul has flown home. The internet is a strange and wonderful place. It's a place where you can meet friends, share ideas, form bonds and never meet in person. Sheldon Jackson was one of these persons in my life. We met online and became associates who conversed and shared ideas over the years. Although we never met in person Sheldon taught me alot about life, acceptance, friendship and the power of self love. He was a courageous, generous and honest soul. Below is the text of the email I received last night. Sheldon's body has departed this earth, but his spirit will stay with me and with others forever. Rest my friend, we'll carry on in your name.
Dear Family, Friends, and Associates of Shelton Samad Jackson:
I am deeply saddened to inform you that our dear friend Shelton Jackson (February 4, 1978 - March 2, 2009) passed away on Monday at The University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. Shelton kept the faith and fought a good fight. My father, Shelton, was a pioneer in love, thought, and spirit. I am forever grateful for everyone who was with him during his last days here on earth.
Shelton is survived by his mother, Lyndale Jackson; his brother, Raheem Jackson; his maternal grandmother, Barbara Williams; his paternal grandmother, Georgia Jackson; three sons (Charles Tyson, Richard Keller, Charles LaMont); his best friend, Ming McCall; and a host of cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Like many, my father inspired me to live as a change agent, whether that change was to manifest in my own self-concept or in my service to humanity. I admired Shelton, not only for his valuable contributions to HIV/AIDS advocacy and literature, but for his steadiness to remain faithful and truthful to his mission in life. For more info on his work, feel free to visit www.sheltonjackson.com.
Funeral services will be held this Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 9am in Newark, NJ at a location TBD. If you would like to attend home going services, please contact Kent Williams directly at (410)493-1858 so she can give you the funeral location details immediately when they become available.
Donations, flowers, and cards can be made to:
Shelton S Jackson Memorial Fund
c/o African American Office of Gay Concerns
877 Broad Street, Suite 211
Newark, NJ 07102
Website: www. aaogc.org
AAOGC is a 501 c 3 non-profit organizations and all donations are tax deductible. To contribute to the memorial fund online, simply go to the website. Scroll down on the menu that's on the homepage and find "Online Donations." That will take you to our PayPal page and just follow the instructions. No codes or passwords are needed.
Simply put, papa needs an intern and soon thereafter an assistant. The job duties for both positions are quite varied, but include administrative tasks, errands, assisting with art projects and photo shoots and more. The intern position is NOT a paid position, but the assistant position will be. The intern is needed asap. The assistant position is not likely to be available until summer.
If you are interested or know someone who is, please send a resume to:
For those of you who sent me well wishes, thank you. I am not 100 percent yet, but I am feeling much better. I am still waiting to find out what exactly laid me out, but I can tell you this...I'mma think twice about what I eat and where I eat it. Food poisoning is NOT YOUR FRIEND! Well...there is one small benefit...i'm a couple of steps closer to the 6 pack (maybe even 8 pack) that I wanted to achieve for this spring...lol.
Though I plan to pace myself, this week should be a very busy one for me and for the blog. Stay tuned for posts about new art events, music, fashion week repots, pop culture and profiles on several movers and shakers in art and culture.
I decided to move forward by taking a humorous look back. Mothers and Facebook what do they have in common? Well they both have the potential to remind you of phases of your life you'd rather not reflect on (like the time when you had a jheri curl, or when you were a 98 pound weakling or when you wore glasses).
Both Facebook and Mothers also have a way of making you feel good. Reconnecting with who you were helps you to have some perspective about who you are and it is very valuable indeed.
I'm not gonna bore you all with stories of my childhood or high school years, but I will share two pictures that I recently came into contact with. The double exposure shot was on proud display at my Mother's place during Xmas and the high school photo is courtesy of my old classmate and current home girl Yvonne Napier who has her own blog coming soon. It's a shot of me and my homey Leon who passed away quite some time ago (I miss you homey).
It's ok for you to laugh at me. I got a kick out of doing it myself. Special shout out to my departed Uncle Leonard who taught me a lot about style and who helped me pick out the Velvet blazer I was wearing in the shot. Believe it or not it WAS stylish at the time...lol.
Happy 2009 everyone. I'm not usually one for taking breaks, but after a very long, productive, exciting, tragic and exhausting 2008 I actually took a little time off at the end of the year like a normal person. Boy did I need the rest. I'm still reluctant to get back to work, but I had no choice.
I sincerely hope this year is a great one for each of us. I am looking forward to building upon the successes of last year, further developing some of the new relationships in my life (both professional and social), watching (and doing my part to help) our new President and Congress start to clean up this mess, and to simply enjoy the gift that is life.
I was pleasantly surprised by the positive response and meteoric growth of this blog. This year I look forward to interacting and sharing with you even more. Keep your eyes open for new blog features and lots of the same types of content you've come to expect.
I've got a busy year planned and I'm not gonna tell you everything now, but know this..."you haven't seen nothin yet!"
From painting, sculpture, installation and collage to music and video and live performance. 2009 will be filled with great art, great fun and great expectations and achievement.
My friend Malcolm Harris has put together a great event to help raise funds for local food banks. As you may or may not know food banks around the country have been affected by the global economic crisis and a number of food banks are on the verge of disappearing completely. There is no excuse for anyone to be hungry in the richest country on earth. So please do what you can to help.
The fashion and food industries join together for an amazing awareness and fundraiser to assist the Food Bank of New York City in their noble efforts during this holiday season. Food Bank of NYC supporters include Gwyneth Paltrow, Helena Christensen, Kevin Bacon, Stephen Colbert, any many other prominent figures. We will have representatives from the Food Bank of NYC to inform attendees how they can assist in ending food poverty in New York City as well as help to spread the word. There will be a fashion presentation by New York’s top Fashion Designers.
Fashion For Food Network
Thursday, December 18, 2008
8:00pm - 11:00pm
59 West 21st Street
East New York, NY
Tickets cost $50.00. To purchase tickets click on the link below.
This blog is a lot of fun to do and has taken on a life of its own. However, it is simply a small part of my much more broad wild and wonderful world. Make sure to periodically check out my website (www.RickyDay.net) to see old and new work in painting, printmaking, digital media and photography. My online store is coming soon as well.
The website is also where you can find up to date information about upcoming exhibits and other special events. I wanna share my world, my art and my experiences with you, as well as introduce you to the world of fine art and Urban Pop culture as I live it.
Anyone who knows me knows that I respect and care about young people of all colors and ages. There are thousands of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender teens thrown out of the their Chistian homes by parents who don't understand or appreciate who they are. These kids need a place to go and pop star Cyndi Lauper is out to provide a loving and safe place for them. Check out the information below.
In New York City, a very disproportionate number (up to 40%), of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Even more disturbing are reports that these young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault in some of the very places they have to for help. This is shocking an inexcusable!
That's why my manager, Lisa Barbaris and Cyndi Lauper are collaborating with Colleen Jackson and West End Intergenerational Residence to create the True Colors Residence, (TCR), a permanent supportive housing program for homeless LGBT youth 18-24 years old.
Because they cared aka I got a lil emotional in the voting booth
As mentioned before, I've been a bit more pragmatic about this election cycle than one wold probably imagine an emotional creative type like myself to be. However, yesterday when Barack Obama lost his grandmother who was the rock of his family it really hit home. 3 weeks ago I lost my 100 year old mixed race grandmother who helped raise me. She left this earth just as my greatest accomplishments are at hand. Seeing him go through a very similar thing stirred that special place in my heart.
When I got to the voting booth today I went on a journey. I remembered every story my grandmother ever told me about being raised in Mississippi. Her memories of the hatred, sadness and oppression she witnessed in her childhood and early years and the love, strength and pride that helped her and so many millions more to survive and often thrive despite it all. I remembered the words she shared with me about doing my best, being honorable and living with integrity. About how everything thing she ever did was so that we could have a better life than she did and how giving back is the key to a wonderful and fulfilling life. I remember how strong her faith was that someday it would all be worth it.
Today when I cast my vote, my pragmatic...spiritually mature...thinking I was not gonna be caught up in the hoopla ass...shed a beautiful, sincere and bittersweet tear.
I have a different thought about this election than is common in the streets. Of course I think Barack Obama is talented, eloquent, charismatic and supremely qualified to be President of The United States. Of course I am happy as an African-American male to see a man of color on the verge of being elected to the highest office in the land.
What truly moves me...what brings tears to my eyes and gives me a warm feeling inside is this...the American people are as intelligent, open, evolved and ultimately accepting as I hoped, prayed and deep down inside knew us to be.
Clearly we have come a long way. Clearly this man named Obama has stirred something deep inside the soul of the country. However, the bottom line is if we as a nation were as closed minded, hateful and simple as our past could lead one to believe then no speech, no charisma, no media manipulation could move us. My theory is that as a country we tend to play it safe, be complacent and wallow in the old ways until our collective backs are against the proverbial wall. Pearl Harbor, the Great Depression, the Cold War and the Space race are examples of us stepping up when the times called for it.
Now i'm sure that George W. Bush is a nice Christian man from a nice family, but the fact of the matter is he has turned out to be one of the worst Presidents in history. The combination of two wars (one wholly unnecessary) and an economic crisis of historic proportions set the table. Add to this mix the coming of age of a generation that has benefited from decades of sacrifice by their parents and grand-parents and who have been united by the hip hop movement, it's the perfect recipe for real change. This is a special moment in time.
We have an opportunity to be more, do more, achieve more and live up to our full potential. Love quite truly is all there ultimately is and eventually society at large will come to understand this universal truth. I am excited and spiritually moved by the possibility that humankind just may be stirring from a long winters night slumber. If I'm wrong and we're just getting up to take a leak, well let's make it the best leak ever!!!!
No matter what happens today, take a look in the mirror...take a look at a fellow human being on a train and know this...we are one. We're all in this together like it or not. There is no they or them, me or she...there is really only us and we. This election, this moment in time is a new beginning, but we must work everyday in each and every one of our own lives to make this change a reality and a constant.
We have come a long way and we should collectively and individually be proud. We are starting to accept the truth of what we can do when we truly work together.
We're nowhere...without somewhere to go.
We're nothing...without something else to be.
We're...no one without taking the opportunities presented to share our love.
Today is a new day.
Live it ...fearlessly...lovingly and selflessly and watch our every dream come true.
When I started doing this blog thing I wasn't sure how I wanted to flow with it. I knew I wanted to share my work. I knew I wanted to share art and pop culture stuff I liked and I knew I wanted to keep my private life private. What I didn't know is how much fun this could be. I also didn't realize how hard it would be to find the right balance between the personal and the popular and to find that right 'tone' to communicate in.
I've received some great feedback from a lot of you and it's appreciated. As I read over the blog today I realized that I really haven't been sharing very much of me with you. I will always remain a fairly private person because that's simply who I am. However, I also realize one of the best things about the internet and blogging in particular is that you can connect in a meaningful way with other people. So I'm going to do just that today.
As I type this, it is the best of times and the worst of times for me. I am in a group exhibition called White Lies-Black Noise that opens on November 18th at Rush Arts in Chelsea. It's my first major show in NYC and I am excited about it. This blog has taken off, I"ve been selling new paintings and drawings recently, I'm presenting an award in a televised awards show in DC in November and I just resumed shooting fashion spreads this past week. My fine art photo portrait series about the Urban LGBT community is proceeding full speed ahead and I have one other surprise up my sleeve.
Simultaneously it has also been the worst of times. The last 18 months have seen my stepfather pass away, my favorite Uncle die suddenly and before he turned 60 years old, my favorite Aunt is losing her eye sight to diabetes and today my grandmother's long, slow and emotionally painful battle with Alzheimers ended in her passing.
It is not my intent to depress you, but to point out that which is most important. I am sharing this because in the midst of all this death and sickness I have realized and remembered some simple truths. Death is a part of life, but what you do with the days, moments and memories created between birth and death is what defines your life. Life is fragile and temporary so it should be enjoyed everyday like it's your last. It's this kind of passionate living that creates fond memories, lasting success and loving bonds that even death cannot destroy.
My mother has shouldered her burdens with grace. The love my family shares transcends the reality of life and death. My grandmother was nearly 101 years old and was been blessed with a good life and a family that loves her and survives to carry her wisdom to the next generation.
When I cry (and I do often), it's tears of joy and gratitude. I am grateful for having people love me unconditionally, I am grateful for the gift of creativity. I am grateful for having been taught how to love without condition. It's this capacity to love that has blessed me with great friends and business associates that have become an extension of my family.
So to each of you I say this:
live each day like your last and love freely expecting NOTHING in return
To do this is to live a full and complete life and to put more joy into the world.
You are what you dream, so dream beautifully and live the results...I do.
Don't play games and please don't play yaself. Make sure you are registered to vote, particularly my young friends. The youth vote is likely to make the difference in this race. I aint gonna tell you who to vote for, but you def need to make your voice heard. As we all now painfully are aware elections and leadership often have dire consequences. Have you seen your life savings recently?
So today I got a phone call from a good friend and it started something like this:
Me: hey wassup?
Friend: Waz going on? You didn't tell me bout the story in the Post today when I spoke to you last night
Me: What are you talking about?
Friend: some model is suing a photographer named Rick Day for sending his photos to a gay magazine
Me: (laughing) It's not me, but I know exactly who they are speaking of...there's this great photographer named Rick Day (as opposed to Ricky Day...which is what people call me)/I'm sure that is who they are talking about as I have never shot for Genre Magazine
Friend: oh ok...cool
It was sorta funny to me until I thought about it...rumors get around fast and take on a life of their own if you don't set the record straight early. So for the record there is a white male fashion photographer named Rick Day who is very talented and of whom the story is about. I am Ricky Day the visual artist (painter) who is also a photographer. Any model I shoot is clear what the uses of said images will be and I follow up with release forms.
So as usual I think there is a lesson here for all and I'd like to share it. For models, please understand that as I understand it generally the photographer has rights to do whatever he or she wants to do with images because they are the copyright holders. However, photographers please know that if you want to use images for commercial purposes (sales of books, calendars, prints, etc.) you should have signed release forms stating all the approved uses as added protection of your rights. Like in any business deal or relationship, it is best to define the terms and expectations in the beginning so you don't have to deal with a mess in the end.
The black on black numbers represent every person of African descent who has set foot in this country. The red and green numbers are the numbers that provide the context and meaning for each piece. Those numbers represent a date, event or subject of significance in African-American history. Each work has a simple title that hints at the meaning of the work and the rest is up to you. These works are a part of my on-going examination of history, image making and American pop culture and the contributions of marginalized persons of color to American history and pop culture.
This past weekend I was in Atlanta, Georgia for a few reasons. It was a decent weekend (food poisoning aside). My best friend Akim and I needed an effffing vacation from the stress and strain of a difficult, yet good year thus far for both of us. I also went to down to throw a club event with my promotion partners and to soak up a lil ATL culture.
While in ATL, I paid a visit to the High Museum of Art to check out History Remixed:Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement and After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy. Both exhibits were good, but both made me wonder about history and it's rightful place in relation to the present.
"History Remixed features work by more than twenty photographers. Included is the work of press photographers and amateurs who made stirring visual documents of marches, demonstrations and public gatherings out of a conviction for the social changes that the movement represented. After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy includes newly commissioned and recently produced work by ten emerging contemporary artists.The artists in this exhibit—born in or after 1968—have processed the visual and historical data of that year, including images from the High Museum of Art's singular archive of civil rights photographs. They have created works in all media that honor the legacy of the civil rights movement while exploring its ongoing relevancy and influence upon subsequent generations in diverse ways."
If you're in ATL make sure to stop by the High Museum.
I knew that would get your attention...lol. Naw we have to deal with "those police" forever, but one of my favorite bands of all time seems to have finally called it quits for good with their last concert of their record breaking tour last night.
If you know anything about me, you know that I came of age in the 80's and hve a deep love of 80's music from Prince and Michael jackson to Madonna, Culture Club, New Wave music, 80's Pop and The Police. Depending on my mood I paint to 80's music, an acoustic mix or current hip hp and R&B. My early work is almost entirely influenced by 80's music and the colors it invokes. Among my favs are songs like Roxanne, Message in A Bottle and King of Pain by The Police.
Peep this story from Billboard Magazine online and enjoy.
The Police Call It A Career At New York Show
August 08, 2008 , 12:00 AM ET
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
The reunited Police took a final bow last night (Aug. 7) at New York's Madison Square Garden, capping a 151-show tour that will finish as the third highest-grossing of all time with $358,825,665 at the box office, according to Billboard Boxscore.
Tickets could only be obtained via donation to local public television stations Thirteen/WNET and WLIW21.
Bassist/vocalist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland began the proceedings with a surprise cover of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love." Afterward, the New York Police Department band augmented normal set-opener "Message in a Bottle."
There was only an intermittent amount of sentimentality to the show, with Sting at one point telling the crowd, "It's been a huge honor to get back with my good friends. The real triumph of this tour is that we haven't strangled each other -- that doesn't mean it hadn't crossed my mind."
But for the men on stage, it was clearly special. Sting's daughters danced with him on stage during "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," and a grinning Sting got so close to Summers as to whisper in his ear while eating up his solo on "So Lonely."
Here is the Police's final show set list:
"Sunshine of Your Love"
"Message in a Bottle"
"Walking on the Moon"
"Voices Inside My Head" / "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around"
"Don't Stand So Close to Me"
"Driven To Tears"
"Hole in My Life"
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
"Wrapped Around Your Finger"
"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"
"Can't Stand Losing You" / "Reggatta de Blanc"
"King of Pain"
"Every Breath You Take"
It's 2008 people. If you decide to have sex...please protect yourself EVERYTIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are worth protecting.
The model for this safer sex ad is my friend Akim Bryant. Akim is a freelance writer who has been published in magazines like Giant and Bleu and has written music reviews for various web sites. His first novel drops next year.
I'll take his fan mail here. Feel free to post your comments.
What is the big deal with blogs? Why should anyone care about what I have to say about anything? Who has enough free time to read this stuff on a daily basis anyway? Do I have to get all metaphysical and wax poetic about politics, art and war or can I just say some random stuff that's on my mind and go about my bizness?
These are the kinds of questions I’ve entertained for a long time when it comes to blogging. I must admit I haven’t answered any of them yet, but that isn’t stopping me from trying my hand at this blogging thing.
Let’s start with some basics: I am not a “writer.” Yeah I said it! I know that’s an odd thing to admit as I start a blog, but hey I like to keep it really really real. So don't waste your time grading my grammar. I will spell check, but that's about it. I’m a creative person who is fascinated and motivated by the world around me. Whatever I come across that inspires me or makes me laugh or cry I will share with you here.
My name is Ricky Day. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Los Angeles , California which I consider my hometown. In 1999 I moved to New York, NY and I now live and work in Harlem, New York. I am a visual artist (painting, collage, sculpture, installation and more), photographer and overall creative soul. I’ve got two brothers, a sister and nephews and nieces who I love dearly and of course my parents. My maternal grandmother had a huge hand in raising me and she is still alive and over 100 years old.
The thing you should know about me is I believe that we are creative beings by our very nature. I believe that we create our lives with our thoughts, words and actions and we never stop creating from the day we are born until the day we die. The only difference is that some of us are aware we are creating and actively harness the power given to us.There are several books that have helped me to understand my place in this world and they include:
The Holy Bible
The Four Agreements
Conversation With God
The Little Prince
If my feelings about life could be summed up in a phrase or two it would be these:
You are what you dream.
Love is all there is.
Enjoy your day, enjoy your life and come back again soon.